Tough Meat is tough meat

We cooked our first steak, a half inch Walmart T-bone, last night. It was cooked at 132.5 for two hours. Turned out a bit overcooked and tough, except for a little piece inside the curve of the bone that was perfectly rare and tender. My question is: Does sous vide cooking tenderize, too, or is a cut of meat a cut of meat. Could our problem have been buying at Walmart or an old cow?

Actually, it would have been your sear that would have cooked the steak beyond the doneness it had when you pulled it out of the bath. A half-inch is pretty thin. You really need to go with a thicker cut to get the level of sear that most people enjoy.

Yes, cooking beef longer sous vide makes it more tender…breaks down the proteins.

btw…awesome guide here if you haven’t read it:


I tend to agree with Fischer on this, in that the thin steak was overcooked during the sear, but I will add that “You can’t sew a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”. Wal-Mart meat, is, well… it’s cheap for a reason. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy prime grade, but one can only do so much with substandard ingredients.


Crap in, crap out when it comes to quality of meat. Shop at a local butcher, and buy high quality meats. I never buy meats other than organic, pasture fed chicken in the supermarket. Perhaps longer cooking times might help.

2 hours is way too short for touch meat. Meat is usually tough due to its connective tissue. I will sous vide a tough meat like brisket for 2 days. Flank steak should be sous vide for at least 8 hours… Once it’s “done” a thin cut like flank steak should only be seared quite briefly else it will overcook

Ted, if you are still here, old cows can’t be sold for human consumption in most countries. Recently Walmart stores in my area have been selling only Black Angus beef at competitive prices.

A 1/2-inch thick T-bone steak is a poor choice of steak for SV cooking, or for almost any cooking. Stores should put a “Brown and Serve” tag on it as that’s all it really should require, just a few quick flips in a very hot pan or on your grill, and serve.

I agree with Fishersd.
And there one more thing you should know. Over cooking, that’s anything over 150ᴼF, toughens meat because it causes its fibres to contract. That spot inside the bone was protected by the bone from excessive heat, that’s why you enjoyed it.

T-Bones are particularly challenging because they have two muscles separated by bone. The tenderloin part is tender and requires little more than bringing up to temperature while the sirloin part is tougher and benefits from a longer cooking time.