New to sous vide cooking, just did my 3rd cook last night with bone-in pork chops. I decided on a temp of 140 degrees and wanted to experiment with different cook times. I bagged 3 chops all about 1.5+ inches thick. I cooked them for 1hr 15min, 1hr 45min, and 2hr 15min respectively. They all turned out excellent but all 3 were very rare at the bone which I found a little odd. I understand the the bone is probably an insulator around the meat close to it, but was really surprised to see it in the 2h chop. Is this normal? Is there a way to prevent this problem?
George, welcome to the Community and congratulations on intelligently beginning your journey of discovery in SV cooking with a well considered trial cook.
Yes, it’s normal. You appear to have correctly diagnosed the cause of your problem of meat near bones during relatively short cooks.
You also proved to yourself how forgiving SV cook times can be.
You can prevent it by cooking boneless meat resulting in the equal diffusion of heat throughout your products.
Not a huge fan of boneless chops, or anything for that matter. Not really thrilled that this is a common problem. Between the difficulty in searing and this issue looks like most of my cooks with this method will involve chicken.
Before you give up on beef give some of the tougher boneless cuts a try. Chuck roast and eye of the round are 2 of my favorites. At the other end of the spectrum of toughness beef tenderloin is delicious when cooked sous vide. I personally do not try and do everything sous vide. If it is better another way that is what I will do. Another dish that I think is improved by sous vide methods is corned beef.
I have no problems with bone-in chops, even thick cuts. Just leave them 1 ½ hours, but at 145 F. Perfect. My fave: take a thick pair of chops, make a pocket in the meat and stuff it with ground fennel seeds, pepper, mashed garlic and a little salt. Pat dry, drizzle some oil, then finish in the oven at high temp for 10-12 minutes.
The fact that the meat was not cooked adjacent to the bone tells me that the solutuin is to cook for a longer period. I do bone-in pork chops for about three hours at 55degC (~130F) and have had np problems whatsoever.
55C/131F is medium rare and will always give you pink pork, round bones or not. If you’re getting white pork from a 55C cook .then you need to review your searing technique.
Thanks for the replies I will try to adjust cooking times and see if that helps. The chops were actually very good in flavor and tenderness, just close to raw at the bones.
Sous vide meats will always be more strongly coloured around the bone, just as those cooked by regular methods are.
Bone-in chops are my absolute favorite thing to sous vide. I’ve experimented a bit and for me, 142.7 degrees for between 1:45 and 2 hours gives me moist, tender chops. I’ve never found any pink around the bones. At 145 degrees, it was a little too dry for my liking. I do agree that searing can be an issue. Even with cast iron, it’s hard to get what I’m looking for with any bone-in meat. I think I’m just going to have to break down and get a searzall (sp?) torch.
Thanks will try a little higher temp than i used are these 1 1/2 to 2 inch chops? Let me know about the torch, if i knew it would work well I would grab one no problem. I think I will try searing on my Big Green Egg. I am confident that will work well, but if I’m going to go to all the trouble of cranking that thing up, I might as well just cook them on it. Going to give it a try though that way if I am cooking for a crowd I can sear multiple chops/steaks quickly.
Pick up a weed killer torch like this inexpensive one from Harbor Freight (https://www.harborfreight.com/propane-torch-91033.html). You’ll find more expensive ones online, Home Depot, etc. You can sear a whole lot meats for a crowd and don’t have to go through the hassle of cranking up a charcoal grill like your Big Egg. I use it year round–even with snow on the ground!
You are right, but I like my pork pink - I was reacting to the possibility that the meat could be actually raw near the bone.
George, in SV cooking you are using low temperatures where heat diffuses into meat at a much slower rate than you’re familiar with, particularly near bones.
Since you prefer bone-in meat it would be useful for you to redo your pork chop stepped trial again starting with a 2:45 duration. Somewhere along the timeline you will discover perfection and enjoy it forever.
A cook pushing 4 hrs won’t cause the rest of the chop to have an unpleasant consistency? What is the max time for cooking pork chops before the meat starts changing consistency?
I’m sure you’d be happy with the consistency after 4 hours. To be honest I’d be surprised if you didn’t like it after 8 hours, but everyone’s tastes differ. But 4 hours should definitely be good imo.
You are dealing with multiple variables including your expectations, not mine. I can’t give you an absolute limit, but with loin chops it’s way out there.
Regarding tenderness or consistency, it begins early in the cook and it increases with time. It also varies according to temperature.
I prefer a bit of “chew” in my meat while many of my neighbours salute "falling off the bone " pork and grey steaks. Not wrong, just different. That’s why i won’t use someone else’s recipes.
I agree, I am not crazy about meat falling apart. I like some chew also but in the case of pork chops, with a high moisture and tenderness level. I do my chops on the BBQ to just shy of 145 which gives me what I am looking for. I understand that my temps with this method are going to be lower so I guess we will let the experimentation begin.
GTE, at 140F you have an excellent chance of discovering your idea cooking time. Consider that your thick bone in chops are like mini-roasts and require a longer time than most cooks use.
To achieve that high moisture level you really should brine them before vacuum packaging and cooking.
I have found that most people I cook for are so accustomed to dry overcooked pork that a nice juicy piece tastes foreign to them. A little convincing usually works to get the first bite down. After that they are normally OK.