Recently on a trip to visit family, we were discussing our love for a good steak. The topic of going to a high-end steak house, or buying a quality cut at a meat market, devolved into the fact that many of us are willing to make our own steak at home. It can be done at a more reasonable cost than $55 for 6oz of Filet at the local “beef” house and often, dare I say, taste better!
So, what method is the go to for a tender, but savory browned crispy exterior of meat coma? There are as many methods as you can shake a cattle prod at…hmmm, maybe not the best play on words…anyhow, you can cook over open flame on your grill, on the stove in a cast iron pan, indirect in an oven….or Sous Vide!
When I first heard that term, I thought, “isn’t that the guy that wrote all the band marches in high school??” Yeah, I was a band geek. I digress.
Simply put, Sous Vide is a method of cooking using a water circulator that keeps a constant temperature of the water, around a vacuum sealed food grade plastic bag of meat or food. Pro Chef’s have been using this method since the 70’s and now the method has caught on with home cooks over the past few years.
The Sous Vide cooking devices are fairly inexpensive at $100 or less. The benefit of this method is retaining moisture and tenderizing the end product. It can be used for most firm proteins.
So back to that steak. When you have a steak, typically most folks like a juicy steak. What is the main culprit of a dry steak?? Overcooking. Too much heat or fire, for too long, takes that $10/lb steak you saved part of the annual food budget for, and proudly purchased, to a floundering piece of tough shoe leather that could choke a bear. Can I let you in on a secret? Souse Vide cures that!! If you follow some basics.
Here is how to make a great steak with just a little bit of planning and time.
- A Souse Vide machine(Google it)
- A large pot or water vessel
- Plastic Vacuum sealer or Plastic Gallon Zip Lock Bags
- Meat-any cut, I used Sirloin in this example.
- Steak Seasoning of your choice and high temp oil or ghee for brushing your steak.
- Searing heat(Grill or Stove)
- Ice bath.
Here is the method:
- Find meat. Remove packaging. Rinse under cool water and dry with paper towels. Lightly season with salt, pepper, herbs if you like. Some of this flavor will impart into the meat. You will re-season before searing.
- Vacuum seal the steaks or place in Gallon size freezer zip lock bags and remove air using the displacement method(Google it).
- Turn your SV machine in a water bath and get to the target temp you need. Make sure to fill with enough water to fully submerge your food product. Here is the beauty of SV, set your desired SV machine to the doneness of the steak temp you want-if you like rare-125°-130°, medium 130-135°,etc.. There are many sites out there about food safety and temps/time ratios. Take a look at those.
- Once the water is up to temp, drop in the steaks.
- Set a timer and wait!
- SV cooking is more about time, than cooking by weight. The average rule for beef is 60 minutes for every inch of thickness. So the steaks I did hear were 2.5″ thick. I went 3 hours. The other beauty of SV is you can’t overcook the food! It stays at the max temp you set! This gives you a lot of options when hosting folks at your steak-house.
- Once the time is up, remove your steaks and pop them in an ice bath for 5-10 minutes. This stops the cooking, so you can sear at a high heat and not overshoot your target temp you finished at.
- Remove your steak from the ice bath and remove from the plastic. Dry the steaks with paper towel. This is critical for a good crust!!
- Start to heat your searing method and get cranked to 550°-650°
- Brush your steaks with a high temp oil or Ghee and re-season for flavor.
- Sear on all sides of the meat for 1-2 minutes max.
- Serve and eat! No need for a rest like other methods!