Time and Temps

I am new to sous vide and cooked my first meal yesterday. I think in English you would call the meat I used a veal eye of round roast, not sure. In Switzerland where I live it is called a “Kalb falsches filet”.

I was going crazy trying to determine the correct temperature and time by reading comments and information on the Web. The two extremes I found for a 5cm roast (cylinder) were 61C for 1 hr 45 min; the other 57C for 16 hrs. I know that time determines texture and temperature determines desired doneness, but I cannot reconcile how the same thickness of meat can have such extreme recommendations. Is the meat that much more tender after 16 hrs than let’s say after 3 hrs?

I’d like to have some explanation and advice on how to determine cooking times and temps.

The difference you see is due to the toughness of the meat. If the meat is tough you will need a longer time. For example steaks from the “Huft” region of the beef are very tender and have shorter times. If it is from the “Schulter” you may need to cook it for 24 to 48 hours. I have never done veal sous vide so I am of no help. I hope the general guideline helps a bit.

The information on Douglas Baldwin’s site is pretty much the Sous Vide “bible” for a lot of people. LOTS of information there (worth a bookmark).


I probably didn’t explain it properly. The differences I was describing were for the same cut of meat… This is the issue I can’t understand. Same cut, 14 hour difference in cook time. The veal falsches filet is a fairly tender piece of meat costing approximately CHF 90.00 per kilo or about $48.00 per pound.

I read Baldwin’s site before posting my question here. His times for 50mm cylinder “meat” in table 2.1 was about what I decided on, 59C for 2.5 hours. However, he only refers to tender or tough and not what cut it is or from what animal. I have to believe those variables make at least some difference. Perhaps I am wrong about that, but other professional chefs apparently do take these other variables into account when deciding on time and temp.

Thanks for replying.

I too have no experience cooking veal via Sous Vide (so really can’t be of much help). I normally do my beef roasts at 55C(131F) - though I know lots prefer 135F - we all have our own preferences. That’s why I’d recommend either keeping a journal or using the notes section in your recipe app (if you use one) for keeping track of your experiences.

I also tend to cook my roasts for 2-3 days…I really prefer the meat as tender as possible.

Paul, i appreciate your confusion as i recently joined the Anova Facebook group where i have read with utter amazement at the extremely misinformed recommended times and temperature for the same cut of meat, not to mention food safety matters. Particularly alarming is the resistance and push-back to correct information. I understand that subjective personal preferences account for some variations and they always will.

You asked about degrees of tenderness and yes, meat can be much more tender after 16 hours than 3. There’s a dramatic visual showing the impact of cooking time at the following site which can be trusted for its proven accurate information:

My first piece of advice to you is to always consider the source of your information and if it can be trusted. The amount of incorrect information available far outweighs the correct. I am not at all surprised by your experience. Trust your best judgement, - along with Lopez-Alt and Baldwin.

When confronted by a wide range of details it has been my practice to never consider the extremes in any matter.

I am familiar with “Kalb falsches filet”, however here in NA it’s most frequently sliced émence for veal cutlets. It is considered a “tender meat” because of the young age of its previous owner. We in NA have a significant challenge with the inconsistent terminology applied to cuts of meat. In most cases a cut of meat that in NA is generally called the long loin ( or the short loin and sirloin, - see what i mean? ) and the rib section are considered to be tender.

I am certain there will be current Swiss books on SV as the cooking technique started in Europe, so you folks have had a longer time to get it right. In addition to Baldwin, you might refer to “La Cuisson Sous-Vide” by Georges Pralus, the father of SV. It was the basic guide used by European chefs to implement the technique a dozen years ago or more. I would trust contemporary information such as the more recent practical work by Nathan Myhrvold.

Agreed that chefs have an advantage over the home cook, mostly in their culinary knowledge and experience which enables better judgement. I frequently recommend Community members maintain a SV cooking log detailing every cooking experience with outcomes and recommended adjustments for their future guidance. By employing a log my objective is to become an ever-better SV cook. Try it, you might find it useful for your personal success.

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Thanks to all of you have replied to my post and I have noted your suggestions and advice.

Frank, per your suggestion, I have started a log and over time I’m sure that I will see differences in cook times for similar cuts of meat. I do not belong to Facebook but I did use my wife’s account to view some of the posts and I must admit that I was shocked by some of them. One chap sous vided a roast at 52C for 48 hours and couldn’t figure out why the bag was filled with gas and the meat smelled rotten when he opened. I assume he was unfamiliar with what happens at that temperature for that period of time. But, to top it all off one suggestion to him was to “buy better meat next time”. Unbelieveable!

I will look into some books on sous vide here in Switzerland. I’m sure that I will begin to see differences in tenderness and texture as I gain more experience. I am still puzzled about the differences in time for my falsches filet. I indicated in one of my responses that I finally decided on 59C for 2.5 hours but didn’t say how it turned out. It was pink, tender, fine textured and according to my wife, delicious. But, she would say that, wouldn’t she. I don’t know how it could have been improved by the additional 13.5 hrs suggested by the recipe I referred to earlier. I guess I won’t know unless I try it for myself.

Thanks again to all.

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