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Sous Vide

i recommend getting a sous vide machine for cooking steaks. it cooks other things too.

a sous vide machine heats a pot of water and circulates the water with a small pump. it has a very accurate thermometer and keeps the water the desired temperature.

you put the steak in a ziploc bag (or use a vacuum sealer, but that's unnecessary).

you put seasoning on the steak in the bag. i used salt, pepper, dried minced onions (sold like a spice), tiny garlic bits (i used a metal presser) and butter.

they are great because you set the exact temperature and it cooks the steak perfectly.

it cooks the whole steak the same amount, instead of cooking the outside more and the inside less.

cooking isn't time sensitive. it's hard to fuck up. i read you can stop cooking your steak up to around 4 hours after it's done and it doesn't matter.

you can't overcook the steak on temperature because it can't get hotter then the water. if you overcook on cooking duration (which takes hours) then it gets mushier apparently.

i read you can put in frozen steak without defrosting.

you don't lose any juices to the pan or grill. they are in the bag for you to pour out after.

sous vide can do some other stuff too. there are recipies where you cook something for days. however all i've done is cook steaks which only takes like 90 minutes.

a downside is no sear unless you briefly sear the steak in a pan after which is an extra step. even with the sear step, sous vide still compares well to other cooking methods in terms of effort.

the main reason i highly recommend sous vide is cooking the steak correctly without fucking it up. i often cooked steaks poorly when using other methods (like pan or grill) that didn't have a computer controlling the temperature for me. sous vide makes it really easy to cook it really well. plus even if you grill a steak perfectly it still cooks the outside more than the inside. and you don't have to worry about going and doing something else and getting distracted, the cook timing is very lenient.

i recently got the Anova Bluetooth Model. the one i almost bought instead is the Joule.

the Joule has a magnet on the bottom, is smaller, costs more, and has more watts (doesn't really matter if you start with hot water from the tap, but saves time if you start with a pot of cold water). but you can only use it with your smartphone. the Anova works with your smartphone (which i haven't actually tried) but also has a display, an on/off button and a physical wheel you spin to set the temperature. i chose the Anova so my iPhone wouldn't be required. other than that issue i would have gotten the Joule.

i have also pre-ordered a Cinder which is a computer-controlled grill that's also supposed to make it easy to cook steaks (and other foods) really well and hard to fuck them up.

i also have an instant pot pressure cooker which i would also recommend.

(btw if you use my amazon links above and buy a sous vide cooker – or anything else – amazon will give me money. also in general if you go to the Fallible Ideas website and click the Popper or Rand link at the bottom before buying on Amazon then i will get money. thanks!)

Elliot Temple on December 25, 2016

Comments (4)

i bet sous vide is a good way to reheat steak if you have a significant amount of leftovers. normally i find reheating steak ends up overcooking it.

Anonymous at 8:30 PM on December 25, 2016 | #8100
90 minutes is pretty long compared to traditional cooking methods for steak - if you grill or fry a steak you can be done in 10-15mins. What do you think about that?

For searing: if you sear the steak afterwards, it will look more like a traditional steak but it won't have much impact on flavour. You can also sear it before you put it in the bag, and that way the seared bits can add flavour to the rest of the steak for the whole cooking time. You might still want to sear it at the end of cooking *as well* to kinda dry it off and 'freshen up' the crust, but maybe you should try both approaches and see if you can tell the difference.

You can also combine this with freezing the steak: if you freeze the steak and then sear it while frozen - the easiest way is to put it in a deep fryer for a few seconds - then the freeze prevents the sear from going much deeper than the surface. So you can have a very dark brown steak on the outside that is still rare all the way through on the inside, excepting 1-2mm at the edges. You can also sear the frozen steak, bag it up, then put it back in the freezer, which is convenient for preparing a bunch of steaks to cook later.

Richard Fine at 2:30 AM on December 26, 2016 | #8102
> 90 minutes is pretty long compared to traditional cooking methods for steak - if you grill or fry a steak you can be done in 10-15mins. What do you think about that?

i usually care far more about time where i have to do stuff, not lead time.

lead time is usually only much of a problem if you have an inflexible schedule with rigid stuff on it, especially stuff away from home.

and anyway if you only use sous vide half the time, and want something faster half the time, it's still great to have it.

regarding searing, i don't care about the appearance. also if you sear it before cooking you could also cook some raw onions and mushrooms in the pan with it a bit and them put them in the bag!

curi at 2:57 AM on December 26, 2016 | #8106
richard did you give up? you have been super AFK from FI.

Anonymous at 2:59 AM on December 26, 2016 | #8107

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)