Cooking premium steaks using a sous vide machine allows you to hit exactly the level of doneness you prefer (rare, medium rare, medium) every time, while giving you more tender & moist results. It’s also a great way to try out sous vide cooking for the first time, once you have the right equipment.
Read What is Sous Vide? for more general info about this technique.
1. Preheat Your Sous Vide Bath
Set the temperature to just a few degrees above your target internal temperature.1
Preferred Level of Doneness
Don’t bother with sous vide
Sous vide tends to intensify the effect of seasonings, so we recommend using a little less than you normally would.
If you marinate your steaks and are planning on vacuum packing them, dry them as much as possible before putting them in the bag. Residual moisture can prevent your machine from getting a good seal.
If you want to put liquids in the bag with your steaks, freeze them first to keep them from being drawn into the vacuum pump and ruining the seal on the bag.
3. Vacuum Pack Your Steaks
We’ve read in several books and blogs that you can also use zip top bags (specifically Ziplock brand) with all the air pressed out, but at this point do not have experience with them.
4. Submerge the Bagged Steaks in the Sous Vide Bath & Cook
Start your timer after the water bath has returned to your target temperature. Most steaks will cook through in an hour and will sit happily in the bath for another couple hours after that point without damage. The width of the cut does not affect cooking time, thickness does. So if your steak is particularly thick, err on the side of an hour and a half to be sure.
This is a great time to make sauces, cook sides, and have everything else you’re serving almost ready to hit the table.
5. Preheat a Skillet or Grill, Remove the Steaks from the Bath/Bag
Pick off any herb sprigs, whole spices and other burnable ingredients. Oil the grill or skillet with a high-heat tolerant oil like grapeseed, peanut, etc. and get it rocket hot.
6. Pat the Steaks Dry. Sear Over Very High Heat for a Crust
Searing the steaks imparts additional flavor, increases safety by destroying surface bacteria, and gives them a more attractive appearance.
Note: Don’t sear your steaks long enough that you start to cook the middle. The steak is already cooked perfectly at this point. You only want to cook the outer few millimeters and develop a crust.
Steaks cooked sous vide have an even temperature all the way through. Unlike conventionally cooked steaks that will be hotter on the outside and cooler on the inside, you do not need to rest them before cutting for quality purposes.1
Post Written by Matthew Johnson
1 According to the USDA, consuming steaks cooked to an internal temperature below 145 degrees is potentially hazardous. They also recommend resting those 145 degree steaks for three minutes before consumption for safety.
2 Cooking steaks to Medium Well or Well Done largely defeats the purpose of sous vide, because it doesn’t require much temperature control and wrings moisture out of the meat. You might as well save yourself time, effort, and money and use more conventional cooking methods.