I have been cooking this meat

enter image description here in 200-250f for hours. But its still very tough. It doesnt stand the fork test.

Why? Could it be because the collagen needs lower temperatures to break down?

  • What temp is the meat it self?
    – draksia
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 17:19
  • above 145f @draksia
    – Bar Akiva
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 17:30
  • 1
    How many hours? I'm pretty awful at identifying cuts of meat, but some things take quite a while to break down enough to be tender, and that looks like a big enough piece of meat that it'd have taken quite a long time to heat through at 200-250F.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 17:31
  • Is that a short rib?
    – talon8
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 18:02
  • 1
    @GdD collagen rich beef cooked to the point of tenderness (melting the collagen) doesn't require resting. Resting is needed if you have meat low in collagen and you are trying to cook it to the point of myosin denaturing but leaving the actin and collagen intact. But if the OP had this meat, cooked it for hours and it turned out tough, it is overcooked beyond salvation.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 18:37

1 Answer 1


When you're cooking something like a steak, or a prime rib roast and aim for a cooking temperature of say 135ish, you want it to be medium rare. The goal isn't to break anything down. Collagen starts to break down slowly above 160F, and will melt much more rapidly closer to 180F.

Further more, iff you have any cut of meat that requires breakdown of collagen, measuring the temperature is an insufficient indicator of done-ness.

. Collagen breakdown is a function of temperature and time. The lower the temperature, the longer it takes to break down, but it will still eventually break down. This is what makes tenderizing a brisket in a 155°F water bath possible, given enough time. Taken from this article on Serious Eats: The Food Lab

Taking a look at a random sampling of short rib recipes (I'm assuming that's what you have), at 300-350F, cooking times are in the 3-4 hour mark. At 200-250F, I'd expect much longer.

  • When you say collagen melts at 160f, you mean the MEAT has to be at 160f or the oven as to be at 160f?
    – Bar Akiva
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 6:44
  • 1
    Specifically the collagen needs to be at 160f (so yes, the meat temperature). You could in theory do it at an oven of 160f, but it would take a really, really long time, and probably have other unwanted side effects.
    – talon8
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 14:51

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