If you’re into cooking shows recently, you have probably seen the trendy cooking method known as sous vide.


At its most basic level, Sous Vide cooking is the process of sealing your steak in a vacuum-sealed bag and then cooking it in temperature-controlled water.


As scientific as it sounds, Sous Vide cooking promises perfection every time. No more overdone or dry steak but, does it really work? Does it produce evenly cooked steak every time? How long does it take to Sous Vide a steak? What temperature do you sous vide steak? What cuts to Sous Vide, Let’s find out!

What is Sous Vide?

Sous Vide is the process of vacuum-sealing food in plastic bags and then cooking it slowly in a temperature-controlled water bath. Therefore, it requires the use of a machine called an immersion circulator to keep the water at the proper temperature so the food cooks slowly and evenly.

Sous Vide
“Anova Sous Vide” by powerplantop is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Why Sous Vide Your Steak?

Sous Vide cooking takes all of the guesswork out of the cooking process, since you have precise control over temperature and cooking time, you get consistent results each time. No more raw or overcooked steak.

Not only that, because Sous Vide is a slow cooking process, you’ll be able to achieve evenly cooked steaks, a result that needs skills to get on let’s say, a pan.

With traditional high-heat cooking methods, hitting that perfect medium-rare sweet spot is a pain, over or underestimate your cooking time, and your steak comes over or undercooked.

No more room for error with Sous Vide since it offers unmatched control over your steak, letting you very accurately cook the steak to the level of doneness that you prefer each time.

Steak Sous-Vide
“2018.07.25 Steak Sous-Vide, Washington, DC USA 05231” by tedeytan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Which Cut of Steak to Sous Vide?

Conveniently enough, they are all good! Most beef cuts can be cooked Sous Vide; Accordingly, it includes tougher and cheaper cuts such as Flat iron and Chuck Eye Steaks. As well as more tender cuts like Tenderloin, Ribeye, or Porterhouse (more on cuts here)

After all the best steak to Sous Vide are the ones that are hard to cook using a different method and we mean by that, the cheaper cuts.

Anyone can make a Striploin or Ribeye taste good but when you can make a $5 cheap steak taste better than the steak you pay $50 for in a fancy Steakhouse you know you are doing something right and there’s where Sous Vide comes in handy.

Tomahawk Steak (im Sous-vide Topf)
“Tomahawk Steak (im Sous-vide Topf)” by multipel_bleiben is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

What Is The Right Temperature To Sous Vide? And For How Long ?

On the contrary to traditional cooking methods, sous vided steak is cooked at the temperature you want the steak to end up at. In other words, the temperature and time you set your cooker to, determines the end result of the steak as it undergoes several structural transformations that affect the texture and the flavor. If you apply higher temperatures to the meat, those changes occurs faster.

TemperatureEffects on Meat
120°F and aboveMeat starts to tenderize with minimal moisture loss
140°F and aboveMeat really starts to lose moisture as it contracts resulting in much firmer meat.
154°F and aboveAll moisture is gone
Temperature effect on meat

The following chart provide the corresponding target temperatures for your desired doneness

CUT OF BEEFRARE/MEDIUMMEDIUM
Brisket131°F for 72 Hours150°F for 24 to 48 Hours
Corned Beef130°F for 72 Hours145°F for 48 Hours
Chuck Roast129°F for 18 Hours136°F for 18 Hours
Cowboy Steak130°F for 2 Hours135°F for 2 Hours
Crescent Steak130°F for 2 to 3 Hours
Delmonico Roast129°F for 18 Hours136°F for 18 Hours
Filet Mignon130°F for 3 Hours135°F for 2 Hours
French Roast130°F for 3 to 4 Hours135°F for 3 to 4 Hours
Hanger Steak130°F for 2 Hours
Oyster Steak130°F for 2 Hours135°F for 2 Hours
Tenderloin134°F for 1 Hour
Rib-Eye134°F for 1 Hour134°F for 4 Hour
T-Bone134°F for 1 Hour134°F for 4 Hour
Sous vide temperatures chart

What gives?

To decide upon the time and temperature, you will have to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How tender do you like it? More time will make the meat more tender. Too long, and it will become mushy.
  • Is your cut tender or tough? A tough cut will require more time and higher temperatures to become tender.
  • How thick is it? The thicker your cut is the more time it will take to cook. If it is twice as thick, it will take four times as long to heat all the way through.
  • How rare would you like it? This is only a matter of setting the right temperature.

How To Sous Vide, STEP BY STEP

Now all the mumbo jumbo is out of the way, let’s get our feet wet and guide you throughout the process step by step. It boils down to 4 main steps :

Season Your Meat

Preheat your sous vide cooker to the desired final temperature following the table above, let the water bath to come to temperature before adding your steak.

Season the steak generously with salt and pepper and don’t forget the edges. Here the proper way to season your steak

Bag It and Seal It

Before you seal the bag make sure to add thyme or rosemary and distribute them evenly on the steak. Using a vacuum sealer to seal the bags shut.

Set Your Temperature, Set Your Time, Start Cooking

Drop the sealed bag into the water bath and you’re off to the races. Make sure to respect the time table above.

Let it Rest, Dry it, and Sear it

To get that amazing crust to your meat a Cast Iron or Stainless Steel Skillet are geat options. Feel free to add more aromatics, like thyme and garlic cloves. If you lean more toward nice and smoky flavors, you can sear your sous-vided steak on the grill.

Serve It

Serve immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the disadvantages to cooking steak sous vide ?
    • Cooking a steak sous vide requires more tools like a precision cooker, plastic bag and vacuum sealer and of course more time.
  • When should I season my steak? Can I add a spice rub?
    • You can season you steak before vaccum sealing it, and before you sear it. Spice rubs are allowed as well.
  • What happens if I leave the steak cooking too long in the cooker?
    • Obviously texture will not be the same.
  • Can I add aromatics, like thyme or rosemary, to the vaccum sealed-bag?
    • Yes, you can, make sure to distrbute them evenly on each side of the steak.
  • Can I cook a frozen steak?
    • Definitely, you need to allow more time for the steak to defroze before you start counting.

Get inspired

Now all the Sous Vide ground laid, let’s put our newly acquired skillset to the test and let us imagine this scenario; you are too cheap to buy a decent cut of steak to cook, but have all the time and the confidence in the world that you can make this cheap cut of steak a banger. 

If you already started with a great piece of meat, you’re already in for an amazing meal, making a T-Bone is just wonderful and a braided tenderloin is perfect for any holiday season, now even though all these cuts are amazing, they are not cheap, that’s if you compare them to your run of the mill cut. Today, we are going to see if we can turn an eye of round cut to a wonderful piece of meat.

With the Sous Vide, patience, and dedication that’s doable.

The truth about the eye of round that is located towards the back. It is a muscle that does a lot of heavy lifting so its not as tender as the other cuts, but fortunately, it is very affordable. As long you know how to Sous Vide it, it can turn out great.

Steps

1. First you want to start by trimming the extra fat and the silver skin. Make sure to leave at least half an inch of fat.

2. Because this is a thick cut, you can’t be shy on seasoning, use a lot of salt, freshly ground black pepper and garlic powder, roll it around to make sure that all edges gets an even coating.

3. Use your preferred steak rub, here’s a nice home made rub recipe that you can use:

  • 1 tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Salt
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric

Of course you can use any other rub you prefer.

4. Now that we got it heavily seasoned, all that is left to do is bag it up and cook it sous-vide.

5. To give the steak more flavor, we are going to make a basting butter; mix salted butter, garlic paste and freeze-dried parsley.

6. Cook the steak at 131°F/55°C for 16 hours straight.

7. Once cooked, sear it with basting butter, let it rest and use the basting butter again before cutting it.

8. Enjoy.

Verdict

To be clear this is an affordable cut, so don’t get your expectations up through the roof, it is not as tender as a decent cut, but it is really good, Sous viding it helped a lot, the flavor is here, the buttery smoothness is here, the nice crust is here and of course it is pink in the center.

You still can mix it with some mashed potato and green beans, as long as you cut it really thin, you are good to go.

Now, what do you think of the end result? let us know, and of course stay tuned for more amazing cooking hacks.