The Best Way to Sous Vide Steak
What is the best way to sous vide steak? To achieve the perfect steak, there are several key considerations to consider when sous vide cooking.
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In this blog post, we will explore various aspects of cooking sous vide steaks, from choosing the right cut and preparing it properly to setting up your sous vide machine and vacuum sealing. Furthermore, we’ll discuss optimizing cooking time in a water bath and finish with searing techniques that elevate your dish.
By following these steps detailed in our exploration of what is the best way to sous vide steak, you can expect tender, juicy results that surpass traditional methods every time. So let’s dive into this culinary adventure together!
How to Choose the Right Cut of Steak.
Selecting a steak with good marbling is essential for achieving optimal flavor and texture when cooking sous vide. Marbling refers to the white flecks of fat found within the meat, which melt during cooking and provide tenderness and juiciness.
Popular Cuts for Sous Vide Cooking:
- Ribeye: Known for its rich marbling, ribeye steaks are tender, juicy, and full of flavor – making them an excellent choice for sous vide cooking. Learn more about sous vide ribeye steaks here.
- New York Strip: Another popular cut with moderate marbling is the New York strip steak. This cut offers a great balance between tenderness and beefy flavor. Check out this guide on how to cook a perfect sous vide New York strip steak.
- Filet Mignon: Although it has less marbling than other cuts, filet mignon’s natural tenderness makes it suitable for sous vide cooking as well. Find out how to achieve restaurant-quality results by following this step-by-step guide on preparing a delicious sous vide filet mignon.
In addition to choosing a well-marbled cut of steak, consider factors such as thickness (aim for at least 1.5 inches), the source of the meat, and the quality of the meat itself (opt for grass-fed or organic beef when possible). These elements will contribute to a more satisfying sous vide steak experience.
How to Prepare a Sous Vide Steak.
Before you begin cooking your steak using the sous vide method, it’s essential to prepare it for optimal flavor and texture properly.
Follow these simple steps:
- Trim Excess Fat: While a certain amount of fat is necessary for a juicy and flavorful steak, too much can overwhelm and lead to an unpleasant eating experience. Use a sharp knife to trim off any large pieces of excess fat from around the edges of your chosen cut.
- Season with Salt and Pepper: A well-seasoned steak will always taste better than one that hasn’t been seasoned at all. Generously sprinkle your steak with a blend of kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. You may also choose to add other seasonings such as garlic powder or dried herbs like rosemary or thyme if desired.
- Add Aromatics (Optional): To enhance the flavor profile even further, consider adding aromatics like fresh herbs (e.g., rosemary sprigs), crushed garlic cloves, or slices of lemon zest directly into the vacuum-sealed bag along with your seasoned steak before sealing it shut.
In addition to seasoning your meat correctly, make sure you have all necessary equipment on hand – including a high-quality sous vide machine (such as Anova or Joule) – in order to achieve perfectly cooked steaks every time.
How to Set Up the Sous Vide Machine.
To achieve the perfect sous vide steak, it’s essential to set up your sous vide machine correctly. This involves filling a pot or container with water, attaching the sous vide device, and setting the temperature for optimal doneness.
Filling Your Pot or Container
The first step in setting up your sous vide machine is to fill a large pot or container with water. Ensure there’s enough water to fully submerge your vacuum-sealed steak while also considering displacement once you add the bagged meat.
Attaching Your Sous Vide Device
Next, attach your sous vide device securely onto the side of your pot or container according to its specific instructions. Make sure that it is properly submerged in water so that it can accurately heat and maintain consistent temperatures throughout cooking.
Selecting The Perfect Temperature For Steak Doneness:
- Rare: Set temperature at 120°F (49°C)
- Medium-rare: Set temperature at 130°F (54°C)
- Medium: Set temperature at 140°F (60°C)
- Medium-well: Set temperature at 150°F (66°C)
- Well-done: Set temperature at 160°F (71°C)
For this guide, we’ll be focusing on achieving a perfectly cooked medium-rare steak by setting our sous vide machine’s temperature to 130°F (54°C). This temperature ensures a tender, juicy steak with just the right amount of pink in the center.
Once your sous vide device is all set up and warmed to the temp you want, it’s time to put that seasoned steak in a vacuum sealer. Sous vide cooking involves sealing your steak in a sous vide pouch and cooking it in a gently heated water bath. This method ensures that your steak is cooked evenly and retains its natural juices, resulting in a flavorful and tender steak.
How to Vacuum Seal the Sous Vide Steak.
To ensure that your steak cooks evenly and retains all its flavors during the sous vide process, it’s essential to vacuum seal it properly. Vacuum sealing helps ensure that the steak cooks evenly and retains its flavor by preventing air from entering while also maintaining an even temperature.
- Select a suitable bag: Choose a high-quality, food-grade plastic bag designed for sous vide cooking or vacuum sealing. These bags are specifically made to withstand high temperatures without leaching harmful chemicals into your food. You can find them at most kitchen supply stores or online retailers like Amazon.
- Add seasonings (optional): Before placing your seasoned steak in the bag, you may want to add some additional flavorings such as fresh herbs, garlic cloves, or butter pats. This step is optional but can enhance the overall taste of your finished dish.
- Place steak in bag: Gently slide your prepared steak into the vacuum-sealable bag while ensuring there is enough space around it so that water can circulate freely during cooking.
- Vacuum seal: Using a vacuum sealer machine (such as FoodSaver), remove any excess air from within the bag before sealing it shut securely with heat-resistant tape if necessary. If you don’t have access to a vacuum sealer machine, you can use alternative methods like using zip-top freezer bags and performing a water displacement technique by submerging most of the open end of filled bags underwater until almost completely submerged then closing them up tightly above water level; this will help push out most of the air.
Once the steak is sealed in a vacuum, it can be cooked with sous vide. Properly sealing your steak will ensure that it cooks evenly and retains all its natural flavors, resulting in a perfectly tender and juicy meal every time.
How Long to Cook Sous Vide Steak in a Water Bath?
Submerge your vacuum-sealed steak in the prepped sous vide machine and let it cook in a water bath for even, juicy results. Cooking your steak using this method ensures even cooking throughout, resulting in tender and juicy meat.
Submerge Steak in Water Bath
Gently lower the sealed bag containing your seasoned steak into the preheated water bath. Make sure that the entire bag is submerged underwater so that all parts of the steak are evenly cooked. If necessary, use clips or weights to keep it from floating.
Cooking Time Based on Thickness
The cooking time for sous vide steaks depends on their thickness:
- 1-inch thick: Cook for a minimum of 1 hour but not more than 4 hours.
- 1½-inch thick: Cook for at least 90 minutes but no longer than 4 hours.
- 2-inches thick or more: Cook between 2-5 hours depending on desired doneness level.
Note: Once the desired doneness is determined, use these guidelines as a basis for achieving your perfect sous vide steak.
Maintaining Temperature Consistency
To ensure optimal results during cooking, ensure no drastic fluctuations in temperature within your water bath by periodically checking its temperature with an instant-read thermometer like this one found at ThermoWorks. If you notice any significant changes, adjust the sous vide machine accordingly to maintain a consistent temperature.
With your steak cooking in the water bath, you’re well on your way to achieving that perfect medium-rare doneness and mouthwatering flavor.
How to Sear Sous Vide Steaks After Cooking.
Once your steak has been cooked in the sous vide water bath, it is time to add a flavorful and textured crust for an exquisite restaurant-quality finish. This step is crucial for achieving that perfect restaurant-quality finish on your steak.
Preheat Your Pan or Grill
To sear your sous vide steak, you’ll need either a hot pan or grill. If using a pan, choose one with high heat capacity like cast iron or stainless steel; avoid non-stick pans as they don’t handle high temperatures well. Heat up a pan or grill to smoking hot – this should take approximately 5 minutes on medium-high.
Grill your steaks on the highest heat setting after preheating for 10 minutes or more.
Pat Dry and Season Again (Optional)
Before searing, remove the cooked steak from its vacuum-sealed bag and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels to remove any excess moisture – this helps achieve an even crust during searing without steaming the meat instead of browning it properly.
You can also add more seasoning at this point if desired; some people like adding freshly ground black pepper or other spices such as garlic powder or paprika for extra flavor enhancement.
Add Oil and Sear Each Side
- Add about two tablespoons of oil with a high smoke point (e.g., grapeseed oil) into your preheated pan or brush onto both sides of each steak if grilling them outdoors;
- Gently place each piece into the heated surface;
- Sear each side for approximately 1-2 minutes depending on thickness, until a deep golden-brown crust forms;
- Utilize tongs to rotate the steak and sear the other side for a comparable length of time.
If you want to add more flavor, consider basting your steaks with melted butter during the searing process. You can also throw in some aromatics like garlic cloves or fresh herbs (e.g., rosemary or thyme) into the pan while cooking.
Optional: Sear Edges
If your steak has thick edges, use tongs to hold it vertically and press each edge against the hot surface for about 30 seconds per edge. This ensures that every part of your sous vide steak is perfectly browned and delicious.
Now that you’ve mastered how to properly sear a sous vide steak, move on to resting before serving – another essential step towards achieving mouthwatering results.
Why Rest a Sous Vide Steak Before Serving?
Before serving, it’s essential to let the steak rest for a few minutes after searing to ensure even cooking and preserve its succulent juices. Allowing the steak to rest ensures even cooking throughout and helps retain its delicious juices, resulting in a more tender and flavorful eating experience.
The Importance of Resting Your Steak
When you cook meat, the heat causes the proteins within it to contract, pushing moisture toward the center of the cut. If you were to slice into your steak immediately after removing it from heat, those juices would escape onto your cutting board or plate instead of being retained within each bite. Letting your steak rest for about 5 minutes gives these proteins time to relax and redistribute their moisture evenly throughout the meat.
Tenting with Foil: An Optional Step
If you’re worried about keeping your sous vide steak warm while resting, consider tenting it loosely with aluminum foil during this period. This will help maintain its temperature without trapping too much steam that could soften that beautiful crusty exterior you’ve just achieved through searing.
Cutting and Serving
- Slicing: After allowing your sous vide steak ample time to rest, be sure to slice against the grain for maximum tenderness.
- Serving Suggestions: Pair with classic sides like mashed potatoes or grilled vegetables; alternatively, try topping with compound butter or a rich pan sauce for added flavor complexity.
- Garnish: Finish off your perfectly cooked and rested sous vide steak with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt or freshly chopped herbs for an extra touch of elegance.
Follow these steps to guarantee that your sous vide steak is cooked exquisitely and succulent when served. Your guests will be amazed by the restaurant-quality results achieved right in your own kitchen.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Length of Time to Sous Vide Steak?
The optimal time for sous vide steak depends on its thickness and desired doneness. Generally, cook 1-inch thick steaks for 1-2 hours, while thicker cuts may require up to 4 hours. For medium-rare, aim for an internal temperature of 130°F (54°C). Always follow recommended guidelines when cooking.
What is the Best Way to Prepare Steak for Sous Vide?
To prepare a steak for sous vide, first pat it dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper or your preferred seasoning mix. Optionally, add aromatics like garlic cloves or fresh herbs in the vacuum-sealed bag before sealing it tightly to ensure even cooking and flavor infusion.
How to Make Sous Vide Steak Tender?
Sous vide naturally makes steaks tender by gently cooking them at precise temperatures over an extended period. To further enhance tenderness, choose well-marbled cuts like ribeye or New York strip and consider adding a marinade containing natural enzymes found in ingredients such as pineapple juice or papaya puree.
How Do Restaurants Cook Steak Sous Vide?
Restaurants typically use commercial-grade equipment designed specifically for high-volume precision cooking. They pre-cook steaks using a sous-vide immersion circulator, then finish them off by searing them on a hot grill or cast iron skillet just before serving, ensuring a perfectly cooked and flavorful steak.
What is the Best Way to Sous Vide Steak Conclusion
Once you have the right technique for sous vide steak, you can consistently produce a delicious and perfectly cooked steak to achieve that great steak experience. It all starts with choosing the right cut of steak, preparing it properly, setting up your sous vide machine correctly, and vacuum sealing the seasoned steak before cooking in a water bath.
After cooking for an optimized time at a precise temperature, sear the steak on high heat for added flavor and texture. Finally, rest the steak before serving to allow juices to redistribute evenly throughout. With these steps in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy a great steak experience without relying on traditional cooking methods.