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Sep 25, 2012 09:17 AM

Rubs and slow cooking steaks

I'm in the process of cooking up a bunch of cheaper cuts of meat we got from our purchase of 1/2 cow. My husband and I really don't care for steak, especially the tougher cuts that require lots of chewing. We don't even like the t-bone or porterhouse cuts unless we cook them low and slow, like a stew, with lots of flavoring.

So, two questions: how long do you recommend cooking these kinds of steaks in the crock pot? It seems from what I've read that just a couple of hours would be enough. More than that would dry them out. I did one batch overnight, and while flavorful it was very dry.

Second, I'm expecting my first child in 2 weeks and want to get as many meals into the freezer now as possible. But I don't want everything to taste the same. What are some recommendations for rubs we could throw on these steaks? I'm limited by our sensitivity to garlic and onions. Can I just follow the recommendations for other rubs and leave out the allium? I've been using a lot of smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, s+p and sometimes cinnamon, depending on the recipe. Yummy, but gets a little boring after awhile. Suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. I cannot even imagine pre-cooking a T-bone or porterhouse in a crock pot. Dry high heat (i.e., in a pan or over a grill) vs. moist low heat (crock pot) is the way to go.

    4 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit


      Makinitgreen -
      Steaks - porterhouse, t-bones, ribeyes... are best (juicy and flavorul) when cooked quickly. The low and slow are for tougher cuts of meat like chuck or rump.

      If you don't like steaks eaten as steaks, hunks of meat, what you can do with the steaks is make fajitas or stir fries where the meat cooks quickly with a lot of flavorful ingredients.

      For the freezer, you can make a quick soup or chili, where some precooked meat is added at the last minutes of cooking.

      1. re: LindaWhit

        Yeah, I know it's complete anathema to even contemplate doing anything other than high heat with these things. We just don't like the taste of plain steak and are trying to figure out how to eat all of them until we can get through this order and change the cuts.

        1. re: makinitgreen

          Thin-slicing the beef and quick-cooking the strips of beef, as dave_c said above, is probably the way to go for you then. But I *still* wouldn't pre-cook it. You could slice it up thin, toss the slices into a marinade, and freeze it that way. After defrosting, cooking UP the slices will take just a few minutes. Toss them with cooked onions, peppers, various veggies (carrots, sugar snap peas) and serve it over rice as a stir-fry.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            Oh, great - thanks for the recommendation to freeze in the marinade. I wouldn't have thought of that. Great idea!

      2. I know this isn't the answer to the current question, but if you really don't like these cuts, I would suggest swapping them with another customer for cuts that you do like. The other customer will probably be thrilled to get extra t-bones and porterhouses!

        As for your current question, which cuts exactly are you working with? Tougher parts of the animal aren't generally cut into steaks, but are rather cut as roasts, stew beef or ground up.

        6 Replies
        1. re: biondanonima

          Well, the label on the packages I"m defrosting right now says "beef loin top sirloin steak." It seems like a pretty tough cut of meat to me.

          1. re: makinitgreen

            Top sirloin shouldn't be tough - it's definitely not one of those cuts that's full of collagen that has to be broken down in a braise. Does your meat look like what's pictured here: ?

            If so, I would definitely suggest grilling or pan frying and cooking it only to medium rare - that should give you the tenderest possible results. If you simply don't like grilled beef or medium rare beef, you may just not like steak - in which case I would trade your steak cuts for additional shoulder or shank cuts, since they are great for braising.

            1. re: biondanonima

              Yep, that's what it looks like, just without the layer of fat, as in the first photo. So, since I can't really trade my meat at this juncture, could I just slice up the sirloin and stir fry it quickly? And the crock pot is definitely out? What about t-bone steaks? Slice those up, too?

              1. re: makinitgreen

                The idea of slicing a t-bone before cooking it makes me want to cry a little, but yes, if you don't like medium rare meat, that's probably what you'll want to do. For things like stirfry, fajitas, etc, I often grill the steak whole to my desired doneness, let it rest, then slice it thinly and rewarm it by briefly tossing it with the other ingredients in the hot pan. If you want to cook this meat in a way that will make it easy to use straight from the freezer, perhaps you might try cooking it to mid-rare, slicing and then freezing - you could then toss the thawed strips straight into your stirfry/fajita/whatever and just warm them through at mealtime.

            2. re: makinitgreen

              Hey there,
              Congrats on expecting your first child! I really like the tougher cuts although as others have said, a porterhouse really shouldn't be tough at all unless it's overcooked. Part of the porterhouse is the tenderloin or filet mignon, the most tender cut on the whole animal.

              For tougher cuts though, I like to braise in some beer and a can of chili in adobo. You can add some cumin and a little lime juice as well. The alcohol of course will cook out and should give you a tender final product. It's good over rice or tortillas.

              I also sometimes use grated ginger and some soy sauce. You can braise as well in some OJ cut with water. This might mix things up for you too.

              Good luck and enjoy!


              1. re: JeremyEG

                Thanks, JeremyEG! Love your ideas, but we don't eat any grains, so beer is out. Unfortunately, so is soy. (Ahh, the joys of being a foodie with multiple food sensitivities!) But I imagine I could do some coconut aminos with lime and ginger. And even though my husband hates cilantro, I love it and the addition to my dish at the end would make it extra flavorful, I imagine.

          2. If you don't have a carbon steel wok - and a few good cookbooks - (Grace Young Breath of a Wok for example) take your steaks and marinate according to various recipes and cook hot and fast... Wok cooking takes little time (it's the prep which can take time but still can be done quickly) so it may fit with your new time constraints...

            1. Thanks for all of these suggestions! I really appreciate it.

              One more question: will refreezing the marinated steak work? In other words, will it change the texture? I'd have to pull out the steak to thaw and then stick it back in with the marinade. Will I be sorry?

              6 Replies
              1. re: makinitgreen

                I'm not sure what you mean, mig. Why would you remove the steak and marinade to thaw, and then refreeze it?

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Well, I was originally asking for ideas for things I can freeze ahead of time since I'm about to give birth and I want a bunch of things in the freezer ready to go. Some people said definitely don't pre-cook, but just slice up, marinade and throw in the freezer. But then I realized that people might not know that my meat comes to me already frozen. Does that help?

                  1. re: makinitgreen

                    Yes, that makes a big difference, mig. If I received meat already frozen, I wouldn't slice it up after defrosting and then re-freeze it.

                    In this situation, I personally wouldn't try and use these cuts for freezer meals. I'd use them on an as-needed basis. Defrost them the night before, marinate or use a rub on them some time mid-day on day-of-use, and then slice them up and use them in your stir-fry or however you plan to use them. I know it doesn't answer your initial question, but that's the way I'd go if you don't want to grill them as the steaks they are.

                      1. re: makinitgreen

                        Good luck. And best wishes on the little bambino/bambina soon to arrive. :-)

              2. If you don't like steaks - I would slice them up and use them for stir fry. You can marinate in soy, garlic, etc and stir fry with veg.