One of my favorite meals is a good roasted beef. However, roasts are notoriously hard to cook properly. People are split on the best method to create a good outer crust while still keeping the middle a good temperature. Even the best roasts have a wide band around them of overcooked meat. Sous vide comes to the rescue once again.
Cooking the roast with sous vide allows you to keep the entire roast the doneness you want. For extra flavor you can apply a rub or paste to the outside of the roast and quickly sear or broil it to form a nice crust. I prefer a nice garlic, rosemary, and thyme paste but many people love a horseradish or mustard crust on their roast beef.
I used a sirloin roast for this sous vide recipe but you can use any large roast cut of beef. For some of the tougher cuts of beef you might want to increase the time spent in the sous vide. I also used grass-fed beef which I've found to have better texture when not cooked as long as the supermarket beef.
The process of cooking a good sous vide sirloin roast is pretty easy. You first season the meat with any seasonings you might want to create a nice base flavor. I used a mix of garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and ancho chili powder, as well as some fresh rosemary and thyme.
You then seal the roast in the bag and cook it sous vide for between 12 and 48 hours. As I said, I used a sirloin roast (more tender cut) of grass fed beef (tenderizes faster) so I cooked mine for 12 hours and it was perfect but if you're using a supermarket top round or chuck roast you might want to try for 24 to 48 hours.
Once the roast is done cooking, you dry it off thoroughly and then give it a good sear to add color and flavor to it. This can be done in many ways, and my how to sear article will step you through many of them.
You can serve your sous vided sirloin roast with any sides you traditionally like, but in this recipe I use roasted brussels sprouts and sauteed onions. If you are looking for something to use your leftover meat with, I highly recommend French dip sandwiches!
If Using a Paste
Just before the roast is done pre-heat the oven to around 400 or 450 and then make the paste or rub that you will use for the crust. I put fresh garlic, sweet marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and olive oil into a food processor and made a paste. You can make any kind of paste or rub you prefer, there are lots of different variations on seasoning roasts that you can adapt to this method.
When the sous vide roast is done, take it out of the pouch, pat dry, and place on a sheet pan or roasting tray that can go into the oven. If you are using a paste or rub on the outside of the meat that is exposed and place the roast in the oven. You just want to leave it in there long enough to develop the crust but not cook the roast anymore.
You can also sear the roast after you take it out of the sous vide and before you put on the paste. However, I've found that this tends to overcook the meat more, since at this point any heat we apply is overcooking the roast. If you really like a good crust though it is an option.
Once the crust is done you take the sous vide roast out of the oven, slice it and serve it. For a specific recipe using a crust I recommend my Sous Vide Prime Rib Roast recipe.
Ingredients for Sous Vide Sirloin Roast
- 3-4 pound sirloin roast
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon paprika powder
- 1/4 tablespoon ancho chile powder
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts (900 grams)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 3 yellow onions, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
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Cooking Instructions for Sous Vide Sirloin Roast
At least 13 to 48 hours before serving
Pre-heat the water bath to 131°F (55°C). Cover the sirloin roast with salt, pepper, the garlic, paprika and ancho chile powders and place in a pouch. Add the thyme and rosemary to the sous vide pouch and then seal the roast.
Place the sirloin roast in the water bath and cook for 12 to 48 hours depending on the cut of meat you are using. For a grass-fed sirloin roast 12 hours should be good up to 24 to 48 hours for a supermarket top round or chuck roast.
For more information on the cooking times you can read my detailed article which addresses why is there a range in sous vide cooking times.
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).
Cut the ends off the Brussels sprouts and discard the ends. Cut the remaining portion in half lengthwise. Toss the Brussels sprouts and garlic in olive oil then salt and pepper them. Place on a roasting sheet then cook, stirring once or twice, until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.
During the last 5 or 10 minutes, add the cherry tomatoes to the roasting sheet and cook until they just start to burst.
Heat some oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic then cook until the onions become tender and start to lightly brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the white wine vinegar and stir to mix well.
Take the steak out of the water bath and remove it from the bag. Dry it off thoroughly using paper towels or a dish cloth. Quickly sear the sirloin roast for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until just browned, then remove from the heat.
Place the roasted Brussels sprouts and tomatoes in a bowl and drizzle with the fresh lemon juice. Add the steak and top with the sautéed onions. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves then serve.