How and Why to Sous Vide Beef and Red Meat
A handy guide to perfectly cooked steak using the precision cooking method
Purists will have you believe that cooking steak the traditional way in a cast-iron pan is the only way to do it. However, if you want to leave no room for error, a sous vide machine with its precise temperatures takes all the guesswork out. Use this method to deliver steaks that are cooked to precise doneness, needing only a final flash-fry in the pan to get a nice crust.
In this article we delve deep in precision cooking and break down the steps. From how to pick the right cut for sous vide cooking to temperature guidelines, step-by-step processes, tips on perfecting that sear, and more.
What is Sous-Vide?
Sous-vide is a gentle process of cooking items tightly sealed in a food-grade plastic bag, fully submerged in a water bath that is held at a constant temperature by a sous-vide device.
If you are new to this method of cooking, worry not as it is simpler as it may seem. Sous vide-ing your steak allows you to control the exact internal temperature of your steak, thus ensuring that meat is more evenly cooked throughout.
What’s more, the sous-vide method preserves all of the juices and flavours, giving steak a tender finish throughout. Once you get the hang of it, you can achieve steakhouse-quality cooking from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Making the ‘cut’
The sous vide method is perfect for almost any cut of steak, whether you decide to go for a classic ribeye or opt for a chunky porterhouse.
However, it is important to note that you should choose a cut of meat that is 1 to 2 inches in thickness for the best results. Thin cuts of steak could easily overcook in the searing process, and moderately thicker cuts will grant you the perfect contrast between interior and crust.
The key to sous-vide cooking is getting the right temperature for your water bath. Depending on your desired doneness, you can set your sous vide machine to different temperatures before you begin. With a 1-2 inch steak, we recommend setting your water temperature to 54ºC - 57ºC to get an even medium-rare.
Have a look at the temperature suggestion guide for sous vide steak below
Source: Serious Eats https://www.seriouseats.com/food-lab-complete-guide-to-sous-vide-steak
Once you have your water bath going, simply pop your vacuum bag in and leave it to cook until you are ready to sear and serve. Since the doneness of a steak is by and large determined by the maximum internal temperature it reaches during cooking, you do not have to worry about overcooking your steak.
A steak needs to be seasoned, we all know that. With sous vide cooking, you can take flavour impact to a whole new level; by sealing a seasoned cut of beef with aromatics such as rosemary, thyme and even garlic. The flavours are deeper and more nuanced without being overpowering.
The Final Sear
The last step to getting that beautiful and flavourful steak is searing. Searing is a cooking technique in which we utilise very high heat to create a delicious, flavour-rich crust.
Once your sous vide steak is ready, place it in a hot pan or on a BBQ along with some herbs and fat. Sear the steak to the desired doneness, based on the visual guide above — the result is a steak done to perfection.