Sous Vide (or yes honey, I'm boiling the steaks)

First time.

So. My MIL sends us Omaha Steaks for Christmas and birthdays. They are OK.

They come vacuum sealed in heavy pouches. They are sort of made for this.

hmmm…Didn’t I see something somewhere about that? And I have a new very accurate digital thermometer. Point it at anything and Bob’s your uncle. Seems to work well on water as well.


Temp now at 137f. Now, 45 minutes to go and do a quick pan fry.

I generality don’t trust any vacuum seals I didn’t do myself for sous vide. Hopefully they hold out.

Also, aren’t those frozen? I don’t think 45 minutes is long enough if you’re starting from frozen.

Keeping the temp at exact level is key. I would check that the bags are in fact sealed.

I usually do sous-vide steaks for about an hour and a half. But 137 is way too well-done for me. I cook mine at 129 followed by a couple of minutes under a propane torch.

Oh, very well thawed. And the vacuum seal on these things would put NASA to shame. They seem to be perfect for this.

I may have cooked them at a bit higher temp but they look good. Will brown them with salt and pepper. My Wife would prefer medium anyway.

Baked taters done in about 20 minutes. Then dinner.

And then chess or backgammon and beers with classic rock for the evening. It’s sort of our thing nowadays. No complaints there.

Sometimes you ARE the windshield. Going to be a nice evening.

This page shows cross-sections of sous vide steaks cooked at different temperatures. I like my steaks medium-rare, so I use a temperature of 130F.

I have a butane torch, but it doesn’t deliver enough heat to brown a steak properly. I use a cast iron pan for that. Thirty to forty seconds a side is enough.

I would reduce the temp to around 130F. I do mine around 128-129F.

I use a ridged cast iron pan heated to smoking hot. I do about 30 seconds, rotate for another 20-30 seconds for a cross hatch browning, flip and do the same. Consistently pretty awesome

How’d they turn out? My initial thought was that you need to at least salt & pepper them before they go in the vacuum bag, but I don’t think that bit is a deal-breaker.

From your description of the thermometer it sounds as though it’s an infrared non contact unit. Am I correct?

Be aware that the temperature reading varies with the emissivity of the surface being measured. So the reading you get from the water will not be accurate.

A look at this table indicates that water has an emissivity of .95, so your water is actually slightly hotter than your thermometer indicates.

They were a bit over done. But I think came out better than if put on the grill.

Reading about this I would have seasoned before putting in the bag, but they where already sealed up as delivered.

Omaha steaks are… just OK to begin with. These where a NY strip cut, and kinda thin. About 1/2". Would have been good to slice up for stir fry. Grilling them would have destroyed them.

Note that my Wife and I have a line on very, very good local beef. That’s our ‘go to’ for steaks. Very good and worth the money.

As and experiment with sous vide, I’ll give this a 7 out of 10. What was nice is that I had them cooked and only needed to brown them when my Wife returned from walking the dogs. Timing was a bit easier.

Thanks for that link. Yes, infrared thermometer. I know there are some issues regarding different surfaces. I had a very deep calphalon pot and also measured it’s temp on the inside right above the water. It varied by a 1-2 degrees.

We have some floors with in-floor heat. I love my new infrared thermometer. I now know what’s going on a bit better. :smiley:

Slight hi-jack, kinda.

I use an infrared thermometer to pinpoint hotspots in my pizza ovens. I have three 5’ x 4’ bakers pride sine lined ovens and I always know where the hot/cold spots are, very useful!

1/2 is too thin to sous vide any meat. I think the minimum recommendation for steaks is 1" or more. I’ve done thin steaks like pre-sliced tri tip, but i reassemble them into a roast before putting them into the bath.

Also, an infrared thermometer is a very inaccurate way to measure the temp of water or anything (like meat) with a high water content. I could measure the surface of a layer of ice in a container as freezing, but the water below below is much warmer. Use a immersion thermometer or even better a wand with a digital display.

The lowest any other cooking thermometer I have only goes down to 140f

The infrared thermometer is what I had.

And I’m a guy. It’s a new tool. What else could I do?

This was sort of a requirement.


enipla, what kind of sous vide system do you have? That is, what do you use to heat and circulate the water? The reason I ask is that dedicated sous vide systems have thermostats, so there’s no need for an external thermometer.

My latest Sous Vide device is a Joule immersion circulator in a lexon storage container. I’ve got an insulated jacket that goes around the outside of the container. The Joule is controlled by a phone app and seems to work well. At least according to the display it’s within less than 1/2 of a degree stability.

The circulation minimizes the temperature variation across the volume of water. I use my Food Saver vacuum rig to seal the bags.

I usually do a ribeye steak at 130 degrees. Asparagus, sliced sweet potatoes work well in sous vide as well as others I’ve not tried.

Despite the seemingly near foolproof reputation of sous vide cooking, set it and forget it, I find near perfect temperature control critical. I think it’s on a Bizarre Food’s episode where a chef is cooking a soft boiled egg and a degree or two off makes the egg too runny or too firm. As others have posted, a few degrees difference can take a steak from perfect to over or undercooked. Also, if you’re leaving something for a long period, like a roast, for say 24-48 hours or more, it can change the texture. I like my steak rare and still experimenting with getting the perfect temp. For me a perfect steak ahould be slightly below rare, but heated through. And since I either pan sear or torch, or both to finish, it’s a tough mark to hit.