Container and cheap steaks

Hi All,
New dude here and you have probably heard these questions before but as I am new also to any forum I thought it easier to ask on a new post than to search previous. Just lazy. Anywho, I was looking at times and temps and there seems to be a big difference on how to do cheaper cuts of steak. I bought a bottom round and a chuck and was going to do them per the “steak” table but it seems you need to do “tough” steaks for much longer. I bought these as experimental so as not to mess up a more expensive cut. Merlin the magnificent pup will get them if the turn out inedible. Actually he gets his fair share anyway. :grin: I’ve got Smoking meats down pretty good and now I’m looking forward to a new cooking technique. As for a container, I got an Omaha steak cooler chest from my brother and it holds the temp really well. Any precautions on using this? I figured if the steaks are in my food saver bags they should be OK?? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

I went in search of my previous answers to these questions and just decided it was as easy to answer directly.

Tough meats are tough because they contain a lot of collagen. They’re heavily worked muscles so they have a lot of flavour but the offset to this is the time required to breakdown the connective tissue, etc. Knowing where on the beast your meat comes from will help select appropriate times for that collagen conversion.

The speed of conversion is impacted by temperature. It happens slowly at lower temperatures but more rapidly at high ones. If you think about traditional braising versus pressure cooking.

So… To cook your bottom round steak will take longer than would a ribeye as it’s a higher work muscle group. Experience will help you guesstimate times more accurately, but I’d start with 6 hours at 130F (assuming that you want medium rare.) At the end of this time, lift your steak from the water and give it a pinch between your fingers. Take note of the feel and watch the reaction of the meat. You’re feeling for softness that will denote tenderness. If you’re happy with it you can move on to finishing. If you’re not, drop it back into the bath for another couple of hours and test it again.

It’s a really good idea to keep a journal of your experimenting because memory isn’t always reliable. Keep track of cuts, thickness, temperature, time and a brief description of the results and your opinion of the outcome.

And welcome aboard. Hopefully the Magnificent Merlin won’t get too fat while you’re learning.


Thank you Ember.
This is very helpful.
Hopefully I won’t make to many mistakes for Merlin to grow fat on.

Hi @Dirk,

Regarding your question on cooking in your Omaha steak cooler chest, you are correct! The food saver bags keep the food sealed away from the water, so you were right when you posted

Thanks Mirozen.