There are two main benefits to cooking sous vide steaks and other tender cuts of beef. The first benefit is that sous vide allows you to cook a perfectly done steak every time. The other benefit is the ability to turn tougher, but more flavorful, steaks such as flank steak into very tender steaks through longer cooking times.
This is accomplished because cooking tough cuts of beef with sous vide allows you to break down and tenderize the meat without cooking it above medium-rare and drying it out. Once temperatures in beef go above 140ºF the meat begins to dry out and become more bland, however, they also start to tenderize more quickly which is why tough roasts and braises are done for hours at high temperatures. Using sous vide steak recipes, you can hold the meat below 140ºF for a long enough time for the tenderizing process to run its course.
I often use sous vide steak as a basis for many normal steak dishes, such as fajitas or steak salad. You can also just add a nice salsa or sauce to the top and eat it plain. You can also use it in any of your favorite recipes, simply replace the cooking step in the recipe with the already cooked sous vide steak and then continue the rest of the recipe.
Sous Vide Steak Recipes Temperature and Time Guidelines
The FDA states that beef is safe when it is held at 130ºF for over 112 minutes, or 140ºF for over 12 minutes. This is very easy to do with sous vide steak and the main reason we recommend cooking most steak cuts medium-rare since beef is most tender at that temperature.
Medium-rare sous vide steak recipes call for between 130ºF to 139ºF, we recommend cooking it at 131ºF to give yourself a few degrees of temperature variation above the bottom of the safe zone but feel free to experiment with any temperatures in that range. Depending on the toughness of the cut of beef, it may need to be cooked anywhere from 2 hours up to 1 or 2 days.
For medium sous vide steak recipes you will want to cook them between 140ºF and 149ºF, though we recommend not going above 140ºF because the beef begins drying out quickly and with sous vide there is no gain in food safety above 131ºF.
Most sous vide steaks can be cooked for 2 to 4 hours and will result in a more tender version of how that steak traditionally tastes. However, for some tougher steaks longer cooking times can result in steak with tenderness rivaling tenderloin, with no loss of the full, beefy flavor these cuts are known for. It is also good to keep in mind that different quality of meat cooks at different speeds, for instance most grass fed beef cooks faster and needs less time to tenderize. We cover a lot of this in the specific sous vide steak recipes below.
Today we are going to tie it all together and discuss how to cook beef and other red meat. I'll cover some of the time and temperatures I recommend for certain kinds of meat and give you the reasoning behind them so you can make your own decisions.
Even though cranberries are a staple for Thanksgiving sauces they are often overlooked for more traditional sauces. Their combination of tartness and mild fruitiness is a great complement to many BBQ sauces. I like to serve this BBQ on a smoked and sous vided brisket.
I was looking for a hearty, but easy, weekday meal so I decided to do a sous vide sirloin steak with roasted root vegetables. Sous vide sirloin steak is one of my favorite cuts to eat. It is on the leaner side but still has enough marbling to make it flavorful without being too fatty. It's also much less expensive than a New York strip or a rib steak, making it more accessible for a weekday meal.
I cooked sous vide London Broil @ 133°F for 72 hours. The water temp was accurate. Every 12 hours I checked the water level and each time there was more and more liquid in the bag. The meat ended up well done and dry. Any thoughts?
Thanks for writing in, Mark!
London Broil can be a hard dish to troubleshoot! London Broil isn't actually a specific cut of beef, it's just a marketing term that can encompass several different cuts of meat including flank steak, top round, or chuck steak. Depending on the actual cut, the amount of sous vide time will vary.
Flank steak is full of beefy flavor and has a great bite to it. Serving it with chimichurri, a spicy garlic and parsley based sauce, is very popular in Argentina and other South American countries. This recipe makes an excellent choice for a party!
This recipe combines lime and ginger which are two great ingredients to pair with the bold flavors of the sous vided sirloin steak. I like to add texture and brightness to the dish by combining them in a vinaigrette-style sauce that is drizzled over a crispy cabbage and pepper slaw topping.
This family favorite summer recipe tops a flavorful, tender sous vided hanger steak with fresh peach salsa. When using sous vide, a convenient hands-off cooking method to prepare this underutilized cut of meat, you have even more time for relaxation. The salsa is simple to prepare and really highlights the flavor of the peaches while still complementing the steak.
One of my wife's favorite foods is quesadillas, luckily for me they are easy to make and can have a lot of variety. For sous vide quesadillas you simply cook the meat ahead of time then assemble the quesadillas when you are ready to eat.
Often during the week you only have time for a quick meal. These Asian Glazed sous vide ribeye steaks are one way to still have a flavorful dish without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
Because it is already very tender there are several ways to sous vide ribeye steak. You can cook it by thickness, using a sous vide thickness ruler, just long enough to bring it up to temperature. You can also cook it for up to 8 hours because of the amount of fat in the steak. One of my favorite ways is to sous vide it for several hours then chill it in a 1/2 ice - 1/2 water bath.
Use sous vide to serve great meals around a busy schedule. One of the ways sous vide can do this is by taking a traditionally difficult meal and making it very easy. For most people, doing a BBQ brisket during the busy work week is impossible because there is no time to smoke and grill it for hours.
Using sous vide for the brisket allows you to prep and bag the brisket in 10 minutes when you have time. Then a few days before you want to eat simply put it in the water bath and forget about it. Once it's cooked you quickly sear the sous vided brisket and you're all ready to eat.
Even though sous vide steak recipes are very prevalent it's hard not to write about them in summer because I spend so much time outside grilling. I also love the convenience of sous vide steak. I can toss a pouch into the water bath and whenever we're ready to eat later in the day I can pull it out and quickly sear it on the grill.
One of the hard parts about summer cooking is keeping the food light. While I love pulled pork, big steaks, and juicy hamburgers I can only take so much heavy food. This sous vide beef salad with figs recipe is a nice alternative to some of the heavier meals while still giving me my beef fix.
Now that spring is finally coming around, it's time to start grilling. There's lots of ways to utilize sous vide with your grill but sometimes you just want a simple meal with some grill flavor. This sous vide recipe fits the bill.
One of the most convenient uses of sous vide cooking is to use it to defrost and cook foods that come straight from the freezer. As long as the food is vacuum sealed you can take it directly from the freezer and put it in a pre-heated water bath. Just add 15-30 minutes to the recommended cooking time from the sous vide recipe and it should come out perfectly.
This sous vide recipe for steak salad is a different use of the sous vide technique. Instead of using sous vide to cook the meat for a long period of time, you use it to add perfectly medium rare steak to your salad. The thyme and garlic help add a little kick to the steak while the honey mustard dressing adds a strong flavor to the salad itself.
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