Sous Vide Beef Fondue

In the General Sous Vide Questions Forum
Has anyone tried SV'ing the beef when having a fondue party? It seems to me that SV'ing the beef and then cutting it into pieces would make the dipping much quicker and easier.

Bob


3 Replies So Far

I love to do fondue at home and would never consider precooking the meat. Most of the fun, and flavor, of fondue comes from cooking the meat a piece at a time in the cooking liquid (usually we do a mixture of broth and red wine). Also, if your meat is cut into sufficiently small pieces they should cook very fast, particularly beef. We normally use wagyu beef that's been sliced for shabu shabu, but you could thinly slice any good marbled cut of beef.

If you do SV your beef first I'd be curious to hear what you think of the final result though!
"Bagna Cauda" is a family (Italian) traditional meal, usually during the holidays. Basically it is a fondue kind of thing with Olive oil as the base. Originally it was a northern Italian peasant meal using veggies and bread. We have added many proteins in our West Coast American version. Cubed beef is one of the favorites, along with scallops and shrimp, even lobster meat. We have always included chicken, but great care is needed, and we always seperate the white from the dark meat.. ha!, isn't that segregation.
Anyway, I think sous vide-ing many of the items before, would not just mitigate the risk, but enhance the flavor as many of the root vegetables and even the beef, to a smaller degree, require too much time in the pot. it would also mean we could lower the temperature of the oil/butter mix so it wouldn't burn, as it often does.
My report on the New Years Eve beef fondue is that sous vide'ing is the way to go.

Initially, let me make clear that this was a traditional fondue bourguignonne that we were making, chunks of beef in hot oil with several different dipping sauces.

I SV'd top sirloin (about 3/4" thick) for 2 hours at 131F. I wanted it tender, not mushy, and medium rare'ish. You could go a bit rarer, but I wouldn't make it much more well done. Then let the beef cool for a bit and cut it into 3/4" cubes. We planned dinner for a bit later so I let the cubes come to room temperature.

When we were ready to eat, heated up the oil, put some pieces on my plate, salt and pepper, forked a cube and put it in the pot. At first it bubbled up, but did not splatter, and in about 20-30 seconds (the piece was still bubbling but it died down a bit) took it out. Perfectly crusty on the outside, medium rare on the inside, and tasted perfect.

Bottom line, each person was able to quickly "cook" their beef to their degree of donenees. The oil stayed at the perfect temp. The SV'ing greatly speeded up the process so everyone was able to enjoy the fondue without having to wait for the meet to cook.



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