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Falling off the bone tender...

Monica Jun 7, 2013 01:27 PM

I think Americans are obsessed with meat falling off the bone tender.
I actually like when the meat is not so tender..i want to chew it, work with my saliva to break down all that good stuff in my mouth...probably the reason why I love tendons, cartilage, fat, and meat with bone. My brother in law who is a chef brought this premium wagyu sirloin reserved for restaurants but to be honest, I wasn't too crazy about it after a bite or two. It was just too soft and tender.
What about you?

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  1. s
    Steve Jun 7, 2013 01:33 PM

    'Falling off the bone' does not make something delicious nor preclude it.

    23 Replies
    1. re: Steve
      foodieX2 Jun 7, 2013 01:42 PM


      I don't want my grilled steak "falling off the bone" tender but I do want my short ribs that way.

      1. re: foodieX2
        mcf Jun 7, 2013 01:46 PM

        Me, too. I want my braised meats fall off the bone tender, but not bbq or grilled. So yes to uber tender short ribs, ixnay to uber tender smoked ones.

        1. re: mcf
          biondanonima Jun 7, 2013 01:49 PM

          Ditto. Different meats should have different textures. I had a rabbit thigh at a restaurant in Chicago last week that I think had been done sous vide - it had a remarkably velvety texture, but after a couple of bites, it was just weird. Meat pudding, almost.

          1. re: biondanonima
            mcf Jun 7, 2013 01:53 PM

            That's how I felt about salmon I was served at a catered affair one night... exactly as you describe, salmon pudding. Did not enjoy that. Immediately figured it was sous vide.

            1. re: mcf
              Puffin3 Jun 10, 2013 10:47 PM

              That's why I stopped doing 'SV'. Just too easy and the fun/challenge of preparing an excellent cut of meat was gone.
              Meat pudding.

              1. re: Puffin3
                c oliver Jun 11, 2013 08:53 AM

                Not sure why cooking ever needs to be a "challenge." And from what I understand, if SV was giving you "meat pudding," then you were doing it wrong.

                1. re: c oliver
                  scubadoo97 Jun 11, 2013 09:44 AM

                  Having ventured into SV cooking I agree C. Oliver. I look at it as another method of cooking. And like any method you can do it well or you can really screw it up and everything in between.

                  1. re: scubadoo97
                    c oliver Jun 11, 2013 11:28 AM

                    I've only occasionally had the results and was wowed. A local restaurant recently did a popup brunch with a local tavern and a local coffee company. They did what they call a "63 degree egg," meaning sous vide at 63 degrees for one hour. Totally the best poached egg I've ever had.

                    1. re: c oliver
                      scubadoo97 Jun 11, 2013 05:49 PM

                      That was my first attempt an a SV poached egg. Wasn't thrilled with my results and tried the fast method. Something like 77C/17 min. Much better IMO.

                      I keep hearing about mushy meat from SV haters but have yet to experience it

                      I've made a fantastic pork belly and short ribs that took a few days. A rack of lamb that was spectacular as well as other meats and seafood

                      Just another cooking technique that can be done really well or badly. You know, don't blame the pan, blame the cook

                      1. re: scubadoo97
                        mcf Jun 11, 2013 06:07 PM

                        Nah, it's not just that. If it didn't create a product any different in characteristics than other methods, what would be the point?

                        Some of us don't like the result. I had what I consider a perfectly cooked piece of salmon with good flavorings but a texture I did not recognize or like from sous vide, presumably.

                        It's just preferences and people's differ.

                        1. re: scubadoo97
                          c oliver Jun 11, 2013 07:01 PM

                          Do you really mean 77 CENTIGRADE???

                          Exactly re don't blame the pan :)

                          It's something I'd like but they're just so expensive. Can't justify it. Yet :)

                          1. re: c oliver
                            scubadoo97 Jun 12, 2013 03:56 AM

                            Yes centigrade

                            I got a little immersion circulator that was under $200. A new start up company

                            It crapped out after a couple of months and the replacement didn't last longer than the first before issues. Ended up getting my money back

                            If and when I jump back in I'm looking at the PolySci Creative.

                            It was fun, there is a learning curve like anything. But even with my short exposure I never produced meat pudding. Short ribs that were rare yet tender but no mushy pudding

                            Obviously there is a backlash to on old technique that is now in vogue. Maybe from it being over used, don't know. CH does seem to have its share of folks with food issues and adversions as does other food related boards. It surprised me at first.

                            1. re: scubadoo97
                              c oliver Jun 12, 2013 09:16 AM

                              I guess like with other new'ish technologies, there's a sometimes blind aversion to change. I once knew a woman who said she would never stop using the function keys on a computer!!!!!! I got an induction cooktop a few years ago. The change in attitude here has been HUGE during that time. I love change in all aspects of life so it's kinda a turnon for me. (I've married my husband twice!)

                        2. re: c oliver
                          Caroline1 Jun 12, 2013 09:27 AM

                          Indeed they are! PROPERLY done sous vide eggs are fantastic! I most often serve mine as a garnish, such as on top of from-scratch-and-stir-for-a-half-hour mushroom risotto. SOOOOO good!

                          IMO, the problem with sous vide in 2013 USA is that too few people, including some professional chefs, think it's the be all and end all to great food. It is NOT! It is a cooking tool, just like an oven or a stove or a barbecue. Proteins, and especially beef and fish, can be sooooo ruined by overcooking just for the sake of doing it sous vide. I think I've cooked fish once in my Sous Vide Supreme, following a "guru recipe" (the guru shall remain nameless!) and immediately gave up any interest in cooking any more fish by that method. Whether it's the classic Dover sole Munier (drowning in butter) or a sword fish steak, sous vide is not the way to get there! What next? Sous vide sushi? No thank you! NO expensive protein should ever be turned into "baby food" for the sake of chic. '-)

                          1. re: Caroline1
                            scubadoo97 Jun 12, 2013 11:32 AM

                            See that's what I'm talking about. The "baby food" comment.

                            I have done a variety of proteins and haven't had anything remotely matching that description. Unless you count the poached egg.

                            I think it can be used as a crutch in many restaurants. You can keep a vast variety of proteins in water baths that just need to be fired at the last minute. I assume some stay in the bath longer than they should.

                          2. re: c oliver
                            phantomdoc Jan 20, 2014 08:54 PM

                            Was that 63 degree Fahrenheit or Celsius?

                  2. re: biondanonima
                    foodieX2 Jun 7, 2013 02:00 PM

                    One the main reason I don't care for sous vide.

                    1. re: foodieX2
                      sedimental Jun 7, 2013 06:51 PM

                      Wow, same here re: many sous vide meats. Meat texture needs to correspond with the meat cut or it is instinctually unnatural and unappetizing. Just because you can change something, doesn't mean you should.

                    2. re: biondanonima
                      EWSflash Jun 11, 2013 06:56 PM

                      That sounds horrible to me. I can't think of any soft meat that I seek out, or even like. I even prefer natural casing hot dogs.

                      1. re: EWSflash
                        Caroline1 Jun 12, 2013 09:31 AM

                        Show me the way to natural casing hot dogs! I love them, but the only way I can find to buy them in my area is 80 pounds of Nathan's commercial packaging at a time from Sam's Club! For one person???? I don't think so! <sigh>

                        1. re: Caroline1
                          mcf Jun 12, 2013 10:18 AM


                          1. re: mcf
                            Caroline1 Jun 13, 2013 01:59 AM

                            LOL! I *do* have a well stocked pantry -- as my housekeeper says, "You can make just about anything you want to without going to he store." -- but there are NO sausage casings to be found! I eat maybe 5 hotdogs a year, max. If I was going to make them from scratch, I'd probably make a Nathan's 80 pound cases. I should live so long? mmmmmmm... 5 hotdogs a year, 80 pounds... Well, my dad died at 92 from pneumonia... I suppose I could make it to 96. Maybe I'll be ahead of the game if I just buy a case of Nathans? '-)

                2. re: Steve
                  HoosierFoodie Jun 11, 2013 10:35 AM

                  Agreed. Different cuts require different cooking preps/textures. I do not think Americans are obsessed with meat falling off the bone tender, either.

                3. mcf Jun 7, 2013 01:40 PM

                  I didn't love Kobe beef, too soft and velvety, almost. I liked Akaushi some, but too greasy, and I'm not a lean meat eater at all.

                  I'm with you.

                  1. 3MTA3 Jun 7, 2013 01:47 PM

                    Use your teeth while you can, there may be a day when you need it 'falling off the bone'!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: 3MTA3
                      mucho gordo Jun 7, 2013 04:41 PM

                      YES! Be true to your teeth or they'll be false to you.

                    2. Perilagu Khan Jun 7, 2013 02:10 PM

                      God, what a grisly post.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Perilagu Khan
                        INDIANRIVERFL Jun 8, 2013 05:32 AM

                        er, gristly?

                      2. Uncle Bob Jun 7, 2013 02:59 PM

                        Being a carnivore, I prefer my meat to offer some resistance to the tooth. Tender? Yes! Mush? No! ~~ I have a BIL who cooks a pork butt way past the pulling stage....all the way to 'spreadable'. I've told him he would save a lot of time and resources if he would make instant mashed potatoes, and buy a bottle of $.89 Kraft BBQ sauce and go for it!!

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Uncle Bob
                          flavrmeistr Jun 7, 2013 04:34 PM

                          Is he from SC? That's their claim to barbeque--decomposed pork.

                          1. re: flavrmeistr
                            carolinadawg Jun 10, 2013 10:30 AM

                            And thats based on experience eating SC bbq where? I'm no fan of SC mustard-based sauce, but I've never noticed that SC bbq restaurants cook thier meat more than NC, TN, TX or any place else.

                            1. re: flavrmeistr
                              scubadoo97 Jun 10, 2013 02:06 PM

                              Ouch! I'm not from SC but that was a pretty harsh blanket statement.

                              1. re: scubadoo97
                                flavrmeistr Jun 10, 2013 03:45 PM

                                Harsh? Take a ride south (or north, as the case may be) and stop anyplace along 1-95/US 17 touting "SC barbecue" and let me know what you find. Particularly, a place called "Maurice's Piggy Park" around Columbia. It is an experience that defies description, and not in a good way.

                                1. re: flavrmeistr
                                  carolinadawg Jun 10, 2013 04:00 PM

                                  Maurice's is hardly the standard bearer for SC bbq, but I think the real issue is that you don't "get" southern BBQ. Thats cool, to each his own.

                                  1. re: carolinadawg
                                    flavrmeistr Jun 10, 2013 04:29 PM

                                    I get FL, GA, E.TN, W.NC, TX, CA, MS, AL, MO, Cuban, Korean and Chinese BBQ. But you're right--I don't get SC BBQ, and I've tried for the last 40 years or so.

                                    If you or someone else could recommend some that would change my mind, I might give it another shot. What have you got?

                                    1. re: flavrmeistr
                                      carolinadawg Jun 10, 2013 04:31 PM

                                      Scott's in Hemingway, Shealy's and Jackie Hites near Columbia to name a few. Sweatman's in Holly Hill used to be excellent, but I understand it has changed owners and isn't as good now. I look forward to your report on some of those.

                                      However, the overarching point is that BBQ in SC isn't cooked more than anywhere else.

                                      1. re: carolinadawg
                                        scubadoo97 Jun 10, 2013 04:34 PM

                                        Beat me to it. Doesn't get any more real than that

                                        1. re: carolinadawg
                                          JayL Jun 10, 2013 08:07 PM

                                          Haven't had Shealy's.

                                          Hites is good for mustard bbq.

                                          Scott's meat is good, but we stay away from that sauce he has. We love vinegar sauces, but his "special ingredient" is too special for us.

                                          Never was a huge fan of Sweatman's.

                            2. Tripeler Jun 7, 2013 06:21 PM

                              As far as I'm concerned, if I can't give it a good chew, it is hard to get much taste out of it.

                              1. Chemicalkinetics Jun 7, 2013 06:26 PM

                                Yeah, we have had a similar post like this. I think most people agree with you. While we do like tender meat, not everyone (not most people) like falling off the bone tender. A bit of bite is important both for the texture and for the taste.

                                1. f
                                  flavrmeistr Jun 7, 2013 06:55 PM

                                  A euphemism for "over-cooked".

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: flavrmeistr
                                    c oliver Jun 7, 2013 07:06 PM

                                    I find "falling off the bone" and "overcooked" to be a fine line. I err on the side of not overcooked. So, yeah, maybe a little chew but not much.

                                    1. re: c oliver
                                      sedimental Jun 7, 2013 07:09 PM

                                      Yes, I like my ribs to fall off the bone...not my steak. Apples and oranges really.

                                      1. re: sedimental
                                        flavrmeistr Jun 8, 2013 03:53 PM

                                        Braised or baked ribs, maybe. Not barbecued ribs. "Falling off the bone" means they were braised or baked. Nothing wrong with that, provided they are purported as such. Faux 'cue is a venal fraud.

                                        1. re: flavrmeistr
                                          scubadoo97 Jun 8, 2013 05:15 PM

                                          BBQ ribs that fall of the bone would be considered overdone by KCBS standards. Easy to bite through but not falling off the bone

                                          1. re: flavrmeistr
                                            sedimental Jun 8, 2013 08:34 PM

                                            Well, that might be true. I wasn't even thinking of traditional American BBQ because I don't like it. I much prefer other ways of cooking ribs and prefer the pressure cooker, braise, stone pot, etc.....so, my ribs are always fall off the bone :)

                                      2. re: flavrmeistr
                                        monavano Jun 8, 2013 03:55 PM

                                        Yeah, all that smoked brisket with gorgeous smoke rings are overcooked crap.
                                        Overcooked and slow cooked are two entirely different things, if you know what the hell you're doing.

                                        1. re: monavano
                                          flavrmeistr Jun 8, 2013 04:27 PM

                                          Amen to that.

                                        2. re: flavrmeistr
                                          Chowrin Jun 8, 2013 04:52 PM

                                          Says the person who's never had brisket "Pittsburgh style".
                                          If'n ya can chew that, you can say falling off the bone is "overcooked".

                                          That is, if you're a robot.

                                          1. re: Chowrin
                                            flavrmeistr Jun 9, 2013 06:16 AM

                                            I've never had any kind of brisket with a bone in it.

                                        3. ipsedixit Jun 7, 2013 07:22 PM

                                          Depends on the meat and the cut.

                                          I mean if it's pork butt (or shoulder) or something like oxtail, it better fall off the bone with nothing more than a heavy sigh.

                                          But if we're talking about a bone-in ribeye or porkchops, yeah, a bit of chew and elasticity with the bone itself is a good thing.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                            c oliver Jun 7, 2013 07:28 PM

                                            Yep. and a pork shoulder I'm heading up to 190 whereas with a ribeye, more like120+

                                          2. v
                                            VitalForce Jun 8, 2013 03:25 PM

                                            I realize it’s the norm for many, but I don’t see the taste advantage to chewy ribs, any more than opting for a rubber-like steak. For German-style cold-smoked ribs, most certainly they should be chewy and have some pull, and be gnawable even. But I definitely prefer hot-smoked or roasted ribs at the pull-away-from-the-bone melting stage.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: VitalForce
                                              mcf Jun 8, 2013 04:39 PM

                                              Properly cooked bbq ribs can be very tender without falling off the bone. That's what low and slow does.

                                              But if you prefer yours softer, that's what you should have, no matter what others think. :-)

                                              1. re: VitalForce
                                                Steve Jun 8, 2013 05:20 PM

                                                Not always, but most likely if smoked rib meat falls off the bone then something went wrong in the cooking process. A lot of bbq gets accidentally steamed if too much moisture gets in the smoker. I can think of some delicious exceptions, but in general you're eating steamed or baked meat.

                                                Nobody here is suggesting that the the rib meat should be rubbery. A firm pull is all that is necessary, and the meat should be at least as tender like a good steak. Not sawing away at it with your teeth.

                                                1. re: Steve
                                                  monavano Jun 8, 2013 05:24 PM

                                                  Agree, I don't want my ribs literally falling of the bone. That ruins it for me.

                                                2. re: VitalForce
                                                  VitalForce Jun 9, 2013 06:31 AM

                                                  I guess I would re-phrase that. I like ribs when there is a bit of a crust or crispiness to the outside, but yet the meat has pulled away from the bone, is tender otherwise and easily separated. I wouldn’t want the ribs to actually fall apart when they’re picked up. But I have had ribs that are just tough, and the meat hasn’t pulled back from the bone. I find those sorts of ribs unpleasant.

                                                  1. re: VitalForce
                                                    EWSflash Jun 11, 2013 07:00 PM

                                                    I do. I definitely prefer a little chewy over borderline mushy, everything else being equal.

                                                    And I like my pork ribs tender but NOT fall-off-the-bone.

                                                  2. Atomic76 Jun 8, 2013 05:56 PM

                                                    One of the reasons I don't like to make pulled meat, ribs, or roasts in a pressure cooker is although it's technically "tender" or "falling off the bone" it's also still kind of rubbery since the fat never really completely melted like it does when you cook it low and slow in a smoker or in the oven. Plus roasting the meat gives you a variety of texture - the outer surface of the meat has some toothiness, but the center of the mean is really tender.

                                                    I love a good blackened crust on my steaks, which is why the sous vide technique never interested me either.

                                                    12 Replies
                                                    1. re: Atomic76
                                                      c oliver Jun 9, 2013 08:00 AM

                                                      I think those are excellent points. I've never used a PC and kinda find it not right for the kind of results I'm looking for.

                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                        sedimental Jun 9, 2013 09:50 AM

                                                        I have never had rubbery meat from a PC. Like many people (including RIP Merle Ellis, America's most famous old school and well respected butcher) the PC is my preferred method for many tough cuts of meat, especially short ribs of all kinds. The meat has never come out anything but absolutely perfect for me, but in pieces with really thick fat pads on the sides or items with some silver skin left on -they might be rubbery if you try to eat/chew those fat pads. I only eat the meat off those bones, not chew the fat :)

                                                        1. re: sedimental
                                                          c oliver Jun 9, 2013 11:42 AM

                                                          I think Atomic is referring to the connective tissue in those cuts. It needs low and slow to "melt" which adds hugely to the taste and texture.

                                                          1. re: c oliver
                                                            sedimental Jun 9, 2013 02:04 PM

                                                            Yes, and likely in reference to American bbq. Nothing wrong with that, but I never understood the attraction to low and slow American BBQ (smoked). I think it is likely NOT the rest of the worlds preference, as well.

                                                            1. re: sedimental
                                                              Chowrin Jun 9, 2013 08:21 PM

                                                              smoke's an acquired taste. more lebanon bologna for me!

                                                              1. re: sedimental
                                                                JayL Jun 10, 2013 08:12 PM

                                                                "American" bbq has many variations. You have been exposed to smoked bbq that was most likely cooked for 12-20 hours. It is a very bold flavor of smoke and seasoning for those not used to it.

                                                                You need to find a good barbecue joint in North Carolina for something that is completely different. Not smoked and lightly seasoned...

                                                                1. re: JayL
                                                                  sedimental Jun 10, 2013 09:00 PM

                                                                  Oh, I have had it. Intimate experience with it. I am just saying, it is not my favorite. I realize the ethnocentrism surrounding American BBQ. I value other BBQ more. It is just a personal opinion. Nothing more. It is extremely amusing that one is not allowed to favor other BBQ (other than American regional style BBQ) without being accused of being "uninformed or inexperienced with it". I dislike food arrogance.

                                                                  1. re: JayL
                                                                    sedimental Jun 10, 2013 09:02 PM

                                                                    My daughter lived there. Been there, done that. Not impressed.
                                                                    Not everyone loves it. Shocking, I know. It is perfectly okay that others love it. Diversity is a good thing.

                                                                    1. re: JayL
                                                                      caganer Jun 11, 2013 01:35 PM

                                                                      It's not correct to suggest that NC barbecue is not smoked. All of the well known places in NC smoke their meat - that is to say the meat is cooked in a smokey environment. The best cook from beginning to end with only wood (no gas burners for heat) so smoke is unavoidable.

                                                                      It is often less smokey than other styles but I've always just thought that's because we have better taste . From my NCarolinian's perpective, using too much smoke and cooking too long are the calling cards of bad barbecue cooks. At every NC pig pickin I've ever been to a whole pig arrives in the morning and is very tender and lightly smokey by dinnertime - 8-9 hours usually. (then it's chopped, not pulled - that doesn't really exist in NC)

                                                                      1. re: caganer
                                                                        JayL Jun 11, 2013 03:06 PM

                                                                        While we'll agree that smoke comes from the pit...the barbecue isn't "smoked". No indirect heat is my meaning.

                                                                        Yes, wood is used...but the wood is burned separately before adding it under the meat. Very little smoke is emitted from the coals. Most of the smoke you end up seeing is the fat and juices being incinerated on the live coals.

                                                                        So while smoke is generated, the meat isn't smoked...not in the sense of TX bbq.

                                                            2. re: Atomic76
                                                              ePressureCooker Jun 9, 2013 09:55 PM

                                                              Just because a tough piece of meat starts its cooking life in a pressure cooker, doesn't mean it stays in the pressure cooker. My sister puts short ribs in the PC for I think its 20 minutes, then finishes them off on the BBQ.

                                                              1. re: Atomic76
                                                                EWSflash Jun 11, 2013 07:02 PM

                                                                Wow- thank you for sharing that, I'm new to pressure cookers and wonder if that's why I didn't like the lamb shanks I cooked in mine.

                                                              2. Firegoat Jun 9, 2013 06:29 AM

                                                                I agree with the depends on the meat. I do like my slow braised short ribs falling off the bone.
                                                                I hope my hamburgers have already fallen off a bone.
                                                                Filet Mignon... I like it tender but not mushy. I don't mind using a knife.

                                                                For this afternoon I have a couple of rib eyes I bought at the farmer's market yesterday morning. A little pricier than the grocery store but you can tell by the color they are going to be spectacular. Grass fed, local farmer. (picked up some farm-made cheddar as well ... no food desert here) I'm looking forward to those crunchy grilled bits of fat that really make you chew! Call me a carnivore!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Firegoat
                                                                  ePressureCooker Jun 9, 2013 09:56 PM

                                                                  For rib eyes, if I had to choose between the two, I'd rather have flavor than tender. I can always use a dry rub to tenderize the meat, if its pretty flavorless, that's harder, or impossible, to fix.

                                                                2. NonnieMuss Jun 10, 2013 07:42 AM

                                                                  This is not an American thing - I usually hear that description for ribs, but rarely anything else. Another weird generalization about Americans. I like my different cuts of meat to have the right consistancy for that particular cut - short ribs I want fork-tender, and pork chops I want to gnaw on. Recently tried my first Wagyu beef - a sirloin - and found it too tender - I wanted more "chew".

                                                                  16 Replies
                                                                  1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                    E Eto Jun 10, 2013 08:38 AM

                                                                    Exactly. It is definitely NOT an American thing. People in Japan loooove meat that's "toro-toro" (i.e., fall off the bone) like a good buta kakuni that you can eat with a spoon.

                                                                    1. re: E Eto
                                                                      c oliver Jun 10, 2013 12:35 PM

                                                                      From the first time I saw that sentence, I wondered also. Lots of Latin America and Europe like it that way.

                                                                    2. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                      Monica Jun 10, 2013 09:29 AM

                                                                      Maybe I watch too much foodnetwork and travel channels but i am sure that the term, 'falling off the bone' gets mentioned at least a few times a day...probably a lot more than other countries.

                                                                      1. re: Monica
                                                                        mcf Jun 10, 2013 09:48 AM

                                                                        It seems to me that any country with stewing in its cuisine has fall off the bone meat. That's a lot of the world.

                                                                        Are you saying that only U.S. food ways are on those channels? Or did I misunderstand you?

                                                                        1. re: mcf
                                                                          Monica Jun 10, 2013 10:57 AM

                                                                          I just meant the term gets mentioned a lot...maybe it's because bbq(especially the Southern) is very popular in US and unique to US.

                                                                          1. re: Monica
                                                                            mcf Jun 10, 2013 11:06 AM

                                                                            I guess I haven't noticed. But bbq experts don't usually recommend or cook til meats fallling off the bone. Just showing more bone due to sort of shrinking up its length. That's what I've noted, anyhoo.

                                                                            1. re: Monica
                                                                              c oliver Jun 10, 2013 12:36 PM

                                                                              I seldom bbq but frequently make braises that could qualify I suppose as "fall of the bone."

                                                                              1. re: Monica
                                                                                Chowrin Jan 21, 2014 06:55 PM

                                                                                Barbacoa is an island tradition, no?

                                                                                1. re: Monica
                                                                                  flavrmeistr Jan 24, 2014 06:51 PM

                                                                                  "Falling off the bone" is popular among people with less than a full set of teeth, mostly out of necessity.

                                                                                  1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                                                    mucho gordo Jan 25, 2014 10:35 AM

                                                                                    Teeth, or lack thereof, are not the only reason for tender and it has nothing to do with bones. Don't we judge the quality of meat by it's tenderness and equate toughness with eating a shoe? Who wants to sit and chew the same piece of meat for 5 minutes?

                                                                                    1. re: mucho gordo
                                                                                      mcf Jan 25, 2014 02:46 PM

                                                                                      Falling off the bone and tenderness are two very different things. A tender steak is still tender while firmly attached to the bone and cooked rare or med rare.

                                                                                      Falling off the bone indicates long, low and slow cooking, typically.

                                                                                      1. re: mcf
                                                                                        mucho gordo Jan 26, 2014 01:20 PM

                                                                                        A tender steak still attached to the bone and cooked med-rare is still attached to the bone because it hasn't cooked long enough and is tougher. A good example of this is beef ribs. I always order (boneless. I've always felt that boneless steaks are more tender than those with bones.) steaks rare but beef ribs I order well done. If not, the meat furthest from the bone is tender while the meat attached to the bone is still raw and tough. I think the bone absorbs the heat and prevents the meat from getting done faster.

                                                                                        1. re: mucho gordo
                                                                                          AlexRast Jan 26, 2014 01:42 PM

                                                                                          Meat in steaks is muscle. When there's a bone in a steak, something has to attach the muscle to the bone. That something is tendon and cartilage - the connective tissues that are tough unless slowly cooked for a long time. So it might not be surprising that you find bone-in steaks tougher: it's possible you're reacting to the difficulty of separating the meat from the bone thanks to that connective tissue. That wouldn't be easy unless the steak had been cooked "low and slow" for a long time. Think of it this way: in the living animal, it wouldn't do for muscles to fall off the bone - the animal would obviously sort of fall apart and be unable to move. So in any piece of meat done rare, i.e. fairly close to its natural state, the connective tissue is still going to bind meat to bone fairly firmly.

                                                                                          It sounds like when you say "beef ribs" what you really mean is *short ribs* - the lower part of the rib cage. The upper part, in the centre of the cow, at least, forms a very tender joint: the fore rib, usually thought of as the best roasting joint, or alternatively can be cut into steaks which many people like as well. It's typical for people to cut off the bone when cutting them in steaks, leading to the rib-eye steak. The whole is very tender, and definitely not something that needs to be cooked low and slow to stay tender, even if the part right next to the bone will inevitably be difficult to separate from it. Short ribs, by contrast, are tough and contain a lot of connective tissue, and are almost always done "low and slow" so that they fall off the bone, whether braised or barbecued.

                                                                                          Actually, bones act as a heat conductor and speed the cooking of meat, quite contrary to what you might expect. Certainly the presence of a bone has no impact on the tenderness of the muscle connected to it, nor does it influence tenderness as such when cooked. On a grill or barbecue, there can be some minor effect on cooking time immediately adjacent to the bone, if the meat wasn't cut absolutely flush to the bone, because in that case the rigidity of the bone will prop up the meat immediately connected to it, taking it off the direct heat of the grill, and thus prolonging the time that the part close to the bone will take to cook. Also, with fierce heat, the heat itself will contract the connective tissue, a bit like tightening a rubber band, once again pulling the meat way from the grill in the area immediately adjacent. The edge farthest away from the bone meanwhile will cook as normal.

                                                                                          1. re: mucho gordo
                                                                                            mcf Jan 26, 2014 02:00 PM

                                                                                            I think you're confusing tenderness of the meat/cut with degree of doneness. The meat against the bone is less done, but also the most flavorful. And if it's from a tender cut, it also can be very tender.

                                                                                        2. re: mucho gordo
                                                                                          joonjoon Jan 25, 2014 10:53 PM

                                                                                          Two words:beef jerkey.

                                                                                          1. re: joonjoon
                                                                                            mucho gordo Jan 26, 2014 01:22 PM

                                                                                            Love jerky but, it's supposed to be dry and tough; steaks aren't

                                                                              2. c oliver Jun 10, 2013 06:14 PM

                                                                                I just have to ask: what cartilage do you eat? I keep racking my brain :) I keep thinking noses and ears!

                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                                  ePressureCooker Jun 10, 2013 06:21 PM

                                                                                  I'm sure Monica meant collagen.

                                                                                  1. re: ePressureCooker
                                                                                    c oliver Jun 10, 2013 06:50 PM

                                                                                    Well, that doesn't really make sense to me but perhaps. She'll tell us, I'm sure.

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                                                      Monica Jun 11, 2013 06:33 AM

                                                                                      Well, let's just say I eat everything as long as it's edible....i love sucking out bone marrow...chewing on cartilage..ie pigs ears...and all the goodness between bones.

                                                                                      1. re: Monica
                                                                                        c oliver Jun 11, 2013 08:55 AM

                                                                                        Oh, I LOVE eating ALL of a pig's ear. And bone marrow is the ultimate in softness so no teeth involved.

                                                                                    2. re: ePressureCooker
                                                                                      James Cristinian Jun 10, 2013 06:56 PM

                                                                                      There is cartilage in untrimmed spare ribs. The trimmed ones are St. Louis style. I prefer untrimmed but eat around the cartilage. That little piece of meat is delicious.

                                                                                      1. re: ePressureCooker
                                                                                        JayL Jun 10, 2013 08:17 PM

                                                                                        I wouldn't be so sure.

                                                                                        My wife eats all the cartilage she comes across. Heck, she has me eating the cartilage off of chicken wings now...all that is left is the bone when I'm finished.

                                                                                        She chews chicken bones also. I love marrow as good as the next guy, but I still haven't gotten into that. LoL

                                                                                    3. j
                                                                                      jhopp217 Jun 11, 2013 12:42 AM

                                                                                      I'm hardly an expert when it comes to BBQ, but I know a steak that is falling off the bone is overcooked and basically tasteless. Ribs are another story, but I'm with you...a little bite, without any chewy collagen is mighty nice

                                                                                      1. a
                                                                                        acssss Jun 11, 2013 09:06 AM

                                                                                        Kobe beef is Japanese.
                                                                                        You can still enjoy chewing and sucking on the bones, marrow, etc even if the meat is super tender and falls off of it.

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: acssss
                                                                                          Firegoat Jun 11, 2013 09:09 AM

                                                                                          As long as it isn't one of those crazy boneless chickens that are running around these days. Boneless cows could be next!

                                                                                          1. re: Firegoat
                                                                                            mcf Jun 11, 2013 12:22 PM

                                                                                            I thought the ones with bones were the ones running around, while the boneless ones just, literally, hang around. ;-)

                                                                                            1. re: Firegoat
                                                                                              chowser Jun 11, 2013 12:57 PM

                                                                                              Oldie but goodie:


                                                                                              1. re: chowser
                                                                                                mcf Jun 11, 2013 01:11 PM

                                                                                                I gave that as a gift once, on a T shirt. Love it.

                                                                                                1. re: mcf
                                                                                                  chowser Jun 11, 2013 02:28 PM

                                                                                                  Larson is a genius.

                                                                                          2. chowser Jun 11, 2013 01:01 PM

                                                                                            Given that wagyu is based off Kobe from Japan, it's interesting that you attribute this to Americans. Ribs, as others have said, should have some toothiness (ribs al dente) so it gently pulls off the bone. I've never had rib eye falling off the bone and I've seen it pretty well done. How long does rib eye have to be cooked to fall off the bone? I always thought it didn't have enough connective tissue to get to that point. I do read people talk about chicken in the crockpot being so good that it falls off the bones. That doesn't sound at all appealing to me.

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                              c oliver Jun 11, 2013 01:26 PM

                                                                                              Unless I were making stock, I sure wouldn't want any chicken that was falling off the bones. Overcooked and suitable for the trash or the dog.

                                                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                acssss Jun 11, 2013 01:41 PM

                                                                                                ...you haven't had my chicken paprikash!

                                                                                                1. re: acssss
                                                                                                  c oliver Jun 11, 2013 02:01 PM

                                                                                                  IMO, if you pick up a chicken and the meat literally falls off the bones, it's overcooked. I'm not talking about perfectly tender which I'm sure yours is! :)

                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                    chowser Jun 11, 2013 02:29 PM

                                                                                                    Yes, there's a line between can easily be pulled off the bone (more for dark meat) and falling off the bone.

                                                                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                                                                      c oliver Jun 11, 2013 07:18 PM

                                                                                                      You made a better distinction than I.

                                                                                            2. EWSflash Jun 11, 2013 06:54 PM

                                                                                              I absolutely agree with you. If it's falling off the bone, it's overcooked, practicaly always. I will take the multitextured ribeye over a mushy filet every time. I guess you could say I don't like most of my food to lay down and surrender to me.

                                                                                              1. s
                                                                                                smarquina Jan 20, 2014 02:52 PM

                                                                                                I guess me and the rest of my family, (grandparents, parents, kids, etc.) are in the minority on this one. We LOVE meat the falls off the bone. Of course, we do season and gravy almost everything. And we enjoy almost everything over rice. When something is not falling off the bone, no one really likes it and they complain that it's not done enough. It takes all kinds!

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: smarquina
                                                                                                  sedimental Jan 20, 2014 07:23 PM

                                                                                                  No way are you in a minority about that. Falling off the bone is a good thing. Tender, juicy, flavorful meat, that melts in your mouth, is never a problem.

                                                                                                  1. re: sedimental
                                                                                                    AlexRast Jan 24, 2014 07:18 PM

                                                                                                    I think there needs to be a distinction made between "tender" and "falling off the bone".

                                                                                                    The term "falling off the bone" really refers to the effect achieved by long braising - such as you might do in a pot roast, or alternatively by barbecueing; low and slow cooking. Low and slow is a method designed to produce the best results with tough, usually rather fatty meat with lots of connective tissue such as chuck, brisket, shoulder, or spare ribs. That such cuts "fall off the bone" is a property of the long cooking time which breaks down the connective tissue and yields an unctuous, gelatinous texture that is indeed very satisfying. That's one type of tenderness but not the only one.

                                                                                                    Tenderness simply refers to the stiffness and tensile strength of the connecting fibres in meat - essentially how easy it is to chew. There are some cuts of meat that are intrinsically tender - they don't need or benefit from long, low cooking time because the fibres are already tender as is. This includes rib, fillet, and loin among others. The type of tenderness these cuts have absolutely is NOT falling off the bone - although they are still very easy to cut and chew.

                                                                                                    smarquina's comments, "Of course, we do season and gravy almost everything. And we enjoy almost everything over rice" would be consistent with real "falling off the bone" - namely, meat that has in some way been braised or stewed for a long time.

                                                                                                    But sedimental, your comments, "Tender, juicy, flavorful meat, that melts in your mouth" would be more consistent with the second type of tenderness, from the more tender cuts, thinks like steaks or classic roasts (I say "classic" to distinguish them from pot roast, which is actually braising and would fall into the "falling off the bone" category.

                                                                                                    Both categories are lovely and worth enjoying, but it must always be understood that these refer to entirely different types of meat - and cut is everything - it would make as little sense to cook a loin until the meat fell off the bone as it would to expect a chuck steak to be cut with a butter knife. To some degree price is a guide - the cheaper the cut, the more probable it is that it's more suitably braised or stewed until it really does fall off the bone, but the key point is to be clear that the terms "falling off the bone" and "tender" aren't interchangeable.

                                                                                                2. j
                                                                                                  joonjoon Jan 20, 2014 11:13 PM

                                                                                                  You must be Korean.

                                                                                                  Koreans love fighting with their meat and generally don't seem to value tenderness at all.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: joonjoon
                                                                                                    Chowrin Jan 21, 2014 06:56 PM

                                                                                                    no one should eat undercooked brisket. other than that, I'm game!

                                                                                                    1. re: Chowrin
                                                                                                      EWSflash Jan 24, 2014 08:46 PM

                                                                                                      So she shot him.

                                                                                                      1. re: Chowrin
                                                                                                        joonjoon Jan 25, 2014 10:54 PM

                                                                                                        Brisket is fine undercooked as long as it's sliced thin enough. I like mine underdone at Korean BBQ.

                                                                                                    2. limster Jan 25, 2014 12:54 PM

                                                                                                      Depends on the dish.

                                                                                                      In haleem, the meat is cooked to almost a paste, and it's the deep integration of meat and grains in flavour and texture that make it so appealing.

                                                                                                      Abgoosht also involves very meat stewed to a nearly paste-like consistency, and then separated from the stock, and then eaten together, after seasoning with a variety of herbs such as tarragon and basil.

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