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Chuck roast ruined

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    Chuck roast ruined

    Welp,

    5.5 hours and the beef chuck roast came out with ashy-tasting bark and VERY dry meat. This was my first low and slow cook, and I definitely made a slew of mistakes. First off, I think the cut didn't have enough marbling (it was the only one at the nearby grocery store). Second, started with too much charcoal for a hot day (11 briquettes in slow 'n' Sear), which made me force both the upper and lower intake vents to near-closed just to maintain 225. Thirdly, started too late (noon) to have it ready by 6:00, so by 4:30 I had to crank the heat to 335 just to get a bark. The meat hit 190 by the time a good bark formed. I took it off, and sat it in the cambro for 45 minutes. Cut into it, and the meat was dry as hell. I think that since I had to keep the vents nearly closed the whole time, the smoke was dirty.

    Anyway, I just wanted to vent out my utter disappointment today. Thanks for listening. Any tips would be appreciated.
    Attached Files

    #2
    well that sucks. Sorry too hear. I did something similar once, cubed it up and made chili. MMMM chili...

    Comment


    • Smiwy
      Smiwy commented
      Editing a comment
      Smart...I should've made the chili. I just served it up with a heaping load of BBQ sauce...

    #3
    Believe it or not, it’s possible that the roast was undercooked, though cranking the heat probably didn’t help the case any. One of the biggest things that I learned through my cooking adventures is cooking by feel as opposed to a strict time and temp formula. When you can probe the meat and it slides in like a jar of peanut butter and it jiggles almost like jello you’ve started to break down the internal structure of the meat and getting that classic bbq taste/mouthfeel.

    On the plus side, that chuck roast can be fixed by chopping and adding in some sauce. It may not be the desired result but I’m sure it’ll be delicious still!

    Comment


    • Smiwy
      Smiwy commented
      Editing a comment
      So I should've wrapped it and kept it on until about 205-210? Interesting.

    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      This!

    • Steve R.
      Steve R. commented
      Editing a comment
      Smiwy, you got it. Dry chuck roast is undercooked chuck roast.

    #4
    My advice is next time just tell everyone it was amazing because the pics look really good!
    But for real I’m no chuck master and I know I’m not good enough to tell you any absolutes but next time I’d try to correct everything you thought you did wrong. Not a very scientific method I know but realizing you made a lot of mistakes just gives you that many little things to improve on, no? Give it another shot, try to correct some things, give it time, have a drink and enjoy.

    Comment


    • Andrrr
      Andrrr commented
      Editing a comment
      Smiwy be sure to report back!

    • Alabama Smoke
      Alabama Smoke commented
      Editing a comment
      Smiwy give yourself much more time this next time. Start by 9am perhaps to eat by 6PM. Take your time, cook low and slow if possible., Its no big deal really....now, when its at around 195 to 200 degrees, stick a probe into it. Feel like room temp butter? Room temp peanut butter? Good, time to take it off but you don't need to hurry even now......if it's not dinner time yet, wrap tightly in foil (you might add a little beef stock) put into cambro till dinner. Keep above 140 degrees though

    • Smiwy
      Smiwy commented
      Editing a comment
      @Alabama Smoke
      Got it. I'm assuming the carryover in the cambro will raise it by 5 or 10 degrees?

    #5
    I rarely find chuck roast in this area but do smoke round roasts and the odd blade or sirloin.
    Those I can bang out in 2.5-3 hours maybe 4 if its a big roast.
    I personally don't go low and slow with beef depending on the mood my BKK is in from 280-330 with 300the optimum temp.
    I pull the meat at 130-140 inside temp double wrap in foil and Cambro for at least 2 hours.
    You did not mention whether you wrapped and let the chuck rest after taking it off.
    That rest period is what will make or break your cook especially with beef IMHO.

    Comment


    • Smiwy
      Smiwy commented
      Editing a comment
      Great advice. I let it rest but not long enough. So does the meat get dry around 190 before it moistens up again (205-210)?

    • Bkhuna
      Bkhuna commented
      Editing a comment
      Don't they call them under blade roasts in Canada?

    • smokin fool
      smokin fool commented
      Editing a comment
      Bkhuna Could be, everything is so generic now.
      Culture comes into it too, Halal stores call tri tip chuck steak thank goodness Troutman knew the difference or that cook would have been ruined.
      Most meat is pre-packaged so cuts down on assortment.
      Seems butchers aren't trained to cut the cuts you take for granted.
      Regionality comes into play also. Its frustrating to see cooks on this site you'd love to try but that cut of meats not available

    #6
    I wrap chucks at about 170, after a good bark is formed, and take them up to 203-205, or probe tender. In the 190 range, it may not have gotten to the point of fall apart tender with connective tissue breakdown.

    Comment


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      Smiwy it’s also possible you got a very lean, tough piece of meat. I only cook choice or prime, and stay away from select cuts.

    • Smiwy
      Smiwy commented
      Editing a comment
      jfmorris yeah, it was choice but probably not the best choice..... Gotta shop harder next time!

    • Potkettleblack
      Potkettleblack commented
      Editing a comment
      My process is the same, though I will add some liquid to the wrap. I've taken em up to even 210... the thing is, they have to be ready to fall apart. Chuck can be dry anyway, so wrapping helps a lot, as does adding a bit of liquid.

      For the liquid, I use a bit of red wine, and then maybe pump the umami with tomato paste or sherry or tamari/soy sauce. Or all of the above. A couple chopped shallots or onions never hurt it either, in the wrap.

    #7
    One thing that will help with toughness in a chucky is to slice it in half and then stand it on the cut end and slice across the grain. That doesn't really make it more tender, but it makes the meat strings shorter and easier to chew.
    Please don't ask me how I know this...
    Last edited by RonB; May 27, 2020, 08:31 PM.

    Comment


    • RonB
      RonB commented
      Editing a comment
      DesertRaider - I saidplease. Actually, I made chucky pastrami once and that's how I sliced it.

    • DesertRaider
      DesertRaider commented
      Editing a comment
      RonB That's actually good to know. I've cooked a couple of chucks on the smoker now, and getting a little more tender bite would be a plus, so I'm really glad you shared.
      So how did the chuckstrami come out? And it was 'cause you said please that I asked

    • RonB
      RonB commented
      Editing a comment
      DesertRaider - it turned out great and I will probably do it again. Fresh Market normally has chuckys that 3" to 4" thick so that's where I get them.I get more product for the same amount of work that way.

    #8
    I'm surprised you had to choke back the vents that hard to keep 225 with only 11 briquettes lit. What was your startup procedure? It also could just be that your kettle want's to run a bit hotter, mine want's to run in the 250-275 range most of the time, and that's fine.

    Choking the vents reduces airflow, which can affect bark formation. Cooking a chuck at 250 I'm usually happy with the bark between 170-180.

    I agree that you either over or under cooked it depending on what you were shooting for. 190 is over done for slicing, and under done for pulling.

    Comment


    • Smiwy
      Smiwy commented
      Editing a comment
      For startup I piled 11 briquettes on a weber starter cube, let them get mostly ashed over, then poured a full chimney of briquettes in. Closed the lid, choked back the vents (about 1/3 top and 1/4 bottom) once temp hit 200, and some more once it stabilized at 260. Had to barely crack the intake vent just to get down to 235.

    #9
    I may be completely nuts, but the texture of that meat looks a lot more like round or rump than chuck. Could it have been mislabelled?

    If it was, then it was way overcooked.

    Comment


    • Smiwy
      Smiwy commented
      Editing a comment
      If so, I'm much less dissappointed!

    • EdF
      EdF commented
      Editing a comment
      There's that tight band of gristle running across it, and chuck tends to be "stringier", while that piece of meat seems denser and more fine-grained.

    • smokin fool
      smokin fool commented
      Editing a comment
      EdF This may be the final answer mislabeled or just plain labeled wrong
      I mentioned above I rarely find chuck roast up here. I have asked butchers for a chuckie and they've pointed into the meat bunker at any old piece of meat and said, same thing.
      Ok , I'm not a butcher but I'm not a complete idiot. Some will argue the idiot thing.
      The OP may be a victim of hey its close enough, he ain't going to figure it out anyway.
      Last edited by smokin fool; May 28, 2020, 08:59 AM.

    #10
    The thing about chuck roast, brisket, beef short ribs, pork ribs, pork shoulder is that all of them are very tough muscles with tons of collagen and connective tissue. However, they generally aren’t marbled the way a steak is. They have big veins of fat running between the pieces of muscle.

    If we apply a bit of science, we know that muscle is about 70% water. ..... side note: that water is what causes the stall as it leads to evaporative cooling around the 160-170 mark .... anyhow, the fat in these hunks of meat is not going to “baste” or “tenderize” the meat because fat is, essentially, oil and we know that oil doesn’t mix well with water. The fat, literally, drips out of the meat as you cook it. That’s what all the drippings are in the pan below the meat.

    The muscles of these cuts of meat are dense, well exercised, and full of tough connective tissue. At normal cooking temps (130-165) these hunks of meat will stay tough. In fact, they will stay tough much higher temps than that. Well into the 190’s, easily.

    So, how do we get them tender and unctuous? It’s the combination of slow, consistent temp cooking and raising the internal temp to where the collagen and connective tissues break down and render. This happens above 190. And takes being above 190 for a while, not just a minute or two. We are talking about the two odd hours it takes for a hunk of beef or pork to go from 190 to 200, give or take. Chuck roast may need even more than that, up to 210’ish to get there.

    My personal advice for your next low and slow cook is pork butt. It is MUCH easier. By far the easiest thing out there. And very, very forgiving. Get your consistency, technique, and timing dialed in with a couple pork shoulder cooks and then try the other stuff.

    Also, we all learned by failure, not by success. All those times we had hungry friends and family waiting for food at 8:30 at night and the meat was still in the stall. The ribs we overcooked. The brisket that required a steak knife. Yeah, good times. :-)

    Comment


    • Smiwy
      Smiwy commented
      Editing a comment
      Wow. This is so much solid info. Thank you so much for your reply - all of this is going to help me SO MUCH. I'm gonna try pork butt so that I can calibrate my cooker with a more forgiving meat... Anyways, thanks for everything

    • ecowper
      ecowper commented
      Editing a comment
      Smiwy you're welcome. All things I've learned about this stuff over many years from people like Meathead and Aaron Franklin and so many people here in the Pit. I am a pygmy standing on the shoulders of giants ....

      Here is a great article on the science of meats on the public side that you will want to read, also: https://amazingribs.com/technique-an...c-meat-science

    #11
    One other thing .... the really important thing for slow cooking is consistency. Way more important than that perfect temp. So, if you are getting your kettle and SnS to run at 250 consistently, you are way better off than if your temps are yo-yo‘ing and you are chasing a specific temp.

    Comment


    • Smiwy
      Smiwy commented
      Editing a comment
      I was definitely trying to be too precise, and in doing that, I was not consistent. Thanks

    • USMCCrashCrew89
      USMCCrashCrew89 commented
      Editing a comment
      This is some of the best advice that I got starting out, pick a range of temperature and roll with whatever the cooler settles in at, the difference between 225 and 253, etc are indiscernible at best. If you try and smoke at exactly 225, you’ll pull your hair out chasing your desired temp.

      Also +1 on trying a pork butt as they are VERY forgiving. You might probe it several times through the cook to get a better FEEL for how the meat changes through the cook.
      Last edited by USMCCrashCrew89; May 28, 2020, 08:06 AM.

    #12
    Something you haven’t said was how you were measuring cooker temperature. Was it at the grate level with a probe, or were you looking at the dome thermometer on the kettle?

    Comment


    • Smiwy
      Smiwy commented
      Editing a comment
      Temp was measured with a probed snaked through hood vents, 2 inches from meat and inch above grate

    #13
    Does your kettle leak a lot of smoke? If your kettle leaks, you'll have a hard time keeping the temps down. A quick short term fix for a leaky kettle is to use some large binder clips around the edges. A longer term fix is either a gasket or if the lid is out of round, to try to bend it back into shape.

    Comment


    • Smiwy
      Smiwy commented
      Editing a comment
      Been using the binder clip method, but my kettle might just be a lemon.... Might have to go with the gasket

    #14
    Man you will be fine. When I read the title of this thread my heart sunk. Chuck is my favorite for sure. Everyone here has given you what you need. Like others, I take it to 170 and wrap it. I also wrap in beef stock and let it braise until 205 or so. I typically do not slice it but pull it for sandwiches or to have with potatoes, etc. Such a good cut of beef. Good luck you will get it.

    Comment


    • Smiwy
      Smiwy commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you, and yea the support here is absolutely phenomenal. I'm blown away by the responses I'm getting

    #15
    I’d eat it

    Comment

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