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Sous Vide Ribeyes

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Posted by johngl

When I was thinking about ways to thank Max for all of his help keeping Alcoholian.com up and running, and knowing that ribeye is his favorite cut, feeding him came to mind. And, since I like to experiment with my sous-vide rig, this seemed like a natural progression.

For those of you new to the Alcoholian, which amounts to around 64% of you in any given month, sous-vide is a method of cooking I took up about a year ago. I have an interesting, yet inexpensive setup where I use a large electric roasting pan as the heater/water receptacle and a finely tuned temperature controller made by the folks at Auber Instruments to do some long, low-temp cooking of meat products.

Anyway, I hadn’t yet tried the grill-first/sous-vide last method on a ribeye and thought I would give it a whirl.

I began with a large hunk o’ beef. This one weighed in at nearly 19 lbs.

Paring off a few into “cowboy” cut steaks…

made this bad boy a little more manageable. Even so, the smallest of these three beasts weighed in at 2-1/2 lbs.  There were to be five of us for dinner; this should be plenty.

Preparing the meat as usual (salt, pepper, grapeseed oil, and bourbon), I fired up the old Weber Kettle with a lot of charcoal.  I was only doing a quick sear, but I wanted well-defined grill marks.  Total time on the grill was less than four minutes. No problem on the grill marks:

I’d prepared the three FoodSaver bags in advance, so dropping the steaks in and sealing each one up was a snap.

I’d also pre-heated the water bath so it was ready to go at 131 degrees.  I like my steaks medium rare. No, I mean a real medium rare.  I’m not talking about the revised, barely pink medium rare that I see at restaurants these days. I am not quite sure what I would have done if a guest wanted a well-done steak (probably woulda strangled them).

Into the hot tub they went:

In the photo above, that is the temperature probe line resting on the bags. The steaks are fully submerged in the water.

About four hours later…

A nice thing about doing steaks this way is that I never have to leave my guests and head outside to the grill. Instead, I have some very curious people standing around watching me cut open bags of meat. Here’s how the steaks looked after their long soak:

Hold on a minute johngl, did you say four hours?

Yah, shure, you betcha! At this temp, the collagen just starts to break down leaving things unctuous and tender.

Another nice thing about doing steaks this slow and low way is that a light smoky flavor (from the sear) permeates the meat. The salt and pepper flavors also get a chance to actually penetrate the flesh, not just sit on top.

When I sliced into the first steak, the beautiful edge-to-edge consistent color and texture drew some attention.  Max exclaimed: “It’s like a watermelon!”

The best thing about sous-vide cooking is that the meat is actually cooked all the way through. There is nothing raw about it and the flavors are consistent throughout. The more I use my sous-vide rig, the better I like it.

As for the potatoes and asparagus…

The asparagus is brain dead simple: Put a  few sprinkles of water in a microwave safe covered dish, lay in your peeled asparagus, sprinkle with salt and add a few pats of butter. Cover and nuke for two minutes.

For the potatoes…

just check out the recipe here. The five of us only made it about half-way through these wonderfully cheesy spuds, so this dish should feed ten or so at a holiday gathering.

One more thing:

Max, thank you again for your help getting me started down this path and your help keeping me going. You’re truly a great friend and colleague and I greatly look forward to our next dinner!

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4 Responses to “Sous Vide Ribeyes”

  1. Bill says:

    Gorgeous grill marks. It’s sad when people don’t bother with them.

  2. maksim says:

    Hey, no problem, mate!

  3. Lynda says:

    Many of my friends use SousVideMagic to do the same thing.
    Great idea!

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