Posted by johngl
A few weeks ago, I managed to get through a test run on a sous vide petite tenderloin. This time around, it’s the whole deal and transporting a sous-vide rig around town isn’t an easy thing to accomplish.
Since I have done many postings on breaking down a tenderloin, I won’t bother to write about it, but I will post the photos of the individual stages:
From top right: tenderloin cryovac, whole tenderloin, broken down, and final product (click for a larger view)
So, in the normal manner, I dry aged this large loin for about a week:
It’s going to need some seasoning before it hits the hot tub:
That is salt, pepper, and piquin powder in the upper left, thyme and sage in the center, grapeseed oil in the upper right, and cognac on the lower left.
The resulting blend looks rather unappetizing:
Lay a thick coating of this blend over the entire tenderloin before you bag it with a FoodSaver. That’s it. Now all we do is get the water to the right temp and chill out for several hours. I had it set for 131, it just hadn’t gotten there yet.
After a couple of hours, it was time to head out for the Rhone Wine Salon and I really didn’t want to haul this equipment over to Brian’s (controller, roaster, several gallons of hot water, cords, etc). I thought about it for a while and came up with this idea:
This is a cooler inside of another cooler. I filled the inner cooler with water that came out of the tap at about 140, just to warm the cooler body up. Letting the cooler heat up (removing heat from the water in so doing), the water cooled down to about 133 degrees, then it stabilized. Cool! I grabbed the tenderloin (using tongs) from the sous vide rig and slipped it into the hot water, closed the lid, put it carefully into the other cooler and crossed my fingers.
When I got to Brian’s I wheeled the cooler into the house and quickly checked the temp. A little bit of water had sloshed into the second cooler, but when I checked the temp of the inner cooler, it was hovering at exactly 131. I quickly closed the lid whilst breathing a sigh of relief.
When I asked Brian when we were going to serve, he said, in effect, that it would be in another hour and a half. I hoped the temp would hold.
When the time came, I fired up Brian’s gas grill to put a quick crust on this sous vide tenderloin. I cranked the heat and got it up to about 600 degrees. Checking the meat, it was right at 125 degrees…SWEET! Searing it quickly (remember, the meat is already cooked), it took on some great color and smelled delicious.
As most of you know, I do a lot of tenderloins, but I have to say this was one of the best ever. The meat was amazingly tender (without being mushy) and you can see from the picture how juicy it is. Marko, a Croatian friend of mine described it as being almost tender enough to spread like a pâté. At least a half-dozen folks told me that it was “amazing.”
This sous vide thing is definately growing on me. The best part is the simplicity of it all. There is no fussing over the food. Season it and bag it. What a great thing.
This tenderloin was served with Brussel’s sprout leaves that were deconstructed from those tiny little heads. They were blanched for about 30 seconds, then sautéed with chestnuts and Asian pear.
That small ball of white stuff is homemade blue cheese dressing (Maytag & Gorgonzola, cream, crème fraîche, and a tiny amount of mayo) and could be used with the meat or the sprout leaves, making the sprouts more like a salad than a side dish. The bordelaise sauce on the meat was made with a homemade demi-glace, reduced stove top for about 20 hours.
Since I have solved the transport issues, expect more sous vide dishes to come. If you do your research and do some practice runs, the sous vide cooking technique is a great thing to add to your food prep arsenal.