Beef Stew -- can I braise longer?

I tried to cook a beef stew in my slow cooker last night. Recipe call for 8 hours on low, but the beef is still not tender. I think my slow cooker doesn't work well on low. I had to go to work, so I took the stew out and put it in the fridge. Question: If I braise it longer tonight, is it likely to become tender and edible? It is cooked through, but just too tough to enjoy at present, so my other option is to throw it out.

  • Posted by: Shallot
  • February 21, 2013


ChefOno February 21, 2013

I'd want to know what temperature that liquid was at for 8+ hours before eating it. Simmering would be a good sign but since it never did, there is the possibility it didn't make it to the Pasteurization point. I would set the unit back on low, let it warm up for a couple of hours and then check with a digital thermometer. If it's > 140, blame the meat.

Shallot February 21, 2013
Thanks for the advise. I will try to cook it some more. I do not think the low setting of my slow cooker gets the meat hot enough (it was not simmering), but since I tried to do this overnight while I slept, I didn't want to use the high setting. First time I've tried Trader Joe's precut stew beef -- usually I cut it myself.
pierino February 21, 2013
I highly encourage you to continue cutting the meat yourself. I'm not the biggest fan of Trader Joe's meat or vegetable products, even though I used to live close to the original store in Pasadena. Have you ever actually seen anyone cutting up meat at TJ's? Personally, I feel blessed that I live in a place where we have REAL butchers who will break down and trim a carcass and deliver anything I ask for. Speaking only for myself, I don't buy anything in foam trays or vacpacs. I want my food to be real.

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ChefOno February 21, 2013

I agree with everyone above. Pierino put his finger on the usual suspect, the cut of meat chosen for the task. You may have deduced another possible culprit yourself, temperature. The liquid must rise > 140F to break down the connective tissue to make a tough cut tender. Was the cooking liquid simmering when you got home?

pierino February 21, 2013
Possibly your problem is with the cut of meat you are using. For stewing you want something with at least some marbeling. And also be sure to brown the meat on your cook top before tossing it into the cooker. Add enough liquid (stock)but don't submerge it.
ChefJune February 21, 2013
In all probability the meat will become more tender with further cooking. I wouldn't throw it out!
Monita February 21, 2013
I wouldn't throw it out. Try cooking it longer and see what happens. If it's still not tender enough maybe you can use the meat in a hash or shredded on a sandwich
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