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Jul 23, 2007 04:59 PM

Tahoe Joe's Slowwwwwww Roasted Steak?

I've never eaten at Tahoe Joe's, (Northern-Central California restaurant chain)
but I was intrigued by the description of their "Joe's Steak" in a newspaper ad.

The ad claimed that "The Joe's Steak is 100% USDA beef slow-roasted for over 17
hours, then grilled............."

Now I don't claim to be an Iron Chef, but what "steak" could survive 17 hours in an oven, albeit a very slowwww oven, then take a smack on a hot grill? Would it then not be very well-done, more like jerky or mush? Perhaps it could actually be a hunk of brisket, or maybe a slice of a (very) large roast?

I suppose that only Tahoe Joe's knows-

Any chefs out there have a technical take on the slowwwww-roasted "Joe's Steak?"

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  1. Perhaps they're taking a liberty with the word "roasted" and it's a combi-oven or water bath at 54 degrees C. 17 hours would be too short for a lot of tougher cuts, but they might be using something like a flat iron steak that isn't all that tough to begin with, but isn't filet either...

    1. I would imagine its a "steak" cut off of a large roast like a brisket or shoulder, etc that needs to be slow roasted to get tender and then grilled to give it a crust. Similar to the way certain bbq places through ribs on the grill after they are slow smoked to give it a good crust.

      1. You can hold something in a combi oven (or in a water bath - sous vide) at a precise temperature for a very long period of time. A relatively tough cut of beef held at, say 130 degrees, will take (I'm guessing) about 1/2 hour per inch of thickness to cook in a combi oven. Once the meat reaches the set temperature, it can hold for many, many hours - 12 hours or more easily. It will be perfectly rare from edge to edge, and will become ever more tender from enzymes active in that temperature range. At serving time, you sear it for looks and to get some of the caramelized flavour. The searing isn't necessary, but the unseared meat will taste different from most people's expectations.

        You can find information from both the Canadian and US governments on the safety considerations of this type of cooking, so please don't freak at the long low temperature holding time.

        If you ever order a prime rib roast in a restaurant that is an even red or pink across the entire slice, it was probably cooked in a combi oven. The outside edge was likely painted with something to make it look browned.

        I don't know if this is the Tahoe Joe's procedure, but it seems likely.

        3 Replies
        1. re: embee

          Thanks for this. I love learning restaurant secrets. I especially enjoyed the
          painted prime rib trick. Of course, some restaurant secrets are best kept secret.
          Like the "Our Fabulous World Famous Chili-It's a Meal in a Bowl !" recipe at a diner I once worked at. The "Fabulous" secret? Every scrap of stray, cremated or otherwise unsellable grill detritus went straight into the chili. Some overcooked, split franks? Right into the chili. Some burnt onions, or a broken fried egg? Yep. A patty melt too well-done and sent back? Chop that sucker up and toss it in. The chili there was kind of a culinary black hole. I couldn't stand to look at it, let alone taste it. I just kept adding water, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder and Worcestershire sauce and almost everything else to it until it ran out, and then I'd start a "fresh" batch. Aaaaccckkk.

          The customers loved it.

          1. re: alameda fats

            Great restaurant secret. Does anyone have anymore.? I have heard that dinners ad breadcrumbs to the tuna salad to stretch it.

            1. re: alameda fats

              The best corned beef hash is made with the otherwise unusable trimmings that fall from the knife and slicer. Add potato and onion and grill it up. Yummy. Really.

          2. I went to Joe's website, I didn't see 17 hours, but saw several references to sliced steak and one reference to sirloin.

            If they cook for 17 hours, I suspect they are cooking a whole sirloin. I may have the cut wrong, but in the early 80s, I worked for a deli that cooked some of their own meats, one was a 15-20 lb sirloin roast, we advertised it as roast beef. If it wasn't a sirloin, it was from that area and probably contained some top round. It was boneless. Using JimH's (from Chowhound) I could see cooking a 15-20 lb sirloin roast for 17 hours at ~200.

            Your name has Alameda in it, as in East Bay? There used to be a Harry's in Alameda ?, there is one in San Leandro, the Harry's on the west side of the bay cook 20 lb beef roasts on site, viewable from the dining/serving area. That is what I think Tahoe Joe's is serving.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Alan408

              That's one good way to cook a really big roast. Possibly a hip? This stands on a vertical bone and you cut thin slices horizontally from all around the bone. This was common when I was growing up. You get every degree of doneness (from blue to well to crispy) from a single standing roast at one time. Good too. But I can't see grilling up the slices before serving.

              1. re: Alan408

                Sadly, Alameda hasn't been to hof brau heaven, except for a brief time at the old
                Whale'sTail in the 1970s. Regrettably, there has never been
                a Harry's here, although many Alamedans make the meat and potatoes pilgramage
                to the Harry's in San Leandro. Which brings up another question to ponder- why
                the decline in the hof brau population in the Bay Area? Oakland too is hof-brau-less,
                ever since the very cleverly named "Hof's Brau" on Grand and Broadway turned into
                a trendy yuppie-bar.
                Only Brannon's in Berkeley and Harry's carry on the grand trencherman/open-faced
                gravy-laden sandwich /giant roast turkey leg tradition in the East Bay.
                I suppose that today's generation of big eaters would rather pig out on sushi and bubble tea.

                Regarding the Tahoe Joe's "Joe's Steak" thing, I agree that the "steak" is probably
                a slice of a large, slowly-cooked beef roast, in this case a sirloin, that is then grilled
                to make it look more appetizing. Perhaps Tahoe Joe's would be more accurate
                in calling it "Joe's Roast Sirloin" or "Joe's Roast Beef" rather than a steak.

                It would be like a prime-rib place calling their slices of rib roast "rib-eye steaks."

              2. I had one of Joe's Steaks last night. It was delicious. Not sure exactly how they do it, but the suggestion of a "combi oven" bringing it to the exact temp, holding it there, then finally quickly "marking" it on a hot grill when you order it sounds likely. They do not serve it any rarer than medium, but even at that, it had a beautiful pink color throughout with nice grill marks, but not running with juice. Very tender. The long,slow process would give it lots of time to render out and fat/gristle in the meat. I am going to have to try a couple of steaks in my smoker next time I fire it up for ribs and tri-tip and do them nice and slow.