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chris_s

Sous vide steak - make-ahead options?

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Hello,

 

I'd like to get some steaks done SV and am trying to work out the timing in my head. I'd like to get food on the table within half an hour of getting home from work, which leaves me with a couple of options

 

1) use a cut of meat (blade steak, round steak, etc) that requires 10ish hours, and start it before I leave in the morning

2) use a tender cut (ribeye, t-bone, etc) and start it in the morning

3) use a tender cut and cook it for the prescribed minimum time the night before, then reheat when I get home

 

 

1 is certainly viable but I'm not familiar enough with these types of steaks to do this with utmost confidence

 

2 (according to internet lore) will result in mushy steak

 

3 I guess I would cook the steak ahead of time, leave it in the bag, then put it back in the water as soon as I get home to bring back up to temperature. How are the results with this type of thing? When I think "reheat" my brain goes to microwaved steak. 

 

All would be seared before consumption of course. 

 

 

Any suggestions?

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# 3 will work fine

 

keep a notebook of all your SV experiments : Cut / Store / time /

 

if you pasteurize, they will keep in a very cold refig for some time.  or freeze and to save a little time

 

take the nights out the night before and keep in the refirg.  then re-therm them while you enjoy a few glasses os wine.

 

once you get the hang of it and the cut you prefer, look for sales and 'bulk-up'


Edited by rotuts (log)
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There's not much advantage to precooking tender cuts because they take as long to reheat all the way through as they do to cook through the first time. The taste and texture don't suffer from reheating (it's not a microwave) but there's not a lot of time saved. The real advantage, as rotuts mentioned, is that pasteurized SV products will keep in the fridge for a long time without losing quality. So you can buy in bulk when things go on sale, pasteurize it, and then keep it in your fridge for a month if you want to.

 

Cooking tough cuts for a longer amount of time is always a good choice. The same thing applies about doing it in bulk; if you're going to cook 72 hour short ribs, you might as well make a boatload of them at once.

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One thing I do is put a timer on you machine so it is up to temp when I get home.

 

For smaller cuts that I'm gonna sear hard, I often re-warm them in tap water before searing, just to take off the chill.  Less effective with steak I think.

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""  5 minutes of searing ""

 

this might be enough to cook a tender cut

 

but these will be ( eventually ) cooked perfectly to your taste 

 

which is what really matters so keep track of each Experiment so you can refer back to them

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If you really need to serve it a half hour after getting home, that's tough, cook-chill should work nicely if you can afford a bit more time.

 

Just cook any steaks SV, and chill, storing in the fridge in their bags.

 

When you get home, fill a big pot with hot water from the tap first thing (know your tap water temp and make sure it's not hotter than your final cooking temp. Mine is about 52C, so this works out well. Toss in the bags of steaks and cover. Give them a half hour or so .. the core temperature will rise to 30C or 40C, depending on thickness. You can set the table, change, prepare other things in this time. 

 

Then preheat the bejeezus out of a pan and sear. The internal temperature will continue to rise as you sear, and will continue some more for a few minutes. If you're making a pan sauce, move the meat to heated plates and loosely cover. By the time you serve, the meat will be warm all the way through. Not hot, but medium-rare meat is never actually hot.

 

If you're planning to do this, make sure your steaks are no more than 1.5" thick. 1.25 will heat through faster.


Notes from the underbelly

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If using a tender cut, I would suggest forgoing SV and have them pre seasoned and waiting in the fridge until you come home. Then out of the fridge and into a hot pan or grill to sear and cook. With the resting time you are just about at 30 min.

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my reasons for wanting to SV is for precision doneness and new-toy factor. not necessarily in that order. And grilling/tenting a 1.5" steak in 30 minutes is a bit of a stretch also. My audience is pretty well trained to eat at 5pm so stretching much more than 15 minutes beyond that is not a good idea. 

 

One option that I didn't mention (and haven't tested the viability of) is putting the steak in the water in the morning, setting a start-timer on the SV, and tell it to start at let's say 2 hours before I get home. Now I hear the food safety people getting their wagging fingers ready, but I wonder if I filled my vessel with ice and water, if it would be able to maintain a safe temperature for 8 hours. this is something I can pretty easily test out. The other variable will be how long it takes my SV to heat ice water to cooking temperature. also not too hard to test. 

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my reasons for wanting to SV is for precision doneness and new-toy factor. not necessarily in that order. And grilling/tenting a 1.5" steak in 30 minutes is a bit of a stretch also. My audience is pretty well trained to eat at 5pm so stretching much more than 15 minutes beyond that is not a good idea. 

 

One option that I didn't mention (and haven't tested the viability of) is putting the steak in the water in the morning, setting a start-timer on the SV, and tell it to start at let's say 2 hours before I get home. Now I hear the food safety people getting their wagging fingers ready, but I wonder if I filled my vessel with ice and water, if it would be able to maintain a safe temperature for 8 hours. this is something I can pretty easily test out. The other variable will be how long it takes my SV to heat ice water to cooking temperature. also not too hard to test. 

 

This would work if the steak was kept out of the danger zone (>5C/41F) for less than four hours, including cooking time.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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then again, the best way to really understand

 

SV

 

is to fine some time

 

perhaps w a glass or two of Methode Rotuts

 

and take a look at the eG's various

 

SV threads  

 

there are many

 

what's good about that ?

 

more M.R.

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This would work if the steak was kept out of the danger zone (>5C/41F) for less than four hours, including cooking time.

 

just for some clarification on this, the steak can only be over 41f for 4 hours or less, including cooking time? 

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The time it spends with it's core temperature above the bacterial kill curve temperature doesn't count in that four hour calculation.

But I wouldn't play any games right at that temperature. Nothing lower than 55C to be safe.

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as a follow up, I filled my vessel with ice and water at 8PM, this morning at 6AM (10 hours later for those bad at time math like me) and the water was 40F with some cubes still floating in it. 

 

I didn't have time to run part 2 of my test (how long does it take my SV machine to heat from 40f to 135f) so I'll do that later on. 

 

disclaimer: this information is only relevant to my exact vessel and the exact same ambient temperature that my home was last night. your mileage may vary! 

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It does NOT take the same time to reheat a cooked steak as it does to bring to 135F from raw. Its suggested 90 minutes for 1-1 1/2 inch steak to reach 131F-135F. That same steak precooked and in fridge at 40F would take less then 30 minutes. So whoever mentioned #2 and #3 as being the same or #3 having no benifit, clearly is mistaken.

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It does NOT take the same time to reheat a cooked steak as it does to bring to 135F from raw. Its suggested 90 minutes for 1-1 1/2 inch steak to reach 131F-135F. That same steak precooked and in fridge at 40F would take less then 30 minutes. So whoever mentioned #2 and #3 as being the same or #3 having no benifit, clearly is mistaken.

 

It depends on what temp you're wanting to reheat the steak to. But if you want to bring the core up to the temperature at which you originally cooked, it will take the same amount of time.

 

"... Chilled food will take about the same amount of time to reach the target core temperature when reheated as it did when it was cooked from raw. Frozen food will take considerably more time. Thus, time savings occur only for foods that need to be held at temperature for long periods." - Modernist Cuisine 2:264

 

You might only want to bring up the core to 125 or so and then finish via searing, which would save you some time. But if you want to reheat all the way through to a uniform temperature that's the same as the original, it's going to take basically the same amount of time.

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Right - but I'll go a little further - you can save considerable time if you precook to say 135, then chill. Then when reheating, set the bath to 135, but bring the core only to 125. The last few degrees take a much longer time, percent wise... While you're searing, not only will you add heat from the sear, but also it will give more time for the heat wave from the 135 degree outer ring to make more of its way inward to the core.

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It depends on what temp you're wanting to reheat the steak to. But if you want to bring the core up to the temperature at which you originally cooked, it will take the same amount of time.

 

"... Chilled food will take about the same amount of time to reach the target core temperature when reheated as it did when it was cooked from raw. Frozen food will take considerably more time. Thus, time savings occur only for foods that need to be held at temperature for long periods." - Modernist Cuisine 2:264

 

You might only want to bring up the core to 125 or so and then finish via searing, which would save you some time. But if you want to reheat all the way through to a uniform temperature that's the same as the original, it's going to take basically the same amount of time.

I dont believe that. A good example is taking a frozen raw steak  and a frozen pre cooked steak and putting them in the fridge to thaw out. I know for fact that pre cooked steak will thaw faster then the frozen raw steak.

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I dont believe that. A good example is taking a frozen raw steak  and a frozen pre cooked steak and putting them in the fridge to thaw out. I know for fact that pre cooked steak will thaw faster then the frozen raw steak.


Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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so I finally got around to trying something out. I had a 1" thick ribeye, cooked it for 2 hours at 136 (according to my anova) and then took the bag out of the bath and put it in the fridge. Got home at 4:30, put the bag in the sink, put in a bunch of hot tap water (120f) and let it sit while I got other stuff together. When it was about showtime I took the steak out of the bag, patted it dry, put some seasoning on it, and gave it 30s/side in blazing hot grape seed oil. 

 

Steak was as tender as I've ever had, with a nicely seared crust on it. Very happy with the results, will definitely do again. It definitely wasn't 136 in the center when it was on the plate, but as mentioned it doesn't need to be. 

 

thanks for the advice everyone!

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