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BTD Forums  /  Cook Right 4 Your Type  /  English Steak - How to Tenderize
Posted by: italybound, Saturday, January 27, 2007, 1:45pm
I bought some very nice looking English steaks the other day. Threw 2 of them in the crock pot and have cooked them until there is prob no nutrition left .  :'(    It falls apart when you 'put a fork to it', but when you chew it, it's tough. As I'm trying to watch my sugar intake (BS is at least 10 'points' over what it should be), I hesitate to soak it in black cherry juice, not to mention I have none on hand. Wondering if anyone knows how to properly cook this piece of meat. I have 2 'steaks' left to cook and don't want them turning out like the last 2.  ::)  Thanks  :D
Posted by: Lola, Saturday, January 27, 2007, 2:15pm; Reply: 1
how long did you leave them in the crock pot?
was the setting on low or high?
Posted by: geminisue, Saturday, January 27, 2007, 3:32pm; Reply: 2
if you eat vinegar at all you could add 2 T and tomatoes to the crockpot and see if that helps  I know a cup of coffee also tenderizes, but no coffee for "O's"  

I don't know if Diet Soda Pop would help or not but I know they have black cherry flavor.  Maybe someone else could have better ideas.
Posted by: italybound, Saturday, January 27, 2007, 4:13pm; Reply: 3
The crock pot setting was on low. And I left them in it overnight. I actually put them back in there yest thinking more time might tenderize them.  ::) THAT was wishful thinking!
I could try the vinegar and tomatoes but wouldn't use diet soda because of the chemicals. And def no coffee for this O! :'(    Thanks for the ideas! :-)  :K)
Posted by: jeanb, Saturday, January 27, 2007, 5:37pm; Reply: 4
Try Red Wine the drier the better, with 1 cup of onions chopped and garlic. I use this mixture on chuck roast and steaks and you would think you are eating prime rib!!!
Posted by: Victoria, Saturday, January 27, 2007, 7:41pm; Reply: 5
Now, I had exactly the same probems that you had, Pat, my one and only attempt to make a crock Pot Roast.  The broth was superb!  And the roast was like a large slab of leather.  I did it on low heat overnight.  I have gotten so much advice and recipes from Brigid (The local expert), and I still don't really see what I did wrong.

I eagerly await to see if you can come up with the solution!
Posted by: italybound, Saturday, January 27, 2007, 7:55pm; Reply: 6
Quoted from Victoria
I eagerly await to see if you can come up with the solution!

I know part of it has to do w/ the cut of meat. I picked up some similar looking LOL meat last week and cooked it exactly the same way and it was great! Got both meats from WF, so I'm hoping Brig will pop on here and come to the rescue. I'm thinking of trying what jeanb posted. wonder if at this point, the already cooked shoe leather point, it would do any good to try the wine and such. whadda think jeanb?
Posted by: Brighid45, Saturday, January 27, 2007, 10:57pm; Reply: 7
English steak is a shoulder cut. The nice thing about shoulder cuts is that they have plenty of flavor. The bad thing is, they're really tough--literally :) I'm sure the beef you bought at WF is even leaner, which makes it that much harder to deal with. So here is what I would suggest:

Do NOT trim off any fat that might be on the roast or possibly marbled into the meat. You need that fat to soften the muscle fibers. Same with connective tissue. You can always remove gristle or fat later after braising. You might try coating the roast with olive oil--a few tablespoons should do the trick. If you don't care for the taste of extra virgin with meat, try the lighter kinds. You can also try putting a few strips of unfried turkey or beef bacon over the roast to add some fat.  

Adding in liquid is essential. Dry heat will only make tough meat tougher. I would suggest adding stock or broth and (if you wish) some red wine. I like to use merlot or burgundy as they stand up to the long cooking times required without getting acidy or fading away. You don't need to immerse the roast in liquid--just add enough to fully cover the bottom of the pot. I usually use enough so that if I put my index finger in, the liquid comes up to just above the first joint. :)

Add some root vegetables and onions to the bottom of the pot as well. Not only do they make the broth that much tastier, they also lift the roast up off the floor of the pot so the meat is still just barely in contact with the liquid and still getting the benefit of the steaming. I use baby carrots, turnips, parsnips, celery stalks, and/or onions peeled and quartered. (Sweet potatoes are good too, but I've found they do better with a smaller roast as they tend to fall apart with the longer braising times required from a big or tough piece of meat.) Some smashed whole cloves of garlic are perfect here too. Cover the bottom of the pot with the vegetables, add in the liquid, and perch the roast on top. I like to lay sprigs of fresh thyme over the top of the roast, along with a pinch or two of sea salt. A bay leaf put in the liquid would be nice too :)

Okay--if you are using a slow cooker, try braising on the HIGH setting for 1-2 hours. Then take it down to LOW for another 4-5 hours or so. DO NOT LIFT THE LID. Every time you check the roast by lifting up the lid you lose 30-45 minutes of cooking time, and you also lose all the steam generated by the heat and liquid.

If you are braising the roast in the oven, use a higher temperature for about a half hour, then take it down to a much lower one. Again, do NOT lift the lid during the braising process for the same reasons as listed above. I know it's a temptation. Don't give in.

When the roast is done, take it out of the heat and liquid and let it rest for about ten minutes before you carve it. This allows the juices to redistribute through the meat. If you cut it up right after taking it out of the heat, the juices will run out and the meat will be tough and dry. While the roast is resting you can make gravy out of the liquid if you like (or just serve it au jus), and get the vegetables ready to serve.

Grassfed beef is always going to be somewhat more tough than beef finished on grain, simply because it is not marbled with fat. The secret is to experiment and see what works to make it more tender. You might eat shoe leather a time or two in the process, but great results often come at a price *chuckle* :)
Posted by: Lola, Saturday, January 27, 2007, 11:13pm; Reply: 8
I would also cut the piece of shoulder up, into small squares, before placing it in the crock pot......
like goulash.
Posted by: Victoria, Sunday, January 28, 2007, 2:44am; Reply: 9
You're a treasure!
Posted by: Alia Vo, Sunday, January 28, 2007, 3:04am; Reply: 10
Blackberry juice, blueberry juice, cherry juice, a berry based fruit compote will help tenderize, flavor, and lower polyamines.

Posted by: Brighid45, Sunday, January 28, 2007, 1:04pm; Reply: 11
Lola--that is an excellent idea, and delicious too :)

Victoria--aww, shucks! *digs toe in dirt*  :B Thanks, but I can't take the credit. Just about everything I know about cooking, my mom taught me. She was a fantastic cook. Believe me, if she had known about the BTD 40 years ago, she would have made the most delectable compliant meals ever.  :)

Alia--absolutely. Currently I use a mix of pomegranate and a touch of black cherry, with some red wine--as mentioned previously, the heartier types like merlot, burgundy, chianti, etc. The pomegranate is not as sweet as the black cherry and adds a nice piquant touch, along with lowering polyamine levels  :) When blueberry juice is in season, it makes a wonderful addition to beef stock or broth. It isn't sweet but gives a nice depth to the overall taste. I've also tried using blueberry concentrate and it works well in place of fresh juice.

As for oven temperatures, for a fairly large roast (over 4 lbs/app 2 kg), I'll start off at hot/400F/200C/Gas Mark 6 for a half hour, then take it down to cool/300F/150C/Gas Mark 2.  I also use the heaviest pot I've got--and this is where I would LOVE to have a Le Creuset dutch oven to roast in *sigh*

For a smaller roast (under 4 lbs/2kg) I'll use the slow cooker just because heating up the big oven is a waste of energy--unless I'm baking something at the same time.

Anyway, experiment and see what works for you. And please let me know what problems you're still having, so I can experiment in my own kitchen and see what solutions can be found. Such a terrible job, making roasts and having to eat them :)
Posted by: rustyc, Sunday, January 28, 2007, 5:18pm; Reply: 12
Was the type of steak mentioned on the pack??  Stewing/casserole/braising steaks require quite different cooking methods from sirloin, rump or fillet steak which need quick cooking at a highish temperature.
Posted by: italybound, Sunday, January 28, 2007, 5:25pm; Reply: 13
Quoted from rustyc
Was the type of steak mentioned on the pack??  Stewing/casserole/braising steaks require quite different cooking methods from sirloin, rump or fillet steak which need quick cooking at a highish temperature.

English steak
Posted by: Victoria, Sunday, January 28, 2007, 7:40pm; Reply: 14
Would you recommend a particular brand/model of slow cooker for the smaller sized roasts?  

p.s  All praise for your cooking skills are sincerly offered with great admiration!  :-)  Maybe it began with your mom, but her teachings fell upon fertile ground.
Posted by: Brighid45, Monday, January 29, 2007, 2:03pm; Reply: 15
Rusty--English steak is a shoulder cut, which is considered a 'cheaper' cut (haha) because the shoulder muscles are tougher from being constantly used. With tougher cuts braising is often the best method of making them more tender and bringing out their flavor, as mentioned in my previous post.

Victoria, you're a sweetie! Thanks :) I love to cook (anyone would know that just by looking at me *chuckle*) and working on converting recipes or creating new compliant ones is a great avocation, and great fun too. :)

About the smaller slow cookers: there are more expensive models out there--Cuisinart has a wonderful smaller slow cooker I'd love to try out sometime--but I've had good luck with Proctor-Silex. I'd stay away from Rival's big slow cookers. The handles are notorious for breaking, and the lids clatter and leak condensed water when the cooker is heated up. (Our Rival crock pot had both of those problems.) Weirdly enough, the one-quart/one-liter Rival slow cooker works really well. It's perfect for making slow-cooked oatmeal, small batches of soup or stew, and little roasts of 1-2 lb/1/2-1kg size.

We use an oval-shaped Proctor-Silex model that works beautifully for roasts as well as casseroles and soups or stews. It is supposed to hold 3 1/2-4 quarts/3-4 liters, but it's a bit smaller than that. It does small or larger roasts, small whole chickens or cornish game hens, or turkey breasts perfectly. I've also done a boneless leg of lamb in it and it came out tasting like heaven :) It has a 'keep warm' setting that is perfect for finishing off a roast or poultry. I bought mine at Kmart and it cost around $25 USD.

Posted by: Brighid45, Monday, January 29, 2007, 3:42pm; Reply: 16
One more suggestion for tougher cuts of meat: when you serve up the carved slices or the sections, try serving them in the broth made with the roast. I've found this often helps keep the meat more moist. It's also a nice alternative to making gravy. The au jus made from the roast is usually very flavorful and just hearty enough to serve over mashed potatoes and vegetables as well. Just a thought. :)
Posted by: Victoria, Monday, January 29, 2007, 10:49pm; Reply: 17
Even when you talk about food, it makes my mouth water.  Maybe you'll come out with that cookbook you mentioned?

Would you teach us how to choose a piece of meat to roast?  Both lamb and beef?  I need to know which ones are going to be likely to be tough and which will be more tender.  Even if you listed them on a kind of scale, I wouldn't mind!!  :-)
Posted by: italybound, Tuesday, January 30, 2007, 2:25am; Reply: 18
Quoted from Victoria
Brig,Even when you talk about food, it makes my mouth water.  Maybe you'll come out with that cookbook you mentioned?

I didn't know Brig had mentioned putting out a cookbook, but I was thinking yesterday that she should. I'd buy one!!!  ;D
Posted by: Lynn, Tuesday, January 30, 2007, 3:45am; Reply: 19
You might try using Braggs, or wheat free Tamari as a marinade, and add a capsule of bromelain to the liquid.
Posted by: Victoria, Tuesday, January 30, 2007, 4:55am; Reply: 20
Bromelain . . . I never thought of that!!!  Would it serve as a meat tenderizer??

I thought salt in a marinade would draw out liquid and toughen meat.   ??
Posted by: italybound, Tuesday, January 30, 2007, 10:26am; Reply: 21
Quoted from Lynn
You might try using Braggs, or wheat free Tamari as a marinade, and add a capsule of bromelain to the liquid.

I've actually cooked the meat w/ a couple of capsules of Bromelain in my liquid. Didn't help and didn't like the flavor it gave it either.  ??)  
Victoria, I read in my Italian cookbook that you shouldn't salt your meat until after it's cooked, for the reason you stated. I've taken to doing that too, but even that didn't help. LOL
Posted by: Henriette Bsec, Tuesday, January 30, 2007, 11:12am; Reply: 22
Quoted from rustyc
Was the type of steak mentioned on the pack??  Stewing/casserole/braising steaks require quite different cooking methods from sirloin, rump or fillet steak which need quick cooking at a highish temperature.

Now since this is an international board ;-)
- I found this to explain the differnce between cuts of meat in US and UK
- roll down and youŽll se both the british and the american ways.

Posted by: Debra+, Wednesday, January 31, 2007, 3:13am; Reply: 23
Last night I took out a shoulder roast out of the freezer as I knew I would be needing some beef in the morning as I had none cooked.  I put it in the slow cooker frozen and put some water over it (only enough to cover it about half an inch in the bottom of the pot) and some garlic powder and tarragon.  When I woke up this morning it smelled heavenly and was sooooooo tender.   Yummilicious.  Not sure if cooking it from frozen and slowly was the trick, but I will do it again sometime. ;)  

I took the drippings out and put them in the fridge so that I could remove the fat when it was cold.  It had a huge bone in it that I simmered today.  Tomorrow I am taking the rest of the beef/bone broth and drippings and making a soup.  :D

Debra :)
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