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I’ve always given the sous vide method of cooking a bit of the side-eye. It seems both highly scientific—something only done in fancy, high-end fine dining restaurants—AND also slightly unsafe. I mean, you’re leaving a piece of food out in a warm water bath, and you don’t expect weird food borne illnesses to result?
But then I went to my friend Steve’s house, and he served me steak—sous vide steak. Steve is not a man who normally cooks; he once showed up at a potluck with a large paper bag of fast food fries. But he is a chemical engineer and sold me on sous vide in general, along with making steak this way. It is just that safe and that easy!
- For a comprehensive look on sous vide cooking, check out our guide to using an immersion circulator and our sous vide safety guide.
WHY COOK STEAK SOUS VIDE?
Sous vide steak, it turns out, is the gateway to using the sous vide cooking method.
- Sous vide is precise, so your steak will reach exactly the doneness that you want, without you having to poke, prod, or cut into it to check.
- The entire steak reaches the same level of doneness. When you cook a steak the traditional method, whether it’s with pan frying or grilling, you often end up with a range of doneness throughout the meat. With sous vide, this isn’t an issue. The entire steak is medium rare (or whatever doneness you prefer) from the edge, all the way to the center.
- It’s a hands-off process. You don’t have to flip, turn, or even really watch the steak as it cooks. The machine does the work, and because it is timed, it lets you know when it’s ready.
- Flexibility with serving. Because you are bringing the steak to exactly the temperature you want (and above the temperature where bacteria can grow), you have a fairly wide window of time to serve the food. Got distracted? Don’t worry; the steak will still be ready and just as good half an hour later!
How to Make Sous Vide Steak
Don’t be fooled by the fancy name: Sous vide is simpler than you think. Here are the basic steps:
- Season the steak (with salt and pepper or additional rub).
- Seal the steak in a resealable plastic bag. (Here’s how.)
- Submerge the steak in the warm water bath, which is heated to the exact temperature by the immersion circulator.
- Once cooked, remove from the bag and do a “reverse sear”—a quick sear of the steak in a pan or on a grill after it’s cooked, to give it a tasty crust.
Step three is where the magic happens. You get complete control on your steak becoming medium rare, for example, without any guesswork or risk of overcooking or undercooking.
And you have a window of two to three hours after the steak is cooked in which it can sit in the water bath until you’re ready to reverse sear and serve. After that point, the meat protein breaks down and goes mushy.
What is the best cut for sous vide steak?
Any steak works with sous vide, so pick a cut of meat that you enjoy the most. My personal favorite steak is the ribeye, which has a nice marbling of fat and a robust meatiness.
Since we’re doing a reverse sear, I recommend a thicker steak, one that is at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. This allows you to do a proper reverse sear and not have to worry about cooking the inside of the steak any more.
You can sous vide thinner cuts of meat as well, like the skirt steak, flap steak, or hanger steak, but those are harder to reverse sear, as they are so thin that the interior of the meat starts to cook as well. Personally, I’d stick with the ribeye, New York strip, or filet.
How many steaks can you make at a time?
You can make as many steaks as you can comfortably fit in your water bath!
- If the steaks are very large, you might want to separate them into different resealable plastic bags, as you don’t want the steaks to overlap in the bag. If they do, you’re creating a super thick steak, which takes longer to cook.
- If the steaks are smaller, you can place them in the same resealable bag; just make sure they aren’t stacked or touching sides, so the water bath can properly circulate and bring the steaks to the right temperature within the proper time frame. If they do touch, it will take longer for the water bath to cook the steak.
How should I season the steak?
My go-to method is to just season the steak with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper before sealing them in the bag. Easy and classic.
Sprinkle the salt and pepper from high above (about two or three feet above the piece of meat). This might sound messy, but it allows the salt and pepper to float through the air and disperse evenly over the surface of the meat. The closer you are to the meat as you season it, the more the sprinkling of the salt and pepper will fall JUST where your fingers are, not all over the steak.
You can also season the steak with fresh herbs, like a couple of sprigs of thyme or a branch of rosemary, or slice up some fresh garlic and use that as well. Common pantry spices and ingredients such as garlic salt, paprika, chili powder, oregano, and a touch of brown sugar are also great.
And, of course, you can use your favorite steak rub. Whether it’s a homemade rub (I have an all-purpose steak rub on my blog that I adore) or a store-bought one, be sure to season your steak liberally, up to an hour ahead, before placing it in the resealable bag.
Also keep in mind the seasoning will be “diluted” a bit by the juices that the steak produces in the sealed bag while cooking. So you might want to re-season the steak with more spices after you’ve cooked it and before you sear it, to create an additional layer of flavor.
What temperature should I sous vide?
The temperature that you cook your steak via sous vide is dependent on how well done you like your steak. A few degrees difference in sous vide can shift the doneness of the steak, so you might want to experiment a bit to figure out exactly the temperature you like your meat cooked to.
Here’s a guide to the temperature ranges for steak that are at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick and brought to room temperature first. If the steak is refrigerator cold, increase the minimum time to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
|Very Rare to Rare:||120°F (49°C) to 128°F (53°C) for 1 to 2 1/2 hours|
|Medium Rare:||129°F (54°C) to 134°F (57°C) for 1 to 4 hours (but 2 1/2 hours max if under 130°F) Note: This is how I like my steak! All the photos in this post are from the steak cooked at 131°F for 3 hours.|
|Medium:||135°F (57°C) to 144°F (62°C) for 1 to 4 hours|
|Medium-Well:||145°F (63°C) to 155°F (68°C) for 1 to 3 1/2 hours|
|Well Done:||156°F (69°F) and up for 1 to 3 hours|
For steaks thinner than 1 1/2 inches thick, you can reduce the cook time to 40 minutes minimum, but keep the temperature listed above the same.
Don’t cook any steak under 130°F for longer than 2 1/2 hours for food safety reasons.
What is the “Reverse Sear” Method?
Right now, you might be saying: But I like those nice big grill marks on my steak! And the flavor!
Never fear! Once the steak has reached it desired temperature and you’re ready to eat it, take it out of the bag and sear it on both sides in a hot skillet or grill.
This method is called a “reverse sear” because you are searing the steak after it is cooked (and not before). This adds caramelized flavor and also creates a contrast in texture: the soft interior versus the crispy seared edges.
Can you sous vide a frozen steak?
Why yes, you can! One of my favorite things to do is buy steak when it is on sale, season it, and then freeze it in a resealable plastic bag. Then I can pull the steak out directly from the freezer and put it directly into the immersion circulator! Just add an hour to the cook time to accommodate for the thawing.
LOVE SOUS VIDE? WE’VE GOT MORE RECIPES FOR YOU TO TRY!
- Sous Vide Chicken and Broccoli
- Sous Vide Cheesecake in Jars
- How to Cook Pork Chops Sous Vide
- Sous Vide Beef Bulgogi Bowls
- How to Cook Asparagus Sous Vide
Sous Vide Flap Steak Recipe
Sous vide flap steak is an absolute game changer. This revolutionary method allows you to make perfectly juicy, tender steak, every single time. Time to say goodbye to the days of overcooked steak, and hello to that brilliant edge to edge medium-rare.
In this recipe, we will walk you through everything you need to know to make the best flap steak of your life. From what temperature to sous vide, how long to cook the flap steak, to different searing methods, this recipe has it all.
Best ever sous vide steak marinade recipe
I’ve tried many different steak marinades and this is absolutely my favorite! It produces incredibly tender steak and adds the most amazing sweet, tangy and savory flavors.
The combination of balsamic vinegar, honey, and soy sauce creates the perfect balance. I’ve found that people of all ages love it. This recipe works for different cuts of meat from Skirt Steak, Rib Eye Steak, to London Broil.
Bone in or Boneless Steak?
Now time to make the decision whether you should purchase a bone in or boneless steak for this recipe. The quick answer, either will result in tender, juicy meat. Also, either can be used interchangeably for most sous vide recipes.
That being said, we prefer using a bone-in steak. They tend to be juicer and more flavorful, and the meat around the bone is to die for. Treat yourself and buy a high quality, bone-in steak (like grass fed, prime grade or Wagyu) for an absolute flavor explosion.
Sous vide beef recipes
Sous vide can improve your cooking in many ways, but one of the first things most sous vide owners pop in their water baths is a piece of beef. A sous vide steak is a thing of true beauty perfectly cooked throughout to exactly the level of doneness you prefer, needing just a flash-fry in the pan to get a nice crust on the outside.
This collection of sous vide beef recipes contains steaks and much more. See how a sometimes tough cut like rump can be transformed into a meltingly tender cut of meat with Ollie Moore’s Sous vide beef rump with blue cheese, broccoli and smoked pommes anna, or create a barbecued masterpiece with Martin Wishart’s Sous vide barbecue beef sirloin, grilled onions and caramelised onion broth. Once you’ve mastered your sous vide steak game, move on to other cuts – Paul Welburn’s Roast beef silverside, barbecue suet pie, watercress, charred cabbage dish is a good place to start. Something magical happens to tougher cuts when given the sous vide treatment, too just take Russell Bateman’s Sous vide Jacob’s ladder with Jerusalem artichoke crisps and Roscoff onions as an example.
As with all sous vide cooking, remember to go light on the seasoning – the vacuumed environment will intensify the flavours. Sous vide beef still needs time to rest, too, so the fibres can relax and reabsorb their wonderful juices.
Sous-vide cooking is one of the most important new tools to enter the restaurant kitchen in the last 100 years, but because of the expensive equipment required, until now it’s been out of reach of most home cooks. But if you have heavy-duty plastic wrap, a big cooler chest and an accurate probe thermometer, you can try it.
Technology has taken hold in modern restaurant kitchens because it is based on a simple and fundamental idea: precision cooking of foods at carefully selected temperatures for precise lengths of time.
Most of the time in the kitchen, there is a great difference between the temperature at which we’re cooking the food and the desired final temperature of that food. We may want a piece of lamb to be perfectly medium-rare at 139 degrees, but we cook it in a 400-degree oven. The result is vastly different degrees of doneness between the surface of the meat and its center. Furthermore, because the oven temperature is so high, if you leave in the lamb for too long, it will overcook.
With sous-vide, you cook food in a water bath that is at the desired final temperature of the meat. The water bath for that piece of lamb will be 139 degrees, so it will have exactly the same degree of doneness from the outer surface all the way to the center.
Cooking this way also vastly reduces the likelihood that something will be overdone.
As a bonus, cooking slowly in a tightly contained environment also helps food retain its natural juices and allows us to more effectively add flavorings.
While this accuracy can be liberating, I am always careful to emphasize -- particularly with our young cooks who have had access to precision cooking for their entire careers -- that sous-vide technology is not a replacement for traditional culinary knowledge. Rather, it is just another tool that educated cooks can add to their repertoires -- even in the home kitchen.
In the professional kitchen, we cook sous-vide by encasing food in airtight plastic using chamber vacuum sealers (hence the name sous-vide, literally “under pressure”) and then cooking them in a precision-controlled water bath called an immersion circulator. Though these are now becoming available for home use, they are still quite expensive.
Rather than cooking the food using an immersion circulator, you can achieve similar results using a large picnic cooler and a probe thermometer.
Here’s how you do it: Fill the cooler with hot tap water to preheat for 10 minutes and then drain. On the stove, bring water to the desired cooking temperature (you’ll probably need to fill a couple of stockpots). Then transfer enough hot water to the cooler to fill it nearly to the top, reserving some water for later temperature adjustments.
Add the food and then check the temperature of the water and adjust as needed. If the temperature is too high, pour in a little cold water. If it’s too low, add in some of the reserved hot. A good-sized, well-insulated picnic cooler with its lid on (we use a 28-quart picnic cooler) should maintain an even temperature for around one hour. For slightly longer cooking times, check the temperature periodically and adjust with fresh hot water as needed.
For even longer cooking times, you can use a pot of water on the stove, though it will be more challenging to control the temperature. If you do elect to cook on the stove top, keep in mind that a larger body of water will maintain a steadier temperature, so select a pot that is large enough for the meat you’re cooking and an ample amount of liquid. Depending on how much control you have over the burners on your range, you may want to purchase a tool called a diffuser from your local kitchen store to provide separation between the pot and burner, making it easier to keep your water at a sufficiently low temperature.
Because cooking this way doesn’t get meat hot enough to brown, you can sear it on the stove before or after cooking. The choice is up to you, but remember that any time you want a crisp skin (such as with duck), it should be seared afterward.
In place of the chamber vacuum sealer, you can get much the same result by wrapping the food tightly in plastic wrap, or sealing it in a food storage bag. Whichever you choose, be sure the plastic wrap or bag is certified food-safe well above the temperature at which you’ll be cooking.
Always remember the absolute importance of time and temperature. The times and temperatures used in these recipes are accurate based on the size and cuts of meat we called for. Particularly when rolling food in plastic, the diameter of the finished cylinder will be the deciding factor in the time, but for temperature you can rely on a variety of printed and online resources.
Such guidance will give you an excellent starting point, but determining the ideal intersection of time and temperature for any recipe will remain the responsibility of you, the chef.
The home approach to sous-vide
How to keep shape, size consistent
There’s more to sealing meat for sous-vide cooking than throwing it in a plastic bag. Because uniform heating is so important in sous-vide cooking, you need to make sure the meat is a consistent shape and size. There are several ways to accomplish this.
One approach is to roll the ingredient you’re going to cook into a cylinder using food-grade plastic wrap. Start by clearing a level, smooth work space that allows for an 18-by-24-inch sheet of plastic. Soak a kitchen towel in water and then wring it out so that it is just damp, and then use that to dampen the work surface -- this will help the plastic adhere.
Stretch a sheet of 18-inch-wide plastic wrap toward the edge of the table so that it hangs over the edge by about 5 inches and cut it from the box -- the sheet should be oriented lengthwise so that it stretches 24 inches away from you. Using a dry towel and working from the center, push out any air pockets from under the plastic wrap (a credit card or other stiff but flexible card works well too). Fold the very top edge of the plastic wrap over a few times -- this will create a tab that is easy to find for removal after cooking.
Before rolling, allow the meat to temper to room temperature -- something taken directly from the refrigerator will drop the temperature of the water bath below where you want it to be. Place the meat or fish to be rolled about 2 inches back from the edge of the table and fold the plastic over -- there should be enough plastic to cover the meat and still leave an overlap of 2 or more inches.
Wrap both hands over the meat and, using your fingertips to secure the plastic, pull back firmly to tighten the meat into a cylindrical shape (if the plastic slips it’s because the workspace is too wet -- dry it off and start again). Maintaining tension and smoothing the plastic outward to remove any air bubbles, roll the meat all the way to the end of the piece of plastic wrap.
Pinch either end of the cylinder and, using gentle pressure to create traction, roll the meat away from you on the counter to tighten the cylinder and create plastic wrap “ropes” on either end of the shape. Pull to stretch the ropes apart -- this will tighten the cylinder and create additional pressure. Tie off one end as tightly as possible, pushing the knot down into the meat to secure the shape. Ensure that the other side is still tight -- rolling additionally if needed -- and then repeat. Trim to about 1 inch of plastic wrap rope on either end. If air bubbles are visible, eliminate them by poking a needle through the plastic.
To maintain the flat shape of a piece of meat, you can follow the same procedure up to the point where you place the meat on the plastic. At that point, rather than rolling the meat, fold the plastic over it and pull back with your fingertips to tighten. Continue folding the meat in the remaining plastic, smoothing any air bubbles out toward the ends after each fold. When you’ve used the whole sheet of plastic, fold the ends of the plastic wrap under and pull tight to seal the package. Repeat the process with a second sheet of plastic to seal the package even more tightly (you can use less plastic on the second time -- just enough to seal the ends of the first wrap). Again fold the ends under and then secure it with tape.
For pieces of meat that are unevenly shaped, use a zip bag. Make sure it is labeled either heavy duty or freezer-grade. Though these bags are convenient, it is very difficult to remove enough air to ensure even and efficient cooking. So instead add an additional cooking medium (for example oil or flavored liquid) to facilitate the transfer of heat from the water bath. Place the meat and any flavorings flat at the bottom of a bag that is about twice the size of what you’re cooking. Add enough oil, melted butter or other liquid to cover the ingredients and then carefully flatten the bag until the liquid reaches the top and there are no air bubbles. Seal, fold over and secure the bag top with tape.
Zip bags are made from a plastic that has a softening point of 195 degrees, so if you use this method take great care not to pour boiling or near-boiling water into the water bath while it is cooking. If residual air pockets cause the bag to float after you’ve put it in the water bath, keep it submerged by laying a clean kitchen towel over the top.
Here’s how to shape a sous-vide chicken breast into a cylinder for even cooking
- FOLD IT: Several thicknesses of plastic wrap along the top will make the sheet easier to handle.
- WRAP IT: Fold the plastic wrap over the chicken breast to encase it thoroughly.
- SHAPE IT: Use both hands to form the chicken breast into a cylinder inside the plastic wrap.
- KNOT IT: Finally, tie off both ends close against the breast to complete the seal.
The recipes here are written for only one portion in order to demonstrate technique and timing. You can cook as many as six pieces quite easily in the same-size water bath without too much trouble if you’ll check to make sure the temperature hasn’t dropped too much (just add more hot water if it has). For cooking more pieces than that, you’ll need to check the temperature frequently early on to maintain even heat. Serve these meats with the accompaniments of your choice.
Do you need a vacuum sealer to cook sous vide steak?
Nope! You can certainly use one if you have one, but I have found that a resealable ziploc bag works well too. You simply place the meat and any seasonings in the bag and zip it almost all the way closed. Then slowly lower the bag into the water and the water will push out the air. It’s the water displacement method, and I’ve found it works perfectly.
I use a clip to keep the pouch close to the edge of the pan, away from the circulator.
25 Sous Vide Recipes for Tender, Delicious Weeknight Meals
It's like eating at a high-end restaurant in the comfort of your home.
One of the best parts of sous vide cooking is that it's actually impossible to overcook the dish you're making. It's one of the reasons both chefs and in-the-know amateurs alike love it so much. Think: Perfectly cooked steak, absolutely tender fish, or fall-off-the-bone chicken with no worrying about getting things out of the pan before they burn! Whether you're craving a juicy steak, tender chicken, or easy pescatarian recipe, you'll find it right here. (Oh, and there are a few delicious fruit desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth, too.) Bon appétit!
Pork chops can be easy to overcook &mdash but not with a sous vide cooker!
Get the recipe at Beautiful Eats & Things.
This five-ingredient side couldn't be easier to make. And the results? The low-temp softens and sweetens the radishes, and the the pineapple glaze makes them irresistible.
Get the recipe at Food Fidelity.
Creamy mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and a balsamic reduction make this meal unforgettable. Even the kids will be licking their plates clean.
- Rare: 125°F for Time by Thickness (51.7ºC)
- Medium-Rare: 131°F for Time by Thickness (55.0ºC)
- Medium: 140°F for Time by Thickness (60.0ºC)
- Tender Steak
- Rare: 125°F for Up To 4 Hours (51.7ºC)
- Medium-Rare: 131°F for Up To 10 Hours (55.0ºC)
- Medium: 140°F for Up To 10 Hours (60.0ºC)
Do you have experience cooking blade steak? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Looking for more beef? Check out the sous vide beef time and temperatures for all the sous vide information you need.
Wagyu beef, or Kobe beef as it is more commonly known in the United States, has a long and illustrious history that originates in Japan.
Wagyu is made from special Japanese beef cattle breeds: Black, Brown, Polled, and Shorthorn (source). They are bred to be highly marbled with a high percentage of unsaturated fats.
The unique element of this kind of beef is the fat content, it’s almost totally fat. That makes their meat taste incredible and produces an almost buttery texture when cooked properly.
It has so much fat that the whole meat presents striping of fat throughout the muscles. This allows the meat to have a very, very strong flavor and that melt in your mouth taste you get when eating wagyu beef.
However, due to high demand and low supply for wagyu beef across Asia and other parts of the world, wagyu beef prices are high.
This meat is famous in the world and most chefs do not even dare to cook this meat sous vide. Why?
Just because sous vide might modify the fats and change the flavor of this steak. Add this to the fact that the wagyu is notoriously expensive, that’s why.
But is it possible to cook this meat sous vide, getting a great result? Yes, it is.
Wagyu needs to be cooked at a low temperature, so the fat doesn’t melt and lose the steak’s consistency.
The perfect temperature for this meat is at 53.3°C / 128°F for sous vide.
After the sous vide cooking, the wagyu meat needs to be seared in a very hot pan to keep the juices and fat intact.
This will get a perfectly cooked meat, but the exterior of it will be delicious. The fat content will ensure that you’ll get an incredible golden-brown, tasty crust.
Make sure to not season the meat before the sous vide cooking, or it will cause the wagyu to lose its water.
report this ad You can season it while you are roasting it in the hot pan, with just salt and pepper.
Traditionally, Japanese chefs will also add some garlic to the pan.
The recommended side dish of a fatty steak like this is a green salad, as it helps to digest the meat more efficiently.