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    • firefox1956
    • By firefox1956 10th Jun 17, 9:07 AM
    • 1,520Posts
    • 904Thanks
    Tough Beef Is It Me Or The Meat ??
    • #1
    • 10th Jun 17, 9:07 AM
    Tough Beef Is It Me Or The Meat ?? 10th Jun 17 at 9:07 AM
    Had several beef 'Roasting Joints' over the last few months & been very disappointed with the results after cooking.
    Pinkish in the middle but can only describe the joints as tough or chewy.
    2.25lb weight of the joint cooked at Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes per lb plus 20 minutes.
    So total cooking time of about 1 hour.
    Is it me that's cooking the joint too quick or is it the meat that is at fault ??
    The joints have been purchased from various places Aldi / Lidl / Sainsburys etc
    Any thoughts ??
Page 1
    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 10th Jun 17, 1:04 PM
    • 3,621 Posts
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    • #2
    • 10th Jun 17, 1:04 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Jun 17, 1:04 PM
    I'm always suspicious of "roasting joint". I want to know just what cut it is. And I'd do 15 mins a lb. but then I like it a bit more than pinkish.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 10th Jun 17, 1:15 PM
    • 20,142 Posts
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    • #3
    • 10th Jun 17, 1:15 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Jun 17, 1:15 PM
    I always had a problem with beef being tough regardless on where bought and what it was. Then I started using roasting bags and beef comes out melt in the mouth each time.
    • TonyMMM
    • By TonyMMM 10th Jun 17, 1:23 PM
    • 2,651 Posts
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    • #4
    • 10th Jun 17, 1:23 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Jun 17, 1:23 PM
    "Roasting Joint" often means a cheaper cut - usually silverside. It is lovely lean meat, but not really suited to serve rare. Slow roast or pot-roast it.

    For fast roasting , you need topside or top rump, or even better, a rib of beef.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 10th Jun 17, 3:28 PM
    • 3,335 Posts
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    • #5
    • 10th Jun 17, 3:28 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Jun 17, 3:28 PM
    I'm sorry to say, that in a lifetime of cooking, I have been quite unable to make even topside / silverside work well as a roast - whether pot or slow, it always seems dry to me, however long & slow I cook it, however long I rest it.
    So this is what I do (in the spirit of sharing, I'm going to keep checking in, for any tips I've missed - and am interested in the idea of roasting bags)

    Top rump, I ask for in slices, to make variations on beef olives / bracchiolini.
    Pot roasts, and xmas spiced beef, I use brisket - I know some people find it stringy, but it works for me, and cheaper than the other pot roasting joints.

    'Proper' roast beef is a once or maybe twice a year, special occasion, for people who will seriously appreciate it. Sirloin or rib, sometimes H-bone, properly hung, cut by a butcher I can talk to, sliced thin with the rare middle slices kept back for a 'dinner' sandwich the next day.
    • nik0510
    • By nik0510 10th Jun 17, 8:28 PM
    • 74 Posts
    • 112 Thanks
    • #6
    • 10th Jun 17, 8:28 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Jun 17, 8:28 PM
    Hello, I always buy my beef vac packed from Sainsbury's when it is on offer, I can honestly say I have never had a tough joint, I put my joint in a roasting tin put some water in the bottom and cover with tin foil, near to the finish I take the foil off, it always comes up nice and the juices/water makes lovely gravy. Hope this helps
    • By POPPYOSCAR 10th Jun 17, 9:12 PM
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    • #7
    • 10th Jun 17, 9:12 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Jun 17, 9:12 PM
    Usually buy our meat from the fresh meat counter in Waitrose when it is reduced.

    Never had a bad joint yet.

    You should always leave it out of the fridge for a while before cooking and also leave to rest after it comes of the oven.
    Last edited by POPPYOSCAR; 10-06-2017 at 9:15 PM.
    • maman
    • By maman 10th Jun 17, 10:02 PM
    • 17,919 Posts
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    • #8
    • 10th Jun 17, 10:02 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Jun 17, 10:02 PM
    Personally I've never had a problem with those cheap beef joints. I tend to buy a big one and cut it into smaller pieces as I generally only cook for two of us. I always start it off with 15 minutes on a high (220) heat to seal so not sure if that makes a difference.

    I've also cut it into cubes for casseroles or thick slices for braising as it's usually better value than ready cut pieces.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 11th Jun 17, 8:28 AM
    • 3,335 Posts
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    • #9
    • 11th Jun 17, 8:28 AM
    • #9
    • 11th Jun 17, 8:28 AM
    I have a sense that the idea of 'dryness' as well as other qualities, is quite individual, as I have done all of these (except the roasting bags). And I'm not that bad a cook!

    There was a thread very recently about flank / skirt which I cut into strips and grill like steak, eat rare, and find very nice.I know that others regard it as 'stringy' or 'chewy'.

    Whilst we don't have the MSE test kitchen for us all to taste each others' recipes and cooking tips, we have to rely on these descriptions!

    But I would say to OP, that sometimes (and this applies to many things) despite your best efforts, some things just don't suit. So I'd suggest the more forgiving joints, especially lamb, which I think makes the best roast.
    • srn
    • By srn 11th Jun 17, 9:02 AM
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    I agree about the sense of "dryness" being individual. My husband dislikes casseroles because he says it makes the meat"dry". I can't understand this as I think anything cooked in gravy can't be dry, but I don't cook casseroles any more. We always buy sirloin to roast from Makro, we find their meat is excellent. Unfotunately there is not a butcher within 5 miles of us. I cook my own food for my dogs and use the roasting joints from the supermarkets when they are on offer for them, believe it or not it works out cheaper than the better brands of dog food.
    • Chris25
    • By Chris25 11th Jun 17, 10:15 AM
    • 12,776 Posts
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    if I buy the long roasting joints from the supermarket I roast them as instructions but then let them get cold, slice into portions, cover with gravy & either freeze or re-heat in the oven the next day. I also mince some of the cooked meat to make cottage pie.

    I find the meat is very tender & tastes better - bit more like pot-roast - but that suits all of my family, maybe not others.

    If I'm going to roast beef for that day I'll use a rib or sirloin cut which has either been reduced or bought because it's a special occasion.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 11th Jun 17, 10:53 AM
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    I know what your DH means, srn. I have found this when I pot roast topside.
    I watched a Rick Stein programme (can't remember which one) when he tried to cook the famous Barolo beef from Italy, a dish i gave up on after 2 attempts. basically, you slow simmer this beef with wine & veges. he said 'it's dry, and I can't seem to get it to be any other way' - which rather cheered me.

    I think that, even when surrounded by moisture, the juices leach out of the beef. No matter how much gravy, wine, stock is around them, the actual meat will seem dry. Of course, if you eat small pieces in a rich sauce, it helps.
    By contrast, I think that the cuts with some gristle / connective tissue can cook better. Slow cooking breaks the tissue down, and it seems to 'melt' into the meat. So I find that I prefer to cook my Xmas Eve beef bourgignonne with shin of beef rather than top rump.

    I should say that I have no idea as to whether my theory holds water, and I know that a lot of people pick up on different textures as being more or less palatable. I'm just trying to look for reasons for my lifetime of observations.
    Martin, what about that test kitchen? And us stalwarts will search for the best transport deals to get there!
    • adsk
    • By adsk 11th Jun 17, 1:43 PM
    • 230 Posts
    • 317 Thanks
    Try slow roasting. You will need a meat thermometer.

    Oven at 120C.

    Roast until thermometer reads 60C pink - 70C well doneish.

    None of these roasting joints will be super tender (unlike expensive joints such as rib, sirloin etc) but slow roasting stops the drying out and the thermometer ensure you get the degree of done-ness that you want.

    This technique is particularly good for cold roast beef for salads/sandwiches etc
    • jack_pott
    • By jack_pott 11th Jun 17, 2:15 PM
    • 4,563 Posts
    • 5,871 Thanks
    I bought some beef last Christmas, and the result was a disgusting waste of money that left me completely baffled.

    Cooking time for 874g was anything between 29 mins and 93 mins depending on which chef you listen to, but after 115 mins it was still tough as old boots and leaking enough blood to turn the gravy red.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 11th Jun 17, 3:41 PM
    • 3,335 Posts
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    I would say that I find a meat thermometer invaluable. Ovens can be so variable.
    It feels awful when you buy an expensive piece of meat, and end up disappointed. I know many people who will not attempt a roast because of this.

    I would say that lamb is the most 'forgiving' roast, and yields a nice juice for gravy. These are my rules for roasts:
    start with the meat at room temperature (out of the fridge for 1-2 hours)
    use a meat thermometer, set to a degree below the recommended temperature
    heat your oven to 10 degrees higher than recommended, as soon as you put the meat in, turn down to 10 degrees lower.
    allow half an hour to rest - cover with foil, and leave at room temp - don't be tempted to 'keep warm'.
    My m-i-l, who made a much better roast than my own mum (!) had a tiny oven. she cooked the meat, took it out & covered it with foil, then turned the oven up and roasted the potatoes for an hour. The meat never suffered (so to speak!)

    If it all hoes %$! then slice as thinly as possible and make lots of gravy (Bisto if needed, with a slug of wine).
    • YorksLass
    • By YorksLass 11th Jun 17, 5:23 PM
    • 346 Posts
    • 6,211 Thanks
    Hello, I always buy my beef vac packed from Sainsbury's when it is on offer, I can honestly say I have never had a tough joint, I put my joint in a roasting tin put some water in the bottom and cover with tin foil, near to the finish I take the foil off, it always comes up nice and the juices/water makes lovely gravy. Hope this helps
    Originally posted by nik0510
    That's exactly what I do and it always turns out well. As there's only the two of us, I cut off some cooked slices and freeze them in gravy for the weeks when we don't have a joint. Anything left of the joint makes casseroles, cottage pie, curry etc.

    By contrast, I think that the cuts with some gristle / connective tissue can cook better. Slow cooking breaks the tissue down, and it seems to 'melt' into the meat.
    Originally posted by jackyann
    I'd agree with this. Unfortunately the trend nowadays, especially with sm meat, seems to be meat trimmed of all vestiges of fat, whereas a "proper" butcher will only cut off the fat if you ask him to. And the really good ones will ask if you want an extra lump of fat to put on top of the joint.
    Be kind to others and to yourself too. Life has its ups and downs, use the ups to overcome the downs!
    May 130.30/175.00 NSDs144/35 (Jan-Apr 66.88 under budget)

    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 12th Jun 17, 9:41 AM
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    My twopennyworth is that as someone suggested, "roasting joint" is likely to be silverside. It might be ok slow roasted but it's really a pot roast joint, except that like Jackieann I'd only pot roast brisket. And yes for a stew/casserole you want a cheap cut - stewing something like topside is a total waste and likely to go dry because it just isn't meant for that kind of cooking. My mum always used skirt for casseroles, I use shin but that's because I haven't seen skirt in a butchers for years.
    • gonebust
    • By gonebust 12th Jun 17, 11:11 AM
    • 135 Posts
    • 631 Thanks
    I always cook roasting beef hot and fast. Starting off heating the oven to 250, putting the meat in and turning oven down right away to 220. I then only give it a short cooking time, around 45 mins, then take out of the oven, wrap in foil and a tea towel and leave it to rest for at least 30 mins whilst I cook the veg

    Basically I treat roasting beef as I would steak, rest for as long as you cook it for. Resting the beef allows the fibres to relax, making the meat easier to carve and more tender

    I only use stewing beef for stews and casseroles. You need the higher fat content in the stewing beef to stop it drying out during the long slow cooking. The fat also adds fantastic flavour. It's not for nothing a stew is best cooked the day before, the excess fat can be easily removed when it's cold and the fat has set

    Casserole beef doesn't have the fat in it to keep it moist so that's better cooked as a whole piece rather then cubed

    Best meat for stewing IMO is shin bone in. Lots of flavour and meat is so tender

    I also prefer my roast beef thin cut. I don't like the thick slices that are the norm nowadays. I put mine through a slicer so I can cut it as thin as I like, usually about the thickness of the ready cooked beef you can buy for sandwiches
    • Tipsntreats
    • By Tipsntreats 12th Jun 17, 7:14 PM
    • 6,618 Posts
    • 10,667 Thanks
    I used to love Topside, but it is not like it used to be. Now I only buy Brisket and cook it in the slow cooker for at least 4 hrs on high. It just melts in your mouth.
    • Crouchman
    • By Crouchman 23rd Jun 17, 7:37 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    I love the roast beef.
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