Best Meat to Sous Vide: An Ultimate Guide

The first thing our mind pictures when hearing the word sous vide is cooking fancy steak. Even though many people associate it with cooking steak, this technique can be used to cook all kinds of meat, fish, vegetables, and even egg-based dishes.

Instead of pan searing, grilling, or broiling your meat to lock in juices or flavor, sous vide allows you to lock in those flavors perfectly, keeping them evenly distributed without much hassle. It can give you tender, moist meat with a rich taste instead of dried-out or chewy steak.

Different cuts of meat have different moisture content and fat levels, which means that some may be better than others in the vacuum-sealed environment of a sous vide setup.

Keep reading to discover more details about the best meat to sous vide.

Best Meat to Sous Vide

Meat packed in a vacuum bag

The best meat to sous vide depends on what you are looking for. If you are cooking a thicker cut of meat, like a top-round roast, you will want to cook it longer.

A tough steak will get great results, too. The sous vide technique is your best bet if you want a perfectly cooked medium-rare steak. Just remember to keep the temperature at around 48°C (118°F).

It all comes down to the choice of meat and its specific cuts. You don’t need to have expensive cuts to cook them sous vide. The cheaper cuts can also work well when they are cooked sous vide because they can retain their water levels well in an airtight container.

Beef Sous Vide

Cooking beef sous vide is mainly linked to cooking a steak, as it makes a very juicy and flavorful one. Conventional cooking can ruin the steak with a slight temperature change, and even experienced chefs might sometimes get it wrong.

This is where sous vide proves its worth – providing a perfectly balanced and tender steak. Choosing the best cut for your sous vide beef is essential. The best cuts for sous vide beef are the following:

  • Filet Mignon
  • Ribeye
  • T-Bone
  • Strip

You can easily cook a tender, juicy steak by sous vide. The best way to do this is to seal the steak in a bag and then place it in a water bath at 131°F (55°C) for about two hours. Afterward, you can sear the steak in a hot skillet to give it a nice crust.

You can also cook pot roast sous vide. It’s a great way to cook a tough cut of meat until it’s tender and juicy. The best way to do this is to seal the roast with vegetables and other seasonings in a bag and then place it in a water bath set at around 158°F (70°C) for about eight hours.

Chicken Sous Vide

When it comes to chicken, the most commonly used piece for sous vide cooking is the breast piece. The breast piece is the leanest part of the chicken because it is low in fat and boneless, making it easier to cook quickly.

Using sous vide cooking, you can make plenty of dishes with a chicken breast piece.

If you are looking forward to the most straightforward recipe, you can go with Sous Vide Chicken Breast, where you only need to add a few seasonings in a vacuum bag along with the chicken breast piece and submerge in a water bath set up at 143°F (62°C).

Fish Sous Vide

If you are looking for the highest form of protein, you might be a fan of fish. Fish can taste amazing and be a part of a very healthy diet if cooked well. You can cook nearly all kinds of fish sous vide, but when we narrow it down to the best one, it’s tuna.

Tuna can be an excellent choice to cook sous vide because of its texture and flavor. You can get that perfect sashimi-style fish as sous vide cooks the frozen foods exceptionally well, in contrast to other cooking methods.

It has a steak-like structure, which allows you to cook it up to different levels according to your preference. The levels can range from slightly warmed to chewy fish. Tuna is usually heated for around 25 to 45 minutes between 104°F (40°C) and 140F (60°C) according to the preference.

Waterfowl Sous Vide

If you are a huntsman who occasionally hunts different kinds of birds and animals for meat, the main aim of your hunting excursion is to get the best meat possible. At the end of a lucky season, you probably have a lot of meat stored away for future use.

Now the question is how to cook that trophy, considering wild animals’ meat is not as soft and easy to cook as farmed meat. After the season ends, the hunter now sets out on an expedition to cook that meat to perfection, for which he had gone through different hurdles.

As sous vide cooks at low temperatures for longer durations, it is very effective for cooking those hard waterfowl meats. The best way to do this is to seal the duck or goose breast in a bag with seasonings and then place it in a water bath set at around 158°C (70°C) for one hour.

Or, if you want to cook a leg, the best way to do this is to seal the waterfowl’s leg in a bag and then place it in a water bath set at around 185°F (85°C) for about three hours. After that, you can serve it with mashed potatoes or spices like chipotle powder and barbecue sauce.

Knowing that it is not easy to get duck or goose meat, one tries to ensure that it is cooked well so that the hard work pays off. Usually, people struggle to get that soft duck or goose breast, but it is not that easy. Sous vide greatly helps with this.

How to Sous Vide Meat

Unrecognizable women cooking sous vide.

Let’s start with the basics of sous vide. It is a French phrase that means “under vacuum”. It is a method of cooking food in airtight sealed plastic bags and then submerged in a water bath at a very low temperature for a long time.

You can put the ingredients (meat, vegetables, eggs, etc.) in a vacuum-sealed bag and then place them in a water bath. Set the temperature between 131°F and 212°F (55°C and 212°F). It will take its time and slowly begin to cook to perfection.

An important thing to note about sous vide cooking is that it won’t serve you immediately. You have to wait quite a long time to get that perfectly cooked, juicy meat.

The food is kept in a water bath for extended periods — around 48 hours is common for most sous vide recipes. This amount of time helps the food retain more moisture.

Sealed bags prevent the meat from losing any juices or flavor and help retain the moisture inside the meat. As the food is submerged in water, the water temperature will rise to the equilibrium temperature of water and food, usually around 133°F (55°C).

It is a common misunderstanding among people that they need special or expensive equipment to cook sous vide. Well, that’s not true – all you need is a vacuum sealer, freezer bags, and a regular pot to boil the water.

When cooking meat sous vide, the ingredients and cooking times may vary depending on the type of meat. You can also check out the general guidelines about the temperatures and durations of sous vide cooking.

Sous Vide Meat Versus Other Cooking Methods

If you have ever cooked meat on a stovetop or in the oven, you may wonder how sous vide differs from other cooking methods.

Cooking meat normally requires a high degree of precision. One degree off in temperature could mean the difference between “medium-rare” and “well-done”. On the contrary, sous vide has a very precise temperature range.

According to research, sous vide cooked meat retains more of its red color due to the denaturation of protein in meat at a specific temperature. It holds moisture better than conventional cooking, which makes the sous vide cooked meat juicier than other cooked meats.

One more study states that if the meat is cooked sous vide, its proteins are broken down into smaller particles, making it more digestible. This study examined roasted, boiled, and sous vide meat, and the sous vide meat was the best performer, retaining its proteins and tenderness.

Sous vide may sound like the best way to cook meat, but it is not as easy as it sounds. It requires a lot of patience because it is a time-consuming process. You can also check out the further advantages and disadvantages of sous vide cooking.

Final Thoughts

Sous vide is an ingenious way of cooking that packs in loads of flavor while ensuring your meal is as healthy and nutritious as possible. However, getting the hang of sous vide can be a little tricky if you’ve never done it before.

Much of the difficulty lies in understanding which meats are best suited to sous vide and how long you need to leave them in the water bath to get the perfect result.

We walked through the details of some of the best meat to sous vide and explained how you can get started with this cooking technique. Next time you go shopping, you can easily choose the best cut to sous vide.

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