Shredded Beef. Best Meat, Cooking Time and Temperature ?

I discovered and first used ‘Sous Vide’, 2 months ago, in early July 2020. All of my cooking has been experimentation and learning. Converting some of my favourite recipes into the new cooking method, to see what would happen.

I have been looking at various recipes online. They suggest 8, 12, 18, 24, 36 hours, … These times appear excessive. Can someone explain why so long ?

What are your recommendations, based on 1 kg ( 2.2 lbs ) of Beef ? I like to cut the meat into 6 to 8 cm ( 2.5" to 3" ) square chunks. I find the ‘chunks’ cook quicker. Meat is also easier to shred later, using a couple of forks. The meat is browned before it is placed into a sealed plastic bag, ( with my favourite spice blend ). I am not sure if ‘Browning’ is really needed, with ‘Sous Vide’.

As a rule of Thumb : Tougher meats will take longer to tenderize. I like meat with a bit of fat. ( We all know that ‘Fat = Flavour’ )

I have been experimenting with the one temperature of 80oC = 175oF. I also find that I do NOT add water or stock into the plastic bag, unlike my Slow Cooker / Crock Pot version of this recipe. I am also finding that I should only use 60% to 80% of the spices, compared to the ‘Slow Cooker / Crock Pot’ cooking method.

Chuck or Blade Roast, Flank ( which can be fatty ) – up to 12 hours ?
Gravy, Brisket – up to 8 hours ?
Top Side, Rump – up to 4 hours ?

I like to take a spoon and taste the juices in the Sous Vide bag, after cooking. This has been my best judge of the final product. If the broth / juices taste good, then the meat should also be good.

I recently tried ‘Top Side’, for 13 hours. It was terrible. The meat was dried out and tasteless.

My best result has been Brisket, for 18 hours. I am not sure why. Perhaps it was the fat content.

My worst result involved using just a packet of ‘Mexican Spices Mix’, from the supermarket, and cooked for 8 hours.

P.S. I have done 6 experiments, in 8 days. My wife is worried about the food wastage. My 3 dogs are loving all the taste tests.

I have found that sometimes the extended cooks are required to give the connective tissue time to break down in tougher cuts. I imagine temperature has an impact as well. Most of my long cooks of beef are done in the 55°- 60°C range. I have gone as long as 72 hours with beef short ribs although I did not notice much difference when I stopped at 56 or 64 hours. For this trial I had 3 bags in the water with the same meat. I wanted to reduce the impact of having meat from different animals.

80C/175F seems waaay to high a temperature. Pot roasts and stews may come out at those temperatures, but they are cooked in high moisture environments for shorter periods of time. And even then the meat is actually over-cooked if you like your beef in the medium-rare - medium range.

The trick is to use temperature to determine doneness (many folks like their beef in the medium-rare range (130-135F)) and then use time to do the tenderness. Lean cuts don’t benefit from long cooks as much as fatty cuts.

I’ve done a rolled blade roast (3.5lb/1.5kg +/-) that came out fabulous SV’d. I unrolled it, trimmed the heavy fat in the middle and seasoned the entire piece of meat with salt/pepper and then rolled it back up again. Into the SV (a Frankencooler) at 140F (60C) for 22hrs (put it on after supper one day and had it for supper the next. The 140F temp is just hot enough to melt the fat/collagen if given enough time. In this case 22hrs. There were juices in the bag that got used in the gravy and I did a sear on a cast iron griddle on my charcoal grill which took about 10 min to roll it around and sear everything. The meat came out tender and juicy and all was fabulous!

Hope this helps!

I wouldn’t brown the meat pre-sous vide. Searing is actually where most people make their mistakes and overcook the meat. One of the massive benefits of sous-vide is edge-to-edge consistent doneness.
I’ll echo what others have said for a preference for medium-rare. I cook my steaks about 8 hours at 130F and my roasts for up to 72 hours at 135F.
Yes, the fattier the better (but I also eat predominantly keto - so fat is key) :slight_smile:
To finish roasts (post sous-vide) I dry them, then slather them in olive oil, then into a 450F oven for 15 minutes to get some nice Maillard reaction on the outer layer of the roast. (also makes any outside fat tastier).
Steaks I tend to finish on my propane grill, with the needle on the temperature gauge “buried” - get just enough sear to make the appearance more appetizing as well as crisping up any outside fat. The final sear is also when I add any seasonings that I like (have a few different steak spice blends in the cupboard).

Thank-you ‘’. Great idea. My next experiment will be 3 bags, with identical content. All cooked at lower temperature, perhaps 70oC ( 160oF ). They will be removed at 6, 12, 18 hours.

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Thank-you ‘KyleMW’. Some brilliant and logical advice. Cook the meat at a lower or correct temperature. Add more time for tougher cuts.

‘Medium Rare’ or ‘Medium’, 55oC - 60oC ( 130oF - 140oF ). How long, time wise, to get to ‘Tender, Tasty and Shreddable’ ? If a 5 cm ( 2 inch ) thick, eye fillet steak is perfect in 1.5 to 2 hours, then I am thinking 4 to 6 hours for shredded beef. … I might try a ‘4 bag experiment’ ; 3, 5, 7 and 9 hours.

It was online recipes, that I found, suggesting 80oC (175oF), for 18 to 24 hours, that had me confused. Perhaps it was me, misreading the recipes. They may have been talking about big 2.5 kg ( 5 lb ), large roasts of tougher Chuck or Blade Beef.

SV. One of the selling points is the ability to take cheaper and tougher cuts of meat, and make them tender. … Time, practice and advice from this group will definitely get me better cooking results.

I am thinking that Slow Cookers / Crock Pots are a good comparison to SV. Sous Vide is better because of the controlled temperature and all the flavours are sealed in the bag. Comments please.

Thank-you ‘Fischersd’. Some brilliant and logical advice. “edge-to-edge consistent doneness”. YES ! It is now sinking into my brain and will be at the front of my thinking, for future recipes.

Keto Diet’ is something that I have been reading about. It sounds too good to be a real diet ; eat all the meat and fat you like. I did the ‘Reboot with Joe’ juicing diet, a couple of years ago. Lost 16 kg ( 35 lbs ) in one month, ( I started at 125 kg = 275 lbs ). I think the weight loss was due to losing fluid. ( Going to toilet for a pee, every 30 mins. )

Bit of Humour :

Did ‘Poached Eggs’ on Toast, last weekend. I did my internet research. So many choices, options, formulas ! I almost missed the part that says : ‘Place egg, STILL IN SHELL, into the Sous Vide bath’. I was going to crack open the eggs, and place into its own plastic bags. When the egg is cooked, THEN it is cracked open over the Toast. I also noticed that the eggs were NOT wet with water, like one gets after the conventional cooking in a pot of hot water.

I decided on 64oC ( 147oF ) for 50 mins, for our dinner. Everything was cooked, all the way thru. “edge-to-edge consistent doneness”. Well hello Peter, anyone awake, this is ‘Sous Vide’ ; so why so surprised ? Every square millimeter of the yolk was a slow running yellow. …… Next time. I will try for ‘a bit more runny’ and 62oC ( 144oF ). … Such precise control of temperature, an impressive feature of Sous Vide.

seems legit.

Heh…I watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and “Forks over Knives” - and did the juicing thing at the urging of a friend. I lost 60 pounds in a month…and gave myself pneumonia. (got talking with the nutritionist at the gym - she said we’re built to store weight, so forcing your body to shed stresses it more than anything else we do (in our routine lives) :slight_smile: - my huge mistake was two-fold. 1). Don’t do this in cold and flu season and 2). Add up and keep track of your calories. I did the math after the fact - I was only juicing and getting about 800 calories a day (ie. starvation diet). Not good.

If you do investigate keto, I highly recommend lots of very educated people routinely contribute to the discussions there. Many physicians as members. None of the politics you find in a lot of the Facebook groups.

Me, I’m not a fan of the two extremes - I think both vegan and carnivore are inherently flawed as you need to supplement to get all of the nutrients you need. You really should be getting your nutrients from your food! :slight_smile: I also eat lots of veggies and big salads on keto. :slight_smile:

Massive thank-you, for sharing your dieting experiences.

Loosing 60 lbs ( 27 kgs ) in ONE month. That is incredible, and required huge amounts of determination. What was your starting weight ?

I think I have found my mistake, involving the high temperatures.

I was looking at a Pulled PORK recipe, that suggested 85oC ( 185oF ). :flushed: LOL !

Sous Vide Carnitas for Tacos (Crispy Mexican-Style Pulled Pork) Recipe : -recipe.html

Heh…I don’t have the data for when I was juicing. I did (of course) manage to put it back on. Diets are temporary measures…that’s why they don’t provide lasting results. If you end up reverting to your old diet, you’ll put it back on.
Now, with Keto, I lost 85 pounds in 8 months. Sad to say my starting weight was 311 pounds! :frowning: I was actually heavier than that…the prior August, I had to go in for an MRI and I barely fit in the machine - I jumped on the scale they have in the room and was a whopping 321 pounds. I was already cutting back on the carbs when a friend told me about Keto (which I started March 1, 2018).
I eat predominantly keto most days - low carb the other days. Every now and then I indulge - have potatoes at breakfast, have some pasta or beer. (liquor is keto friendly - just don’t mix it with anything with carbs). :slight_smile:
I was down to 220…Covid hasn’t helped with how we were all living in isolation…currently 240…going to do some strict keto and some extended fasting soon to get back down to 220. :slight_smile:

People say keto isn’t a diet…it’s a WOE - Way of Eating.

After you’ve been keto and “fat adapted” - so your body actually prefers fat over carbs, you can do some experimentation where you find out how many carbs a day you can have before you’re knocked out of ketosis. Cheap breathalyzers off of Amazon ($15) are good for this - they can’t differentiate between alcohol and the ketones in your breath. Anything other than zero, you’re in ketosis.
Some people can have up to 150g of carbs a day and stay in ketosis - really depends on your individual metabolism and activity level.

I followed Dave Asprey (Bulletproof) Rapid Fat Loss Protocol - fast 5 days and refeed day 6 with low glycemic carbs to reset leptin. Then start again. I lost 29 lbs in one month- this is high fat with bulletproof coffee every day (add MCT Brain Octane and butter). Week 1 I lost about 17 lbs which was a lot of water and then consistently 1 lb/day of fat loss after that.
Check out for world’s largest website

Ok, take that recommendation from @carnivore1 with a grain of salt. Anyone making claims of “world’s largest website” - yeah, run the other way. Hello infomercial! :wink:

You don’t have to buy anyone’s branded anything to do keto. Any coffee that’s labelled “bulletproof” or “keto” is taking advantage of consumers, suggesting that they’re in some way affiliated and that you MUST purchase their products to do it successfully - you DON’T!

You also don’t need MCT oil - coconut oil works just fine.

Also, fair warning - when you do extended fasts, there’s always a certain amount of rebound when you refeed (our bodies are built to store - thousands of years as hunter-gatherers won’t be over-written by how plentiful our food is today overnight) :slight_smile:

“Bulletproof coffee” was so named as you normally make it in one of the “Magic Bullet” countertop mixers. There’s a huge amount of recipes out there.

Here’s the one I make:

1 tbsp cocoa - 12 cal, 1g fat, 2g carb, 1 g protein, 0 Sodium, 82mg Potassium
1 tbsp MCT (or coconut) oil 130 cal, 14g fat, 0 carb, 0 protein
3 tbsp 35% whipping cream *get Lactancia 0 carb, 150 cal, 15 g fat, 1g protein, 15mg Sodium
2 tsp butter (melted) (that’s 2/3 tbsp) - 67 calories, 8g fat, 54.7mg Sodium, 2mg Potassium
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional) = 12 cal, 0 fat, 0.5g carb, 0 protein, 6mg Potassium
2 cups coffee - 4 calories, 0 fat, 0 carbs, 0.5g protein, 10mg Sodium, 222mg Potassium

Total - 375 calories, 38g Fat, 2.5g Carbs, 2.5g Protein, 79.7mg Sodium, 312mg Potassium

Adding about 1/8 tsp of cinnamon can be pretty nice too. :slight_smile:

Cheers! :slight_smile:


I have nothing to do with Asprey or his company. I thought the website I mentioned would have good information for paleo, keto and carnivores - I am not affiliated - simply information I have found helpful. I am not trying to convert anyone.
I guess this is my last comment on this site and I will only search for recipes .

Oops. Looks like I have taken the SV experience, off on a new tangent called ‘Dieting’. Does anyone know if this forum has the option for Private Messaging ? … Any user replies, also appear as emails to my registered address. I might try a few email replies, and see what happens.

Dieting. I suppose all official or commercial diets have 4 things in common.

  • Eat Less.
  • Eat Healthy.
  • Exercise More.
  • Find Balance.

Success. Is normally up to the individual and requires Motivation and Dedication.

In my case. A lot more self control, at the dinner table, would help. :grinning:

Small plates, although hard to find, assist in reducing intake.

Ha Ha ! I have no self-control, and would only get 2 or 3 of those ‘small plates’.

It is now been 2 months since I wrote this article. I have made another DOZEN attempts to get a Pulled or Shredded Beef recipe, that I like. I have been using precisely 1 kg / 2.2 lb for each experiment.

Experience is the Best, but Hardest, but Slowest Teacher. … I really hope that I am learning from my mistakes. :grinning:

I have tried Brisket and/or Chuck Roast, cooked at 60oC / 140oF for 24 hours. The meat will NOT shred !

Here are my recommendations :

Shredded or Pulled Beef’ appears to have a different set of SV rules.

  • Long cooking time is used to ‘tenderize’ meats, and to allow shredding.

  • High temperature is used to break down the meat fibers, collagen and to render the fat into liquid.
    8 hours @ 85oC / 185oF or
    12 hours @ 80oC / 176oF ( my favourite ) or
    18 hours @ 75oC / 167oF
    ( Not the usual 60oC / 140oF for ‘Medium’. )

  • Cut meat into smaller chunks. i.e. 5 cm / 2 inch pieces. It will allow seasoning into all parts of the meat while cooking. Makes shredding easier, later on.

  • Fluid in the bag, prior to cooking, to prevent meat drying out, as it reached temperature. The fluid / broth, found in the bag after cooking, is the best judge of flavour in the meat.

  • Extra seasonings, when adding extra fluid into the bag.

  • Shred meat while hot, then quickly add at least 50% of juices back onto meat. This allows the meat to re-absorb moisture. ( Excess juices makes a great broth. Place in fridge, fat hardens on top, and fat can be removed. )

I assume cooking time will need to be extended, if you cook larger amounts of meat. I am guessing 2 kg / 4.4 lb of meat will need 30% extra time ?

With sous vide cooking the weight of the meat is irrelevant. It’s all about thickness. A 1kb roast and 2kg roast of the same thickness will cook at the same rate.