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I currently have a 2 lbs beef chuck in the oven. I am monitoring the internal temperature of my meat, which is currently at 140 F.

It is my understanding that cuts located close to hoof/horn and contain a lot of connective tissue should be cooked to an internal temperature of 190-195 for tenderness and juiciness.

I am looking for a guide for cuts with a lot of connective tissue, i.e. how different internal temperatures result in different meat textures.

  • That's not completely out of the range of expectation, but moist vs dry heat does make a difference. It's not all about temperature. – Jolenealaska Apr 24 '14 at 7:06
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    @Jolenealaska Its not so much moist versus dry as time at temperature, where the necessary time is shorter the higher the temperature. The moist cooking methods like braising tend to achieve higher internal temperatures, and so are faster. – SAJ14SAJ Apr 24 '14 at 7:11
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For fast cooking meats, like steaks and tender roasts, the final temperature is the determiner of how well done the cut is because the doneness is directly related to which proteins have denatured. As the temperature increases, more of the several types of proteins have been effected. This process concludes around 165 F / 74 C when the meat is well done.

All low and slow dishes, whether braised, barbecued, or slow roasted are cooked well past the point of being well done.

Therefore, the internal temperature is less a guide to how well done they are and what the final texture is like.

These types of slow cooked high connective tissue cuts like beef chuck or pork butt require time at temperature because the conversion of the collagen to gelatin takes place over time, with the process proceeding more quickly the higher the temperature.

For large cuts done very with dry barbecue methods, this could take 12 to 18 hours; for smaller cuts done in the oven or braising which achieves a higher temperature, it could take only 3 or 4. The size of the pieces also matters, as it takes time to heat the pieces through to the center, which is why stews where the meat is cut into chunks can be done in only a couple of hours.

The very best test for doneness when doing low and slow cooking is therefore to check the texture directly. Try cutting the meat, or pulling it apart. If it is not yet as tender as you desire, continue the cooking.

That said, you may find that the final internal temperature when done to your liking has risen as high as 200 F / 93 C or so but this is not necessarily so.

See also:

  • In my case, I had a 2 lb beef chuck wrapped in aluminum foil with beef broth and red wine. I set the oven temp to 190 F and left it overnight. The temperature had only risen to 165 F after 8.5 hours. For big piece cuts like a chuck, I would think that application of low heat such as 250 F until internal temp gets to 190-195 should result in a tender cut...?Btw I took it out at 165, some of the connective tissue had broken down, but I still need to use some floss after eating it :) – l3win Apr 25 '14 at 1:04

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