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Benefits of deep frying prior to sous vide


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Besides the health concerns, deep frying steak is the best way to get an even colour and crust on steak. In my most recent experiment, I tried the technique of deep frying prior to, and after, cooking the steak sous vide. In the past, I had only fried the meat after it had been cooked.


The meat was veal chops. As can often be the case, the meat was mishandled somewhere along the way. The obvious signs of this were indentations in the surface. This kind of thing makes it tricky to pan fry and get even colour.



FullSizeRender 3.jpg


This soft meat is also tricky to vacuum seal as it can often be further compressed and misshapen in the process.


I was delighted to observe that a short 45 seconds in hot oil fixed both of these issues! I didn't expect that. Nice. The meat plumped up and that indentation was gone. It also held its shape nicely when vacuum packed.




Time and temperature matters. The difference can be just a few seconds or degrees. In the next picture, the time was the same but the oil was 20°C hotter for the steak on the left and the crust is noticeably darker. My next experiment will try 30 seconds at 200°C before and after.



The goal is to keep the crust as thin as possible.




I hadn't anticipated the secondary benefits of deep frying prior to sous vide. The plumping of the meat and slight firmness made them easy to package and present. I am curious whether anyone has observed this. I am also curious if it would it work in hot water, rather than oil.




Edited by bhsimon (log)
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Thank you for posting this. I am interested though in what temperatures the oil was for the first and second versions above .. you talk about 20 degrees cooler, etc. but cooler than what? You did mention the 200 C but that was for the later experiments, correct?


I doubt you will get browning if you use hot water to 'prep' your meat for SV (I would expect more of a grey looking result) but though I cannot be certain I think you would get a bit of the plumping effect (since the exterior fibres should tighten up a bit I would think). Definitely no scientific expert here though .. I am sure they will be along shortly to tell you the real truth.

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42 minutes ago, Deryn said:

I am interested though in what temperatures the oil was for the first and second versions above …


The oil temperature was 180°C for the lighter-coloured steak on the right and 200°C for the darker one on the left.


I am curious about the possible plumping effects in hot water. As you noted, there will be no chance for malliard reactions at 100°C, but if we can get some of those plumping effects than it would be easier to pan fry the flatter surface. This may make it possible to get an even colouration using a pan-fry method in place of deep frying. Next time I purchase some lovely veal chops to make côtes de veau dijonnaise, I will run an experiment and report the results.

Edited by bhsimon (log)
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There shouldn't be any health concerns. The meat isn't breaded, so you're not adding fat. 


I haven't used the deep fry approach, but people I know who do this all fry after sous-vide, so they don't lose the crispness to the water bath. And they all get a deeper brown and more serious crust than what I'm seeing in your pictures. I'd suggest playing with oil temperature and time, and either just sticking with the post-fry, or try it both before and after.

Notes from the underbelly

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9 hours ago, paulraphael said:

… or try it both before and after.


I did fry after the sous vide as well (‘frying prior to, and after’).


8 hours ago, paulraphael said:

And they all get a deeper brown and more serious crust than what I'm seeing in your pictures


I didn't include any pictures of the meat after the post-cooking fry, but let me say that my crust was mighty serious.

The point of my post was to share the observation that pre-frying will plump up the meat and make the surfaces more evenly flat as well as retain the shape when vacuum packed. Beyond just the crust, there are benefits to deep frying prior to sous vide.


Frying before and after is better for the crust, too. You can put the meat in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to frying to reduce the depth of over-cooked meat below the crust. (Think cryo-frying.) After cooking, the meat needs to be fried for a shorter time, to simply refresh the crust rather than create it from scratch.

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