Sous Vide Steak

Sous vide (a.k.a. hot tubbing)  is a technique where the meat is vacuum sealed in a plastic bag, put into a water bath, and brought to an almost-done temperature before being finished on the grill.

No matter how you like your steak done, this reverse sear is a great way to get more of your steak done the way you like it. By bringing the steak’s internal temperature close to the desired final level of done-ness first and then searing the outside, you get a nice, wide band of meat done the way you like it without much of a ring of gray meat around it.

I like my steak medium rare, so I sealed a couple of nice rib eyes in a FoodSaver bag and submerged it in a 100°F water bath. I checked every 15 minutes or so and added more hot water when the temperature dropped. After an hour the steaks were at the same temperature as the water.

Since medium rare is only 135°F, and the steaks are already almost there, all I had to do next was give them a good char.

I cranked my Big Green Egg up to nuclear temperature with all the vents open and did a final prep of the steaks – dusting them with some kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper and shaping them with my hands so that they are as compact as possible.

I put the steaks over the hottest part of the grill and closed the lid for 60 seconds of undisturbed searing. After a minute, I rotated them 90 degrees and gave them 30 seconds with the lid closed. I flipped the meat and repeated the process on the other side.

I pulled them from the grill, put the steaks on a warm plate and covered them gently with another one, and let them rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

The verdict – probably one of the tastiest steaks I’ve ever had. There was plenty of  bright pink meat with a good, rich, beefy taste and a nice char on the outside. The texture was a little grainy, which might mean I had the water bath too hot. Next time I’ll use a bigger container so the temperature doesn’t drop when I add the steaks.

7 thoughts on “Sous Vide Steak”

  1. Interesting. I have a BGE too and love it. I will have to try this technique sometime. I like the charcoal smokiness by cooking it longer over the coals, but I am always willing to try something new.

    1. Yeah, aside from a little graininess that I think is from adding too hot of water, it was a truly memorable steak. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

      BTW – really like your new site design. Very nice.

  2. I tried something similar to this method over the weekend.
    I used a thick rib eye, and a sirloin.
    Dusted them lightly with salt and pepper and frozen/gelled olive oil (i heard it wasn’t a good idea to over marinate it) and Foodsaver Vac packed them separately.
    Then I dropped them into a ‘magic’ bath (basically a thermos) and left the temp at around 60C = 140F – that was the lowest temp on my meat thermometer. What I did was to bring the temp up to 62C=143F and let it cool to 58C=136Fbefore topping it back up to 62C. (yes , I’m wincing while writing this too)
    Took them out of the bags after 45 minutes.
    Patted dry and coated with olive oil.
    Seared the meats on a Grill pan for about 2 minutes in total.

    Frankly it was a disaster – both meats were over done – (medium-well to well)
    On top of that the ribeye had totally no flavour.
    The sirloin had a bit of flavour but it was basically ruined too.

    But! thanks to your blog, (and being a glutton for punishment) I will retry this experiment –
    1/ with a better thermometer (on the way from ebay)
    2/ keep the temp to a max of 55C=131F and let it drop to 50C=122F before topping it up back to 55C
    3/ Use a cut like sirloin (and trim)
    4/ liberally marinate before vac sealing and before searing.
    5/ Sear on a pan instead of a grill pan (until I get small little BBQ like the Weber Q100 – my Christmas target )

    Wish me luck !

    1. Better luck next time. It sounds like you may have had your water too hot. The idea is it to get the meat warm, but not to start it cooking until you sear. it. Let us know how it goes.

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