Sous Vide Cooking
Photo/John Bedell

It was December of 2008 and renowned chef Thomas Keller was on the “CBS Morning Show” demonstrating a seemingly arcane cooking method he used at his restaurants called sous vide (pronounced soo veed). Slicing a piece of beef cooked under vacuum at low temperature revealed meat that was medium-rare from edge to edge as opposed to the well-done-on-the-outside result you would expect from grilling. Harry Smith, then the show’s anchor, ventured that “sous vide may be too complex for the home chef, but it’s hard to argue with the results.”

 Fast forward a decade of technological advances, and sous vide is most definitely something you can do at home. You want to cook a perfect steak? Give it a bath. Actually, a hot bath. Sous vide, mistakenly likened to the old “boil in a bag” way to cook frozen vegetables, is actually steeping with precision. The “bathtub” can be a stockpot or a beer cooler or something in between. The bath water is heated by a now less-clunky immersion circulator to a precise temperature. (Clip it on and plug it in.) The science is that the temperature of the water never rises above (for the purposes of this recipe) 129° F, and neither does that rib eye you want medium-rare.

 We tested two of the leading, compact and reasonably priced immersion circulators, Joule and Anova (about $200 each). Both have smartphone apps and online support with recipes, but the Anova also sports controls on the 2.2-lb. unit and seems more suitable for the home cook. The Joule works only from the app, weighs about half as much and is more powerful, heating up the water about 10 minutes faster than the Anova. Both accomplish the same goal: a steak that is evenly cooked from “edge to edge.”

 Start with a high-quality steak. Chill it to below 41°F (the safe zone). Vacuum seal it with seasonings in food-safe plastic. Place your steak in the sous vide bath at the desired temperature you’d like the finished steak. Cook time depends mainly on the thickness of the steak, but two hours for up to a two-inch-thick cut worked well in our tests. Don’t worry if you go a little or a lot over, the temperature of the steak will never rise above what you originally set, but it will get more tender.

 When you take the steak out of the plastic, sear the outside in a super-hot cast iron skillet. Sear each side, flipping after 30 seconds (twice on each side in our tests), until you get the char you want. Searing this way will preserve the precise edge-to-edge doneness. A perfect steak.

 Visit anovaculinary.com and chefsteps.com/joule

Gourmet

More in The Good Life

See all
Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce in all its glory.

Oct 24, 2019
Baseball At 150: Five Problems

Baseball At 150: Five Problems

Major league baseball turned 150 years old this year. But the game is far from perfect.

Oct 15, 2019
Smoke The Cigar of the Year for a Good Cause

Smoke The Cigar of the Year for a Good Cause

Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, the maker of Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Year, will be in New York City …

Sep 24, 2019
Babe Ruth Sets Yet Another Record With $5.6 Million Jersey Sale

Babe Ruth Sets Yet Another Record With $5.6 Million Jersey Sale

Babe Ruth's New York Yankees road jersey, dated between 1928 and 1930, sold at auction for $5.64 …

Aug 22, 2019
Car-Themed Watch Auction For Monterey Car Week

Car-Themed Watch Auction For Monterey Car Week

Bidding for Watches Online: The Driver’s Collection will open on August 14 and run through August 20.

Aug 14, 2019
End-of-Summer Mixing With Vodka

End-of-Summer Mixing With Vodka

Mixing it up with vodka.

Jul 2, 2019