Once a high-end technique limited to professional kitchens, sous vide has grown in popularity among home chefs thanks to the availability of affordable water circulator wands.
What makes sous vide so appealing is the ability to cook beef (and most anything else) to a precise temperature over an extended period of time—minimizing the risk of over-cooking and resulting in exceptionally tender, juicy meat. Most beef cuts can be cooked sous vide, including larger, tougher cuts such as Short Ribs or Chuck Roast, but rich, well-marbled cuts such as Strip Steak also really benefit from this preparation.
Attach the wand to a large stock pot or other cooking vessel filled with water, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Refer to your recipe for specific temperature settings, but be mindful of recommended minimum internal temps to ensure food safety. Depending on the cut of beef and the desired results, cooking times can range from about an hour up to 48 hours or even longer. Thicker cuts will take longer to cook.
Season the meat according to your recipe - some call for including herbs, spices or a pat of butter - before sealing. This helps infuse flavors during the cooking process. We recommend using an automatic vacuum sealing unit and food-grade plastic bags designed specifically for sous vide cooking. If you do not have aces to this, you can also use food grade, sealable bags with the air squeezed out of them.
This is where the magic happens. Slip the bag into the preheated water, taking care to avoid splashing. If you’re cooking multiple portions in separate bags, it’s important to not only avoid overcrowding the container, but also make sure all bags are completely submerged. Once in the bath, the beef will slowly rise to your target temp and stay there until it’s time for finishing.
Some preparations can go straight from the bag to the dinner table, but steaks should get a quick sear before plating. Be sure to pat the meat dry with a paper towel to avoid spatters. It’s hard to beat a hot cast iron skillet for searing, usually about a minute per side. Larger beef cuts, including roasts, benefit from a few minutes in a hot oven for finishing.
Pronounced “soo-VEED,” it translates loosely from French as “under vacuum.”