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Thread: Tenderizing Tough Beef

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  1. #1
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    Tenderizing Tough Beef

    We bought 1/2 grass-fed cow from a farm that we will never buy from again. It's hard to imagine such tough beef and such a bad butchering job, it's all cut and wrapped in 3 lb chunks, no hamburger, no steaks. The seller kept hedging on how long it had been aged. I'd say not more than 2-3 days. It must have been wild, and cattle prods used before killing by slicing it's neck. We've decided give all the left-overs to our dogs to help us get through this beef faster.

    However we still must cook and eat it. The only process that works so far is this:
    1. Thaw the meat overnight in aan aciddic marinade of vinegar or lemon juice or buttermilk or yogurt.
    2. Beat it to death with a tenderizing mallett
    3. Peirce it all over with a thin, pointed metal something
    4. Put it back in the rinsed marinade bag with one of the naturally occuring enzymes: papain from papaya, bromelain from pineapple, or oractinidin from kiwifruit. To do this prepare the fruit, than beat it to pulp with the tenderizing mallett in a bowl and pour it all into the bag. Put it in the refigerator over night.
    5. The next morning dry it and salt it, or put in in a brining salt solution.
    6. Before cooking it that night, rinse the salt off and dry it.
    7. Braise it first, then cook it slowly at low temps.

    This does work. It becomes chewable and it's rather tasty. It's certainly nothing like a commercially fed beef.
    Last edited by Cryptocode; 02-14-2013 at 09:49 PM.

  2. #2
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    Sounds like they mangled the butchering.

    Have you tried slow cooking it?
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

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  3. #3
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    I would second slow cooking it. It sounds like you need to make some crock pot meals out of that one.
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  4. #4
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    Who was it from? Seeing as how you are in Norco, I'm guessing maybe Eden Tropics? I have a little bit of beef from them in my freezer. My parents have more. Paleobird also has a quarter cow from them. I haven't found the small amount I've tried to be especially tough but it was strangely butchered and there was, to be nice, "confusion" surrounding the order.

    What I do with tough meat:
    * make sausage or hamburger. You'll need a grinder.
    * make "barbecue" ... the name is a bit confusing for someone like me who grew up in socal where barbecuing was the name for grilling, but I mean the slow smoked meat you would get in Texas on east. When I moved to Texas I learned you can buy a whole brisket (which is very tough) fairly cheap and when smoked for 14-18 hours it turns into something tender and delicious.
    * partially freeze, slice thin (e.g. with a meat slicer), and use for Korean barbecue style "just in time" cooking.
    * Stew/chili/curry meat. Brown first, then add to a relatively slow-cooked sauce/soup. During the winter I'm often a practitioner of the "neverending soup pot" but that's not an idea everyone can get behind.
    * pressure braise - with a pressure cooker you can get the results of 8 hours cooking time in 1 hour.

    Hope that was helpful and sorry about to hear you got a bum steer.
    Last edited by Him; 02-14-2013 at 02:03 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Him View Post
    Who was it from? Seeing as how you are in Norco, I'm guessing maybe Eden Tropics? I have a little bit of beef from them in my freezer. My parents have more. Paleobird also has a quarter cow from them. I haven't found the small amount I've tried to be especially tough but it was strangely butchered and there was, to be nice, "confusion" surrounding the order.
    Our 1/2 a cow was his last of the season, which is why it was aged only 2-3 days. And yes, it is very strangely butchered, to say the least. Typically I give the butcher an order of instructions as to how I want it cut. That didn't seem to be possible here. And Never have I had such tough meat. But this method does get it eatable. I said slow cook it. Isn't that the same as putting it in a slow-cooker. Do that if you prefer.

    We won't be buying from him again.
    Last edited by Cryptocode; 02-18-2013 at 05:08 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cryptocode View Post
    Our 1/2 a cow was his last of the season, which is why it was aged only 2-3 days. And yes, it is very strangely butchered, to say the least. Typically I give the butcher an order of instructions as to how I want it cut. That didn't seem to be possible here. And Never have I had such tough meat. But this method does get it eatable. I said slow cook it. Isn't that the same as putting it in a slow-cooker. Do that if you prefer.

    We won't be buying from him again.
    So it was Eden Tropics? I am finding the meat I got from them to be wonderfully flavorful but very tough. The slow cooker and some broth are the way to go. The packaging left a lot to be desired too. I lave some large lumps of "mystery meat" in my freezer. Since I bought some goat, some lamb and some beef, it's hard to even tell which animal any one lump is much less what cut.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Him View Post
    Hope that was helpful and sorry about to hear you got a bum steer.
    *Groan*

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleobird View Post
    *Groan*
    Exactly the reaction that comment deserved.

    I bet Cryptocode got the other half of the same animal you and my parents split.

    I made ribs from that animal for dinner tonight. I used same cooking technique I've used for ribs in the past. They were delicious, but they also came out very dry...much drier than I expected. There may have been a technique issue (I let someone else tend the food while I was at work) but there was also less fat than I anticipated. In hindsight I should've added fat and more moisture. The meat pulled apart easily but the connective tissue was hard. Net result? Yeah, it was tough. Kinda beef jerky tough. I'd completely blame the cook except I've followed the same process with other ribs and enjoyed more tender results.

    The bones (including both picked clean and left over) are in a pressure cooker now preparing for a soupy sequel.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Him View Post
    I bet Cryptocode got the other half of the same animal you and my parents split.
    Yeah, it was tough. Kinda beef jerky tough.
    The bones (including both picked clean and left over) are in a pressure cooker now preparing for a soupy sequel.
    Sounds like it given that Cryptocode said it was the "last of the season". Remember they were leaving for Egypt when we did our deal? There may be something to the idea that it did not get aged long enough.
    The bone marrow and broth have both been great, the best flavored I've ever had.

  10. #10
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    You can rub it with seasoning and soak it overnight in slightly salted water. Then slow-roast it or stew it if you want it cooked through or thinly slice it and flash-fry it if you want it rare. I do this for tougher cuts like cheek and heart and they turn out a treat!
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