Is there anything more scrumptious than a tender, juicy steak served with scalloped potatoes and a wedge salad? We bet not. But, while you can choose any side dish, the traditional methods make it a challenge to cook the star of the meal: the perfect steak.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re using skillets or air fryers. Direct heat creates a temperature gradient inside the cuts of meat. You’ll find medium-rare centers and well-done exteriors.
Plus, the cooking process is a non-stop shot with no flexibility.
Well, if all this already sounds scary to you, don’t worry because we have the ideal solution – sous vide! Sous vide is a slow cooking technique that promises perfect and consistent results every time. Also, you don’t need to focus on the task alone.
However, even with the cooking problem solved, one issue remains. What’s the best steak cut for sous vide? Let’s dive in to unravel the answer!
Types of Steak Cuts for Sous Vide
Before exploring the details, allow us to clarify one misconception. There is no best steak cut for sous vide. The mere requirement is the presence of good marbling (the white, fat streaks). You can choose any steak cut depending on your taste and cooking preferences.
Here are the most popular types of steaks for sous vide:
The ribeye steak comes from the upper rib cage of the cattle, more precisely from 6th to 12th ribs. Since the upper rib cage gets lightly worked, the meat is flavorsome and tender. Its fat marbling also allows better cooking.
The strip steak is from the cow’s short loin. It also comprises lesser worked muscles. Thus, the meat will form quite a tender steak.
Porterhouse and T-bone Steaks
These cuts of steak originate from the short loin. The porterhouse is slightly larger than the t-bone because it gets cut from the rear end. Although both pieces are different, they often get grouped together due to the presence of the t-shaped bone on each side.
Also called fillet steak, the filet mignon gets taken from the smaller end of tenderloin steak meat. It has a melt-in-your-mouth kind of texture and tends to be quite expensive.
How to Choose the Best Steak Cut for Sous Vide
You can pick almost any piece of meat to make sous vide steak. Just make sure it has good marbling and tenderness. However, if you’re still unsure, don’t worry. There are two fundamental factors to consider in order to figure out the best steak cut for you.
Bone vs Boneless
The bone vs boneless debate has been raging on in the world of steaks forever. Many believe that keeping the bone in makes the marrow seep into the meat and leave a buttery flavor behind. We’re here to tell you that this is a myth.
Bones aren’t porous or permeable. There’s no way marrow can seep into the meat. Hence, both bone and boneless steaks taste equally the same.
Does this mean it doesn’t matter which one you choose? Well, in terms of taste, yes. But, when talking about structure and looks, no. Bone-in steaks hold the shape better. Plus, the insulation properties of the bone cause the surrounding meat to remain tender and juicy. So, if you love a medium-rare steak, then bone-in steaks can be worth it.
However, the bone on the sides can reduce the dark crust parameters that give it a delicious charred flavor. Also, boneless steaks are easier to sear than bone-in ones.
Avoiding a thicker steak just for the sake of portion control is not a wise decision. In sous vide, it’s essential to have a thicker steak for perfect edge-to-edge cooking. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should get a tough meat piece or a fattier steak.
Instead, simply remember to stay away from leaner steaks (1-inch steak or below). These tend to overcook quickly without developing a nice crust. We recommend getting a steak cut between 1½ to 2 inches.
Ultimate Sous Vide Steak Recipe
Now that we’ve gone over the fundamentals of selecting the best steak cut, let’s unravel the ultimate sous vide recipe to cook steaks!
- Sous Vide Cooker
- Large pot of water (preferably plastic)
- Cast iron skillet
- Vacuum sealer
- Air-tight bag for packaging
- Wire rack
- Steak cuts (10oz each)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp oil
- Garlic cloves
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Desired herbs (ex. fresh thyme or rosemary)
- Use the sous vide cooker to preheat the water bath (refer to the temperature range chart for precision)
- Wash the meat steak and dry using paper towels
- Season steak with salt and pepper generously and place it in a ziploc bag.
- Add in a few herbs if desired
- Seal the bag and remove the air inside
(This particular packaging method uses vacuum sealing. Alternatively, you can use the water displacement method, which we will explain in steps 6-7 below.)
- Submerge the bag in a container with water (the water should remove the air by its pressure)
- Place the sealed steak inside the heated water bath (if sealed properly, it should sink to the bottom)
- Set the timer and remove the bag once cooked
- Take the sous-vide steak out and put it on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Pat the steak dry (there should be no water droplets)
- Preheat a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat
- Add oil and let the smoke rise
- Make sure all windows are open for ventilation
- Lay the steak on the hot skillet
- Add a tablespoon of butter or more (the milk solids in the butter should give an intense flavor and nice brown sear)
- Add any fresh herbs for extra flavor
- Flip the steak every 15 to 30 seconds
- Serve hot, along with side dishes if desired
Sous Vide Steak Timing and Temperature Chart
(The following chart applies to the steak cut types mentioned above)
|Very Rare||49°C to 53°C||1 to 2 ½ hours|
|Medium-rare||54°C to 57°C||1 to 4 hours|
|Medium||57°C to 62°C||1 to 4 hours|
|Medium well||63°C to 68°C||1 to 3 ½ hours|
|Well-done||69°C and up||1 to 3 hours|
Indeed, cooking steak with sous vide takes time. But, it makes the process simple and guarantees finger-licking results.
We hope that this article has helped you select the best steak cut for sous vide and taught you how to prepare a delicious meal!