This should be a pretty quick one guys. As you know, brining is one of my things. I’m hoping to write a whole post about brining in depth (no pun intended) soon. Today let’s keep it simple. Just grab a beautiful round tip (you probably just want a portion of it, they can be big) at your butcher shop. A good size would be 3 to 4 pounds. Trim any excess fat if need be and let’s go.
That mystery dark brine.
I love coffee flavored brines and the amazing black crust that forms after you sear the meat. For the brine. I used a 2% salt 2% brown sugar %2-4% instant coffee solution and I let it infuse (or should I say diffuse?) for about 48 hours. Make sure the brine covers the meat and keep refrigerated the whole time. Needless to say, work clean. Make sure all your equipment is perfectly sanitized before you do any brining (or any cooking really). If you want to play it safe. Boil your brine and then refrigerate it before using. When it hits fridge temperature it’s time to add the meat.
Now round tips or round sirloin tips aren’t particularly tough but if you want a better texture then you gotta cook it for a bit. These days I’ve started judging cooking times by looking at the amount of juices and liquid collagen in the baggies so I’d suggest you pay attention to this particular factor because it can tell you a lot about what’s going on with the cooking. Once enough collagen breaks down, the texture of the meat will have softened to a level… hopefully your desired level. As it turns out, that wonderful level was reached after about 1 day and a half of cooking. About 32-36 hours. I skipped over the whole “bag and vacuum seal your meat” explanation.. but if you have questions, let me know in the comments section.
While you can be somewhat less precise about time, temperature on the other hand is not as accommodating in my opinion but it too is based on your preference. At 55C we’re in medium rare territory and for tough cuts this is a great place to be. It’s important to keep in mind that time and temperature (specially when it comes to texture) are intimately related. Given the same amount of cooking time for example, 2 different temperatures can yield very different results. I’m talking about small differences here. Like 1 degree celsius for example. You might find that cooking this cut at 56C for 32-36 hours has better texture or perhaps the opposite. Experimentation will tell. One thing is true though. Once collagen breakdown has gone past the point of no return (believe me, there’s no way to undo this)…. I definitely don’t like the texture. When I’m eating beef I don’t like it too soft. It has to have structure.
I keep experimenting with techniques for searing the meat after I cook it sous vide. I wish I could just throw it on a super hot grill but that’s not an option at the moment. Searing over a super hot pan isn’t one either. The smoke detectors in my house go off very easily. Here comes deep frying to the rescue. I don’t use a deep fryer, those don’t get hot enough and take up a lot of counter space. I simply deep fry in a pot. I just upgraded my deep frying pot too something I should have done years ago. Not too big, tall walls, stainless steel. Works great and the oil spatter has been greatly reduced. And if you were wondering about my smoke detectors… yeah, deep frying is smokeless if done right. I can sear the shit out of anything.
The hotter the better.
I also switched to a better oil. Used vegetable oil, corn oil, peanut oil in the past.. those are the cheaper options if you deep fry a lot and they have a decent smoke point. I’m currently using safflower oil and I love it. It ain’t cheap but I love it. I can heat it to 450 with confidence (you can go up to 500F but I don’t like riding too close to the smoke point) and basically flash fry anything. The oil itself is very neutral in taste. So that’s how I usually sear meats at home these days.
Ok, this wasn’t a short post after all. Thing is I can talk about cooking all day long. Have a great Sunday guys!