A Cooking Fool

I found a great video, simple enough, but great for my purposes, which gave me everything I needed to tackle a domestic mountain: prep, freeze, and cook meat.

The video describes cooking flap meat in a simple marinade — soy sauce, pepper, garlic, and freezing the rest.  Well, who wants to re-marinade each time?  So I got several quart freezer bags, found me a big old flap meat portion at the Costco, sliced it up like the lady says, and prepped everything.  I cooked one portion, and froze eight paired into four marinades.  Interesting note: the marinade is far too salty to freeze at typical freezer temperatures.  This alleviates my concern about freezing the meat inside a block of frozen marinade, with presumably worse ice pressure effects.  Bonus!

The potential drawback is that the marinade may operate too long and cause either an excess saltiness or the complete dissolution of the steak into oatmeal upon decanting or cooking.

I’ll take my chances.

I was inspired to write just from the discovery that the marinade hadn’t frozen — wouldn’t ever freeze — and to me this means that the steaks should be BETTER OFF than if I had simply frozen them plain.  Why?  Any atmospheric moisture which could have adhered to the steak and caused freezerburn or physically wrecked the outermost fraction of an inch is now in a solution which refuses to freeze.  A flap steak is particularly susceptible to this as it has a high fractal surface area — which you’ll see in the video.  The meat itself is frozen solid (due to its internal water), but bathed in a protective and tasty marinade.  Unlike my hapless brick meatloaf.

And I thought that was pretty cool.

Is this common knowledge or practice among the more talented home-runners?

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9 thoughts on “A Cooking Fool”

  1. Haak, the wording of your trials and tribulations about prepping your flap meat has my inner E-5 cackling his head off. That said, there is nothing better than well prepped and cooked meat. I am doing a brisket next weekend and I can’t wait.

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  2. A couple of thoughts.

    Haakon Dahl:
    The potential drawback is that the marinade may operate too long and cause either an excess saltiness or the complete dissolution of the steak into oatmeal upon decanting or cooking.

    I wouldn’t worry about this.  As you note, the meat itself will be frozen solid, so there is little possibility the ions from the marinade, even though it’s still liquid, will be able to migrate into the meat, which is largely deep-frozen water.

    I was originally worried about the possibility of bacteria or other nasties growing in the marinade since it doesn’t freeze at the −18° C of a typical freezer.  But on thinking further, the reason it doesn’t freeze is because the salt content depresses the freezing point, and that same salt content inhibits the growth of most organisms (hence salt codfish keeps for months at ambient conditions on long sea voyages in the age of sail).  You don’t need to refrigerate soy sauce even after it’s opened, and I’ve never seen anything growing in it even after a year or more before I use up a bottle.

    I regularly freeze vacuum-packed cuts of meat (which is how they’re often sold here) such as steaks or lamb filets, and they seem to survive an arbitrarily long time in the freezer.  The vacuum packing seems to completely prevent the freeze-drying which is “freezer burn”.  If there’s any difference in taste or texture between something frozen for six months and cooked immediately I can’t tell it.

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  3. Here is an Adam Savage video about various methods of getting the perfect sear on a steak.

    Before I watched this I didn’t know that a number of steakhouses use similar techniques: pre-cook the steaks to various degrees of doneness with a technique such as sous-vide, and then store them until customers order meals, whereupon they are seared on a grille or other technique (in Scotland, plutonium reactor), which also heats them up to serving temperature.

    Here is my shockingly easy (but potentially impeachable) way of cooking a steak dinner.

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  4. John Walker:
    Here is an Adam Savage video about various methods of getting the perfect sear on a steak.

    Before I watched this I didn’t know that a number of steakhouses use similar techniques: pre-cook the steaks to various degrees of doneness with a technique such as sous-vide, and then store them until customers order meals, whereupon they are seared on a grille or other technique (in Scotland, plutonium reactor), which also heats them up to serving temperature.

    Here is my shockingly easy (but potentially impeachable) way of cooking a steak dinner.

    John sounds like you need a steak grilled by a Texan.

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  5. Robert A. McReynolds:

    John Walker:
    Here is an Adam Savage video about various methods of getting the perfect sear on a steak.

    Before I watched this I didn’t know that a number of steakhouses use similar techniques: pre-cook the steaks to various degrees of doneness with a technique such as sous-vide, and then store them until customers order meals, whereupon they are seared on a grille or other technique (in Scotland, plutonium reactor), which also heats them up to serving temperature.

    Here is my shockingly easy (but potentially impeachable) way of cooking a steak dinner.

    John sounds like you need a steak grilled by a Texan.

    Sous-vide is a great way to cook, but it takes some getting accustomed to. And it is kind of a bother to get everything together, then let it cook the required time. But you’re right – any number of restaurants have taken it to heart as a means of being able to provide the diner with just the right amount of “doneness”. Since they are in the full time business of preparing food, it isn’t any bother for them.

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  6. Here is a nice video about options for cooking steak if you have 5 minutes, 50 minutes, or 5 hours.  Note that the choice of cut is different for the various cooking methods.

    I also like that he isn’t afraid to say that there’s no sin in briefly microwaving the veggies to bring them up to serving temperature before serving if their cooking phase ends early.

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