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 a free account.

Carbonheadvp215

Sous Vide steak tips

Recommended Posts

I have been dabbling with sous vide for several years.  The point with sous vide is that the benefits are most obvious with tough cuts, where you can cook them for a long time until they become tender.  So when it comes to steak, there's no real benefit to using sous vide if you have nice tender cuts like fillet, scotch fillet, porterhouse, rump etc etc.

 

If you really like steak and are happy to pay for quality tender cuts such as those then don't bother with sous vide, explore other methods of cooking (FWIW I use the 15-second flip approach).  Really, using sous vide on a piece of fillet steak is just a recipe for dissapointment.  It won't make it any better than it already is.

 

I do find sous vide useful if I want to pre-cook, or even pasteurise meat ahead of time.  This is how I cook all meats for BBQs (which in Australia means a flame grill).  If I have lots of guests then having everything cooked before, and pasteurised, means not only is everything safe but I can quickly sear large amounts of meat quickly rather than try to cook everything and get everything right while hosting at the same time.

 

You might also want to experiment with enzyme-based tenderisation, where you sous vide the steak at about 42C for an hour or two before cooking.

 

Hopefully others will share their experience with using sous vide to cook cheaper cuts of steak, something I haven't really tried.  But that's where it's really useful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I respectfully disagree with Chris regarding tender steak, although he noted one big advantage for precooking/pasturising. I particularly like it for thicker steak because I'm a crap cook and the main advantage is knowing that the steak is cooked just right all the way through. So pick your temperature, SV, sear, no worries. The main thing is not to leave the meat in the sous vide too long or it will turn to mush. But it isn't that sensitive so you can put a steak in for 30 minutes to an hour and life is good.

 

Another thing occurs to me is that there may be an advantage if you put a rub on your steak but don't want to brown it into oblivion during the sear. I have grown fond of Mt. Pepper berry on steak and it is pretty subtle. I wonder if it would turn out the same if I had to cook the steak through on the grill. Maybe or maybe not.

 

Haven't tried the flipping thing but it seems to me you would still get a well done zone between the sear and the rare. But maybe not or maybe that's what you like. Bottom line IMO is to try things and find what makes you happy.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's some good introductory information.... https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/sous-vide-steak

  • Like 1

~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

although the SV threads here are long, they are packed with information, including steak tips

 

as Ive mentioned a while ago in the SV threads, I now get whole sirloin 'tips' as a flap muscle when they are on sale as cut up 'tips'

 

the butchers are happy to do this and do it right in front of me.

 

I than cut these larger pieces with the grain into 'full sized' steaks and SV in bulk at 130 for 6 hours.

 

rapid chill and freeze

 

they can then be re-therm'd and browned for a 'steak' or just thawed and sliced thin against the grain for the best roast beef sandwich Ive ever had.

 

beef prices have gone up in my area:

 

these used to come around on sale at $ 3.99, then rose to $ 4.99 and now are $ 5.99


Edited by rotuts (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One tip that is often missed is to dry the steaks when you take them out of the bag prior to searing. If you don't do this, the sear will not work properly.

 

After drying I rub in oil and salt and put the steak on a searing hot pan (as hot as you can get it and preferably on a wok burner) -- don't use non-stick as the high heat will denature the surface.

 

 

 

Edited to change run (typo) to rub.


Edited by nickrey (log)
  • Like 1

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One tip that is often missed is to dry the steaks when you take them out of the bag prior to searing. If you don't do this, the sear will not work properly.

 

After drying I run in oil and salt and put the steak on a searing hot pan (as hot as you can get it and preferably on a wok burner) -- don't use non-stick as the high heat will denature the surface.

Exactly! Brushing the dried steak with oil and using a dry pan instead of pouring oil into the pan avoids much of the splashing and oil mist wafting all over the stove and counter.


Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup.

 

Dry meat...raging hot pan...turn frequently to minimize the over-done zone.

 

It goes quickly.

 

I've found that when cooked SV, I like my meat at a "medium" temp...when done traditionally I like MR.  I think this reflects the meat texture/chewing feel of the zone of over-cooked meat at the rim of a traditionally cooked MR steak that is missing from an MR steak done SV.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I buy grass-fed beef in bulk, so SV is great for me -- mine are not the tenderest steaks in the world otherwise, though the flavor is outstanding. One thing I've foundt that helps is to SV for an hour or so, then chill, then take out and sear on the grill. The intermediate chill helps me get a good sear without getting the already-warm interior too hot and overcooking it.

 

Rather abashed that I had never thought about drying/oiling the outside. Duh. Thanks for that tip.


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

there is no question in my mind that grass-fed beef benefits greatly from SV, even traditional tender cuts.

 

its almost as if SV was invented for this type of meat.


Edited by rotuts (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly! Brushing the dried steak with oil and using a dry pan instead of pouring oil into the pan avoids much of the splashing and oil mist wafting all over the stove and counter.

 

However after trying it both ways, I find Lopez-Alt's assertion of about two tablespoons of oil yields a superior result.  His rationale is that a small amount of oil does not allow for even heat distribution to the surface of the meat.

 

As always, your mileage may vary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heavily marbled, grain-finished steaks work brilliantly also. Especially aged ones. Honestly, I haven't met a steak that wasn't perfect for sous-vide. There's a certain amount of anti sous-vide rhetoric concerning steaks, and I don't understand any of it. I don't believe there's such thing as a "sous-vide texture" or even a single characteristic that's intrinsic to the technique. Sous-vide simply offers perfect control, which you may use any way you like. 

 

Decide how your perfect steak is cooked, design a sous-vide process to create that, and then reproduce it precisely and effortlessly every time.

 

Some people have commented that it's hard to get as thick and crispy a crust with s.v., without overcooking the meat. This may be the case, if you're really looking for a serious crust (like what you can get with Alain Ducasse's method). But I suspect a bit of ingenuity can solve this ... like a minute or two dunked in ice water before unbagging and searing, and then doing the sear with plenty of butter ladled on in the last minute or so..

 

Browning can also be enhanced by controlling the pH and using reducing sugars. I make a maillard-enhancement mix that's 1:5 baking soda and dextrose. Sprinkle it on before browning and let it soak in a bit. Magic. Also be sure to use plenty of oil in the pan, to get the heat into all the meat's crevices (yes, this is the purpose of oil in a skillet ... you cannot get solid browning with a couple of tablespoons of oil).


Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some people have commented that it's hard to get as thick and crispy a crust with s.v., without overcooking the meat. This may be the case, if you're really looking for a serious crust (like what you can get with Alain Ducasse's method). But I suspect a bit of ingenuity can solve this ... like a minute or two dunked in ice water before unbagging and searing, and then doing the sear with plenty of butter ladled on in the last minute or so..

 

 

 

That is exactly the SV texture people complain of. A seared MR steak, cooked conventionally, will only be MR in the middle ~3/4. The outer ~1/4 will have a chew to it.  A MR steak cooked by SV will be MR through and through and taste raw if your mouth is calibrated to broiled steaks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is exactly the SV texture people complain of. A seared MR steak, cooked conventionally, will only be MR in the middle ~3/4. The outer ~1/4 will have a chew to it.  A MR steak cooked by SV will be MR through and through and taste raw if your mouth is calibrated to broiled steaks.

 

That's not actually a critique of sous-vide; it's a critique of a common application of sous-vide. In Europe a lot of chefs cook s.v. with a higher gradient than what's common here. You can design whatever gradient you want. Personally, I do not want any medium-well meat in my steak, so I use s.v. conventionally, with very little gradient. But that's just a choice.


Notes from the underbelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is exactly the SV texture people complain of. A seared MR steak, cooked conventionally, will only be MR in the middle ~3/4. The outer ~1/4 will have a chew to it.  A MR steak cooked by SV will be MR through and through and taste raw if your mouth is calibrated to broiled steaks.

 

I suppose if you wanted to get fancy you could SV to medium rare through, increase the bath temperature to medium, SV until you have a layer with a bit more firmness, then blast the outside to brown. It would be like the gradient you get in a conventional steak except minimal well done layer. 


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My routine for SV steaks now:

 

Bag a steak naked, no salt or oil.

Cook, then chill the steak, still in the bag.

When it comes time to eat, fill a pot with the hottest tap water and drop the bag in for 20 minutes or so.

Heat up a cast iron pan until it's rip roaring hot, sprinkle an even layer of maldon sea salt onto the bottom of the pan.

Dry the outside of the steak, drop into the pan, unoiled.

Lightly press the steak with a weight so it's making full contact with the pan.

After 2 minutes, lift up the steak, sprinkle some more salt onto the pan, let it heat up for another 30s and then drop the steak on the other side.

After another 2 minutes, take out and plate.

 

The hot tap water is the exact right temperature to warm the meat up without a risk of overcooking the center. Using salt instead of oil produces a lovely crusty outside and the weight ensures the crust is completely even. I don't like to put a weight on the second side since it causes condensation to soften up the crust. The first side becomes the presentation side.


PS: I am a guy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently while eating out I had a steak that had been cooked sous vide where the chef had managed to get a really crispy exterior. The outside was dry and chewy while the inside was conventional sous vide texture. The texture contrast made it taste horrible.

 

I sear mine quickly to get a bit of char flavour and, if using a grill pan, grill marks and that's it.

 

Of course the majority of steak that we get in Australia is grass fed and consequently has a different fat profile from US grain fed beef.

  • Like 1

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A deep fry pre-sear and a deep fry post-sear is pretty much the only way I cook tender cuts sous vide. Peanut oil, lard, or tallow until just about smoking (400F or so). Give it 40 seconds in the oil before you bag and another 40-60 seconds on the pickup to finish. You can go a bit longer if you want a bit more texture. The crust you can develop with the fry is better and faster than most other methods.

 

It's also really nice to finish 72 hour short ribs this way too. With frites. But I digress...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose if you wanted to get fancy you could SV to medium rare through, increase the bath temperature to medium, SV until you have a layer with a bit more firmness, then blast the outside to brown. It would be like the gradient you get in a conventional steak except minimal well done layer. 

 

That's one approach; you can also just set the bath temperature several degrees higher than you want the core temperature, and calculate the right timing.


Notes from the underbelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sear and season after the SV is what I do.

 

The alternative, seasoning heavily pre-cook, in my experience sometimes gives a cured taste/texture to the meat if there's much salt in the seasoning...a little like corned beef...esp with longer cooking times.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...Honestly, I haven't met a steak that wasn't perfect for sous-vide. ...

 

 

that's my feeling as well

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that's my feeling as well

 

Skirt steak and other long grained steaks are so thin, I much prefer to cook from raw over as hot a fire as I can get to a nice crusty outside before the inside overcooks. 

  • Like 2

PS: I am a guy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

with sous vide the inside 'never' overcooks, essentially

 

unless you like the 'gradient' (as I know some people do) sous vide, with the ability to get it the way you want it edge to edge,  is always "better"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The point is that skirt steak is so thin that it's basically all "edge." By the time you sear it properly, you've basically cooked it already. SV doesn't offer much of an advantage there... unless you bind together several layers of skirt steak with Activa so that it resembles a thicker cut (which I've also done with great success). But that's not usually how you cook something like skirt steak. For standard preparations, grilling it over a really hot fire is ideal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By onemorebitedelara.com
      Has anyone used Valrhona Absolut Crystal neutral glaze particularly to thicken a coulis or to glaze a tart?  If so, how did you like it and is there another glaze you think worked as well but is less expensive or can be purchased in smaller quantities?  
    • By kostbill
      Hello.
      I would like to buy some pectinex ultra sp-l.
      However I am worried about the temperature during the shipping time.
      I read that the storage temperature should be between 2 and 8 C. It works best from 15 to 50 C, and if it stays a lot of time in 25 C, it will gradually be deactivated.
       
      It needs a week to come here (Greece), then will it affect its abilities?
       
      Do you know if I can find a document somewhere that explains the gradual loss of power as a function of time and temperature?
      Did you have any experience with pectinex not working well due to bad storage?
       
      Thanks.
    • By Galchic
      Hello, folks, thanks for reading.
       
      My husband thinks, I should start selling my popcorn seasonings (which I make for my family), it’s a good product. But I'm not sure if it’s interesting to other people... So, what do you think, guys?
       
      Our story: 
      We’ve bought an air popper machine, but popcorn came out pretty tasteless. Then, we’ve bought different “popcorn seasoning” mixes... But it always ends with all the seasoning at the bottom of the bowl. Then, we've added butter, oil and so on before seasoning...  we got soggy, chewy popcorn. Lot’s of disappointments…
       
      When we almost gave up… the magic happened! I figured out the way to make seasonings that:
      Stick to popcorn, but not sticky to fingers (or T-shirt  , Easy to apply, May be pre cooked in bulk and stored… And popcorn appears crunchy, tasty, thoroughly covered with seasoning.  
      Sounds good, yep? Now, when I want to treat myself  - I only need 2 mins to turn tasteless popped popcorn to a real treat.  
      The only moment - it request 1 extra effort: after you toss it over popcorn, you need to microwave it for 1 min, and stir after.
       
      So, I was wondering, if you like popcorn like myself - would this seasoning be interesting for you to purchase? Are you ready for a little extra work (microwave & stir) in the goal to flavor popcorn, or it feels too much effort?
       
      As I have no experience in manufacturing and retail, your answers would help me to make a very important decision - to dive in or not... 
       
      Thanks in advance for your answers, it means the world to me.
       
    • By lindaj1
      Is there any recipe from the modernist universe or any other galaxy to make ketogenic (low carb) puff pastry and strudel type doughs?  Unusual ingredients OK.  There must be a way...
    • By haresfur
      I got to thinking after the disgusting job of separating globs of fat from sous vide short ribs and debating never doing them that way again. If the fat renders out in a braise, but not in the sous vide, what temperature would you need to turn the fat liquid to get rid of it? Is it below well-done or do you really have to cook the shit out of it? Is it just temperature or a time&temperature thing?
       
      Along those lines, what happens with marbled, tender cuts? where is the sweet spot between solid fat and something more palatable?
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...