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Braising - What went wrong

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  • JCGrill
    Club Member
    • Mar 2017
    • 1400
    • Minneapolis / St Paul burbs
    • Charcoal - 22" Weber Kettle
      Gas - Saber
      Smoker - Green Mountain Daniel Boone
      Portable - Charbroil Tabletop Propane Grill

    Braising - What went wrong

    I made sauerbraten today. This is a classic German dish where you marinate the beef in what is essentially a pickling liquid for a couple days, and then braise in that liquid. I've never made it before. Although it is usually made with a tougher beef roast, I chose to use eye of round steaks, which are also tough, but obviously thinner than roast. The recipe is designed for the slow cooker, which is what I used. It calls for 8 hours on low, but I had to start it before work, so it got more like 11.

    Results: fork tender, great flavor, but dry. Mrs Grill asked how something that cooks in liquid all day could be dry. My take: too much time pushes all the liquid out. And eye of round doesn't have much fat, so that doesn't help. Thoughts?
  • mnavarre
    Club Member
    • Jan 2018
    • 356
    • San Diego

    #2
    You've got it right, it's absolutely possible to overcook a braise (or a stew, or chili). The lack of fat matters, but not all that much. Connective tissue helps a bit, but overcooking is overcooking. That juice ain't going back in.

    Science stuff here

    ETA: The acidity in the brine for sauerbraten isn't going to do you any favors on a long cook, either.
    Last edited by mnavarre; April 5th, 2019, 07:04 PM.

    Comment

    • JeffJ
      Charter Member
      • Feb 2015
      • 2325
      • Michigan
      • Jeff

      #3
      mnavarre nailed it. Overcooked. Braising can be deceptive. Because the meat is sitting in liquid it would seem that it can't dry out. It can and it will.

      When braising you still want to check the internal temperature of the meat.

      Comment

      • HawkerXP
        Club Member
        • Jul 2016
        • 4294
        • Northern Virginia
        • 3 Weber kettles, and a PBC
          Thermopop
          Dot w two probes
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          Cold beer

        #4
        Oh,
        sauerbraten was our New Years day meal growing up. No pictures? No dumplings? No red cabbage?

        Comment


        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          No happened

        • JCGrill
          JCGrill commented
          Editing a comment
          I can take a shot at the leftovers, there were plenty. No dumplings or cabbage. Both were suggested, but I got lazy.
      • treesmacker
        Club Member
        • May 2018
        • 672
        • Grants Pass OR
          • Rec Tec Trailblazer RT-340
          • O-Grill 600 Portable Grill with O-Dock
          • Cuisinart 360 Griddle

        #5
        Yeah, I find that overcooked braised meat takes on a very tender, but kinda powdery texture.

        Comment

        • JCGrill
          Club Member
          • Mar 2017
          • 1400
          • Minneapolis / St Paul burbs
          • Charcoal - 22" Weber Kettle
            Gas - Saber
            Smoker - Green Mountain Daniel Boone
            Portable - Charbroil Tabletop Propane Grill

          #6
          That's kind of what I thought. Next time I guess it will be a weekend dish. Or maybe I buy one of those new-fangled slow cookers with the refrigeration built in.

          Comment

          • Potkettleblack
            Club Member
            • Jun 2016
            • 1830
            • Chicago, IL
            • Grill: Grilla Original / Weber Genesis EP-330
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            #7
            Eye of round is not really suitable for braising. It’s super lean. Best suited for jerky, but also a roast and thin slice. Next time use a chuck. And braise it in the oven for two hours. Slow cookers tend to leech flavor and moisture.

            Comment


            • Hulagn1971
              Hulagn1971 commented
              Editing a comment
              I agree with this 100%. Get yourself a dutch oven and put it in your oven to braise.
          • fzxdoc
            Founding Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 4399
            • My toys:
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            #8
            As a super busy working mom with a young family back in the day, my slow cooker saved the day many a time. It produced meals that the family loved. Plus it was the only gadget which, at the time, was set and forget. So I feel a special bond to the slow cooker. And I think it still has its place. For me, as long as the flavor and moisture are captured in a delicious sauce and I choose the right ingredients that can stand up to a 6 or 8 hour slow cooker session, it's all good.

            Nowadays, though, with kids grown and life more sane, there are also other options, most notably sous vide, Instant Pots, delivery to the door from a host of surrounding restaurants, and quick meal boxes from Hello Fresh and its ilk.

            I enjoy being able to savor the journey of hours spent cooking a meal and don't rely on the Crock Pot so much any more. But it's still a good friend who saved my tookus many a time back when there was no time to spare.

            Kathryn

            Comment


            • RustyHaines
              RustyHaines commented
              Editing a comment
              And you good Doctor are a Super Mom ! Enjoy cooking sanely . . . . .and when the grandkids arrive you will have some teaching to do.

            • JCGrill
              JCGrill commented
              Editing a comment
              I'm a huge slow cooker fan, and if you like low and slow on the smoker, it's got a kindred spirit. I use mine a lot and I'm generally quite successful - just did red beans and rice the other day. With just two of us, what I like most is that the meal is ready when we get home, and we have lots of leftovers for lunches.
          • JCGrill
            Club Member
            • Mar 2017
            • 1400
            • Minneapolis / St Paul burbs
            • Charcoal - 22" Weber Kettle
              Gas - Saber
              Smoker - Green Mountain Daniel Boone
              Portable - Charbroil Tabletop Propane Grill

            #9
            By the way, in case anyone is curious, this is the unit I was thinking about
            http://coolcooker.com

            Comment


            • Polarbear777
              Polarbear777 commented
              Editing a comment
              I looked at that a while ago. Problem for me is small capacity.

            • JCGrill
              JCGrill commented
              Editing a comment
              Polarbear777 I hear you. 3 quarts is small.
          • JeffJ
            Charter Member
            • Feb 2015
            • 2325
            • Michigan
            • Jeff

            #10
            For braising I love using a Dutch oven, starting on the stovetop and then moving to the oven for the braise.

            In the same vein, I REALLY like to start with my cast iron pot (no enamel) start over direct heat for whatever I'm trying to sear and then move indirect, lid off for the pot, and lid down for the cooker. This way, whatever I was braising tastes grilled. Just depends on the mood.

            Comment

            • Polarbear777
              Club Member
              • Sep 2016
              • 1390

              #11
              I used to use a slow cooker as well but now SV techniques replace most meat dishes and get a better result. Also I convert slow cooker recipes to pressure cooker and knock them out in an hour. Advantage is you don’t have to remember to start it in the morning.

              https://www.seriouseats.com/2016/10/...w-cookers.html

              Comment

              • JeffJ
                Charter Member
                • Feb 2015
                • 2325
                • Michigan
                • Jeff

                #12
                Sous Vide would be the way to go with a top round. It can be held at medium rare for a long period of time which should tenderize it.

                Comment


                • JCGrill
                  JCGrill commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Maybe so, but not this dish. Sous vide isn't a good idea for it.

                • Potkettleblack
                  Potkettleblack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  If it doesn't have a lot of connective tissue and doesn't have a lot of fat, long sous vide is a bad idea.

                • JeffJ
                  JeffJ commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Good to know Potkettleblack
              • LA Pork Butt
                Charter Member
                • Dec 2014
                • 4579
                • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

                #13
                My wife has made excellent Sauerbraten in the slow cooker a number of times. She always used chuck and pickled it for 3 days cooking it on low. In addition to your leaner cut of meat and long cook time I suspect that it being steaks and not a roast contributed to dryness. In brisket land the difference in those cuts of meat is the difference between the flat and the point when cooked.

                Comment

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