So, I’ve had many sous vide successes over the years but yesterday suffered what feels like a big failure and I’ve no idea why.

Long story short, I had a 2kg beef topside joint which I seasoned with plenty of salt and pepper then cooked for four hours at 56C. When I took it out of the water it felt deliciously soft- even delicate. I cooled it immediately in a cold water bath and then left it in the fridge overnight.

The next day I blasted it in the air fryer on as hot as it gets until the fat left on it browned and caramelised. At this point it looked and smelled fantastic.

The problem is that when sliced and served the meat is extremely chewy and not nice at all to eat. Parts of it that were not chewy were absolutely delightful and tasted great but so far the majority of it has needed prolonged chewing then spit out what’s left of that mouthful. It breaks my heart to see a mountain of chewed meat left on a plate!

So I’m wondering what I did wrong? Most recipes online suggested 56C and 4hrs were the correct choices. At this point I’m stumped. Could it just be as simple as a tough piece of meat? What can I do to save it, since I’m not really looking forward to eating any more of it right now?

  • 1
    How thick were your slices, and were they perpendicular, parallel, or oblique to the grain?
    – Sneftel
    Apr 12, 2021 at 11:15
  • I sliced across the grain.
    – user19666
    Apr 12, 2021 at 12:10
  • 1
    Most likely the culprit was the topside. If you get the specials, I recommend treating them about 12 hours per kilo, or as you would treat chuck if you wanted it to come out tender.
    – Tim Post
    Apr 12, 2021 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


Your process is in line with the practice of sous vide and cooking beef topside roast, which leads me to believe that the culprit is your particular cut of beef. Did you purchase at a reputable butcher shop, or pick it up from the shelf of a grocer? In either case, it might be worth a conversation with a knowledgeable butcher for some advice for next time. In the mean time, maybe mince or grind the leftovers and use for a pasta filling like an agnolotti.

  • 1
    This was discount topside from Costco, so probably not the greatest cut ever.I guess this simply falls into the category of “topside I need to sous vide for 24hrs” rather than “topside I need to sous vide for 4hrs”. I suppose I could have anticipated this...
    – user19666
    Apr 12, 2021 at 12:12

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