Sunday dinner roast beef

In the Sous Vide Recipes Forum
Hi everyone, I'm from Manchester, UK. I just bought a Sous Vide Supreme Demi machine because I got an unexpected windfall and it's a method I've read a lot about. I cook a traditional British Sunday dinner for whichever friends drop by my house every week and I bought the sous vide in pursuit of the perfect roast beef. I'm not rich, I shop at ASDA, or the market if I have time to get there. I've cooked roast beef every Sunday for my friends for at least 6 years, but the quality of beef in supermarkets is getting worse every year and although I think my roast potatoes are amazing and my Yorkshire puds have been perfected over years, the star of the show is the beef and I can't cook it right anymore. Supermarkets like ASDA sell silverside and brisket usually, or some non-descript "easy carve" roast. I bought the sous vide with the hope that I can use it every week to make these cheap joints into something better. I wish I could have the time and money to buy better beef, but I don't. If anyone has any tips I'd be really grateful. I'm excited that my sous vide cooker arrived today but it needs to pay its way! The joints I buy are usually about 1 kilo give or take and I think I'll sear the joint on the skillet after cooking. I've read that timing isn't an issue in that it's hard to overcook, but then read other articles that suggest you can overcook meat sous vide. If someone can tell me how long to cook a 1 kilo joint of silverside beef and at what temperature, that would be great. Any advice would be appreciated though!

5 Replies So Far

Hello, Mark.

I think your silverskin is what we in Canada call an eye of round. It is a fairly tough cut but I have cooked it sous vide and it turns out great. I do it at 132F for 24 hours then give it a quick sear. I use this cut mainly for sandwiches for packed lunches, but there is no reason to not serve it as a roast. Just remember to slice it very thinly.
Hi Mark,

I too am from Manchester UK and like you I'm trying to perfect the roast beef joint. We are very different over here when it comes to meat cuts and a lot of sous vide information is US based.
It is coming over to UK but to the home quite slowly.

I've tried silverside about 4 times and am still trying to get it perfected. The standard supermarket roasts are quite lean compared to top round or bottom round sold in US. I like my meat medium rare so I have settled on 130F to get it how I like it - weight is not usually a measure you calculate instead thickness is as its time for the core of the joint to heat and then pasteurise.
I've tried 72 hrs (corned mush), 48hrs (mushy texture), 36hrs (still mushy) and last Sunday 24hrs was ...yep...mushy. I'm sure the joints are much leaner so the next one I try is going to be 8 hours.

Steaks, chicken, salmon, pork are all awesome it's just difficult to nail the traditional UK roast beef.

Another thing I have picked up is to sear at the end with a mapp blowtorch...I do my steaks with this and it's awesome,
Hi ElsieD and Jase.

Thanks for taking the time to post your replies.

Jase, what a co-incidence! Perhaps Silverside just isn't suitable, I've always struggled with it without a sous vide. I might start off with brisket this Sunday and I'll let you know how I get on.
a few things:

for one, I've found that at under 134F the ft doesn't really melt and render and, as a result, although it LOOKS more red, it doesn't taste as 'beefy'.
134 seems to be my magic number.

next: the longer you cook it, the softer it will be.. this can give a tougher cut, such as brisket, more of a 'roast beef' texture... but I don't find anything near 24 hrs necessary.
3-4 hours is generally enough. Of course you CAN go longer, and you should experiment to find what you like

lastly: the problem with the cuts you're talking about is the FLAVOUR, that's lacking.
Adding some fat (i love duck fat or lardo, but these aren;t necessarily cheap supermarket ingredients) to the bag can help a lot Especially with lean cuts.
Also, adding some flavour, via a marinade ahead of time or a rub seared on after it comes out of the bag, can help a lot.

UNLIKE roasting in an oven, I have found that combining veg in the same bag with the meat isn't a good idea.
Unless you pre par cook them, they don't cook through at the low temps, AND they tend to act as sponges, drawing all the juicy beef flavour into themselves away from the meat under vacuum.

I would suggest you do a little experiment to help figure out what will work with this cut of meat. Cooking times are vastly different for different cuts of meat, and I'm afraid that I don't know what we (in the states) would call your beef cut.

You need to pick a temperature to cook your roast. I would think the 134F suggested by a previous writer would be a good starting point. Once you have a temperature, now you have to discover how your cut of meat responds to that temperature.

As the meat cooks, connective tissue is broken down, but different cuts of meat have very different structures. One of my very early attempts at sous vide tried to cook a beef brisket. I looked on line and found people recommending from 24 to 48 hours. I cooked my brisket for a day and when I tried it, it was like medium rare pate.. There was almost no texture. Only later did I find out that there are two different cuts called briskets, both having very different preparation approaches.

So, I would suggest getting a small roast, cut it into pieces, bag each piece, and start all the bags cooking. Now, you will periodically pull a bag, take a small piece, and taste the results. If it's still tough, you can rebag it (if you are vacuum bagging it, you'll have to chill it before bagging it) and put it back into the water and continue cooking. Once you get to the point at which things seem good, you might want to take one bag out, but let the others cook a little longer. The results may be better, or you might have a situation in which things are starting to degrade... In either case, you will determine the best duration to cook the roast.

The final piece of the puzzle is searing the roast. Some people do this in a fry pan. I've used a propane torch for over a year and a half and I've liked the results. Just recently I took the cooked meat and dropped it into a deep fryer at 375F for one minute. The appearance doing the deep fryer is gorgeous. It provides a very even treatment. The torch also can do a very even treatment and it's a good conversation starter. Searing in a pan has given me the least even results, but that may just be me...

If you go through this process, you will know the temperature to use, you will know how long it needs to cook (so you know when to start it cooking) and you will know how long your final treatment will take. I hope this is useful. Good luck and report back the best way to cook Silverside.

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