If you want to make consistently perfect steak – the way restaurants do – then sous vide steak is something you need to learn. Unless you are the absolute steak cooking ninja there is no better way.
This isn’t trendy. Not hipster. It isn’t molecular gastronomy. This is how how the pros do it. How it’s been done in fine restaurants forever. It’s repeatable. It just works. The only thing that has changed is now you can get set up for a couple hundred bucks. Sound expensive? 10 years ago it was a few grand. And you can do tons of stuff with it. It’s not just for steak. Eggs. Duck confit. Fish. Carnitas. Lots.
I’m using a loose interpretation of beef tataki here to demonstrate the technique. Not because that’s the best way to eat sous vide steak. Just because I felt like Japanese for dinner. And it’s just a tasty dish. The technique is universal. Grilled. Pan-fried. Any way you can imagine. If it’s steak this is a great way to get that perfectly done from edge to edge result. Like the pros. Sous vide steak. It’s not crazy. Not hipster. Not trendy. And it’s not hard. Perfect. Pro. Every time.
- 12-14 oz good quality top sirloin, cut thick. 1½ to 2 inches is great. You don't want your sear to cook the steak too much.
- 2-3 green onions
- 1½ Tbsp sake
- 2 tsp mirin
- 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- ¼ sup soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (good) or a combination of lemon and lime juice (better), passed through a fine mesh strainer.
- Salt the steaks liberally.
- Use a food saver to shrink wrap the steaks.
- Pre-heat your sous vide to 116 degrees. See below for guidelines on temperature vs. level of doneness.
- Immerse the shrink wrapped steaks in the water and let it cook for about 90-110 minutes.
- Remove the steaks from the water bath.
- Heat a sturdy skillet large enough to hold the steak in a single layer over medium high heat.
- Add about 1 Tbsp of vegetable or peanut oil.
- Sprinkle the steaks with black pepper to taste. A nice crust of butcher's grind pepper is nice. Not particularly Japanese but nice.
- Sear the steaks one one side for about 20 seconds. Flip and cook on the other side for 20 seconds. Repeat on each side for a total of about 80 seconds.
- Sear the sides (stand the steaks up) about 20 seconds on each of the long sides.
- Let rest 5 minutes.
- Combine the sake and mirin in a small sauce pan and simmer for 1 minute.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir.
- Here's a trick that food bloggers don't advertise. If you want those nifty curled green onions it's easy.
- Julienne the green part of a couple green onions.
- Immerse the julienned green onion in a small bowl of ice and water.
- Stir them around a bit with your finger to get them unstuck from each other.
- Let stand about 20 minutes.
- Drain and blot on paper towel.
- That's it. Now you know.
- Slice the beef thinly. Try to get as close to across the grain as you can. If you have a nice Japanese knife this is a good place to use it.
- Fan the beef out. Garnish with thin slices of the white portion of a green onion along with the curled green onion.
- Drizzle with ponzu sauce.
- Serve with additional ponzu sauce.
116-118F for bloody rare
122 for rare - end target 125
128 for medium rare - end target 130
133 for medium
More than medium you don't need to learn sous vide. Just cook your beef as you always have. Consider trying it done less sometime if you are feeling brave. You are missing out.