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Old 28-08-2019, 11:27   #1
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A mad experiment

I love fresh medium rare steak or roast, but to carry that kind of provisions means having a freezer, and the space may be limited. Canned meat sucks... with the exception of high quality solid fish in oil, which can be superior to fresh. I'm not a sushi guy so your mileage may vary ;-)


The premise of this is that it is bacteria that spoils foods including meat. Kill the bacteria and the food will not spoil.......... Government charts show times and temperatures required to kill living microbes. Those temps range all the way down to 130F...... The catch is that some microbes form spores that are capable of withstanding far higher temps.... Colstridium and Botulinum being the two scariest culprits..... obvious pathogens.

Bacteria are generally on the exterior of meats or veggies, etc.


The experiment:


Use a deep fryer to achieve a surface kill.



Vacuum seal and sous vide at 130F for an extended period of time (days).


Allow a long incubation period at around 80F to "encourage" spoilage by anything
that remains alive. If it's there and active, I want clear visual or olafactory evidence!


That incubation period will be 90 days


Open it and examine the result


I've done this before... about two years ago and I used a torch for the surface kill. I was using chuck steak, which tends toward deep crevasses. I used 3 steaks and had a 33.333% success rate. The steak that survived was perfect medium rare throughout. and looked an smelled like a new piece of meat.


Some folks might call that a "failure" I call it a success. It shows that it CAN be done, but my process is not perfect. For a first try it is impressive... IMHO.



The new experiment also used chuck steak... a cut I like for it's flavor, marbling, and cost, but not ideal for this experiment. The deep fat fryer created the malliard reaction (browning), and also penetrated the cracks (hopefully), killing any spores. Needless to say I am hoping for 100%, but I'm a realist. A "lesser" cut of meat like top sirloin with it's tight grain would be a better choice........ Of course a T-bone or Porterhouse, or Rib Eye would be good choices also, but Sous Vide at 130F while it cooks to a perfect medium rare all the way through, also tenderizes, and I've been running 48 hours at 130F, which is a bit excessive ;-) At that temp and time a chuck becomes as tender as any high dollar steak, and comes out medium rare from one side to the other, moist and juicy.........You cannot add marbling and fat, but you can add tenderness..........


I will post progress. This will be complete about Thanksgiving.



H.W.
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Old 28-08-2019, 11:34   #2
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Re: A mad experiment

Interesting; anxiously awaiting results!

I’ve canned meat (pork chops) worked beautifully, but the resulting chop didn’t have the right texture for eating as “a chop”. Cooked them up with a cajun style sauce and served them over rice; awesome!

Hoping it works out! ��
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Old 28-08-2019, 11:37   #3
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Re: A mad experiment

I honestly feel like you're reinventing the wheel here. Shelf-stable food, including meat, have been around for decades. I'm not just talking about canned meats like chicken, tuna, corned beef.

Military MRE's have been around for a long, long time.

The trick is to be able to safely and effectively achieve the goal in a DIY scenario. In brewing and bottling beer, I've seen folks have a hard time sanitizing the bottles properly and effectively.
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Old 28-08-2019, 13:28   #4
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Re: A mad experiment

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I honestly feel like you're reinventing the wheel here. Shelf-stable food, including meat, have been around for decades. I'm not just talking about canned meats like chicken, tuna, corned beef.

Military MRE's have been around for a long, long time.

The trick is to be able to safely and effectively achieve the goal in a DIY scenario. In brewing and bottling beer, I've seen folks have a hard time sanitizing the bottles properly and effectively.



Being able to use gamma rays to irradiate would be ideal. Meat is not something that is generally considered to be able to be kept shelf stable in fresh light state..... I'm looking to preserve meat in a state similar to what you would get buying it from the meat counter and cooking it to an optimal medium rare. I've never seen anything even remotely approaching that.


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Old 28-08-2019, 14:53   #5
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Re: A mad experiment

It all depends on what matters to you, I guess. We have found cryovac-ing meats to work very well, no freezing (if you freeze it, the ice may perforate the plastic). Both beef and chicken have kept perfectly for 3 months (by which time it has been eaten). It is something you can have done almost everywhere, these days. Plus you don't have to have a freezer, so your electricity requirements are much lower.

I don't know if your experiment will have much practicality for other cruisers unless they have a land base and a deep fryer as well as the slow cooker. However, I am very much in favor of experiments, and will be interested to learn how it works for you.

Ann
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Old 28-08-2019, 15:56   #6
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Re: A mad experiment

Look into dry aging beef (on my way out). You need to keep it cool and shave when done, but you can age in cool conditions for well over a month.
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Old 28-08-2019, 19:54   #7
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Re: A mad experiment

Ann:
Sous Vide is not even remotely similar to a "slow cooker". The temps used are usually far below boiling, and the food is vacuum sealed, and cooked in the sealed bag for an extended period at low temp immersed in water. A circulating heating device circulates the water in whatever container you choose to use. It can be used for all sorts of foods.... It is extremely energy efficient due to low temps, and the fact that you can wrap your container to insulate it. I use mine mostly for meats. The precision temp control...within half a degree means that you cannot overcook meat or anything for that matter..... Choose the temp based on what result you want..... In my case that is usually medium rare. The wonderful thing about cooking meat this way, is that you can cook it for literally days, and a tough cut will become melt in your mouth tender, but it never loses that perfect medium rare or whatever state of donness you want. Take it out and throw it on the grill for a couple of minutes and your product is moist and tender, and cooked to perfection all the way through. These are small and light weight. The Joule for example weighs 1.1 pounds, and is 11" tall, 1.85" diameter and draws 1100 watts maximum. The tiny circulator draws very little, and the element cycles as needed. Cooking with sous vide, there is no time limit, essentially you cannot over cook. You don't end up with the nondescript mush that comes out of a slow cooker.
You can take that questionable piece of meat you bought in the public market in Maputo, and cook it as long as you want at 130F... cook it a week if you want..... It will kill all the pathogens, stay at medium rare (my choice... perhaps you prefer medium or done), and continue to tenderize. Because of the low temp, the undesirable flavors of something like overcooked mutton will not be there, and it will be as tender as a "good" cut of meat, and mild flavored. The gamy taste of wild meat is aggravated by over cooking, and sous vide side steps that. There is no better way to cook fish..... period. Sous vide it and then toss it on the grill for a couple of minutes. Veggies can be cooked to the perfect texture every time, and you don't have to worry about timing. Do you like a perfect creme brulee.... effortless.......... How about a soft boiled egg with that perfect custard yoke...

I own an old Annova Sous Vide, but the Joule is much smaller and lighter and more elegant.... Here is a link........ I don't know the retailer, but the price is unbelievable!!
https://www.oohall.com/2019-sous-vid...chefsteps-1100


Various units can be found on Amazon for prices ranging from under $50 to close to $200. I bought mine a number of years ago for twice what they can be found for now.... but I do not regret it for a second..........


H.W.





Quote:
Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
It all depends on what matters to you, I guess. We have found cryovac-ing meats to work very well, no freezing (if you freeze it, the ice may perforate the plastic). Both beef and chicken have kept perfectly for 3 months (by which time it has been eaten). It is something you can have done almost everywhere, these days. Plus you don't have to have a freezer, so your electricity requirements are much lower.

I don't know if your experiment will have much practicality for other cruisers unless they have a land base and a deep fryer as well as the slow cooker. However, I am very much in favor of experiments, and will be interested to learn how it works for you.

Ann
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Old 28-08-2019, 20:05   #8
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Re: A mad experiment

I am not advocating that everybody follow my lead on this.... It is a pure science project. Cryovac is just a fancy name for vacuum packing, and uses a chamber sealer instead of a cheap foodsaver. I can't see any reason NOT to have a vacuum sealer of some sort on a voyaging boat. Not just foods, but anything that will be damaged by moisture is a candidate for vacuum sealing....... clothing, tools, books, bedding, survival gear, backup electronics, etc. The list is endless.


I am deeply concerned about plastics however, and perhaps we should be looking at how we can incinerate plastics on board, as it is obvious that abdicating responsibility for our waste by hauling it to shore, does not prevent it from ending up in the ocean.



Ironically, plastics, rubber, etc, can be destructively distilled, with or without catalysts, to produce valuable industrial feed stock.........The vapors can be fractionated just as crude oil is during refining, and all this stuff has a potential market.




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Old 28-08-2019, 20:10   #9
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Re: A mad experiment

Clostridium botulinum can withstand that treatment and will thrive in the anerobic storage conditions you create. It is deadly and does not cause any change to aroma, texture, or appearance of the food. Many have died.


In general terms, addition of sodium nitrite, could reduce the risk. There are other additives that would work. You can buy insta cure #1, which contains sodium nitrite, but I would not know how much to use or whether it alone is sufficient to provide safety.



I would not recommend further experimentation, for safety reasons.
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Old 29-08-2019, 07:14   #10
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Re: A mad experiment

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Clostridium botulinum
This.

Take a look at pressure canning and retort pouch processes. We pressure can, buy retort pouch packaged food, and freeze our vacuum packed steaks.

Cheers, RickG
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Old 29-08-2019, 07:51   #11
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Re: A mad experiment

heres a mad experiment for ya; how long will an average marine dunny last if the skipper is squitting into it every 10 minutes or so in a remote anchorage due to something dodgy he consumed; my initial data indicates 3-4 days of successful functioning without failure, havent found myself keen to attempt another trial, wont be boiling steak in a shopping bag anytime soon.
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Old 29-08-2019, 07:58   #12
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Re: A mad experiment

Jammer:
You wrote:


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Clostridium botulinum can withstand that treatment and will thrive in the anerobic storage conditions you create. It is deadly and does not cause any change to aroma, texture, or appearance of the food. Many have died.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post

In general terms, addition of sodium nitrite, could reduce the risk. There are other additives that would work. You can buy insta cure #1, which contains sodium nitrite, but I would not know how much to use or whether it alone is sufficient to provide safety.

I would not recommend further experimentation, for safety reasons.






I appreciate your concerns, and expected that someone would write exactly what you wrote, and in fact would have been disappointed if nobody had....... I've been canning for over 40 years, and am very familiar with standard safe procedure. I do not advocate anybody else playing with this. This is purely a science experiment you might say.



I am well aware of the standard CDC warnings, which are far from accurate, but rather designed to terrify people into following correct canning procedures and prevent people from taking the most remote of risks. Scare tactics ala Reefer Madness..... in a worthy cause, on the theory that fear is more effective than education. Better to keep people ignorant and afraid, than to risk someone experimenting. I have read a great deal of literature on the topic of botulinum, and botulism poisoning.



Contrary to the CDC propaganda, botulinum does off gas as a result of it's metabolic process, and it will create odor and/or discoloration, however time is an important factor in making these things observable.... it is a spoilage bacteria that creates a toxin..... a very deadly toxin, it is not an infectious bacterium, only the toxin it creates is harmful, not the bacteria itself. The exception is with infants under one year of age, where the intestinal bacteria colonies so important to digestion and other processes are not yet fully developed,


The vacuum sealed clear bags and the time and temp I am using are designed specifically to PROMOTE the growth of this organism........ when and if it exists....to the extent that it is observable. The anaerobic environment I am creating, also is ideal as you said......... and I know that. The bacteria themselves are killed by the long exposure to 130F temp, but the spores are not. The pre-treatment of the meat using 400+ deg oil WILL kill any botulinum spores and living bacteria virtually instantly on contact, so to claim that they will survive these conditions is not at all accurate. Their only chance of survival is to be buried within the meat rather than at or near the surface, and like all spoilage bacteria, they will be on the surface, or in cracks or crevices. 95F is the optimal growth temperature for botulinum. The sealed bag makes any bacterial growth instantly visible as the bag will loosen, gas bubbles appear, etc. In lab testing, samples are streaked on agar and held at 95F for 5 days. The long elapsed time from packaging to completion (90 days), is a safety factor, allowing time for the microbes to grow and leave evidence of their growth.



I am not doing this with my eyes closed, or in ignorance, and what I failed to mention before is that I am using "animal subjects" as an additional safety factor.



Since writing this post, I have decided to improve my incubation environment, as the object of my process is to kill what I can, and incubate any surviving microbes to the extent that they are evident. I've placed the packages back in a sous vide water bath at 95F, and will leave them there for several days, doing this at intervals during the 90 day period.


Interestingly I just recently (a year ago) stopped a friend from canning meat, sending him all the botulism literature. He had been getting ready to follow the advice of a friend who is a long time restaurateur who has been water bath canning wild game and fish for over 30 years......... Completely unsafe!! I offered him the use of my pressure canners, but I had frightened him to the extent that he wanted no part of canning..... I've pressure canned many things over the years.


H.W.



Presence of botulinal toxin and/or organisms in low-acid (i.e., above pH 4.6) canned foods means that the items were underprocessed or were contaminated through post-processing leakage.
  • Swollen cans are more likely than flat cans to contain botulinal toxin since the organism produces gas during growth.
  • Presence of toxin in a flat can may imply that the seams were loose enough to allow gas to escape.
  • Botulinal toxin in canned foods is usually of a type A or a proteolytic type B strain, since spores of the proteolytics can be among the more heat-resistant.
  • Spores of nonproteolytics, types B, E, and F, generally are of low heat resistance and would not normally survive even mild heat treatment.
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Old 29-08-2019, 09:23   #13
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Re: A mad experiment

Check out retort canning. Seems like all need are some retort pouches. Still, processing time is 90 minutes at 15psi for meat. Perhaps some marinated beef short ribs?

Cheers, RickG
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Old 29-08-2019, 11:41   #14
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Re: A mad experiment

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Check out retort canning. Seems like all need are some retort pouches. Still, processing time is 90 minutes at 15psi for meat. Perhaps some marinated beef short ribs?

Cheers, RickG



Rick:
Retort canning is perfect for many things, but requires a chamber vacuum sealer for practical purposes, with a seal bar that is hot enough to seal the mylar bags. Those bags are not cheap, but it's worth it to have canned goods in non-glass packages.

I've played with food preservation and canning all my adult life and before. This experiment is to see if I can preserve meat in a seemingly fresh medium rare condition at room temp. The deep fry browns only the surface, and is essentially indistinguishable from grilling, except it lacks the grill marks. The interior is that perfect medium rare taste, aroma, color and texture, and using sous vide there is no browning beyond the surface, or drying out. The premise here is that I if I can kill all spoilage microbes, in the absence of air, the meat will last indefinitely in this state.

I would irradiate if it were possible to do it at home.....That kills everything. A dangerous process!


Canned meat has nothing like the flavor, color, or texture of fresh grilled meat... it's like Swiss steak....... a process only suited to inferior cuts of meat. The extended exposure to high temps does it in.



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Old 29-08-2019, 12:01   #15
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Re: A mad experiment

You've got me thinking. Let us know how it works out.

Cheers, RickG
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