First You Must Cool The Steak
Once your steak is done cooking in the sous vide water bath, remove it from the plastic bag and pat it dry with a paper towel.
Moisture is the enemy when you try finish your steak with a sear. You will also notice your steak is an unappetizing gray color. That is normal. Once you sear your steak, it will develop that nice brown coloring with an outer crust.
Its also important to let the steak cool before you sear the steak. Directly out of the sous vide water bath, the steak is a perfect 131 degrees or whatever you set you immersion circulator to. If you go straight to a pan or grill to sear the meat, it will heat the inside up past 131 degrees.
If you cool the dried steak in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before searing, this will cool the steak down just enough to allow it to not overcook during searing. This way you can keep it on the skillet or grill for 2 minutes per side resulting in the perfect crust.
Can I Add Fresh Aromatics To The Sous Vide Bag
Yes, you can. Fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or parsley sprigs, or raw aromatics like shallots and garlic, can be added to the bag before cooking. Because sous vide can concentrate flavors, start with a small amount the first time you use aromatics in sous vide cooking. If you are searing your meat afterward, adding the same aromatics to the pan as you sear will bolster that flavor.
What Are The Cons
Unfortunately, there are some downsides to sous vide cooking. First, it takes longer to cook. Because the water doesnt go above a certain temperature, the food needs to cook for a longer period of time before its safe to consume.
Second, you usually need to finish off your meats in a pan. Though its fully cooked, theres no crust when you use a water bath. So, you need to sear it in a pan at the end. So long, one-dish dinners.
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Cooking Foods That Dont Agree With Your Machine
To sous vide, or not to sous vide? Some cooks have had great success with their steaks and roasts, so they try to cook virtually everything sous vide and end up disappointed with some of their creations. Some foods are not meant to be cooked using this method, like breaded chicken tenders or dry baked goods for example.
Remember to have patience, and youll likely find some foods that you insist on cooking sous vide.
What Are The Benefits Of Sous Vide
One of the main benefits is complete control of the finished temperature, along with edge-to-edge cooking at exactly the same doneness. For cooks who arent good at cooking a steak to the right temperature, sous vide makes it easy, with just a sear at the end to get a good crust.
Another benefit is the ability to cook tough meats in a new way. Meat that was previously destined for pot roast can be turned into a tender medium-rare roast. Any food that can benefit from precise temperature control, like yogurt or custard, can be cooked perfectly every time, without the risk of overcooking. Another benefit is that once the food is in the water, the cooking is completely hands-off, and a little extra cooking time wont cause a disaster, so the food can stay warm when guests are late. While sous vide often takes longer to cook than traditional methods, its often more convenient.
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Best Steaks For Sous Vide
You can use any cut of steak that is 1-2 inches thick. The cooking chart above will work for any of your favorite steaks, assuming it doesnt exceed 2 inches in thickness. Larger steaks are best because they can easily be shared with multiple people, for example, a 2-inch thick 2-pound porterhouse is an amazing candidate for sous vide.
- Filet mignon
- London broil
Using A Sous Vide Machine
I found my Sous Vide Machine off of Amazon for a reasonable price. I have the Anova Culinary Sous Vide Nano and it works extremely well. I also got some vacuum sealed bags for the steak which removes the air which prevents it from floating. You want the steak fully immersed in the water to have it cook evenly. Ziploc bags with all the air removed manually also can work, as long as you have something heavy holding the steak down in the water.
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Searing Your Steak On The Grill
What Youll Need To Cook A Sous Vide Steak
The answer is: not a whole lot. But you will need two essential pieces of equipment and a pan for searing.
- A good vacuum sealing system After all, you dont want to ruin your $15 steak by having water enter the cooking bag. My favorite is the FoodSaver® V4440 2-in-1 Automatic Vacuum Sealing System along with FoodSaver® 3PK 11 Vacuum Seal Rolls.
Im kinda obsessed with my machine. I am guilty of having food go bad more often than Id like to admit, but ever since I started using FoodSaver®, this problem is not an issue anymore. No wonder they are the number 1 vacuum sealing system in the US! It truly works and is great for sous vide steak and other food as well.
The vacuum sealing system removes air from the bag so that food is protected from the deteriorating effects of oxygen and creates an airtight seal to lock in freshness and protect food from spoiling .
The rolls are also awesome as they are specifically designed to withstand boiling temperatures and are very durable, resisting punctures and tearing while cooking. Available in a variety of sizes, they are also safe for microwave, freezer and refrigerator.
You can find both these products at Amazon. And because FoodSaver® peeps are superb, you can get them for 20% off from 6/4 to 6/9! Just click the links below or click the products in the shoppable image above.
- A Sous Vide machine, aka an immersion circulator.
- A cast iron pan for searing the steak after its cooked.
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Sous Vide Just Doesn’t Feel The Same
Lastly, it’s worth noting that some just feel that sous vide cooking takes all of the excitement out of the cooking process. The Guardian likens sous vide to “boil in a bag” cooking, a process that removes all of the fun, as well as the senses, from the cooking experience. For those who really enjoy cooking at home, cooking comes with a lot of sights, sounds, smells, and textures all of which are lost when you’re simply throwing some ingredients into a vacuum-sealed bag and plopping it into some water for a few hours. As The Guardian notes, “No touching, smelling, tasting, listening, looking, or engaging with the food is required. Science has got your back. Sous vide has taken all the guesswork out of cooking. It has also sucked out its soul.”
So, before you jump onto the sous vide trend, take that into consideration. Is cooking at home a pleasurable process for you, an experience that you fully enjoy or are you just trying to get a good meal on the table?
When Should I Season My Meat
People often ask if it’s ok to salt and bag meat before storing, or even freezing. Salt is more than just a flavoring agent. It can have a strong impact on the texture of meat as it dissolves muscle proteins and works its way inside. Seasoning immediately before bagging and cooking will have a minimal effect, but storing the meat with salt can alter its texture, turning it from raw and meaty to somewhat firm and ham-like with time. Some folks find this texture off-putting. I personally don’t mind it, particularly in meats you would traditionally brine, like chicken, pork, or fish. To avoid this texture in red meat, it’s best to season it immediately before cooking, or after cooking sous vide and before searing.
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How To Sous Vide Without The Fancy Machine
This method basically involves heating food just enough so that it reaches the exact “doneness” you desire, with no risk of over- or under- cooking. Tools like immersion circulators and Sous Vide Supreme baths do make the process faster and easier, but they are not a requirement. All you need is a digital thermometer and some Ziploc plastic bags, and you’re good to go. Really!
The key to cooking food successfully with the stove-top method is holding the water at a steady temperature long enough to cook the food. To do this, you’ll need to adjust the stove’s burner, as well as the placement of your pot on top if it. Keep in mind that you’re constantly losing heat through the sides of the pot and from the evaporation of water, so there’s no getting around the fact that your temperature will fluctuate a bit. Stick with it — if you keep your water within a degree or two, you’re doing great.
Let’s start cooking sous vide!
STEP 1: PREPARE A WATER BATH.
Fill your pot with water. Leave enough room at the top so that the water won’t overflow once you add food.
STEP 2: MOUNT A THERMOMETER ON THE SIDE OF THE POT .
Use a skewer or a heavy-duty clip clamp to mount the digital thermometer to the side of the pot, or you can just stick the thermometer in the water now and again to check its temperature. If you really want to set it and forget it, we recommend the clamp.
STEP 3: HEAT WATER.
STEP 4: PLACE FOOD IN A ZIPLOC BAG.
STEP 5: COOK.
STEP 6: SEAR .
STEP 7: SEASON AND SERVE!
Searing A Sous Vide Steak
Once your sous vide steak has cooked for the programmed amount of time, it will look a bit well, not appetizing! It is missing the crust, the wow factor that everybody likes in a steak.
But no worries, just pat dry and then sear it for a minute per side in a pipping hot cast iron or finish it outdoors on the grill.
After a few months playing with sous vide cooking, I must confess that I overcooked my steaks a few times, because I was after a nice brown crust. The truth is, if you keep your steak too long in the cast iron, it will overcook and you will lose that perfect sous vide temperature. So I just quickly sear and then finish with a hand torch for some steakhouse-quality char.
So, how does it sound? Easy, right?
I cant wait to share other sous vide recipes with you guys. There is a lot to explore and Im sure you will be hooked as I am!
- 1 steak , about 1 pound
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Aromatics: thyme and rosemary
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
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What Can You Sous Vide
The list of possible foods is quite large, and growing larger, as chefs and home cooks experiment with the possibilities. Meats are typical, including everything from beef to lamb to pork. Seafood can be cooked gently using sous vide with no chance of overcooking. Some vegetables also do well with sous vide cooking, albeit at a higher temperature than meats. Custard can be cooked in small canning jars, and foods like polenta also do well. And thats just the beginning of the list.
How Long Does Sous Vide Take
When cooking using sous vide, the temperature controls doneness, but time controls tenderness. Theres always a little wiggle room with the time since the food wont overcook the way it can in an oven. Shrimp might cook from 15 minutes to an hour, steak might cook from one to four hoursor even longer, depending on the thickness of the meat as well as the cut. Very tough meats might cook for 24 to 72 hours, and sometimes longer.
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Cooking Time And Temperature
Sous vide cooking is all about mastering time and temperature. These two factors determine the finaltexture and flavor of your dish. Selecting the correct cooking temperature is all about knowing yourdesired doneness.
Cooking time is less strict, but still important. Sous vide foods must cook long enough to reach their targettemperature and eliminate any potential bacteria. Many animal proteins have an upperlimit for cooking times as well after four hours or so, their structure begins to break down and turnmushy. So while you have a much larger window for cooking times in the Anova than in an oven, you stilldo need to pay a little bit of attention to the timeline.
Want more details? All of our recipes include time and temperature suggestions. Weve also created a fewtime and temperature guidelines for common sousvide dishes, like steak, chicken breasts, and hamburgers.
Breville Joule Sous Vide Machine
Having pre-cooked, vacuum-sealed proteins at your disposal makes dinner a hell of a lot easier. Maybe you’re hosting a dinner party and don’t have the time to dedicate to 12 pork chops. Sous vide them before hand, and sear them up right before dinner is served . But what if it’s just you? Still worth it?
You can have sous vide cooked chicken stashed in your freezer, ready for dinner any night of the weekwe dressed ours up with pesto. Get the recipe here.
Sous vide is supremely useful in meal prep situations for lazy weeknight dinners. Since your protein is sealed and cooked through, it will last in the fridge for at least a week. Once your meat comes to room temperature, youre a quick-sear away from an impressive Wednesday night dinner. Less of a mess. Less time spent standing over a stove. Less stress, in general. If you have a problem with that, well, we cant really help you.
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Poorly Handling Sous Vide Pouches
If water from the bath gets into you sous vide pouch, this can create something that looks more like a mess than a meal. You want to make sure your sandwich bags or vacuum-sealed pouches are properly sealed before you submerge them. If youre really serious, you might even consider silicone bags.
When it comes to sous vide, tongs are not your friend. They can smash your delicate fish fillets. Also, picking up sous vide bags with sharp tools like tongs can puncture your bags. Foods like asparagus, nuts, or other foods with sharp stems can puncture your bags if you dont use caution when placing them in your sous vide pouches.
Cooking for a large group? You can put several cuts of fish or other meats in the same pouch. But, if you neglect to stir the pouch around from time to time, youll end up with one big giant connected piece of meat, instead of delicious single portion fillets.
Floating can also be an issue. Make sure you weigh down your bags down, clip them to hold them in place, or follow your manufacturers instructions for how to prevent floating. ChefSteps recommends placing a butter knife or spoon in the bag with your food to weigh it down.
How Should I Season The Steak
My go-to method is to just season the steak with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper before sealing them in the bag. Easy and classic.
Sprinkle the salt and pepper from high above . This might sound messy, but it allows the salt and pepper to float through the air and disperse evenly over the surface of the meat. The closer you are to the meat as you season it, the more the sprinkling of the salt and pepper will fall JUST where your fingers are, not all over the steak.
You can also season the steak with fresh herbs, like a couple of sprigs of thyme or a branch of rosemary, or slice up some fresh garlic and use that as well. Common pantry spices and ingredients such as garlic salt, paprika, chili powder, oregano, and a touch of brown sugar are also great.
And, of course, you can use your favorite steak rub. Whether its a homemade rub or a store-bought one, be sure to season your steak liberally, up to an hour ahead, before placing it in the resealable bag.
Also keep in mind the seasoning will be diluted a bit by the juices that the steak produces in the sealed bag while cooking. So you might want to re-season the steak with more spices after youve cooked it and before you sear it, to create an additional layer of flavor.