Sous Vide All the Things: Steak

I’ve always been intrigued by sous vide. It’s a technique where you vacuum-seal the food in a bag and cook it in a temperature-controlled water bath, and if Top Chef were to be believed, it yields amazing results.

But I just kinda assumed that, like the Thermomix and the Salamander Broiler, it’s something I could never afford to have in my own kitchen. And then one day, a colleague asked me if I own an Anova “since you eat steak so often”. Apparently there was an ongoing holiday sale and he bought one, and, well, soon enough so did I.


The Anova Precision Cooker can be attached to any pot, where it circulates the water and regulates the temperature to ensure that the food cooks evenly. Mine came with WiFi connectivity, which to be honest is more gimmicky than it is functional, but other than that it was a breeze to install and use.

Naturally, the first thing I tried to cook was steak.


I’m lucky enough to live near the wet market, so I was able to score an extra-thick slice of ribeye from the butcher. This was then generously seasoned with salt and pepper before vacuum-bagging. I was able to finagle a second-hand vacuum sealer on Carousell, but a BPA-free ziplock bag works just as well using the water displacement technique.

The Anova app provides a handy guide that gives temperature and time requirements for various types of food (and so does Google, actually). For my ribeye steak, I set it to cook at 129F for an hour or so. Side note: Generally I use Celsius, but the Fahrenheit scale gives a lot more granularity, and most guides are written by US authors, so I made an exception.

The device beeps once it has reached the desired temperature, and all that’s left is to plop the bag of meat in, and clamp it to the sides of the pot with binder clips (to prevent the bag from moving around and to keep it submerged). And then there’s nothing left to do but wait.


Steak that has just come out of the sous-vide bag, while perfectly edible, is not the most appetizing thing in the world - it's grey, disgusting, and kinda sad. Thankfully it's only minutes away from being awesome.


The final step is a really good sear. For this I used a (screaming hot) cast iron pan and more butter than I would care to admit. Because the steak is already up to temperature at this point, I didn’t want to sear it for too long - about a minute on each side, tops. Otherwise it would be overcooked and I waited for an hour for nothing.


The result was perfectly pink, extra juicy steak with a lot more flavor. I would have loved to sear it more, probably with a butane torch, but other than that I’m perfectly happy.


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