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#173711 - 01/10/13 11:06 AM Cooking raw meat in a stew
akjone02 Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/10/13
Posts: 3
As part of keeping my pack light, one of my stainless steel water bottles doubles as my cooking device at camp. I boil water in it over a simple alcohol burner and can make basics like oatmeal or packaged soup.

I'd like to do something more advanced. I hoped to bring a bag of cubed beef and stew it. Can I throw raw beef in with veggies and water and let it boil for a long time? Some people have said it all gets cooked, so putting in raw beef is no problem. Others have insisted that you must cook meat before putting it in stew or else it contaminates everything. Since I really only have a means of boiling water it would be much easier if I could do this all in one go.

What do you think? Can I boil the raw meat or must it be precooked?


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#173713 - 01/10/13 11:57 AM Re: Cooking raw meat in a stew [Re: akjone02]
balzaccom Online   content
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1731
Loc: Napa, CA
OK---the rules here are the same as the rules at home. Anthing that can spoil (and meat can spoil) can spend no more than 4 hours between 40 and 140 degrees before it can spoil.become unsafe. Once it's unsafe, boiling may or may not make it safe again. It certainly won't remove the flavor of spoilage.

So: if you freeze that beef, and carry it in a well insulated backpack for four hours, you should be fine. Two days? NOPE>

And just to clarify--to make a good stew you have to let it simmer for quite awhile. That uses a lot of fuel...
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#173714 - 01/10/13 12:14 PM Re: Cooking raw meat in a stew [Re: akjone02]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 848
Loc: Torrance, CA
Originally Posted By akjone02
....

What do you think? Can I boil the raw meat or must it be precooked?



As far as I am aware precooking raw beef has nothing to do with food safety. If you are stewing it for hours, there isn't going to be much that could survive those temperatures.

Pre-cooking or browning the meat in a stew is all about flavor. It is all about the Maillard reaction (the browning of the sugars in the beef) which brings out a lot of flavor.

so... there is a good reason to brown the meat, but you don't have to. Since you already have a pot, why not brown the meat first? If you are concerned with the mess of the brown bits at the bottom of the pot (fond.... so much flavor), when you add the water, it should deglaze nicely.

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#173721 - 01/10/13 03:14 PM Re: Cooking raw meat in a stew [Re: balzaccom]
akjone02 Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/10/13
Posts: 3
Originally Posted By balzaccom
if you freeze that beef,

Absolutely. My wife was given a free arm warmer thing when she bought her running shoes. It's supposed to insulate but be quick to take off when a run starts cold and gets warm. She doesn't use it, but I do smile. A hunk of frozen meat wrapped in that thing is still nice and frosty after a good day's hike.

Originally Posted By balzaccom
And just to clarify--to make a good stew you have to let it simmer for quite awhile. That uses a lot of fuel...

My stove works fine as a tiny wood box for a solid fuel fire or as a good stand for an alcohol burner. For this I would use twigs rather than burn through (pun intended) my fuel supply. I plan to get it started and keep feeding it wood while I set up camp, unwind, etc.

Originally Posted By BZH
Since you already have a pot, why not brown the meat first?

I don't really have a pan suitable for cooking meat. I almost bought one to bring with me, but I'm trying really hard to keep my supplies, and weight, to a minimum. I bring two large stainless steel waterbottles with me. By the time I hit camp, one should be empty so I fill it up with water, plop it on the stove and boil. In the morning I make oatmeal, at night usually soup or pasta with oil.

The simplest thing to do is, of course, just wrap a steak in foil and put it in a camp fire. The idea of stewing it is because I'd love to have real meat out on the trail and not need to build a full out fire or bring a specialty pot.

Thanks for the replies so far

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#173735 - 01/10/13 08:10 PM Re: Cooking raw meat in a stew [Re: akjone02]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Wouldn't you save weight with Gatorade type water bottles and a lightweight (titanium?) pot? Stainless steel water bottles strike me as very heavy...

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#173737 - 01/10/13 08:58 PM Re: Cooking raw meat in a stew [Re: oldranger]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 749
Loc: Eastern Sierras
As stated browning the meat prior to stewing has only to do with flavor. As long as your meat is safe there is no problem stewing raw meat. I do it all winter!
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#173747 - 01/11/13 09:47 AM Re: Cooking raw meat in a stew [Re: oldranger]
akjone02 Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/10/13
Posts: 3
Originally Posted By oldranger
Wouldn't you save weight with Gatorade type water bottles and a lightweight (titanium?) pot? Stainless steel water bottles strike me as very heavy...

Sure. The bottles are 7 OZ. A titanium pot looks to weigh maybe 5oz depending on the brand. Assuming an empty Gatorade bottle weighs 1oz I could use two Gatorade bottles and 1 pot for about 7 oz vs 2 stainless bottles for 14, a savings of 7oz.

I'd say that's pretty good weight savings, but I like the stainless bottles for a few reasons. They can work as a pot so they save me some room even if they don't save me weight. Also, when possible I can boil water right in them for purification, rather than use tablets/drops. In the winter I can boil one and let it cool while I use my other, then switch up.

Originally Posted By rockchucker22
As stated browning the meat prior to stewing has only to do with flavor.

This seems to be the consensus, so thanks for all the replies smile. I'll probably give it a try at home and see how the taste works out. If all goes well I'll bring it on the trail with me


Edited by akjone02 (01/11/13 09:49 AM)

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#173774 - 01/12/13 12:11 PM Re: Cooking raw meat in a stew [Re: akjone02]
JPete Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Eastern Ontario
I haven't tried this in years, but have done it several times (back when I could plan on cooking over a wood fire). What I found was that it took a couple of hours of simmering to get the meat tender, it ended up tasting like boiled beef, and the vegetables turned to mush. best, jcp

PS, It just occurred to me that if you browned the meat at home (fairly thoroughly)
it would last a day or so longer.


Edited by JPete (01/12/13 12:15 PM)

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#173783 - 01/12/13 02:35 PM Re: Cooking raw meat in a stew [Re: JPete]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
You could brown the meat at home, chill it promptly and then freeze it. Just the browning won't kill all the bacteria, though, so you need to cool it down fast and keep it really cold to prevent bacterial growth!

Better, brown the meat in your cooking pot, add water and seasonings and let it simmer an hour, then add the veggies the last 40 minutes. That's what you'd do at home!

Even frozen, I wouldn't take raw meat for more than the first night, unless the weather is quite cool. Bacterial growth starts when it's defrosted on the outside.

If you're doing real cooking, you're far better off with an anodized aluminum pot rather than titanium--aluminum conducts the heat far more evenly. Titanium is fine for boiling water, but for real cooking you'll have burned spots and raw spots, not a recipe for either tasty food or safe cooking conditions! Yes, the aluminum pot will weigh an ounce or two more, but the results will be well worth it!

Note that most metal water bottles have a plastic lining, something avoided in their advertising during the BPA scare. You therefore will be releasing BPA into your water if you try boiling in them! If you're doing real cooking, you're better off--and probably lighter--with two pots (one for the stew and a smaller one for water) than using metal bottles.


Edited by OregonMouse (01/12/13 02:42 PM)
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#173853 - 01/14/13 06:23 PM Re: Cooking raw meat in a stew [Re: akjone02]
PDA Offline
member

Registered: 10/05/10
Posts: 75
Depending on the meat used, time to make a stew will be 2 to 4 hours, in order that the meat will tenderize. Yes it can be done, but IMO is a waste of ones outdoor experience time. If you want a good stew, make it at home where you can watch the box or do your taxes while the stew simmers. Then portion and freeze. Take the frozen, insulated packages of stew for the first day, then you only need to reheat to eat. Alternatively, cook at home using suitable sized pieces of food (e.g. ground beef), then dehydrate and carry light for as long as you need before rehydrating and heating. Either way, you get the satisfaction of eating food you prepare yourself, but with an ease of use in camp that gives you time for outdoor activities.
As with all camping type activities, you should try it out at home in your back yard to find out whether you might actually enjoy it when out camping or hiking.
For me, there are enough possibilities for illness on the trail without enhancing it by bringing along PHFs (potentially hazardous foods).

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#173855 - 01/14/13 07:32 PM Re: Cooking raw meat in a stew [Re: PDA]
Samoset Offline
member

Registered: 07/04/08
Posts: 429
Loc: Newnan ,GA
Skip the beef Think, Bacon cheddar potato soup

pre cooked Bacon, instant potatoes , nido, butter substitute, fresh chives and some love!
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#173976 - 01/17/13 02:31 PM Re: Cooking raw meat in a stew [Re: OregonMouse]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By OregonMouse

Note that most metal water bottles have a plastic lining, something avoided in their advertising during the BPA scare. You therefore will be releasing BPA into your water if you try boiling in them!


The stainless bottles by klean kanteen and similar have no plastic liner. You can boil in them, no problem, as long as they are single walled. All the aluminum bottles are lined with plastic.
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