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Old 08-26-2020, 05:40 AM   #1
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Opinions and recipes for sous vide

So I just bought an Anova Sous Vide machine after reading a lot of articles about how this is the best way to cook steak

I'm disappointed in the first try. I sous vide a boneless ribeye and while the articles are correct about the accuracy of the temping and the tenderness of the meat, it seems impossible to create a sear as good as straight pan fried/broiled/grilled since you only get 30 seconds to a minute and I find that to be the tastiest part of the steak.

I did the sear in a cast iron skillet.

I'm going to try the steak again and plan to try shrimp and eggs and cheesecake to see if this is worth keeping.

What do you guys think? Awesome kitchen appliance? overrated item for pretentious food?

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Old 08-26-2020, 08:08 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum Cat Lady.

I don't have a sous-vide, but a number of members do. They seem pleased. Someone will probably be able to give you tips on how to get a good sear on the sous-vide steaks.
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Old 08-26-2020, 09:34 AM   #3
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I've bee using SV for a couple of years. The sear is definitely doable with CI. The trick is to preheat the skillet for 5-10 minutes on highest heat until it's really smoking. Then add oil and get it starting to smoke. Then place the steak in the skillet for a minute and turn it over for another minute. If you have a press to put on top of the meat, that will help.
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Old 08-26-2020, 10:13 AM   #4
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I have been doing sous vide for quite some time.

To get a good sear you need the steak to be dry. When I am in a hurry I will drop the bag with the cooked into a bowl of ice water so that it will quickly cool off. Remove the steak from the bag and dry with paper towels. They are now ready to sear, haveing them cool will help prevent the inside form cooking more. This will give you more time to get a good crust.

If I have time pop them uncovered in the fridge for an hour or so. This ensures the surface is very dry.

Just before searing I add oil to the steak.

A very hot CI pan works great. If your not getting smoke it was not hot enough. I prefer to do this on the patio.

My preferred method is to fill a chimney starter half full of charcoal and when its red hot sear my steaks on that.

I am not a fan of the blow torch meathod.
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Old 08-27-2020, 06:15 PM   #5
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We have a 12,000 BTU searing side burner on our BBQ that we nicknamed "Wilma" (from the Flintstones). It does a wonderful job and is very easy to clean.
We did a one bone roast in the SV then seared it, and it was great.
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Old 08-27-2020, 06:40 PM   #6
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I can't add to what has already been saic. I can, however state that what you have been told is correct. The meat must be dry, and cooling it will prevent overcooking. I too like to sear over charcoal, but cast iron, screaming hot works too.

The real beauty of Sou Vide is that you can hild foods at a specific temperature for extended periods of time without overcooking them. This allows seasonings, and flavorings to really penetrate the cooking foods. Try making pasta sauce, where the bags will hold in the aromatics, and not burn the sauce as the fresh veggies break down into sauce, or Make some herbed chicken, or pork chops with apple sauce, and a touch of liqid smoke. You can make fall-off-the-bone country-style spare ribs, with your favorite barbecue sauce, finishing them under the broiler, or on the grill.

I would try making delicate sauces, such as cheese sauce, or Alfredo sauce, where overheating will cause the sauce to break.

sous vide has its applications, and limitations. Once yu wrap your mind around the idea i\that the applications of sous vide cooking are its ability to provide precise heat, in a controlled environment, you can use it for making lots of great food, where temperature control is important. Can it make you a perfect steak, no. But it will get you precisely the temperature you want your steak to be. After you get that temperature, more work has to be done.

It may not make you a great stir-fry, but can make a great sauce to go with it.

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Old 08-27-2020, 07:11 PM   #7
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It can also be used to make tough cuts of meat tender without overcooking them. Choose a roast that would be tough and is usually used for a pot roast and cook it sous vide for 15-18 hours at a medium rare temperature then rest and sear it. It will be tender and pink. The longer cooking time gives the heat time to break down the "gristle" and such to produce the tender roast.

You can also use it to poach eggs. It's only practical for large quantities of eggs otherwise a traditional method is more practical.
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Old 08-27-2020, 07:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Souschef View Post
We have a 12,000 BTU searing side burner on our BBQ that we nicknamed "Wilma" (from the Flintstones). It does a wonderful job and is very easy to clean.
We did a one bone roast in the SV then seared it, and it was great.

I'll just add a little to the post from my darling SC. We've had really good results with our SV meats, and the searing side burner (Wilma) makes it ideal, to be sure, but I know not everyone can have this kind of set up.

To be perfectly honest, if I had to use other methods for searing as described, I doubt I would use it as much as I do.
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Old 08-28-2020, 03:57 AM   #9
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Oops. Just realized that there's a whole sub-forum for sous vide. Sorry mods.

I currently live in a townhome that doesn't allow grills so unfortunately that 12,000 BTU burner is not an option. Definitely putting it on my wish list for when I get my house though


It sounds like I didn't have my cast iron hot enough. I read that the reason I have trouble with cast iron sticking is because I have the heat too high. I did pat my steak dry and even put it in the fridge for an hour on my first attempt.

I'm not a huge fan of cast iron as I find it hard to work with so I need practice with that. I literally bought the cast iron pan just to make better steak - I normally use non-stick with the intention of replacing it every year (because I use really high heat).


I did find a good use for the sous vide tonight - looks like it's great for when you want to cook something straight from the freezer. I had skirt steak that I cut into strips before freezing and I sous vide it rare from frozen then coated it in seasoning and cornstarch and seared it in a smoking hot cast iron pan. Of course it ended up well done since it was in strips - but it was still tender and the pieces tasted good.

But I once again had issues with everything sticking to the cast iron - I put 3 T of vegetable oil into a 10" pan, which seems like more than what I see other people do. My cast iron is enameled so I couldn't use a metal spatula to scrape the bits up.
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Old 08-28-2020, 07:15 PM   #10
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I looked into this, making supremely tender neat with sous vide. I suspected that a process mimicking velveting could be successfully used. O found this atrticle online that explored how to get the super-tender velveted texture, but with an easier process. Here is the link - https://www.cooksillustrated.com/art...tir-fried-beef

I believe tat if you soak your meat prior to cooking, in a mixture of baking soda, then in a marinade of cornstarch, something salty, such as soy sauce, and whatever flavoring you like (depending on the meat type), you will attain the desired supple, tender meat.

Read through the entire article. It's very informative.

The original process of velveting works with beef, por, and poultry, and created that sper tender meat with a silky, or velvet outer coating. I have been velvetin meat for years, with great results. i haven't tried the baking soda soak though. It does make sense.

Hope this helps. Let us know.

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Old 08-29-2020, 06:26 AM   #11
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Hi there Cat Lady and Welcome to DC.

This is not about sou-vide but your CI's. I have only one CI pan that is enameled and several others, 6" and up. I never use the pan that is coated for other than things for which I like a constant higher heat, not searing.

That might be your problem. Very possibly I am wrong. But why don't you try an unenameled CI for searing?
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Old 08-30-2020, 08:45 AM   #12
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Hi there Cat Lady and Welcome to DC.

This is not about sou-vide but your CI's. I have only one CI pan that is enameled and several others, 6" and up. I never use the pan that is coated for other than things for which I like a constant higher heat, not searing.

That might be your problem. Very possibly I am wrong. But why don't you try an unenameled CI for searing?
I agree with this. Enameled cast iron is not meant to be used at real high heat. I use a bare cast iron skillet for steak (not sous vide) and I let it heat on medium-high for about 10 minutes before searing. I season the steak and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour, then add a couple teaspoons of oil, swirl it around and sear on both sides. It never sticks. We take good care of our cast iron. Wash and set it on a burner for a few minutes to dry thoroughly. Then rub a bit of oil on the inside.
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Old 09-01-2020, 04:26 AM   #13
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Hi there Cat Lady and Welcome to DC.

This is not about sou-vide but your CI's. I have only one CI pan that is enameled and several others, 6" and up. I never use the pan that is coated for other than things for which I like a constant higher heat, not searing.

That might be your problem. Very possibly I am wrong. But why don't you try an unenameled CI for searing?

Thanks everyone for the welcome.

As for the cast iron, I used regular cast iron in the past and became so frustrated with everything sticking so badly and trying to keep it clean without rusting that I gave it away.

I bought the enameled cast iron because I thought it would do the same thing as regular cast iron but the smoother surface would make it easier to lift food off.

Unfortunately, after I saw your reply, I did more research on the enameled and I did see that it's not meant for preheating without any food. I read that it is good for searing meat, but you have to do it more slowly so it's not appropriate for sous vide.

I actually bought 2 enameled cast irons - 1 Le Creuset and one cheaper brand because I wanted to see if it was worth the cost... and now I realize that neither works for what I want it for (btw, unfortunately for the wallets of the people who want them, the Le Creuset really does seem to be better judging by the few times I've tried them).


As of now, I'm trying to decide if I should continue using my nonstick at high heat and just replace it regularly or if I want to try buying another cast iron and sanding the surface to smooth it out.
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Old 09-01-2020, 06:09 AM   #14
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Thanks everyone for the welcome.

As for the cast iron, I used regular cast iron in the past and became so frustrated with everything sticking so badly and trying to keep it clean without rusting that I gave it away.

Simple, proper handling of a CI pan will eliminate sticking and rusting. Many on this forum have CI pans they have used for many years. The only CI pans I have replaced, over the years, are those I have giving away for whatever reason, none of which were about sticking, rusting or disappointing cooking incidents.

I'd not want to be without one.

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Old 09-01-2020, 08:33 AM   #15
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Another option for searing is the use of mineral steel (high carbon steel) pans. They have basically the same cooking propertirs as cast iron, and need to be seasoned, and taken care of in the same way. They are like a carbon steel wok, only smaller, and in pan shapes. They are much lighter than cast iron as well, and will work with any heat source.

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Old 09-01-2020, 10:46 AM   #16
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Cat Lady, if you want to try regular, "naked" cast iron again, then it needs to be seasoned and maintained properly. It's not hard. Then it is easy to cook with. There are plenty of people here who can explain how to do it, and would probably be more than happy to.
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