Mantry introduces our "Expert" series. From Bourbon to Jerky to Keto to BBQ top minds give us their insider picks. It's Sous Vide time so we tag in smoked meat junkie and aficionado of all things slow cooking BBQ Smoke Sous Vide to teach you the ins and out of Sous Vide.
BBQ Smoke Sous Vide // Sous Vide Expert
PS: Think of Mike as your Sous Vide Science Teacher, Follow and Learn:
And Now, Drum Roll Please.....
What is Sous vide cooking?
Sous vide is a style of cooking meat and vegetables at precise temperatures over time to achieve consistently great results. For example: if you enjoy your steak cooked medium, all you will have to do is set your sous vide to maintain a temperature of 140f... Place your air tight and seasoned meat into the 140f water filled container and it will slowly cook the entire steak to 140f, how long will depend on the thickness of the steak. usually 1 hour for thin steaks and over 3 hours if it's a thick cut.
The process is simple... all you need to do is get a water circulator, a container large enough to fit the protein or veggies you plan to cook and set the temperature to your desired doneness. You may think I am over simplifying the process but that is truly all it takes to create your version of perfection every time.
Allow me to explain
Although this is not a new method for high end cooks who have enjoyed the simplicity and consistency of this method for many years, the available cookers on the market were always out of reach for the everyday consumer. They were too bulky and far too expensive. However over the last decade or so the technology has become smaller, far more efficient and best of all affordable for the masses! Growing popularity in this style of cooking has brought forth innovation and increased competition all fighting for your hard earned dollars. Today you have more options than could have even be dreamt of 15 years ago!
Your main expense will be the Sous vide machine (aka: a water circulator) and depending on the features you choose, could run you anywhere from $59.99 to well over $500. Find one that will meet your family's needs and make sure it has good reviews. Next you will need a container larger than what you are cooking. There are fancy ones out there with specialty lids that are available for purchase... I myself am using a large pot that I already had in my kitchen and I will let you in on a little secret... it does the same thing. ;) Next, you will need food safe bags to put your food into. Feel free to use a chamber seal or Vacuum seal machine with special bags if you have them available... these are nice to have but are not necessary for when you are just starting out. I mean... it's your first time cooking with this thing, you don't even know if you like it yet!! A large Zip-loc freezer bag will work just fine!
How I cooked this beautiful Tomahawk steak!
Step 1 fill your container with water and set your circulator
Your circulator will clip on to the side of whatever container you choose to use. A deep stock pot will work just fine. Fill your container with water(remember to allow enough room at the top for the meat you will be putting into the water) Select the temperature that you would like for your desired doneness. I like my steak cooked medium-rare so I set my Sous vide machine at 132f.
Step 2 Season your steak
I chose to keep this step simple with just salt, pepper and some garlic powder. Make sure to season both sides and the edges. This was a thick cut and I wanted the flavors to penetrate deep into the meat. You are welcome to keep this step simple or be as adventurous during this step as you would like. Feel free to include seasonings like fresh herbs, onion slices, garlic cloves... etc. Anything you choose to include in the bag, will change the flavor of your steak. So have fun with it!
Step 3 Remove the air from the bag
For me this was done with a Vacuum sealer which made this process very quick. If you are using something like a zip-loc bag, your goal is to get as much of the air out of the bag as you can. An easy way to achieve this is by using the submersion technique. Place your seasoned steak into the bag and seal the top most of the way, now lower the bottom of the bag into a container of water slowly while keeping the opening above the water line. The pressure from the water will force the plastic bag tight against your steak and push the remaining air up and out of the opening at the top. When you feel you have removed all the air from the bag that you can, just seal up the top and your steak should remain submerged under water without floating.
Step 4 Wait
Good things are worth waiting for and the same is true here! Use this time however you wish, as for as cooking your steak goes... there is nothing you need to do. I usually wait a minimum of 2 hours for a steak but the beauty of this method is that you can't over cook it! If you took that same steak out after 4 hours in the water bath it will be cooked to the same doneness. It will lose some of it's juiciness the longer it is cooked but it will not be over cooked. So if you are running a little late for supper, it is no big deal!
Step 5 Searing your steak
The wait is over and you have pulled your meat out of the water bath... now what? Remove your steak from the bag and place it on a paper towel. You will be greeted with a fully cooked piece of meat that does not look like anything you are used to. It will be dull and almost grey in appearance. This is totally normal and is completely edible just how it is, however you will notice that it is missing something... The crust! You will want to dry off the surface of the meat, just pat it dry with a paper towel, then finish it off however you like. I pan fried mine on medium high heat in a bit of avocado oil to form the final crust around it. You could also just set the grill to high and sear it that way.. keep in mind, you are not cooking your steak, that has already been taken care of. You are just adding a little color, texture and that charred flavor every good steak needs...
Step 6 Let it rest and enjoy
5 minutes is plenty of time for a sous vide steak to rest. For the most part the internal fibers are already relaxed because of the gradual way it was cooked, but a short rest is always a good idea after you have cooked a steak. Now it's time to eat... Your family will now get to enjoy edge to edge perfection, cooked effortlessly and exactly how you like it... every single time! Enjoy!
For this cook I used the Anova Sous vide https://amzn.to/3mCYYJI
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