Monday, March 24, 2014

T-Bone Sous Vide

T-Bone Sous-Vide..... Even the name sounds great. I will get to the details in a bit but I just gotta come out of the gate and say this was probably the best steak I have ever eaten. You might be saying to yourself....."this blogger has never eaten at any high end steakhouses.

Ah Contraire Mon Fraire!!!! I have eaten at Ruth Chris Steak House, El GauchoMetropolitan GrillPeter Luger Steak House in Brooklyn NY and a couple of others. The only caveat to the above statement is the the quality of the meat at those steak houses were probably Prime and mine was a higher version of Choice. The Sous-Vide method of cooking made my above average steaks taste like PRIME and superior than those fancy steak houses. Only a side by side comparison would be fair to determine if I was correct.

One of the first things I did when I arrived home was to set up my Sous-Vide. Pre-planning is always helpful with Sous-Vide. I usually start out with hot tap water which in my house is about 120 degrees and add boiling water if I plan doing potatoes which should be Sous-Vide at 183-185 degrees. I mean who wants to wait until the Sous-Vide apparatus comes up to temp. 

So what am I using? I have the Polyscience Sous-Vide Chef and the ANOVA Sous-Vide. I also have the 3 Polcarbonate Tanks to choose from depending what my need is. I chose the 18 Liter version (and many other setups too) for these large steaks .

While the Sous-Vide was getting up to temp I prepared the "Breath Taking" T-Bones steaks for its long bath.

I seasoned both sides of the steaks with Apple-wood smoke Sea Salt, Granulated Garlic, Onion Flakes, Crushed Black Pepper and fresh Thyme. I have come across some recipes that have included some FAT or butter inside the bag with the hope of the fat helping distribute their aromas and flavors. I chose not to do this. I have tried it both ways and prefer no butter or fat for steaks that are Sous-Vide. In fact, I believe the addition of butter inhibits the Herbs and spices penetration into the meat. I think all those flavors get suspended in the fat globules. Just a theory and no way to prove.

How did I decide what flavors I wanted? I chose what I liked. I think using Smoke Sea Salt was genius but other than that I just used what I thought would go well. 

Note: After making the steaks I read in Thomas Keller book Under pressure:Cooking Sous Vide that the addition of fresh herbs directly to the steaks could concentrate all the flavors in isolated parts of the steaks. He suggest putting the herbs in a little plastic bouquet garni than place in bag. I will do this next time. 

Let's talk about temp for a moment. I am still trying to figure out what temp might be my favorite for Steaks. I have tried several temps and I am narrowing it down. I used 129 degrees last night and this seems to be almost perfect. I will try 127 and 128 and evaluate next time. At a temp of 120 degrees the connective tissue and fat starts to break down. So temp and time working together should produce something superb. Starting out with a tender piece of meat cuts down your time obviously. 

How I did I calculate the time? I use The Sous-Vide Tool Box APP by Polyscience to determine how long I should cook the proteins. The APP uses science to predict accurately how long to cook proteins. The APP will calculate a lot of "What if scenarios" I.E Time to center temp is reached, Time to center and surface pasteurization etc. It will even tell you how long to submerge in ice water water if you want to drop temp rapidly.  Another good source of info is found here by Douglas Baldwin

Setting up Sous-Vide Temp desired
My cooking vessel
4.35 lb of steak

All Seasoned and ready to go
Sous-vide which means Under Pressure (Vacuum sealed)

In the water bath
Just came out of the water bath after 4:23 minutes
All cooked with no searing.  Very unappealing. 
All Seared and ready to EAT!!

and Beautiful. 
The steak was like 
cutting into butter. 
All the connective 
tissue had melted away.