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Simple Sous Vide Steak

Simple Sous Vide Steak

Ingredients

  • 1 14–16-ounce boneless strip steak (1½–2 inches thick)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil

Special Equipment

  • A sous vide machine; a 1-gallon vacuum-sealable or resealable plastic bag

Recipe Preparation

  • Clip (or stand) sous vide machine to a tall large pot. Fill pot with warm water to height according to manufacturer’s instructions (keep in mind that steaks when added will cause water to rise).

  • Rub steak on all sides with garlic powder, onion powder, 1 tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Place steak in bag.

  • Lightly bruise rosemary and thyme by smacking them against a cutting board or lightly rolling in your hands (this will helps release the volatile oils). Add herbs to bag.

  • Vacuum seal or partially close resealable bag, getting as much air out as possible to keep bag from floating, and place in water bath. If using a resealable plastic bag, push down into water to submerge (this will push more air out of the bag) and fully close. To ensure proper cooking, contents of the bag need to be completely submerged in water. Turn on machine and heat water to 130°. This temperature will give you a tender, perfectly medium-rare steak (adjust 5° either way if you like your meat more or less well done).

  • Using a small clip, secure top edge of resealable bag to rim of pot, positioning it opposite the machine’s water outlet; as the water circulates, it will help keep the bag submerged. If using a vacuum-sealed bag, you may need to set a small plate on top to prevent floating. Cook steak, maintaining water bath at 130°, 2½ hours. Remove bag from water bath and let steak rest in bag 15 minutes (this lets the steak absorb some of the juices).

  • Remove steak from bag and pat dry with paper towels. Season all over with salt and pepper. Let air-dry a few minutes.

  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high until very hot. Add oil and cook all 4 sides of steak until a nice crust forms, 1–2 minutes total (it happens fast, so don’t walk away). The steak is already perfectly cooked; this step is to get some color and texture on the exterior. Slice steak against the grain, if desired, and season with salt and pepper. (The steak may appear slightly gray when you first cut into it but will turn bright pink when exposed to air.)

  • Do Ahead: Steak can be cooked in water bath 4 days ahead. Keep sealed in bag and chill, or freeze up to 1 month. Reheat with sous vide machine at 100° until warmed through, about 1 hour, before searing.

Related Video

Brad Shows Off His Sous Vide

Reviews Section

Sous Vide Steak

Well, after considering carefully all the aspects of sous vide cooking I finally decided to try. What I mean by considering is the fact that sous vide method uses cooking in a water bath under vacuum in an accurate regulated temperature, and in order to cook under vacuum the food has to be in contact with plastic, which I am very skeptical about it…after reading a lot about the sous vide method I could not resist a perfect cooked piece of steak. Moreover, since the temperature used in sous vide is much lower than the normally used, I assume (please do not quote me on this) that chemical would not be released from the plastic from heat since the temperature used in this method is not that high.

There are many options for sous vide cooking, from DIY to very fancy professional ones. I decided to go with the ANOVA cylinder one. You mainly stick the cylinder in a pot of water, set the desired temperature and cooking time. Once the desired temperature is reached, place the prepared food and place into the water bath and let it cook. Yes, the one that I have has a bluetooth, which you can set all the parameters from the phone or tablet. It will beep once the water has reached the desired temperature alerting you that it is time to place the food in the water bath.

You can find plenty of information by searching the internet for sous vide. With all this said, I am sharing with you my first recipe using sous vide method and it was based in this recipe. Again this is a “no-recipe” post. I generously coated a New York steak with fresh grinded salt and pepper, both sides. Placed the steak into a 1 gallon freezer quality plastic bag and added a dry bay leave and a little olive oil. To create a vacuum in the bag, carefully place the bag with your ingredients into the water-bath, make sure to immerse the bag until near the seal, this will create a vacuum, then seal the bag.

For a medium rare-medium 1½ inch New York steak, I cooked for 1½ hour at 56C degree. Once the cooking time is up, remove the bag from the water bath. Discard the juice from the steak. Heat a cast iron skillet with butter, sear both sides of the steak in high heat. Once seared, remove from the heat and serve. There is no need to rest the steak.

So…were I able to tempt you to give sous vide cooking method a try?

I will be back with more sous vide experiments as I already cooked fish, and it came out delicious!

Update…Since I made this perfect steak I used sous vide in so many more recipes…please check it here.

/>Did you know that “sous vide” is “under vacuum” in French? This method cooks food in a sealed plastic bag under vacuum in a controlled temperature.


“Man oh man, this was delicious! It will be my go-to marinade from now on when making Mexican cuisine. I marinated two strip steaks, cooked it in the sous-vide, and finished it off on the grill. I sliced them thin, served it in flour tortillas with cilantro, onions, avocado and other taco trimmings.”


Gallery

  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
  • 1 (1 pound) flank steak, cut in half
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fill the water bath container, position circulator, and preheat to 130 degrees F (54 degrees C) according to manufacturer recommendations.

Combine onion, rosemary, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in a blender or small food processor pulse ingredients until smooth.

Pat flank steak pieces dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Spread onion mixture on both sides of the flank steaks. Place each seasoned flank steak in a 2-quart zip-top freezer bag, squeeze out all the air, and seal the bags.

When the bath has reached 130 degrees, place bags in the water bath. Secure bags to the side of the bath, so they will not overlap each other or come in contact with the circulator. Alternatively, use a rack in the bottom of the bath to hold the sealed bags. Bags should be in the circulating 130 degree F (54 degrees C) bath for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

About 5 minutes prior to the end of the cook time, set an oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven's broiler.

When the cook time is complete, remove flank steak from the bags and place on a broiler pan.

Broil in the preheated oven until they reach the desired browning, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from oven and tent with aluminum foil for 5 to 10 minutes. The broiler and the foil tent will allow the internal temperature to rise to 145 degrees F (63 degrees C), or medium doneness, when tested with an instant read thermometer.

Slice steak across the grain of the meat into thin slices for serving. Season with additional Worcestershire sauce, if desired.


Sous-Vide Rib Eye Steak

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 2 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus resting time

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes, plus resting time

Ingredients

One 16-to-18-ounce boneless rib eye steak

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

One 3-inch piece lemon zest

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Flaky sea salt, for garnish

Directions

1. Season the steak liberally with salt and pepper. Place in a vacuum-seal bag with the thyme, garlic, rosemary and lemon and vacuum seal closed. Alternatively, place the ingredients in a sealable plastic bag and dip the bag into a large bowl of water to displace the air before sealing shut.

2. Preheat a pot of water fitted with a sous-vide immersion circulator to 129° according to the manufacturer's directions. Cook the steak for 2 hours, making sure it is completely submerged in the water. Remove the bag from the pot and take the steak out of the bag, drying with paper towels.

3. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Add the steak and cook, flipping once until seared on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Add the butter and baste the steak for 10 to 15 seconds more. Transfer to a board to rest for 5 minutes.


No More Overcooking!

Overcooking isn't physically possible with the sous vide technique. Remember: Overcooking is simply a function of ingredients getting too hot.

This method of cooking differs from roasting, for example, because air is not a good conductor of heat. The air in an oven would need to be heated to 350 or 400 F in order for the center of the steak to reach 135 F. Despite air's poor conductivity, an oven will eventually heat your steak beyond 135 F, to where the inside is far past the 160 F that constitutes well-done.

Of course, an oven set to 350 F can't heat anything higher than 350 degrees, and the same is true with sous vide. Thanks to the immersion method, and the fact that water is a good conductor of heat, the temperature of the water and the temperature of the food are always effectively equal. or at least, they equalize over time. One downside of sous vide cooking is that it might take an hour to cook a steak. Of course, the upside is a steak done perfectly to your liking, with no chance of overcooking.

With this fail-safe function in mind, you could conceivably set the water to 135 F, and your steak would never get any hotter than that—even if you left it there all day. This isn't recommended for two reasons: One, because it would create a food safety hazard, and two, because it would eventually cause undesirable changes in texture. That said, a steak can stay in the bath for several hours and still come out perfectly medium rare.


How to Cook a Restaurant Worthy Steak at Home

I’m not big on cooking gadgets. Actually, I’m not big on kitchen appliances in general. Yes, I believe in a blender and a food processor, and a toaster obviously, but that’s about it. Upon the end of days—plague, zombie apocalypse, giant asteroid approach or what have you𠅊ll you really need to know is how to light a fire and cook in a cast-iron pan (and build shelter and find water, but that’s another tale). In the meantime, it’s fun to play around with the new machines on the market. I was recently sent a Joule, one of a new breed of home-cook friendly sous vide machines.

Sue who? Sous vide (say: soo-veed). Literally translated it means “under vacuum” and refers to a method of cooking in which ingredients are placed in a heat-safe bag, vacuum-sealed, and submerged in a pot of simmering water set to a precise temperature. The machine keeps the water in the pot at an exact temperature over a long period over time, say 129ଏ for a perfectly cooked medium steak. Ingredients are placed inside a plastic bag (we like these), seasoned, and sealed. The bags get lowered into the water and hang out there for a specific amount of time (an hour, give or take) during which they reach𠅊nd more importantly, stay at𠅊 desired temperature. That means a perfectly tender, juicy steak, cooked exactly to your liking every time, and you didn’t have to babysit it or dig out the instant-read thermometer.

Finish your steak (but the method works for chicken and eggs and vegetables too!) in a hot cast iron skillet for a crispy golden exterior. When you cut into the beef you’ll find a perfect medium doneness all the way from edge to edge, not just running down a thin strip in the middle.

RELATED: A Brilliant New Technique for Cooking Steak

Sous vide cooking buys you inactive time. Your steak will hold at a perfect medium or medium-rare until you’re ready to sear and serve it. During the down time you can fuss over 2-hour polenta, relax with a glass of wine, or enjoy the cheese platter with your guests. You’ll decrease your margin of error, especially important when you’ve invested in a thick-cut ribeye or porterhouse, without sacrificing flavor, texture, or your precious time. The Joule links to a handy app that syncs up with your phone, sets the time and temperature of your cooking water, and offers recipe tips and suggestions: It’s set-it-and-forget-it for the 21st century.

For more about sous vide cooking, the Joule, and recipe inspiration check out ChefSteps.


  • Flank steak is a lean and tough, but flavorful cut of the beef which benefits from the tenderizing effects of a marinade. It tastes best when cooked medium-rare, and sous vide can guarantee a juicer and more tender steak as the meat is cooked at a controlled temperature.
  • Sous vide machine cooks the food evenly all the way through, as a result sous vide flank steak has an even doneness edge to edge.
  • It’s low-stress cooking by eliminating short windows of time for perfect doneness.

This easy marinade helps to boost flavor and tenderize the meat. It calls for a simple blend of balsamic, honey, soy sauce, garlic, black pepper, and oil.

It’s best to marinade for 2 hours or more for this recipe. It’s important to marinate your steak BEFORE cooking it in the sous vide machine.


Molecular Gastronomy At Home: Sous Vide Cooking Made Simple

Molecular gastronomy. Ferran Adria and El Bulli. Heston Blumenthal and The Fat Duck. Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold. Grant Achatz and Alinea. Wylie Dufresne and wd-50.

If you know any of these names, restaurants or terms, than it might be time to explore sous vide cooking in your own home. But even if you don’t know these folks at the cutting edge of the trend that has also been called “technologically forward cosine,” you might still be interested in sous vide, because if you eat out at all you have probably already consumed many foods cooked this way - unknown to much of the dining public, the technique has a long history (Wikipedia dates the concept to the 18th century) and is widely used in restaurant kitchens at all price points. So if you like good food and like cooking, why leave another valuable tool out of your home repertoire?

I had seen sous vide machines in many commercial kitchens, but when the folks who make the Sous Vide Supreme, the leading home model, asked me to try it, I was a little intimidated, associating the device with the above mentioned chefs who make their living with tanks of liquid nitrogen and centrifuges, by turning normal foods into smoke, and serving ultra-concentrated liquefied dishes in test tubes. But among the many uses of technology in today’s molecular gastronomy kitchen, sous vide is about the simplest - you could think of it as fancy version of the crock pot.

Sous vide is a form of cooking wherein foods are vacuum-sealed in airtight plastic bags, then immersed in a precisely controlled, low temperature, heated water bath. Essentially that’s it. It’s not so much the technique as the results that matter, and the results are threefold. First, this method of cooking does not allow the interior temperature of the food to rise above the preset temperature of the water, meaning in essence that is it is virtually impossible to overcook anything. Sous vide also cooks the food evenly to the temperature from the outside to the middle. If you like rare beef, usually around 130°, you set at 130° and that’s what you get - in every bite, not just the center. In comparison, most steakhouses cook beef at very high temperatures, up to 800°, so a minute of overcooking has a pronounced affect. Even other forms of low temperature cooking, like smoking BBQ, allow for easy overcooking. Most pros smoke at around 225° but the USDA recommendation for pork is 145° so it’s easy to dry out ribs. The beauty of sous vide is that the food never gets above the preset temperature, even though some cuts cook for 48 hours or more. The third characteristic of this style, besides allowing very precise control over the finished internal temperature, is that sous vide does not change the exterior of the food, there is none of the maillard reaction typical in other forms of meat cookery, and your steak or pork or chicken will not brown at all. This not a positive, but more on that below.

In the past two months, since I laid my hands on the Sous Vide Supreme, I have been asking chefs at pretty much every restaurant I’ve been to what they most like to use their sous vide setups for, and the answers have been pretty consistent. In the typical restaurant setting the big pros are any cuts that need to break down by slow cooking, like shanks, pork shoulder, short ribs, etc. Pork chops, notoriously difficult to cook through without drying out, are another chef sous vide favorite, as is chicken. Fish, much more delicate and easily overcooked, is also a popular application, and this makes a lot of sense given that sous vide is in the same ballpark as poaching, a popular seafood technique. Rack of lamb, typically served rare, is a perfect vehicle for sous vide and one many chefs mentioned.

Sous vide is not just for meats, and you can cook many more things: the various cookbooks and pamphlets that came with the machine include recipes for one pot (in this case one bag) dishes like stews, and multiple ingredient dishes using multiple pouches, such as an Indian Balti beef where the meat and vegetables are cooked separately and then combined. There are recipes for sous vide deserts, appetizers, veggies and even a whole book on cocktails, but bear in mind, the goal of these is to help sell sous vide machines, not necessarily to make your life easier. A similar broad range of intricate recipes came with my crock pot but I use it solely for stews and chili. Pretty much any kitchen gizmo you buy, from a rice cooker to microwave to ice cream maker, will try to convince you that it can also do all these other things, and maybe it can, but that’s not a reason to do them. The aforementioned cutting edge chefs do use the machines for all sorts of intricate dishes, and in Modernist Cuisine, by far the number one book on the subject of molecular gastronomy, Nathan Myhrvold poaches eggs sous vide and describes using partial sous vide cooking as one step in his creation of the perfect burger, a process that stretches over 24 hours (he also specifically showcases the Sous Vide Supreme). There are lots of recipes for cooking simple vegetables like potatoes, carrots and onions, but it is hard for a decent home cook to accept why you need to bother with the extra step and cost of vacuum sealing and the additional cooking time, when you can already cook these things just fine.

That’s not the case with many meats. Contrary to their personal beliefs and egos, most people can’t decently cook a steak, for starters, and in Modernist Cuisine at Home (that’s the one volume abridged version of Myhrvold’s 6-volume, 2,400-page, $500 magnum opus, Modernist Cuisine, which costs more than the sous vide machine) his lab experiments and detailed photos clearly show the results of a traditionally cooked steak in a pan and one done sous vide, starting with identical cuts and cooking them to the same internal temperature. The sous vide version is much more appetizing, uniformly rare from outside to center, while the pan cooked one starts at gray and move towards red at the center, like most steaks, with 40% of the meat overcooked (you can see this telling photo online at the Modernist Cuisine site, which argues the merits of sous vide passionately).

So after various real world experiments my take is that sous vide cooking is neither a bizarre niche nor a replacement for all other techniques, but rather a style of cooking, like braising, that works really well for limited applications. To my surprise, cooking fish (I did both tuna and salmon) did not wow me. It’s safer in the sense that less can go wrong, but the fish didn’t taste any better than the conventionally cooked version I made.

That is not the case for pork chops, which came out so much better sous vide that I’d be hard pressed to eat them cooked any other way - they were tender, juicy and bursting with flavor. This was a magnificent advantage of the technique, which not only doesn’t dry out foods by its very nature, but also seals in all juices thanks to the vacuum packing. Anything you throw in before vacuum sealing, from dry spice rubs to fresh herbs to a pat of butter is amplified during the slow cooking process (I did a round of pork chops with a spoonful of bacon fat and almost cried when I tried them). Likewise, short ribs, a recently very popular cut, came out superb. They were just as tender as slow braised (the usual method and one I’ve made many times) but retained their form better for a more knife and fork steak-like experience, rather than the mushy bone falling out result you usually get from braising. I haven’t tried it but I would imagine the technique would work very well for leaner meats like grass-finished natural beef, venison and bison which are easier to dry out, like pork chops. Thicker cuts of beef, like tenderloin, are also an excellent application - if you like your steak rare, it’s easier to get it right in a pan when cooking a thin strip steak or similar cut, but virtually impossible to keep a tenderloin or roasting cut rare throughout, except with sous vide. I also tried racks of pork and beef spareribs, and while the consistency was good, I missed the smoky infused flavor of low and slow smoking and won’t substitute sous vide for my smoker again. Vegetables as a whole did little for me, and at least in my kitchen, the machine will be broken out mainly for pork chops, thicker steaks and beef cuts, and all sorts of braising cuts. The one advantage of doing veggies or other sides along with the meat is ease of cleanup, which requires simply cutting open the pouches and pouring out the water.

One caveat of sous vide cooking is that since the meats don’t brown at all, and most people, especially your guests, will find this unappetizing, a final step is required to create a finished exterior. For restaurant chefs, this is often done with a blowtorch. The idea is that any sort of continued exposure to high heat will defeat the whole purpose of sous vide, so you need a quick sear. For home cooks they recommend a very hot frying pan and quick sear and flip, or likewise, a very hot grill. I found a pan was easier to get very hot and finish quickly, but this works better on something flat like a pork chop or shank than a chicken breast. It’s also another step after cooking, in addition to the step beforehand of vacuum sealing. The timing of sous vide cooking is a double edged sword: There is a convenience factor of putting it in and forgetting about it, even while you go to work, but it also requires planning - a big shank I made wanted 48 hours in the water according to instructions, plus another day to defrost, so we are talking about starting Friday dinner on Tuesday. More typical things like pork chops only take about 4 hours, but that’s’ still 6-8 times as long as more transitional methods. On the other hand it makes for easy entertaining, since it is hands off and if dinner is running late during cocktail hour, the food can simply remain harmlessly in the water, and it’s quick and easy to go from there to plating.

The Sours Vide Supreme looks sort of like a bread maker or home deep fryer, a rectangular stainless steel cube that you fill with water, with a control panel on the front. The design is intuitive and easy to use, has some nice features like a vertical rack for multiple pouch cooking, an insulated pad to cover the top and increase efficiency, and the separate vacuum sealer, once you figure it out the first time, is very easy to use. The standard model is $429 for the cooker alone or $499 for a starter pack that includes the vacuum sealer, a couple of boxes of cooking bags and collateral cookbooks (you can’t get very far without the vacuum sealer, unless you already have one, though you can cook sous vide in jars, canning style). They also offer a smaller “demi” version in black or red for $329 or $419 for the kit. The biggest problem for most home cooks will be the addition of two more sizable machines which will probably be stashed away between uses, which historically diminishes the likelihood of any kitchen gizmo actually getting used. Still, based on the delicious pork chops, short ribs and steaks I tried, the device is worth the extra real estate, and more ambitious, scientifically minded cooks may get much more out of it.


Sous Vide at Home

The Modern Technique for Perfectly Cooked Meals

Instructions

  1. 1 Preheat your sous vide water bath to 55ºC (131ºF).
  2. 2 Season the steaks with salt and pepper and then place in a gallon-size freezer-safe ziplock bag and seal using the water displacement method (see page 12).
  3. 3 When the water reaches the target temperature, lower the bagged steaks into the water bath (making sure the bag is fully submerged) and cook for 1 hour.
  4. 4 When the steaks are ready, remove the bag from the water bath and let them rest for 10 minutes. Transfer the steaks from the bag to a platter or tray and pat the meat thoroughly dry with paper towels.
  5. 5 Heat a large, heavy sauté pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Let the oil heat until it shimmers and sends off wisps of smoke, 30 to 60 seconds. Place the meat in the pan and sear until the underside is browned, 30 to 60 seconds. Using tongs, flip the steaks over and brown the second side, 30 to 60 seconds longer. If the steaks have their fat caps, use tongs to hold both steaks upright on their sides, fat pressed against the pan, and render until the fat is crisp and browned, 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. 6 When the steaks are browned on both sides, or after the fat caps are crisped, add the butter, thyme, and garlic (in that order) off to the side of the pan. The butter will sizzle and brown immediately and the thyme will crackle and pop.
  7. 7 Once the butter has turned completely brown and has stopped sizzling (meaning all of the water has cooked out), baste the meat: tilt the pan to accumulate the fat on one side, then, using a metal spoon, scoop up the brown butter and distribute it evenly over the meat. As you baste, be sure to flip the meat to brown both sides again as above until the entire surface is a deep, almost mahogany brown, about 30 seconds per side. Depending on the strength of the burner, you may need to flip the meat more than once just make sure it doesn’t rest on any one side longer than 1 minute or it will begin to overcook.
  8. 8 Transfer the meat to a platter or tray and wait for at least 2 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute after the high-heat searing. Enjoy your steak perfection.

Pro-tip: The technique of basting the steak with butter while in the pan is an excellent method any time you want to achieve a beautifully uniform sear on the stove top.