Sous vide -- tenderizing cheap cuts of beef

There are so many general sous vide threads here, but I wonder if anyone has experience using sous vide to turn a cheap, tough cut of beef into something heavenly.

I thought I was almost there when I tried an Eye of Round for 4 hours at 129F. It came out perfectly rosy rare, tender, and tasted amazingly great. So great, that I had to go and ruin it by trying to make it better. The 4-hour cook could have been just a little more tender, I thought, so I tried another Eye of Round at the same temp for about 20 hours. (There are many recipes online that specify 30 hours.)

The result was OK, but nothing to rave about like the 4-hour version. The 24-hour version was less rare, and while very tender, some flavor was lost. There also seemed to be a little mushiness. Maybe next time I’ll split the difference and cook for 8 hours or so.

Also, any thoughts on salting beef, before cooking or during? I’m not sure if it makes a difference or not, but prior to my 4-hour cook I’d salted for 24 hours, and prior to the 20-hour cook the salt was on for only about 12 hours.

I’ve cooked chuck roast for 48 hours and it was very tender. Somewhat like rib roast. I did salt and season it beforehand but don’t really know if the salt had anything to do with tenderizing.

How rare do you like it, and what temperature did you use?

My understanding that trying to predict and time the breakdown of collagen at temps less then 150 or so is a crap shoot.

Chuck roast at 135 deg F for 24 hours is great. The collagen renders into gelatin and gives a wonderful texture to the finished meat. I’ve never tried eye round in the sous vide. My feeling is that eye round just doesn’t have enough connective tissue to benefit from this style of cooking. In fact, I haven’t cooked eye round in decades. For my taste it’s too lean to be flavorful.

You don’t mention if you cooked the roast whole or if you cut it up first. According toA Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cookingyou should cut the roast into pieces no more than 2.75 inches thick, salt and pepper, and cook at 131F for about 24 hours.

Baldwin also mentions using a Jaccard and I wholeheartedly agree; I use it on almost all the meat I cook with any method, not just sous vide.

Eye of round is sort of a bland cut to begin with.
It’s surprising the first one was so good, not that the second one was so-so.

My “Sous Vide for the home cook” book says 140 degrees for medium and 1-2 days. I’m pretty sure that’s what I did. I know it was 46-48 hours.

Not a process for when you’re hungry NOW.

Eye of round is the one cut of beef that I have absolutely no use for. There really are absolutely no redeeming qualities about it that I’ve been able to find. Weird thing is, it’s usually priced more than top round and bottom round (and a bunch of other cuts which I find fantastic, like chuck and shank), which I actually do find useful and with similar properties, but having just a bit more beef flavor and just a bit more fat to them to make them worthwhile.

So what’s the best cut for this? I’m hearing chuck roast.