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Old 04-15-2007, 05:33 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by auntdot
Even the tenderest cuts of meat toughen at first when cooked. But braise or stew the stuff for an hour or more and the meat turns tender.
Thanks Auntdot, that's just confirmed for me what I was beginning to guess. I think one of the problems is that so many cooks talk about meat 'going' tough so I have been a bit paranoid about 'keeping' it tender!

My next stew will definitely be cooked for much longer. Is it possible to overcook it though? Do I need to have a specific amount of time in mind, depending on the meat and the cut, or will it always be tender if cooked for say 3 hours or more? Does it go tough again at some point?!

I'll definitely look at some venison recipes (thanks for the tip expatgirl and lynan), it makes sense that they'd be very similar meats - but I guess I'm really trying to understand the science behind it. I'm not much of a 'recipe' cook, I tend to get an idea of what I'd like to use and make it up as I go along. It usually turns out pretty tasty, there's just a bit of room for improvement with meat texture.

Also, would a high cooking temperature actually toughen the meat, or just cause the stew to dry out prematurely? In the worst case scenario, could I just keep adding liquid and cook it over a high heat for ages, or would something in this cause the meat to remain/turn tough?

Thanks everyone for your input and your warm welcome, it's much appreciated

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Old 04-15-2007, 08:04 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by shreksbro
...Andy, you say that the stew has to be over 200F to break down the toughness - does this mean that I have to stay in the narrow band between 200F and boiling point? I'm still not sure whether actually boiling will damage the meat or not, although I guess most casseroles etc would be done in an oven hotter than boiling point, so it can't be that harmful?!...

What I was trying to say was the internal temperature of the meat pieces has to reach 200F.

It is a standard method to cook stew by simmering the meat and veggies for a long period of time until the meat is tender and the veggies done to your liking. You should brown th emeat as you do and simmer it 'til almost done then add the veggies so they will not be cooked to mush when the meat is done.

Do not worry about salt drawing moisture out of the meat or toughining it. It's not a problem. I suggest salting and peppering the meat before searing it then adjusting the seasoning towards the end of the cooking time.

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Old 04-15-2007, 12:43 PM   #13
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1. Is it all down to the cut of meat? ie, do I need to buy the really cheap, tough 'braising' cuts or is it possible to make a good stew from fillet? (I had always been led to believe that any meat should turn out beautifully if it is cooked slow enough). I seem to get the same problem with beef and lamb, so I don't think it's just a peculiarity of kangaroo, but again I tend to use something like rump or fillet cuts.
I've never heard of making strews or braises with fillet. the less expensive cuts of meat arer the ones that braise best. I wouldn't leave the meat out of the pan at all. Brown it, add your onions and the rest of the mirepoix, and let the whole thing simmer in the liquid of your choice at a low temperature for at least two hours (or so!)

2. Is it a problem with being 'bottom heated' over gas? Should I buy an electric slow cooker to get those beautiful, juicy meat stews?
As long as you can control the heat to get a slow cook, you should be able to turn out a terrific stew!

Be sure to let us know how you do!
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Old 04-15-2007, 01:29 PM   #14
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[quote=Andy M.]What I was trying to say was the internal temperature of the meat pieces has to reach 200F.

I don't think it is a matter of reaching 200F. That's pretty easy to accomplish within fifteen minutes or less depending on how much meat you have. I think it is a matter of maintaining 200F of consistent heat for approx three hours. (I think I just said the same thing you did??) Because I make about 20 qts of stew, I use the time to peel, chop and prepare the vegetables. You can always cook your meat in a slow cooker overnight and finish making the stew the following day. Thanks for the temp info Andy; do you think that would be a good temperature to oven bake a stew? Maybe if I use my new 8 qt roaster, I could learn to make a smaller pot of stew. Maybe mine is a visual recipe.....just eyeing it up!

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