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Mar 5, 2013 04:15 AM

How long to cook 3.5 lbs of cubed beef in pressure cooker?

The book that came with my pressure cooker has a 3-pound beef pot roast, cut in 1-inch cubes would have me brown the meet first, then cook for 30 minutes.

I skip the browning step.

In the 1.5 pound to 4.5 pound range of cubed beef, should I simply use 10 minutes for pound? (e.g. I should cook my 3.5 pounds for 35 minutes)?

A previous question I asked correctly pointed out that cooking times are not linear (if 12 cookies takes 12 minutes, you can't cook 1 cookie for 1 minute). However, now I want to specifically ask about cubed beef in the quantities I use).


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  1. As far as I've found, the weight of the meat has no bearing on the time of cooking. A half hour is usually good for any amount of meat.

    5 Replies
    1. re: coll

      Thanks. It came out pretty good with the 35 minutes. I'm not sure if it would have been better with a bit more or less time.

      I suspect it's hard to get a good temperature reading with my instant read thermo when the pieces are cut up small because I bet I'm measuring the water temperature.


      1. re: mike2401

        with cubed beef for stew, I wouldn't worry much about the temperature -- you have to cook stew meat for much longer, because the connective tissue takes a comparatively long time to break down into tender, tasty meals.

        The cubes will have reached safe internal temperature and then some long before they'll be tender enough to eat.

        In a braise for stews and other slow-cooked dishes (whether actually cooked in the pressure cooker, on a surface, or in a slow-cooker) you want to use these tough, harder-to-cook cuts because the collagen in the connective tissue creates rich, velvety sauces. Using a tender cut of meat will result in either overcooked mush or a piece of meat that is so tightly contracted that it's completely inedible.

        1. re: sunshine842

          Thank you! That's really interesting.

          So maybe on my next pressure cooker chuck roast cubed adventure, I should go for 15 minutes per pound and see what happens?


          1. re: mike2401

            I"m with Coll on this one -- the weight of the meat is pretty irrelevant when it's cut into cubes -- because the time is a function of breaking down the collagen and connective tissues, not a matter of whether it's done or not. Smaller pieces=greater surface area per ounce=it will come to temperature quite quickly.

            The collagen and connective tissues that make stew great just take a couple of hours (in non-pressure-cooker time) to break down properly -- the meat is absolutely cooked through (no pink to be found anywhere).

            Cooking time per pound is when you have a large mass of meat (roast, a whole bird, a whole fish, etc) and you have to deal with how long the center of that mass will take to reach a safe/cooked temperature, because roasts and whole birds and whole fish are usually chosen *because* they are tender when cooked.

            Having said all that, I probably would have cooked that much stew meat for 35-40 minutes -- so your time was correct, but not for the reason you thought it was.

            1. re: sunshine842

              Thank you so much. That's a great explanation. Makes total sense!


    2. Just last night, I made a Columbian stew that I had in my "to try" files. As usual, subbing everything: I had 3 lbs of bone in country pork ribs instead of 1.5 lb oxtail, and a tiny venison roast I found in the freezer, instead of stew beef. I left that whole, it was probably one pound at most. All meat went in there together, quite a bit of it, with a quart of beef broth and some herbs and spices. 35 minutes (was trying for 30 but got distracted). Wish my pressure cooker was big enough to fit the plantains and yuca; maybe less meat and more veggies next time. This was a 45 minute raw ingredient to table deal. I will be trying it again!

      4 Replies
      1. re: coll

        Coll, do try oxtail if you can get it -- doesn't sound like much, but it makes wonderful dishes.

        I'd cut back on the ribs some next time, if you don't use oxtail -- oxtail is not terribly meaty, and you may have overshot with twice the amount of ribs. Then you'd have room for the plantains and the yuca - I'm not a huge fan of yuca, but it's so much better when it absorbs the cooking liquids.

        1. re: sunshine842

          I have made oxtail a few times, long ago, and then it got so expensive. And was implicated in the mad cow scare.

          I am currently in love with country ribs, and will probably fish some out of the pot for pulled pork type sandwiches too. But yes I was hoping next time to do it all at once, and the venison roast didn't really add anywhere near as much as the ribs. The broth turned into pure gelatin. It's a work in progess for sure.

        2. re: coll

          how big is your pressure cooker? if you were to do it all over again, what size would you get?

          1. re: mike2401

            Mine is the traditional size Presto that they had in the 1970s, maybe five quarts? It's tall enough but sort of skinny, and then you can only fill about 2/3 of the way. I haven't looked but I'd like something double the size, maybe I'm dreaming though. As time goes on, I like to make big batches and freeze most for future meals, rather than cooking every night. It always seems to make just a little too little.