Being a native Texan, I take my steaks pretty seriously. I appreciate all cuts of meat and I’m particular about how it’s prepared. There’s nothing that makes me happier than a perfectly cooked medium rare steak. Triple fudge chocolate cake or steak? Steak all the way, baby!
I like to experiment in the kitchen and so naturally, I’ve done my fair share of attempting to make the perfect steak. Sadly to fail every time. I found it to be disappointing and it just never quite hit the spot. After testing out different pans, oils, temperatures, and all that I finally decided to leave steak to the steakhouses around town. That is, until I discovered sous vide.
Sous v-what?? It sounds intimidating, but it’s not at all. Pronounced like “sue veed,” it’s a method of cooking where you place food in a plastic bag and submerge it in a water bath. There is a device (immersion circulator) that sets and controls the water at a specific temperature to cook your food evenly all the way through, inside and out, without overcooking it.
Let’s take steak, as an example. If you cook it at 129 degrees, you’ll have a perfect medium rare in about an hour, assuming the steak is about 1 inch thick. Yes, it takes a bit longer than if you were to grill it or some other traditional method, but you eliminate the risk of overcooking it. Key word – eliminate. Once your steaks are done, take them out of the bag and give them a quick sear on both sides. This is to caramelize the exterior and give it a nice crust, not to cook it more. The result? PERFECTION.
Another great benefit of sous vide is that you don’t even have to time it precisely. Once your food is ready, you don’t have to immediately take it out of the water bath. You have some buffer time to leave it in there, depending on what you’re cooking. With steak, its about an hour or two and you don’t want to go longer than that because when it’s in the water bath for longer than that, the proteins will start to break down and the texture will get weird. So, if you’re making some sides like mashed potatoes and asparagus, and the timer goes off that the steak is ready, it’s cool. Finish up on what you’re doing and get to your steaks when you can. There’s no need to immediately drop what you’re doing to pull your steak out of the water. I love this about sous vide cooking because you don’t have to hover over your food and time everything precisely. It’s the most relaxed way of cooking that yields the best and consistent results!
My two favorite things I’ve made so far? Steak and eggs. =D