The Best Steak of Your Life
The Best Steak is Cooked Sous VideIt's quite a claim to say something is "the best steak" or even bigger "the best steak of your life," but I am going out on a limb with this one. I have cooked steak many ways with good results. I have a post on how to sear a steak and finish it in the oven and another on how to reverse sear steaks so that you essentially cook the interior of the steak first and finish with a sear. All of these methods are good, but nothing compares to an edge-to edge, perfectly cooked, juicy and tender sous vide steak. Once you have tried sous vide steak, I dare say you will agree it is the best steak of your life.
EquipmentAt its simplest all you need is a sous vide circulator, a plastic ziplock bag and a large pot, but if you are going to commit to sous vide as a permanent part of your cooking repertoire, there are some additional products that you may find very useful. Below are the basics. Check out additional sous vide products I use for my sous vide cooking class here.
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Photo: AmazonI have two Anova 800 watt sous vide circulators. Why two? It allows you to cook multiple sous vide dishes that require different temperatures at the same time. So I can make steak and vegetables at the same time. The 800 watt Anova is Amazon's choice and best seller with over 3000 4-star ratings. There is a new Anova Nano that is priced very similarly, is smaller and has almost the same power at 750 watts. I have not used this device, but it would require a little less storage space and takes up less room in the sous vide container.
Photo: AmazonWhile you can certainly use a large pot as your sous vide container, I recommend one of these Rubbermaid containers if you are going to sous vide frequently. The plastic container does not get hot and there is more room in a square container than in a round pot for your sous vide food packets. I also have an 18-quart Rubbermaid container I use for big volume sous vide cooking and for making Sous Vide Chocolate Pot de Creme with Bourbon and Espresso and Sous Vide Salted Butterscotch Pudding with Irish Whiskey.
Photo: AmazonYou can cover your container with foil, but I prefer this effective lid that holds in the heat and minimizes evaporation, which is particularly helpful for long multi-hour or multi-day sous vide cooking.
Photo: AmazonThis sleeve serves to insulate the sous vide container, which helps the water come to temperature faster and keeps it at temperature. It also helps protect your counters from heat damage.
Photo: AmazonMost people start cooking sous vide by using the water displacement method and a ziplock bag to create a vacuum seal. This method works fine, but takes a little monitoring and you will have an occasional leaker. If you are serious about sous vide cooking and want to sous vide some multi-day recipes, then I highly recommend investing in a vacuum sealer. These devices are pretty cool and make preparing your sous vide packets very easy. As a bonus, vacuum sealing has a lot of benefits for food storage, dramatically increasing the shelf life of refrigerated and frozen foods. these sous vide racks. They allow you to sous vide more food in a small space and help weight down lighter foods that tend to float to the top of the sous vide bath. You can space the racks to insure that all your food packets have good water circulation.
SeasoningYou can season the steak with just kosher salt and pepper, or you can use a variety of spice rubs. I like Burnt Offerings' Santa Maria rub.
Time and TemperatureTime and temperature are critical to all sous vide cooking. For a 1 1/2" steak plan on 1 to 2 hours in the sous vide bath. The beauty of sous vide is it is very forgiving in terms of time, because the food you are cooking never gets hotter than the temperature you set the circulator to. If you leave the steak in for several hours, however, the texture will begin to change, so I like to pull my steaks out by 2 hours. The temperature you cook the steak at will vary depending on your preference. I like a medium rare steak that is not too bloody or raw feeling. For me, 130 degrees F for 1 1/2 hours is perfect for a 1 to 1 1/2" steak.
Type of SteakThere are a variety of steaks you can use. A well-marbled ribeye is always delicious. The only caveat is "well-marbled" means the steak is laced with streaks of fat which gives it its flavor and moisture. Here is a picture of a well marbled ribeye steak:
Boneless ribeye steaksIf this is too much fat for you I recommend a New York Strip steak, which is the larger section of a T-bone. With the exception of the ribeye photo above, all the photos in this post are New York Strip.
New York Strip SteaksIf you are truly averse to fat, go with a filet mignon. Filets do not have marbling, yet are tender and delicious. Costco offers great quality filet mignon cuts at prices significantly lower than most grocery stores.
1.5" New York Strip SteaksIn sous vide cooking, thickness counts and will affect the cooking time. This recipe is designed for steaks that are about 1 1/2" thick, give or take a quarter inch.
Cooking in AdvanceEver invest in some great steaks for a dinner party and then when it is time to put them on the grill you get involved with a conversation or a game of corn hole? The next thing you know the grill is flaming and your very expensive steaks are now well done, crispy and dried out? With sous vide cooking all that goes away. You can sous vide the steaks several days in advance and keep them in the fridge. When you are ready to serve, pop them back in the sous vide for about 20 minutes to warm up. Remove them from the water bath, thoroughly dry them and they are ready to be finished on the grill or on the stove. Either way, finishing sous vide steaks requires a very small attention span, about 60 seconds on each side. Just enough time to get a nice sear, which will give you plenty of time to attend to your guests.
Finish on the Grill or in a Cast Iron Pan on the StovetopYou can finish your sous vide steaks on the grill or on the stove. I am partial to finishing on the stove as I think it gives them a great sear. I like to finish with a pat of butter to enhance the flavor and the sear.
No Need to Rest Sous Vide SteaksAnother advantage to cooking steaks sous vide is that you do not need to rest the steaks when you finish. Conventionally cooked steaks need to be rested to incorporate the juice into the steak. Not so with sous vide steaks. Take them off the grill or the stove and feel free to dig in right away.
The Best Steak of Your Life is Also FoolproofThe best part of cooking steak sous vide is that once you have your preferred time and temperature down, it is virtually a foolproof method. What are you waiting for? It's time to make the best steak of your life!
The Best Steak of Your Life
Yield 2 - 4 servings
Sous vide is an easy, reliable method for cooking steaks that produces exceptional results. For me, a sous vide steak is the best steak of your life!
2 boneless rib eye or New York strip steaks, 1 1/2" thick
Burnt Sacrifice Santa Maria rub, or other spiced steak rubs, or kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
High temperature oil -- such as grapeseed oil
- 2 T butter (optional)
Season the steak with Santa Maria rub on all sides. Or use kosher salt and pepper only. Allow to sit 15 minutes on the counter or overnight in the fridge.
Heat sous vide water bath to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Vacuum seal the steak in either a large ziplock baggie using the water displacement method, or a vacuum sealer. Sous vide for 1 - 2 hours.
Remove from the water bath and thoroughly dry with paper towels.
Heat a heavy skillet or grill pan over high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and heat until oil begins to smoke. Sear beef on both sides for about 45 seconds on each side. Just long enough to get a good external sear. Do not over cook.
- If you are using butter, add it to the pan after you sear both sides. Turn down the heat to medium and swirl the melting butter around the steak, spooning it over the steak. Remove from the pan and serve.
Slice the meat across the grain and enjoy. With sous vide cooking there is no need to rest meat before slice it. The sous vide steak will retain its juices unlike steaks that are cooked conventionally.