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Old 01-15-2012, 07:58 AM   #1
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Thin Beef slices

I like beef stir fry, beef stroganoff, and Roulades, (Braciole)..

but the thin beef pieces seem so tough!

I usually choose Sirloin or Top Round, (Recently London Broil), and I just can't bring myself to cut up ribeye, as I love those on the grill as steaks..

1. What cut do y'all use?

2. Am I cutting it wrong? This whole "across the grain" thing eludes me..

3. Is my cooking time wrong? I can't really picture any of these dishes being served Rare..

maybe I should cook them longer until the meat gets Tender?

Thanks, Eric, Austin tx.

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Old 01-15-2012, 08:42 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giggler View Post
I like beef stir fry, beef stroganoff, and Roulades, (Braciole)..

but the thin beef pieces seem so tough!

I usually choose Sirloin or Top Round, (Recently London Broil), and I just can't bring myself to cut up ribeye, as I love those on the grill as steaks..

1. What cut do y'all use?

2. Am I cutting it wrong? This whole "across the grain" thing eludes me..

3. Is my cooking time wrong? I can't really picture any of these dishes being served Rare..

maybe I should cook them longer until the meat gets Tender?

Thanks, Eric, Austin tx.
Of the three examples you mention, the only one I'd use less tender cuts for would be the roulades (I call them rollatinis). I'll usually use thin bottom round for these. They get thin from my use of a mallet. They get tender via marinade. If you intend to use a short cooking time, IMO, the cut needs to be a tender one. Tougher cuts do well when braised or BBQed, such as a brisket.

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Old 01-15-2012, 08:49 AM   #3
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I certainly wouldn't use ribeye for long cooking, stewed type meals. And yes, cutting is the thing.

Lately my favorite cut for these types of meals is flat iron steaks. Chuck is great and very flavorful. For cutting across the grain, take off a slice and look at the new edge. If the meat's natural grain seems to be horizontal, you are cutting with the grain. Not what you want. Rotate the meat 45 degrees. With some cuts the grain will be vertical to the cutting board. In that case it doesn't matter where you start. Slice thin and at a slant to the cutting board.

Yes, for things like stroganof, you want to first brown with your aromatic vegs, then cover with liquid, and cook at a bare simmer for a very long time.

For stir fries, I like to cut, then sprinkle generously with maggi seasoning. This is a fairly new product in my repetoir, and if you are sensitive to MSG - NO. In our case, no one in the house has a problem with it. Another hint is a sprinkling of sugar. Not a lot mind you, and not for a long time. But it is surprising how much tenderizing power sugar has (learned this from Korean recipes). If you're doing an Indian type curry, a bit of yogurt is a great tenderizer. with either of these (sugar, yogurt) you can't let it go on for long (a couple of hours, not over night). Remember yogurt is alive, and I swear it will eat your meat. In both cases I've left it overnight and awakened to mush.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:23 AM   #4
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Stroganoff should be made using a good cut of meat (one of my favorite uses for leftover prime rib), but for stir fries, any flat meat such as skirt, flat iron, or hanger steak works great. Just slice it across the grain. One tip for getting real thin slices is to put the meat in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm it up before slicing.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:31 AM   #5
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I haven't tried it, but I read somewhere (on here, I think) that Oriental restaurants marinate their meat in milk to make it tender for the stir-fries.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:54 AM   #6
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I made a stir-fry the other day. I just buy a pack of assorted stew meat pieces to cut up small and it works out great. I know it's kind of a gamble because you don't know what cuts they're from, but I swear by it. It kinda goes along with the original spirit of the dish, which I believe is to use up leftover scraps of meat.

I cut them up really thin (sometime I just end up with little fragments of meat) and marinate them in this Korean barbeque sauce which is mostly chilis, vinegar, and a little sugar. I think the vinegar is key because I think acidity tenderizes meat. When I stir-fry it, I cook the meat on its own, just until it's done and no more, allowing for the little bit of additional cooking that goes on after you take them off.
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:01 AM   #7
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I haven't tried it, but I read somewhere (on here, I think) that Oriental restaurants marinate their meat in milk to make it tender for the stir-fries.
Not in milk - or at least not that I've heard of- but many use a process called "velveting" that involves dredging the meat in corn starch or soaking in soy sauce and corn starch blend that helps keep the meat from toughening when being fried over high heat. I use a lot of cheap cuts of meat (eye of round, for example) when making stir fry and the velveting helps keep it tender.
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:42 AM   #8
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For the roulades, you don't need to cut against the grain. You should roll them with the grain the long way. That way you will cut against the grain when you slice it when it's done. (Or if they are little, individual ones, when they are cut into mouthfuls on the plate.)

For stroganoff, I like to use bits of beef tenderloin that aren't really suitable for other food, e.g., the pointy bit at the tip end, and the "butt".

For stir fry, I would do as Steve suggests: velveting. I just learned about this recently and I know I have eaten meat done that way. It is tender. I gotta try this out soon.
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:09 PM   #9
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Just a note on milk and meat, in the Bolonaise Sauce that I do, the recipe calls to cook the meat {beef, pork & veal combo} in milk before adding all the other ingredients. This does act as a tenderizer for ground proteins, something to do with the enzymes in the milk.
Sorry for the highjack.
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by giggler View Post
I like beef stir fry, beef stroganoff...

2. Am I cutting it wrong? This whole "across the grain" thing eludes me..

3. Is my cooking time wrong? I can't really picture any of these dishes being served Rare..

maybe I should cook them longer until the meat gets Tender?
Cross the grain is correct. Whatever direction you can tear the meat in, that's the grain: cut 90 degres across that, when possible.

You didn't say what your cooking time is. I use filet mignon for my Beef Stroganoff, thinly sliced (about 1/8"). It's fully cooked in about 60-120 seconds.

Some may disagree with my choice of filet mignon. It is the most tender cut or one of the most tender cuts, and thinly sliced it cooks in little more than an instant, as I stated above.

Cooking thin slices longer will make them tough. If you want to tenderize meat with long cooking times you need thick cuts and braising.


My guess is that you're cooking your meat too long.
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