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Sous-vide Experience

My first ever live sous-vide experience!

This home food experience took place at my friend’s house.

I had sous-vide food at restaurants before but never got to see how they were made.

Steaks being sous-vide in water bath

Steaks being sous-vide in water bath

Sous-vide referred to the process of cooking food inside vacuum sealed bags in a hot water bath.

I was observing the making of some thick cut steaks, about 3 inches tall.

The temperature of the water bath was tightly regulated with the gadget (the black one with the temperature display), while the steaks submerged and bobbed in the water.

That particular day, the steaks were placed in the water bath for 3 hours at 129F.

The advantages of cooking sous-vide was to retain the juice and aromatics of the food, which would otherwise be lost due to heat, evaporation or leakage into the water/broth that the food was cooked in.

There was also textural advantage in preparing food this way.

In general, food items were being cooked at a lower than normal temperature; coupled with the even cooking made possible by water bath, food were cooked thoroughly to its doneness at a much lower temperature.

This allowed the meat to be cooked tender without getting tough, and vegetables to be cooked and stayed crisp.

There were so much science involved to deliver the perfect sous-vide for flavor and texture, and to deliver food that was safe enough for consumption.

The danger of low heat cooking was that bacteria and viruses that could cause food borne illness did not get destroyed properly.

Consequently, sous-vide cooking was similar to pasteurization where combination of temperature and duration of heat exposure were taken into account to ensure the food was safe to eat.

fresh out of the sous-vide pouch

fresh out of the sous-vide pouch

Once the steaks were removed from the pouches, it was time to grill.

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With low temperature cooking, it was impossible to get browning that we were accustomed to from grilling, searing on a pan or even the crisp and dry outer layer from roasting or baking.

As a result, in meat application, grilling at high heat was desirable to obtain the brown flavors.

We were grilling the meat at the highest heat possible.

The surface of the steaks were dried off, grill marks were made and the process sealed in the flavors and juice of the steaks further.

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The resulting meat looked gorgeous.

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It was exceptionally flavorful and juicy.

However, the texture was not as tender as we expected.

We theorized that it might be the steaks since they were not very fatty to start with.

Nonetheless, the experience was wonderful, eye-opening and priceless!

2 comments on “Sous-vide Experience

  1. If a steak is not as tender as you like when cooked sous-vide, you can do two things:
    – either cook it longer (e.g. 8 hours), but this has to be at at least 130 degrees for food safety reasons
    – or ‘warm age’ it by cooking it 1 hour at 103 degrees, 1 hour at 121 degrees, and then 2 hours at 130 degrees. For a tender type steak like rib eye, you could actually sear it right after the 121 degrees step.
    – some cuts like short ribs can take up to 48 or 72 hours to become tender, but they will!
    I have lots of recipes and other info on my blog if you’re interested.

    1. thanks for your tips! My friend is supposed to get that sous-vide temp gadget as a gift, I assume we will get more chance to experiment!
      thanks!

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