I love cooking steak and do it using a variety of methods – on a grill, in the oven, on a cast iron skillet, often using a combination of all these methods for many years. I have my routine that allows me to achieve a nice medium rare level of doneness.
I can share what works for me but don’t expect any revelations – if you cooked a steak ever in your life – most of it you already know.
This is how I do a traditional steak
Since I am always learning new things, I roam Facebook’s cooking groups, websites I trust and read books to find things that resonate with me – new or a better techniques that can either make the food tastier or life of a cook easier, interesting devices, cool ingredients, etc.
Out of all discussions I’ve read, for whatever reason, steak cooking is always the area of a great controversy that sparkles heated debates over pretty much mundane stuff such as when to salt the steak or how many times to flip it.
I find it extremely fascinating how much passion is wasted on this topic.
At a risk of offending steak cooking extremists I say there is no ultimate best method to cook a steak. Experiment, develop your own methodology and enjoy it.
Ok. Why Sous Vide?
Sous Vide was a huge discovery for me. It changed my perspective on cooking forever. I never tried its outcome (at least knowingly) until I got my Ananova machine. My family was skeptical and so was I. But it quickly took a prominent place among my kitchen toys and now works harder than most of them since I unpacked it 6 months ago.
I never argue about personal tastes. What may be good for me can be absolutely unacceptable to others. Just ask my wife to drink Arrogant Bastard Ale and she will make a nasty face. I love it wholeheartedly.
However, everyone who tasted my Sous Vide steaks admitted that the taste was out of this world. It was the most juiciest, flavorful and tender steak folks ever tried. I was thrilled. I found a way to do a steak with guaranteed results and not much of an effort. What can be better than that for a recovering vegetarian?
By the way, the Sous Vide recipe I am sharing is not my invention. I developed it by leveraging and testing suggestions of many people who are more experienced than I am and most importantly science oriented, which to me is very important.
As a result, I became a loyal fan of Sous Vide cooking and if I have a chance to cook a steak – Sous Vide is always my #1 choice.
Here is how I do it.
- Sous Vide Setup
- Vacuum Sealing Machine
- Skillet or a Blow Torch
- Fresh meat gets generously salted and peppered on both sides.
I cut few cloves of garlic and spread its pieces evenly over both sides. About a clove per each steak.
- Then I add few rings of shallots and finish up with fresh rosemary.
- Once done I vacuum seal the steaks immediately and leave them in the fridge overnight or for 6-8 hours. Vacuum forces the flavors from fresh garlic, shallots, rosemary, salt and pepper to penetrate the meat very efficiently.
Once I am 2-3 hours from the serving time the following happens:[check_list]
- I set the Sous Vide machine to 134 F. This temperature will reliably get the steak cooked medium rare.
- Once the water reaches the desired temperature – the vacuum sealed steak goes in. I cover the container with plastic film and forget about it for at least an hour but not more than 4 hours. Normally I try to keep it in for 90 minutes.
Now there is a decision point to make – how to sear the ready steak.
The objective at hand is to make its sides look sexy and crusty but not to cook it further. Cooking steak after Sous Vide is going to ruin already perfectly cooked meat. The trick is to do it without developing a noticeable layer of well done meat that is always present when the steak is cooked using traditional methods.
I often use a blow torch. There is a good one in my tools cabinet. Now it became a kitchen toy. A very mean one too.
Alternatively, a super hot cast iron skillet can be used to sear the meat.
Either method works well if done quickly.
Once 90 minutes pass and the steak is done – I take it out of the bag, pat it dry, sear it using either method described below and serve.
If you choose to blow torch – use even movements to spread the heat. Don’t move the tip of the blowtorch too close to the steak – the flame is hotter and more effective at its end point. I cook garlic, shallots and butter while the steak cooks in Sous Vide, make the mix hot while I sear the steak and pour it on the steak once it is fully seared.
If I use a skillet method, I put garlic, shallots and butter in it with the steak and baste the top of the steak with hot butter while the bottom gets seared. It takes about 30 – 45 seconds for every side. I turn often. About every 15 seconds.
That’s all there is to it.[foogallery id=”730″] [circle_list]
- This method delivers medium rare steak with a nice thin crust.
- No well done layers. No waste of meat.
- No chance to overcook or undercook the meat.
- Very light effort for a cook as unlike the traditional methods you don’t need to babysit the process.
- As a result, Sous Vide offers me free time to do side dishes, soups, salads and other things that I normally serve.
- More importantly, I can repeat the same process and get the same results. This is probably the most appealing part for me.
I love to serve this steak with oven fried sweet potatoes and asparagus with Sous Vide Hollandaise foam prepared in iSi siphon.
If everyone is especially hungry I make Pressure Cooked Carrot or Squash or Leek/Onion soup. But these soups are very filling. If the crowd is hungry I don’t let them eat more than a cup of it. Otherwise the rest of the food would not be eaten fully. And I feed the Russian crowd who eats a lot normally. Just saying…
Enjoy and comment suggestions and improvements.