Sous Vide Rib-eye

In the Getting Started with Sous Vide Forum
So I got my Sous Vide Supreme the other day and immediately spend $20.00 on 1.25 lb bone-in rib-eye.

I vacuum sealed it with some garlic and cooked it at 135 for 90 minutes. Afterwards I brushed on some peanut oil and seared it for 2 minutes on each side on a hot cast iron pan.

Aesthetically it came out amazingly well. The char on the outside was perfect (didn't touch it at all for the 2 minutes per side), and the inside was perfectly cooked medium rare all the way through. It was incredibly moist and tender.

However: it lacked FLAVOR that bursts in my mouth whenever I eat a restaurant USDA Prime-type steak. Is it the cut I selected? Despite being rib-eye it didn't have that much marbling, which might have contributed to the lack of flavor. As it was night time I just went to whole foods to get it.

Any tips to make it taste better going forward?

14 Replies So Far

I've stopped cooking rib-eye steaks sous vide as sous vide cooking does tend to wash out flavors a bit and rib-eyes are just better grilled. I think where sous vide comes in handy is with "poorer" cuts like chuck, brisket, or flank, which then get really tenderized when cooked for long periods sous vide but still come out medium rare. The flavor still is a little washed out, but these poorer cuts also tend to have more meaty flavor that can stand up to sous vide cooking. That's just my opinion though and I'm sure others will chime in.
Sounds good I will try a tougher cut ASAP.

Do long cook times of tougher cuts of meat tend to "tenderize" it like when you braise me, while not overcooking it, or are the temperatures too low for actual meat breakdown?

The meat still tenderizes with sous vide cooking, it's just a lot slower process. For instance, chuck roasts and short ribs take a day or two. It's a different tenderness than a braise though, it's more like a tenderloin tenderness.
What would happen if you did a tougher cut of meat for only a few hours? I did the Rib-eye in 90 minutes and in that case I don't see what longer time would have achieved since it was pretty tender.

If I did a skirt steak in 90 minutes, would it be "perfectly cooked" but still too tough without the 1-2 days of slow tenderizing?

That's basically correct. With 90 minutes you're just heating the meat through, so the texture will come out just like if you grilled or pan fried it. So something tough will still be really tough, it really needs the extra sous viding time.
Thanks so much for answering my questions.

I did a skirt steak the other day which I just grilled and seared until it was 'done' and it was tender enough to eat and enjoy, but I had also marinaded it which may have tenderized it a bit. I'd rather do it sous-vide to ensure perfect cook level and then briefly sear it to get the outside the right texture.

What do you think is the best value cut of beef steak to do sous-vide short run (ie. a few hours vs. 1-2 days).
Bear in mind that restaurants will often quite aggressively season the outside and also use butter when searing.

Those things add a good amount toward a crust with lots of flavour.

@jordan, pretty much anything that you would normally grill is good for a few hours, but the more lean stuff seems to work better. I prefer a grilled rib eye, I think the fat breaks down more and flavors the meat. Something like a tenderloin would probably work really well. Sirloin is also a good in between cut, it can do 10 to 12 hours for most sirloins and is something yo can put in the bath in the morning and when you get home at night it's ready to go. I don't do too many short time or timed meats, I usually focus on things with more leeway so I can keep it warm and cooking until the wife gets home, since her schedule fluctuates a lot, sous vide works great for making sure dinner will always be ready when she gets home (that's really what prompted my last book). @weedy, I agree completely. Before you sear it you should always (for maximum flavor) make sure your meat is dry, seasoned how you like it, and cooked over high heat to get a great, flavorful crust.
So I make a skirt steak, and it was way better on all levels. First off, I got a lot more skirt steak than rib eye. I vacuum sealed it with only salt, pepper and garlic powder. I cooked it at 56.5C for 24 hours. Then I cut them open and drained out the juices which I mixed with some red wine and reduced as a steak sauce.

Unfortunately I was cooking at a friend's place and they only had non-stick but I managed to successfully sear them regardless. The meat was perfectly cooked all the way though and had a tenderness that I've never experienced with a skirt steak before. PLUS it had the flavor that the rib eye steak was missing.

I am sold. For dessert we had creme brulee I made in the Sous Vide Supreme as well.

Good, I'm really glad it worked out better this time!

How did the creme brulee work out? I haven't experimented with many desserts yet.
The Creme Brulée worked out great, because it's much much harder to overcook them in the water bath than you can in an oven. You use a non-rusting roasting rack to raise the metal base and then you put in all the ramekins and fill the water until they're just below the tops. You fill them with the custard and then cover them with foil and cook for 1.5 hours.

They came out just about as perfect as any creme brûlée I've made, and they caramelized nicely under my blowtorch with some sugar on top :)

Wow, sounds really good! I'll have to give sous vide creme brulee a shot soon! What temp to you cook it at?
90.5 C

There's the recipe I used. It wasn't as sweet as I'd like and I'd replace the vanilla extract with a whole scrapped vanilla bean.

Thanks for passing that along, I'll have to give it a try!

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