There’s really nothing like taking a bite of a perfectly cooked steak. It’s a special feeling. It’s tender, it’s juicy, it’s bursting with flavor. It’s a special taste, and often for a special occasion. Sous vide is the technique that guarantees perfection every time.
The entire steak is uniformly cooked through. The outside has a crust on it and it easily slices through with a knife revealing that perfect medium-rare interior. The flavor is perfect and the texture melts in your mouth. It’s unmistakable. You have one of the best mouth-watering bites possible at that moment.
On a grill or stove, more often than not, the steak is going to come out a little over or undercooked, and it if the temperature is nailed in the middle, there is still going to be that dreaded grey ring round the edge. Sure, we all get it right some of the time, but it takes a lot of practice to get a perfect cook every single time. That
Why Sous Vide Steak?
Cooking steak with the sous vide method will yield perfect results every time. Whether you prefer your steak rare, medium, well-done or anywhere in between, there is no guessing as to when your steak is exactly the temperature you want it to be when you cook sous vide.
There’s also significantly less shrinkage when steak is sous vide. When steak cooks on a hot surface for a long period of time, it will lose liquid, and thus weight. The sous vide technique will prevent this.
Benefits of Sous Vide Steak?
So you went out and bought the best steak you could find. The last thing you want to do is mess it up by overcooking it or even undercooking it.
- All the guesswork is eliminated. Set the temp and the time and the rest of the work is done for you.
- Cooked to the exact temperature you specify through the entire cut of meat.
- Can be cooked ahead of time and then seared in a skillet just before you are ready to eat.
- Great for meal prep
What does Sous Vide Cooking Mean?
Sous vide is a
The food (steak in this case) is vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag, then that bag is submerged in a temperature-controlled water bath for a period of time.
The sous vide technique has been around for a long, long time, but it’s only fairly recently becoming a method that is commonly used at home because of the accessibility of consumer sous vide machines.
Sous Vide for Entertaining and Parties
When you are entertaining, you would probably rather be entertaining your guests rather than hovering over the stove hoping to impress them with your steak cooking skills (or praying they aren’t overcooked).
The amazing thing about sous vide for steaks is they can be cooked to the perfect temperature ahead of time (like way before your guests even arrive), then quickly sear them off right before serving. This makes for stress-free entertaining while executing perfect food.
Make a "Steak Sampler" Dinner Party
Here’s an idea for a dinner party: Go pick up a New York strip, a ribeye, and filet mignon. Season and vacuum them together or in individual bags, then cook in a sous vide water bath based on the time and temp from the chart. Sear them off after they are cooked, and you're ready for your steak sampler dinner party. No sauce needed.
Everyone can taste to see how the flavors and textures differ and pick their favorite.
One of the amazing things about sous vide steaks is that no matter the size or thickness of the steak, it will come out the temperature you specify. That means if you have a 2-pound T-Bone and an 8-ounce filet mignon, they will both come out perfectly medium-rare at the same time. Pretty amazing, right?
The Best Steaks for Sous Vide
While any steak will technically work for the sous vide technique, it is much better to go with a bigger steak. So if you are making steak for two, get one large steak instead of two individual size steaks.
The reason that bigger is better, in this case, is that the steaks are first cooked in the water bath, then quickly seared off to develop that perfect flavorful crust on the outside. If the steak is really small and thin, it will start to overcook during the sear before it is fully browned.
Thickness - Go with steaks that are at least 1” thick, but preferably a bit thicker.
Size - 12oz and up (remember this will get sliced and served to multiple people)
Grade - Prime or Choice Grade
Sous Vide Steak Temp
Since we’re cooking the steak in the sous vide, there’s no need for a temperature range. It’s an exact science, so you can just set it and forget it (until it’s done). 🙂
The perfect medium-rare temperature for steak is 130° F or 54.4° C. You can go up or down a degree or two depending on your preference.
How Long to Sous Vide Steak
A 1-inch steak should be cooked in the sous vide between 1 hour and 3 hours for medium-rare. That’s right! You have that giant window of time that you can do other things and your steak will come out perfect whenever you take it out within that window. Beware that cooking the steak longer than three hours will start to break down the fibers and cause it to get mushy.
Steak Sous Vide Temperature Guide Chart
Cooking temperatures and times for sous vide
|Rare||125° F / 51.6° C||1 to 3 hours|
|Medium Rare||130° F / 54.4° C||1 to 3 hours|
|Medium||140° F / 60° C||1 to 3 hours|
|Well Done||160° F / 71° C||1 to 3 hours|
How to Finish / Sear a Sous Vide Steak
The searing step isn’t one you want to walk away from. Not only is it the most exciting step, but it happens very quickly and the steaks can easily overcook if left in the pan too long. You will want to make sure your steaks are as dry as possible so they sear instead of steam.
The Skillet Method
Heat a heavy cast iron skillet until it’s very hot, then drizzle in enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the steaks and sear for 30 seconds to 1 minute on both sides, or until they are golden brown. You don’t want to let them sear for longer than this or they will start to raise the internal temperature.
Butter Basting FTW
Butter basting is one of those wonders that adds so much flavor. You see chefs doing it, and you should be doing it too. It’s
When the steak is searing, add a few tablespoons of butter and thyme sprigs to the pan. It will melt quickly, so start using a large spoon to baste the butter on top of the steak.
The thyme flavor will infuse into the hot melted butter and add tons of flavor to the outside of the steak, along with helping to brown it even quicker.
Special Equipment Used
You can see the equipment used (below) or check out the post all about Essential Sous Vide Accessories.
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- Joule Sous Vide Machine by ChefSteps
- Sous Vide Water bath container or large pot
- Food Saver Vacuum Sealer (optional)
- Vacuum seal bags (optional) or ziplock freezer bags
- Bag clips for keeping the bag in place
- Lodge 10 Inch Cast Iron Skillet for searing the steak
- 1 Steak (1" thick)
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
For searing the Steak
- 1 tablespoon canola oil or other neutral oil
- 1 tablespoons butter
- Fill your sous vide container or pot with water and turn the machine on according to manufactures instructions to 130° F or 54.4° C for medium-rare, or to the desired finished temperature.
- Season the steak liberally on all sides with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Place a thyme sprig on each side of the steak, then place it in a vacuum seal bag or ziplock bag.
- Vacuum seal the bag if using a vacuum sealer, or if using a ziplock bag; partially seal it removing as much air as possible, then use the water displacement method by placing the bag in the water (always keeping the opening above the water line) to push the rest of the air out before sealing it.
- Clip the sealed bag to the side of the container to keep it submerged and cook between 1 and 3 hours.
- Remove the bag from the water bath and let the steak rest in the bag for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Cut the bag open and place the steak on a paper towel-lined plate and pat as dry as possible (keep the juices for a quick pan sauce if you prefer).
To sear the steak in a skillet
- Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until it just starts to smoke. Drizzle enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan and let that heat up for a few seconds.
- Place the steak in the skillet and sear for about 30 to 45 seconds on each side until golden brown. Going longer than 1 minute on each side will cause the steak to cook more than desired.
- As soon as the steak hits the skillet, add a few tablespoons of butter along with the thyme sprigs. Once the butter melts, begin basting it over the steak with the thyme until it’s finished the sear is finished.
- Slice and serve immediately. No need to rest it.
- Recipe makes 1 steak, but can easily be scaled up for more.
- New York strip steak was used in this post, but recipe works for any cut.
- If the steak isn’t staying submerged, you can put bowl or plate on top of it to keep it down.