Home Cooking

What makes stewed meat tender?


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Home Cooking

What makes stewed meat tender?

tastyjon | | Jun 19, 2011 08:26 PM

I was making a chili recipe today, with the main protein being small cubes of chuck beef. I browned the meat separately, then simmered gently in sauce (uncovered) for 2 hours. After testing, the meat was still somewhat tough and dry (not so much dry, but not infused with the surrounding moisture). Up to this point, I was cooking in a big, uncovered pot with beer, broth, and other sauces, so I wanted it to reduce.

After the meat test, I then put a lid on the pot and let it go another 45 minutes. At this point, the meat got tender and took on more flavor and moisture.

I'm simply wondering if it was the added time that made the difference, or covering the pot - which seemingly redirected heat and steam back into the pot?

I know "low and slow" cooking tenderizes meat in a smoker, but so does a pressure cooker. Pretty much all the chile recipes I read were focused on ingredients and not tactics... simply suggesting a cooking time of 2-5 hours.

In the end, I liked the final product but am not sure how I arrived there. Any suggestions on future tactics? Thanks!

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