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beef stew with strip steak- is this going to be awful?

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shpitzlefan Feb 18, 2010 10:15 AM

i frequently make beef stew in my crockpot, but i always use chuck. this morning i threw in a package of something called 'strip steak' that i had in my freezer- now i'm wondering if it's going to be very tough. should i make alternate dinner plans.

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    gordeaux RE: shpitzlefan Feb 18, 2010 10:19 AM

    I'd assume it's gonna turn out pretty tough. A strip usually will be a cut without all of the connective tissue that needs to be slowly cooked to break down, so, the crock is just gonnna be cooking straight muscle through and through and through.

    1. Cherylptw RE: shpitzlefan Feb 18, 2010 10:39 AM

      I don't agree; I think the fact that you're cooking it in a crock pot you will yield tender results. If you were cooking it on the stove top, you might get a tough stew because the liquid would be evaporating not going back into the meat as in a crock pot.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Cherylptw
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        gordeaux RE: Cherylptw Feb 18, 2010 12:11 PM

        This is kind of confusing.
        A stovetop cook with a lid, and a crock pot cook with a lid should be quite similar if the heat levels are the same. Liquid going back into the meat is not really what makes stewing cuts tender, it is the breakdown of connective tissue through a slow cooking process. Absorption of cooking liquid might make it better, but the meat doesn't get tender until the connective tissue is broken down whether it's cooked in liquid or not.

        1. re: gordeaux
          Cherylptw RE: gordeaux Feb 18, 2010 12:42 PM

          First, the heat you get from a crock pot is not the same heat you'd get from a pot on a stove with a lid; even if you turn your stove to the lowest setting, it still would not be the same. Crock pot cooking is low & slow which will break down any connective tissue in meat; the pot will act like a steamer as liquid does not evaporate rapidly as in stove top cooking thereby keeping the meat moist & aiding in the breakdown of the meat.

          You can cook on a stove top all day long but if you add a hunk of meat to a pot on a stove with no liquid, you're not going to get tender meat, you're going to get tough or burned meat. Put a piece of meat in a crockpot with no water and you'll still retain moisture from the meat and not dried out.

          1. re: Cherylptw
            cowboyardee RE: Cherylptw Feb 24, 2010 05:29 AM

            You could always get the liquid hot on a stove top and then throw the covered pot in a low oven for the exact same results as a crock pot. I've made good stews all on stovetop, though you're right that it's easier to burn food that way. For low-liquid braising, I prefer just putting the pot in the oven.

            I think gordeaux was mostly speaking about the connective tissue content of strip steak, which is the main factor in how well a meat braises or stews. For example, cooking fillet mignon in a crock pot will not yield results as tender as grilling it medium rare, while the opposite is true for chuck.

            I've never braised strip steak, and I'm not sure offhand if it has enough connective tissue - my inclination would have been to say probably not. But the OP's follow up post with his results lead me to believe it must.

            1. re: cowboyardee
              Cherylptw RE: cowboyardee Feb 24, 2010 08:37 AM

              I definitely agree that a good stew can be made on the stovetop; I do it alot. My comment was really about the stovetop vs. slowcooker and how the latter will break down just about any cut of meat into tenderness.

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        observor RE: shpitzlefan Feb 18, 2010 10:41 AM

        what's awful is that strip steak is rather expensive, too bad to drown it in stew

        PS: I think it will come out tough, please let us know.

        1. coll RE: shpitzlefan Feb 18, 2010 10:43 AM

          I'd say pressure cook it first if you have one, that always cooks any meat up tender. So maybe the crockpot will do the same.

          1. ipsedixit RE: shpitzlefan Feb 18, 2010 12:54 PM

            I think it will depend on how you cut your strip steak.

            If you cubed it as you would chuck in a typical stew prep, you'll be SOL with respect to tenderness.

            If, however, you julienned or sliced it thin across the grain, you should be fine.

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              shpitzlefan RE: shpitzlefan Feb 24, 2010 03:37 AM

              hello all, sorry it's taken me this long to let you know how it turned out- actually, it was tender and delicious! the crock pot was on medium for about 7 hours. the meat was fork-tender, and the whole thing was extremely delicious and perfect for february. to answer some of your comments, the strip steaks weren't cut small at all- about three 1/3 pound pieces. there was wine and soy sauce in the stew, maybe they helped with the tenderizing. and i now that strip steak shouldn't be wasted on a stew, it was an accident.
              thank you for all of your help!

              7 Replies
              1. re: shpitzlefan
                Cherylptw RE: shpitzlefan Feb 24, 2010 08:34 AM

                I had no doubt; glad it turned out well.

                1. re: shpitzlefan
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                  joonjoon RE: shpitzlefan Feb 24, 2010 10:43 AM

                  There's no reason a strip steak would come out tough or dry - a slow braise makes everything tender. It's just a shame to use it on stew when it's so delicious rare :)

                  1. re: joonjoon
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                    observor RE: joonjoon Feb 24, 2010 10:51 AM

                    I would have thought it would be tough due to the fact that it has little connective tissue.

                    1. re: joonjoon
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                      observor RE: joonjoon Feb 26, 2010 11:52 AM

                      Unfortunately, this is not correct, as I thought. According to the professional Cooks Illustrated:

                      We used a Warner-Bratzler meat shear, a device designed to measure tenderness in meat. It uses a motor to push a piece of meat across a dull blade while a simple scale measures the required force. We cooked very tender meat (tenderloin) in a 3 1/2-hour braise until very well done. Tender when raw, the meat was, according to the meat shear, 188 percent—2.9 times—tougher after braising. Extended cooking destroys tender cuts with little collagen (like the tenderloin) as they steadily give up their juices and become drier and tougher.

                      Strip steak, as it comes from the loin, is a tender steak, so the OP either didn't actually have a strip steak or she likes bad food.

                      1. re: observor
                        coll RE: observor Feb 26, 2010 12:16 PM

                        Not that I would have cooked it like that (probably would have made a quick stroganoff) but...if the meat starts out really tender like tenderloin, then 2.9 times tougher may still be less tough than chuck or whatever other stew cut. Maybe less flavorful but not "tough".

                        1. re: observor
                          cowboyardee RE: observor Feb 26, 2010 02:19 PM

                          The OP also braised it for 7 hours, using a slightly different method than described in CI. This can lead to different results - I wouldn't call CI's scientific testing thorough and exhaustive. A longer braise might lead to more tender or even mushy meat.

                          How you cut up the meat for this application could also have a major effect on perceived tenderness and mouthfeel.

                          Also, Coll makes a good point - 'tender' only means 'tender' in relation to 'tough.'

                          All the same, I don't think the OP has convinced me that I should be braising my strip steaks. I also wonder if the meat was grainy or mushy - its been my experience that cuts without much connective tissue get an unpleasant texture when slow cooked. even if they are fairly tender.

                          Edit: it looks like I skipped the most obvious problem with applying CI logic here: tenderloin does not equal strip steak (short loin). I'm pretty sure strip steak has more connective tissue.

                          How much connective tissue is needed and does strip steak have it? I don't know, but there is an easy answer. Maybe soon I'll get myself a strip steak and braise the hell out of it. If I do, I'll report my findings here.

                          1. re: cowboyardee
                            coll RE: cowboyardee Feb 26, 2010 11:20 PM

                            I've made london broil braised as pizzaiola, the texture IS a little mushy, however if you ask my husband he loves it that way, he doesn't like to chew things all that much. Flavorwise it's still comparable.

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                      observor RE: shpitzlefan Feb 26, 2010 03:23 PM

                      I really wonder whether this is strip steak we are talking about in the OP...last I heard it doesn't really come "packaged" or usually frozen, and it's not cheap, so people would usually eat them instead of tossing it in the freezer to come across some day.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: observor
                        coll RE: observor Feb 26, 2010 11:28 PM

                        I freeze almost every meat I buy. Right now in my freezer I have: PSMO, porterhouse, top round, and bone-in leg of lamb, bought at rock bottom prices. All are packaged, either from the factory (cryovac) or cling wrapped at the supermarket, in which case I FoodSave it. The PSMO cost $2.99/lb, the porterhouse the same, top round $1.29 and the lamb also around $1.29. I keep a rotation sheet, and use it within a few months, better than buying at full price because you're in the mood for something, or worse, planning dinner around something on sale and then they're out of it. Can't eat a rain check!

                        1. re: coll
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                          observor RE: coll Feb 27, 2010 07:47 AM

                          That's great, however, I don't think the OP is as particular as you.

                          1. re: observor
                            coll RE: observor Feb 27, 2010 12:27 PM

                            Wasn't talking about the OP, I was talking about the existence of pre-packaged meat and idea of freezing it, plus the cheapness factor of it. If I was particular, I'd be paying $45 lb for prime meat, wrapped lovingly in butcher wrap right in front of me, and cooking it within an hour of arriving home. At the supermarket price, if I end up throwing some nice meat into a stew or braise,it's still protein to me.

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