Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

argie916

Sous vide meat tender and just right, but flavors are missing...

Recommended Posts

I'm using the Anova circulator, which I think is fantastic.  I've tried sirloin and flatiron steaks so far, cooked at 133F(56C) for anywhere from 3 to 6 hours.  All came out perfectly medium rare-to-rare and tender.

 

After removing from the bag, I dry them with kitchen towels and then sear them in a heavy skillet with a little oil.  They look terrific, but i sorely miss the flavor of steaks prepared in the conventional ways.  I've tried salt & pepper after searing, as well as vacuum-bagging with dry garlic, oregano, a little pepper and a couple of other spices.  No difference.

 

What am I missing ?

 

George

Bedford, TX

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing you might try is searing before bagging as well as after: those Maillard flavors tend to get incorporated throughout the steak that way. I don't find the flavor to be the same as a conventionally-cooked steak, per se, but I like it as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found that I don't much care for finishing a steak in a cast iron skillet. For me, sous vide grilling does exactly what I want it to... imparts a lot of flavor in the final sear that you just don't get from a pan. I find that this matters much less for pork and chicken though. If you don't have a grill and must finish in a skillet, I find that the best flavor comes by using butter (which facilitates browning and also tastes good) and constantly basting the steak. Toss a clove of crushed garlic and a couple sprigs of thyme in there while basting and you'll get something with a lot more flavor than just searing it off in oil.

 

Also +1 Chris's suggestion to presear the meat before cooking. This not only helps develop a deeper flavor but also helps you refresh the crust much more quickly in the final sear, reducing the risk of overcooking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you sure the beef is the same as before?

 

Not all beef of the same cut taste the same. It depends on when and where you buy it.

 

dcarch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it's any consolation, argie916, you're not the only one who feels this way.  I've been doing sous vide for more than five years and have tried steaks many times, a couple dozen at least.  In my experience, there's simply no way to give a sous vide steak the same flavor as one cooked conventionally.  You have to decide which is more important to you, texture or flavor.  Personally, I opt for the latter.  Sounds like you're inclined the same direction.  That's okay.  There's no law that says one must prefer sous vide in all situations where it can be used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try grilling beforehand. You don't want to do that for long cooks but it won't be a problem for short ones. Consider the low-and-slow roast method Keller and Blumenthal advocate for rib roasts. They torch or otherwise sear it before parking it in the oven for a long time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The one time I made steaks sous-vide there was no lack of flavor. Does "conventional" mean grilling?

 

A couple of schools of thought in the steak world: "smoke and char flavors from the grill are essential to steak" and "smoke and char flavors from the grill detract from the steak." I think the varying quality of the meat has a lot to do with this. I belong to the second school, but my circumstances can't be divorced from this. I live in one of the few spots in the country where prime, dry aged beef is available retail, and I consider steak a special treat ... something to have every couple of months, and a reasonable excuse to destroy the food budget.

 

If either of these circumstances were different, I'd be buying less flavorful meat, an my prefered method would probably be the grill.

 

If not sous-vide, my favorite method for top quality steak is the stovetop. I've had plenty of good luck with both high/low temperature confentional sauteeing, and with the slow and steady Ducasse method. It's possible that both these methods give the meat enough time on the heat to infuse some smoke from the fat in the pan to infuse the meat. I don't know. 

 

One thing I'd like to improve with my sous-vide method is the char. I would like to go a little longer, perhas on a less hot pan (relying more on time and maillard-enhancing ingredients) and to use enough oil to concuct heat deeper into the surface irregularities of the meat.

 

I don't know if a pre-sear would be worth it or not. It takes a lot more time and energy to sear a cold piece of meat; so it's more challenging to keep the heat just to the surface.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been doing something that I think enhances the grill flavor, SV. I trim most of the fat and grizzle from the steak, then render the fat in a pan and heavily sear the grizzle/trimmings in the rendered beef fat. I put the fat and seared trimmings in the bag with the steak with no seasoning. SV to whatever temp you like, then I'll season with salt only and sear with the torch, then pepper afterwards because I find that the pepper granules tend to burn under the torch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been doing something that I think enhances the grill flavor, SV. I trim most of the fat and grizzle from the steak, then render the fat in a pan and heavily sear the grizzle/trimmings in the rendered beef fat. I put the fat and seared trimmings in the bag with the steak with no seasoning. SV to whatever temp you like, then I'll season with salt only and sear with the torch, then pepper afterwards because I find that the pepper granules tend to burn under the torch.

I'm going to try this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are also with you, my husband clearly prefers his steaks cooked either in the pan or on the grill. We decided that it is the way fat melts in your mouth, with sous vide meat feels leaner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

grilling before cooking caramelizes the natural sugars in the meat hence the beautiful flavour (but depends on quality/ aging of meat etc, more its aged the more tender it is), ive learnt in restaurants not to season meat before cooking (my old chef who worked 3 star michelin) but each person does it differently. reason to season after cooking is so that the salt does not draw the juices from the meat while its cooking which can toughen it and dry it out a bit compared to seasoning straight after its cooked. Ive found souvide meats tend to be better when its game or poultry, red meats i prefer to get that super hot pan and get the caramelisation happening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

grilling before cooking caramelizes the natural sugars in the meat hence the beautiful flavour (but depends on quality/ aging of meat etc, more its aged the more tender it is), ive learnt in restaurants not to season meat before cooking (my old chef who worked 3 star michelin) but each person does it differently. reason to season after cooking is so that the salt does not draw the juices from the meat while its cooking which can toughen it and dry it out a bit compared to seasoning straight after its cooked. Ive found souvide meats tend to be better when its game or poultry, red meats i prefer to get that super hot pan and get the caramelisation happening.

The pre/post seasoning issue has been well studied in laboratories and kitchens. We can say for sure that there is no issue with pre-salting drawing juices out of the meat and drying it out. The only issue is that if you salt too far in advance, the meat will start to cure, and change flavor and texture in ways you probably don't want. This is an issue with very long sous-vide cooking ... if you're going to be holding or cooking at low temperatures over 4 hours or so, it may be best to salt afterwards. Hervé This writes about this.

 

Re: Caramelization, check out articles on Maillard reactions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot depends on the cut. Muscle that has worked hard is tough but full of flavour. Cooking this type of cut sous vide for long periods tenderises it but retains flavour that you typically can't get in conventional tender cuts (unless you do significant dry aging).

I never pre sear but can see the benefit of KennethT's suggestion above.

One secret of post searing is to thoroughly dry the surface of the cooked meat. The other is to alkalise the surface, which accelerates maillardisation.

When I have fillet steak or other conventional cuts now I like the tenderness but hate the lack of flavour.

My suspicion is that those who like conventionally cooked meat like the texture gradient. Texture has a lot more effect on the eating experience than most people give it credit for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I have fillet steak or other conventional cuts now I like the tenderness but hate the lack of flavour.

 

 

Could that be due to the inherent lack of flavour in the meat? Some "popular" cuts of meat, while tender when cooked traditionally, tend to be relatively bland.

 

Recent arrival of a Sansaire is my sole experience with low temp cooking and I havent worked my way down my list to steaks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if a high grade quality beef is used and there is fat marbelling within the tenderloin fillet then there will be alot more flavour when seared compared to a fillet steak with minimal fat, as its a tender cut, low grade steaks have pretty much no fat whatsoever hence the lack of flavour but still tender as the two tenderloins on the beast does absolutly no movement compared to other parts that move like blade, rump etc, fat has alot of flavour when it comes to beef.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could that be due to the inherent lack of flavour in the meat? Some "popular" cuts of meat, while tender when cooked traditionally, tend to be relatively bland.

 

Recent arrival of a Sansaire is my sole experience with low temp cooking and I havent worked my way down my list to steaks.

Yep. my point exactly.

 

Working muscle is good steak. It just needs to be treated well to make it tender as well as flavoursome.

 

 

 

 

 

[HOST'S NOTE: The continuation of this discussion can be found in the topic Do "working" muscles have more flavor?]


Edited by Chris Hennes Added host's note. (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep. my point exactly.

 

Working muscle is good steak. It just needs to be treated well to make it tender as well as flavoursome.

Exactly! My favourite piece for sous vide is beef cheeks. Fantastic beefy flavour and melting with partially rendered fat and unctuous collagen. Sous vide liberates these fantastic qualities while retaining moisture.

Simon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...and no competition with conventionally cooked steak, it's a plane beyond.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm the one who placed the original post, and I wish to thank all who participated.  I've learned quite a bit.

 

I've read Hellen Rennie's blog (http://www.beyondsalmon.com/2011/06/why-sous-vide-sucks.html, but she's not knocking SV), in which she posits that many people are cooking sous vide meats much too long, which leads to a greater loss of juice and, perhaps, loss of flavor.  She's proposing to SV generally at 130F (54.5C) for only about one hour (varies shoewhat by meat cut).  She offers well-researched evidence for it.

 

Also, I read a technical paper on why the use of a Jaccard tool helps to make meat juicier, which appears to be counter-intuitive.

 

I wonder if some of the more experienced SVers might be able to expand on this.  Thank you.

 

George

Bedford, TX

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm the one who placed the original post, and I wish to thank all who participated.  I've learned quite a bit.

 

I've read Hellen Rennie's blog (http://www.beyondsalmon.com/2011/06/why-sous-vide-sucks.html, but she's not knocking SV), in which she posits that many people are cooking sous vide meats much too long, which leads to a greater loss of juice and, perhaps, loss of flavor.  She's proposing to SV generally at 130F (54.5C) for only about one hour (varies shoewhat by meat cut).  She offers well-researched evidence for it.

 

Also, I read a technical paper on why the use of a Jaccard tool helps to make meat juicier, which appears to be counter-intuitive.

 

I wonder if some of the more experienced SVers might be able to expand on this.  Thank you.

 

George

Bedford, TX

There are a number of threads on Jaccarding already. Check out this thread for a good discussion of the process. 


Edited by nickrey (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By boilsover
      Yes, the vacuum blender, Luddites.  http://www.gadgetreview.com/what-is-a-vacuum-blender
       
      I am waiting for the WiFi version, so I can turn my smoothie into soup from Mars.
    • By boilsover
      Solid intermediate cook, here.  Not especially intimidated by elaborate preps.  But I'm new to SV, and would like a recommendation for a cookbook for guidance and exploration.
       
      I was thinking of Tom Keller's Under Pressure, but I'm wondering if the preps he includes may not be the most generally useful.  What do you all like, and why?
       
      Thanks!
    • By Chris Hennes
      On Nov. 7, 2017, Modernist Bread will finally arrive on my doorstep. Having preordered it literally the first day it was available, to say I'm excited about this book is a bit of an understatement. The team at The Cooking Lab have been gracious enough to give @Dave the Cook and me early electronic access to the book and so I've spent the last week pouring over it. I'm just going to start with a few initial comments here (it's 2600 pages long, so a full review is going to take some time, and require a bunch of baking!). Dave and I would also be happy to answer any questions you've got.
       
      One of the main things I've noticed about this book is a change in tone from the original Modernist Cuisine. It comes across as less "everything you know is wrong" and more "eighty bazillion other bakers have contributed to this knowledge and here's our synthesis of it." I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Myhrvold and company are now the most experienced bread-bakers in the world. Not necessarily in terms of the number of identical loaves they've produced, but in the shear number of different recipes and techniques they've tried and the care with which they've analyzed the results. These volumes are a distillation of 100,000 years of human breadmaking experience, topped off with a dose of the Modernist ethos of taking what we know to the next level.
       
      The recipes include weight, volume, and baker's percentages, and almost all of them can be made by both a home baker and someone baking in a commercial facility. The home baker might need to compromise on shape (e.g. you can't fit a full-length baguette in most home ovens) but the book provides clear instructions for both the amateur and professional. The recipes are almost entirely concentrated in volumes 4 and 5, with very few in the other volumes (in contrast to Modernist Cuisine, where there were many recipes scattered throughout). I can't wait for the physical volumes to arrive so that I can have multiple volumes open at once, the recipes cross-reference techniques taught earlier quite frequently.
    • By eG Forums Host
      Introduction

      Welcome to the index for the Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques, & Equipment topic, one of the largest and most influential topics on eG Forums. (The topic has been closed to keep the index stable and reliable; you can find another general SV discussion topic here.) This index is intended to help you navigate the thousands of posts and discussions to make this rich resource more useful and accessible.

      In order to understand sous vide cooking, it's best to clear up some misconceptions and explain some basics. Sous vide cooking involves vacuum-sealing food in a plastic bag and cooking it in a water bath at precise temperatures. Though it translates literally as "under vacuum," "Sous vide" is often taken to mean "under pressure," which is a misnomer; not all SV cooking involves food cooked in conditions that exceed atmospheric pressure. (See below.) In addition, calculations for SV cooking involve not only time and temperature but also thickness. Finally, due to the anaerobic conditions inside the bag and the low temperatures used, food safety issues are paramount.

      You can read the basics of SV cooking and equipment here. In the summer of 2005, Nathan Myhrvold (Society member nathanm) posted this informative, "I'm now going to answer my own initial questions" post, which addresses just about everything up to that point. For what came next, read on -- and be sure to order Nathan Myhrvold's highly anticipated Modernist Cuisine book, due in spring 2011.

      As with all indexes of on-going discussions, this one has limitations. We've done our best to create a user-friendly taxonomy emphasizing the categories that have come up repeatedly. In addition, the science, technology, and recipes changed over time, and opinions varied greatly, so be sure to read updated information whenever possible.

      Therefore, we strongly encourage you to keep these issues in mind when reading the topic, and particularly when considering controversial topics related to food safety, doneness, delta T cooking, and so on. Don't read a first post's definitive claim without reading down the topic, where you'll likely find discussion, if not heated debate or refutation, of that claim. Links go to the first post in a series that may be discontinuous, so be sure to scan a bit more to get the full discussion.

      Recipes were chosen based solely on having a clear set of information, not on merit. Indeed, we've included several stated failures for reference. Where possible, recipes include temperature and time in the link label -- but remember that thickness is also a crucial variable in many SV preparations. (See below for more information on thickness.)

      History, Philosophy & Value of SV/LTLT Cooking

      Over the years, we've talked quite a bit about SV as a concept, starting with this discussion about how SV cooking got started. There have also been several people who asked, Why bother with SV in the first place? (See also this discussion.) What with all the electronics and plastic bags, we asked: Does SV food lack passion? Finally, there have been several discussions about the value of SV cooking in other eG Forums topics, such as the future of SV cooking, No More Sous Vide -- PLEASE!, is SV "real cooking," and what's the appeal of SV?

      Those who embrace SV initially seek ideas about the best applications for their new equipment. Discussions have focused on what a first SV meal should be -- see also this discussion -- and on the items for which SV/LTLT cooking is best suited. There's much more along those lines here, here, and here.

      Vacuums and Pressure in Sous Vide Cooking

      As mentioned above, there has been great confusion about vacuums, pressure, and their role SV cooking. Here is a selection of discussion points on the subject, arranged chronologically; please note that later posts in a given discussion may refute earlier ones:

      Do you need a vacuum for SV cooking, and, if so, why? What exactly is a "vacuum"? Click here, here, and ff. Are items in vacuum-sealed bags "under pressure"? Does a vacuum sealer create a vacuum inside the bag? Do you really need a vacuum, or can you use ZipLoc bags? Also see here, here, and here. If "sous vide" means "under pressure," aren't the items in the bag under pressure? There is more along these lines to be found in this discussion.  

      The Charts

      We've collected the most important of many charts in the SV topic here. Standing above the rest are Nathan Myhrvold's charts for cooking time versus thickness and desired core temperature. We worked with him to create these three reformatted protein tables, for beef, fish, and chicken & pork.

      Nathan provides additional information on his charts here. Information on how to read these charts can be found in this post. For an explanation of "rest time" in Nathan's tables, click here.

      Other Society members helped out as well. Douglas Baldwin references his heating time table for different geometric factors (slab/cylinder/sphere) here; the pdf itself can be found here. pounce created a post with all three tables as neatly formatted images. derekslager created two monospace font charts of Nathan's meat table and his fish table.

      Camano Chef created a cumulative chart with information gathered from other sources including Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc. Douglas Baldwin shared this chart devoted to pasteurizing poultry. PedroG detailed heat loss and steady state energy consumption of sous vide cookers in these charts.

      Finally, there is also an eG Forums topic on cooling rates that may be of interest.

      Acknowledgment & Comments

      This index was built by Chris Amirault, Director, eG Forums. It was reviewed by the eGullet Society volunteer team as well as many Society members. Please send questions or comments to Chris via messenger or email.
       
       
    • By Paul Bacino
      Wonder if someone could get me in the ballpark..the amount of Transglutamase...to make scallop noodles..    %  I mean
       
      ill use a food processor..to purée the scallop..  then inject into a water or broth..to cook?
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×