Monday, January 24, 2011

Stovetop "Sous Vide" Episode 2: NY Strip Steaks – Pretty and Pink

The duck breast we did in Episode 1 of our stovetop sous vide series last month was so spectacular, I couldn't wait to give it a try with some nice thick steaks. I had no doubt that it would work (thanks to the laws of physics), but would the extra time and attention be worth the payoff?

Well, that depends. As far as the taste and texture of the meat goes, it was pretty much the same as any perfectly cooked steak I've ever had. Not to sound all braggy, but thanks to having done thousands of them, I can produce a pretty decent, medium-rare NY Strip steak in
about 15 minutes.

It will be nicely browned and crusty outside, warm and pink in the middle. So for me personally, I'm not sure the extra wait is worth it purely for the textural advantages is provides. Don't get me wrong, the results were fabulous, but do I really need to wait 2 1/2 hours to get my beef on?
The real advantage to this technique is not a superior-quality final product (like it was for the duck), but the fact that you're guaranteeing a perfect medium-rare (using 130 degrees F. water, or 140 for medium, or 150 for medium-well, etc.). So, if you've never had any luck getting large, expensive hunks of steak cooked to your idea of perfection, then this is the way to go, for sure.

Since we went over the basics of this procedure in the previous post, I won't rewrite all the background info about what sous vide is, and how it works. For that kind of scintillating background information, please check out, "Episode 1: The Best Duck Breast Ever." Enjoy!

NOTE: For LOTS more information about doing sous vide steaks, check out Sous-Vide 101: Prime Steak Primer by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, posted on Serious Eats.



Ingredients for Stovetop "Sous Vide" NY Strip Steaks:
2 (12-14 oz) NY Strip Steaks
1 teaspoon grape seed oil , or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter, divided
handful of trimmed mushrooms
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar


View the complete recipe

46 comments:

K.D said...

you know.. i was goin to ask ya for a special recipe.. i wanna make a romantic home dinner for my wife.. its our 3rd anniversary..

and then i saw this!

it looks amazing...
thanks chef!
you're the best

Anonymous said...

That is medium, not medium rare.

liam said...

I think that sous vide for poultry works the best. The difficulty in getting great tasting meat for chicken duck or turkey has to do with the internal temperature and getting exactly right.

So I cringed when I saw you pre salt the steaks and have them sit for 2 1/2 hours. No surprise when I saw all the juices from the steaks sitting in the bag.

I personally use sous vide for fish and poultry. I loved your previous sous vide recipe. I won't try this one however.

liam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

I saw the duck video and was going to try the technique with steaks. Great timing!

When I sous vide my steaks I'm going to cover them with butter. This should provide two benefits, 1) add flavor and 2) help heat transfer if I cannot get a perfect vacuum with the straw.

I just cook at home so I don't know how a professional steak house operates but I heard that they sous vide all their steaks in big vats of butter at various temps, one for rare, med, etc., then sear them to order.

Chef John said...

Maybe the lighting or my poor photog skills, but trust me, it was medium-rare. 130 degree has been MR as long as I've been around.

Chef John said...

okay, I have to laugh... just got a bunch of comments on Youtube saying the meat looks rarer than MR! What's that old saying...?

Pantalone said...

Looks like the whole steak
is medium rare and not just the center -- which is brilliant!

Keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

This would improve that already great meat salad you featured yesterday!

Is there a minimum temperature for the sous vide process? A "really rare" steak would be cooked at 110 degrees, and "rare" at 120 degrees. Is it OK to do the process at 110 degrees?

By the way, your steaks look perfectly medium-rare to me.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to sign my comment!

Jim

Chef John said...

not sure about this method, but I've seen pro chefs do rare sous vide, so it would probably work.

Rich Stillwell said...

Hey Chef John...

Here's a Sous Vide I did of a NY Strip at about 125°-127°F for about 90mins...No sear first. Just a 45 sec sear on each side in a cast iron grill pan.
http://richstillwell.com/images/sousvidestrip5.jpg
I would say it's Rare-Mid Rare from edge to edge.
Hope that shows the diff between a sear before and after.
:)

Chef John said...

Rich, thanks for the picture! looks amazing, but...

with all due respect, for me there is a big difference in a steak's meaty flavor between some mostly cosmetic grill marks, and a thick, seared salty crust. I'll trade the little bit less uniformity for that extra few minutes of searing magic.

I may try the next one at 125 though to test the texture difference.

Nando said...

CJ,

You don't have to wait 2.5 hours for the steak to be done. If you place it in the water bath after it has come to room temp (out of the fridge for 30-40 mins), then I would be comfortable removing it from it's bath and searing it after 45 minutes.

Rich Stillwell said...

I agree with you John...That was my very first sous vide...Done in a COOLER. Yes. A cooler. :) I will definitely use a cast iron skillet next time and get some nice crust on it. SOUS VIDE FTW!
Keep em comin Chef John!

Chef John said...

Wow, 45 minutes. Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

My guess is, when you seared it the second time, the internal temps hit of 135, and that pushed it over true medium. The point of letting it sit at a certain temp, is to continue the breaking down process, with over cooking. While it'll be done at 45 min, it's much better when it sits for a while. Sous vide isn't about reaching a certain consistent temp, but rather constantly cooking it at that temp, and in it's own juices too.

Anonymous said...

i would love to try.
but it takes a lot of time. maybe too much.
is it worth it? i mean taste extraordinary?

KrisD said...

I've been doing both the stove and cooler-hack SV for a few weeks (it's habit forming!)

Kenji over at serious eats did a bit on steaks--good illustration of temperatures and such. Even compared with or without butter (no butter wins).

I didn't want to post the link--but it's pretty easy to find if you look for it.

Best steaks I've ever made (and really, you only need @ 40 min)--worth the effort.

KrisD said...

BTW-looks perfectly done at 130!

Oliver James Spicer said...

Great video Chef John :D
Lots of sous vide tips flying around at the moment and your video is the only one that has made me think of actually doing it!

If you ever get around to it, I would love to see your version of a lamb rack. Its such an expensive cut that I would love to put my trust into something like sous vide so I can feel good about cooking it!

Thanks as always :)
Ollie

zac said...

Are those mushrooms also called oyster mushrooms?

Chef John said...

No, they are different.

Chef John said...

No, they are different.

Anonymous said...

I did some tenderloins sous vide last night with excellent results. I saved one and refrigerated it to try the restaurant tactic of doing the sous vide in advance. I will sear it, but what technique would you use to make sure the center is not refrigerator-cold?

Jim

Chris K. said...

So far I've learned three things about the sous vide technique from Chef John's Foodwishes videos:

1. It's a reliable method for bringing food to the desired cooked temperature, while minimizing the risk of over-cooking;

2. It's a feasible method for the home cook, without having to invest in expensive equipment;

3. It's not nearly as intimidating as it seems.

With that in mind, in the future I would love to see more videos featuring products that truly benefit from using the sous vide method. The duck demo was an excellent example.

What about other proteins like pork belly, lamb, and fish? Or vegetables, such as asparagus or brussels sprouts?

Thanks for posting these videos, Chef. I always love learning something new, whether it's a recipe or a technique. Keep 'em coming!

PS If anyone ever offers to give you beaver tails, politely decline. Unless you're a starving fur trapper, in which case you'll probably believe tree bark is also a "delicacy."

Chef John said...

Thanks! and the next time someone offers me beaver tail, I will keep that in mind ;-)

Steven K. said...

That steak looks awesome and I definitely want to try this. But I wanted to point out something I read about using the sous vide technique to cook steak to a temp of 125 or below. From what I read on a sous vide message forum, they suggest using a cooking time of 2 hours or less when cooking beef at a temperature below 131 degrees. Below this temperature, a long cooking time actually promotes the growth of bacteria.

Anonymous said...

Can you do the same thing also to lamb?

thanks!

Chef John said...

I hear it will!

Steven K. said...

This is awesome. I've always disliked cooking filet mignon because it never turns out quite right. Here's one cooked at 141° sous vide and then sprinkled with montreal seasoning and seared for a minute on all sides.

http://s1217.photobucket.com/albums/dd389/AKSteezo/?action=view&current=sv-filet1.jpg

I like this technique because you can cook a nice, thick steak to the correct temp without overcooking it. Also, I have friends who refuse to eat a steak cooked to less than medium-well, and I think this will allow you to cook steaks to that temp without them drying out too much.

Horatio said...

Chef John: could you imagine doing the last searing step on a really hot charcoal grill? Especially in the winter, when you can't properly air the kitchen, it might be a more wife-friendly technique. I'd be freezing my but off, but I'll do that for a steak. It would also enable me to get more steaks out simultaneously. Not sure if a really hot charcoal grill (not gas) can compete with a skillet though...

Chef John said...

Yes, but not on the grill. Place a cast iron pan on the coals, get it red hot, and sear it. Would work nicely!

Anonymous said...

I just tried a sous vide rib eye. I have a small NESCO electric roaster that has thermostat on it. The lowest official setting is 200, but if you just turn it so that it's barely on and not up to the 200 degree mark - it settled in at 130.

I liked it because 1)I didn't have to worry about timing. I got everything else ready then pan seared the steak to finish. 2)I could put 3 good size steaks in the roaster. That would otherwise require me to get out the broiler - and I HATE to clean up the broiler pan. This was a breeze to clean up. 3) Doneness was pretty much foolproof unlike my sometimes variable judging of doneness with other methods.

For those who are grill whizzes, this may take longer for no real benefit, for me I felt like I wasn't risking overcooking.

Andy said...

John -- amazing! Just tried the recipe. It turned out really well. Thanks for posting!

Michael Massimino said...

Just did a big fat sirloin over the weekend, sous vide is the end-all be-all method for steak. I don't sear it first, only afterwards in a ripping hot cast iron pan and it came out unbelievably well.

I use an external Ranco temperature controller and an old crockpot for my sous vide setup, that way I don't have to keep checking the temp on the stove top.

daveroberts2 said...

Chef John I tried the duck breast and it was the best thing Ive ever put in my mouth so Im as keen as mustard to try out some cow. I bought an extra thick T-bone which I was planning to bbq but was thinking will it work as well this way? Will the bone in it make any difference to the cooking?

love your recipes and your way with words chef, you make it fun to cook thank you

Chef John said...

Should work! Thanks!

Meredith Emanon said...

I was looking for a mushroom sauce recipe to top the ribeyes my fiancee and I will be eating for Valentine's dinner (he's doing the cooking). Then I found this. He's grilled meat plenty of times but he's not so great with other forms of cooking. This seems so simple, I can't wait to show him this video. Thanks a million Chef!

Aaron said...

I have grass fed beef vacuum sealed in heavy duty plastic in my freezer. I wonder what would happen if I dipped it straight from frozen in to the sous vide bath? It sounds dangerous but I don't see why it would be more dangerous than bringing it up to room temp in water/fridge/etc.

Thoughts anyone?

David Eckels said...

the thing that first comes to mind is using plastic that may not be heat tolerant. Zip-Locs are, but if your vacuum sealed bags are not, the heat might cause some of the plastic to leach chemicals, contaminating the food. Thoughts?

Leela Gupta said...

I have never, ever been able to cook a steak right. This video gave me hope.

Then, I remembered that I have this electric fondue pot that I bought years ago. (I was thinking I'd have lots of fondue parties, but I only ended up having a few.). It has built-in temperature control. Could this possibly work? I had to try. I didn't know how reliable the temperature controller was. So, I checked with a thermometer from time to time and it was doing a good job of holding the temperature. And, when this was done, the steak was absolutely perfect, delicious, and tender! I love it when an old appliance reincarnates with a new use. Especially one that only cost about $30 when I got it.

I was going to post a link to the fondue pot I have for your readers, but it looks like Rival no longer makes them. I'm sure there is something similar out there, though.

juardine said...

This is a great alternative.
Those home sous vide machines can cost you $500. Can't wait to try your method.

Robert J. Lotti said...

Hi,

I've been into sous vide for some time now and I just wanted to add some deals, that I've come across for purchasing a waterbath a Waterbath. If you want an all in one unit get a SousVide Supreme. Get on their email list first because every now and then they run special sales on reconditioned units. A $450.00 unit usually sells for around $200.00. If you are looking for a circulator type unit, Anova is selling their Anova One unit for $50.00 off the list price of $199.00. http://anovaculinary.com/products/anova Enter the following discount code at checkout: TAKE50 The Sale ends Sept. 5Th. I have that one and it works great. I don't intend for this to be an advertisement, just some deals I've found to help make it a little less expensive to move up to some professional equipment.

Robert J. Lotti said...

Hi again,

I've read though some of the comments and I noticed that a few comments were about making the time shorter. That kind of defeats the purpose of cooking sous vide. You want to cook tough pieces of meat for extended time at low temperatures because it works to breakdown collagen into gelatin. This tenderizes the meat beyond belief. If you want some proof try cooking short ribs at 159 F for 24 hours. That's what converted me to this style of cooking. BTW a great reference is Douglas Baldwin. Google him and check out his website. Chef John you are fantastic as always and this was a great post to introduce people to sous vide. I predict that a waterbath will become as commonplace as a microwave oven.

Robert J. Lotti said...

Ok, I promise this is my last post :o),

As I'm writing this, I'm cooking 10 porterhouse steaks sous vide for a BBQ tomorrow. I'm cooking them at 135 F for 2.5 hours. This will also pasteurize them so that, after I chill them, I can hold them for an extended period of time with no fear of them spoiling. Tomorrow afternoon, I'll fire up the grill to searing temperature and cook the poterhouses on the grill for about a minute and a half per side of give them a nice caramelized crust. The last time I did this, the guest where blown away by how tender and good they were and I got to enjoy the BBQ, myself, instead of spending the whole day sweating at the grill.