Cooking a flavorful steak with edge-to-edge perfection has never been more simple thanks to sous vide!
Sous vide refers to a unique technique that slows down the cooking time. It requires you to seal your steak and then drop it in a heated water bath to cook. Both time and temperature range have to be closely monitored for best results.
While sous vide steak itself is a very easy technique, you can simplify it further by using frozen steaks. Yes, you heard that right, it’s possible to make sous vide with frozen steaks!
However, the procedure for frozen steaks is slightly different. This is why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to make the perfect sous vide frozen steaks. Our guide will address the following:
- Types of sous vide frozen steaks
- How to seal and sous vide frozen steaks
- How long to cook sous vide frozen steaks
We’ll also discuss reheating, cooking temperatures, and much more!
Why Should You Sous Vide Frozen Steak?
As we mentioned before, sous vide refers to a cooking technique that slows down the meal prep time and requires minimal effort. You also get time flexibility since you can walk away from cooking steak and focus on other tasks. Learn more about sous vide cooking right here!
But, why should you sous vide a frozen steak? How does it make the process easier? Here are some amazing benefits to change your mind!
No Difference in Texture
If you think all the thawing will make sous vide frozen steak soggy, then you’re wrong. The frozen piece of meat comes out to be a tender and juicy steak. Give it an amazing sear, and you’ll find the same firm texture!
Please note that the intense flavor depends on the herbs and aromatics used. You may get a buttery flavor, charred flavor, etc. It all depends on the ingredients you use either while marinating or cooking.
Preparing seasoned steaks and freezing them ahead of time will save you in the long run. You do not have to spend time seasoning and packaging steaks when finally cooking. Just take out the packaged, frozen steak and drop it in the water bath.
In certain stores, you can even find unseasoned or seasoned steaks already vacuum-sealed in bags. So, you can purchase them and eliminate the sealing process too!
Great for Meal Planning
Usage of sous vide frozen steaks allows you to do successful meal planning. Hence, you can incorporate healthy meals into your routine without stressing about time, effort, and money!
With the option to freeze, you don’t have to make runs to the grocery store whenever you want a fancy dinner. Imagine the amount of money spent on getting fresh steak every time. You can simply purchase cuts of meat in bulk, season them, and store them for quick use.
Types of Frozen Steak to Sous Vide
When choosing steak type, you will come across a huge diversity of options. You can pretty much choose any kind depending on your personal preferences. However, make sure the pieces of meat are at least 1 ½ to 2 inches thick.
Leaner steaks have a high chance of overcooking or undercooking. Thus, opt for a thicker steak for the perfect level of doneness. That being said, we’ll go over what cuts of meat most individuals prefer below.
The top part of the sirloin in a cow is what forms the sirloin steak. It has no bones and very little fat. So, the resultant sous vide steak will be tender and juicy with less chew.
New York Strip Steak
The New York strip steak comes from the cattle’s short loin. These muscles do little work, which means the meat will be tender and chewy. It has a fine-grained texture with nicely marbled fat content.
This refers to the boneless meat from the upper rib section of the cow. These tend to be fattier steaks that retain a lot of juice even at high temperatures. Plus, they have an intense beefy flavor.
As the name suggests, the flank steak comes from the flank of the cow. It is a versatile piece of meat that works well for sous vide, roasting, sautéing, and whatnot. However, it can become dry upon overcooking.
The t-bone steak is considered one of the highest quality meats. It contains beef cuts from the tenderloin and the short loin. Hence, t-bone steaks are soft, juicy, and large.
The porterhouse steak belongs to the same region as t-bone. Thus, it has similar properties except for the size. Porterhouse steak tends to be a bit larger than a t-bone.
Long and flat, the skirt steak has a strong flavor. You may not find it very tender and chewy. But, the deeper flavors result in scrumptious steaks.
Filet Mignon Steak
The filet mignon steak comes from the smaller tenderloin end. It’s small, tender, and very expensive. The reason behind this is its texture and the fact that it seems to melt in your mouth.
How to Seal Sous Vide Steak
Indeed, choosing the type of cut is crucial for cooking steak. But, it’s pointless if you don’t package it appropriately. Sous vide is all about sealing and cooking with an immersion circulator (otherwise known as the sous vide machine).
Mess either of the two stages, and you will never be able to cherish the perfect steak. So, after purchasing the steaks, wash and pat them dry using paper towels. Then, season them using salt and black pepper. You can also use marinades and fresh herbs.
Once you’re done, place the steaks in a high-quality food bag and follow one of the methods below for sealing sous vide steak.
This method requires a high-quality vacuum sealer. Place the opening side of the bag into the machine and turn it on. You will notice the air moving out until the bag clings to the meat.
Close the bag once all the air has come out.
This particular vacuum sealer method is efficient and quick. However, purchasing the sealing machine can be quite expensive.
Water Displacement Method
This method requires a room temperature water bath. Take the steak bag and slowly push it into the water bath. Allow the pressure of the water to make air escape from the top.
Once all the air is out, carefully close the zipper lock.
While this method requires patience and vigilant handling, it’s quite cheap because you can do it without a sealer.
How Long to Sous Vide Frozen Steak?
Temperature and timing are two crucial elements of sous vide. These factors determine the final results, so you need to be vigilant about it.
We’ve created a detailed temperature and timing chart for cooking steak according to the desired level of doneness. However, the actual question is whether using frozen steaks in sous vide affects the period. After all, you’re not thawing out the frozen steak.
The answer is simple: sous vide the steak 60 minutes longer than the prescribed timings. This additional hour provides sufficient time to thaw in the water bath and then cook. But, if you prefer thawing a frozen steak before sous vide, then follow the standard timing chart.
How to Sous Vide Frozen Steak
Sous vide frozen steak is a fairly simple process. Once sealed, there are only three more stages to cook the perfect, tender steak. Below is a detailed explanation of each stage!
For this, you need a quality immersion circulator (more commonly known as a sous vide machine). You will also need a plastic container to create a water bath and a timer. Once arranged, follow these steps:
- Fill water in the container and attach the sous vide machine
- Preheat the sous vide machine to the desired temperature
- Take out the packaged frozen steak and drop it in the water bath (properly sealed steaks should sink to the bottom of the pot)
- Set the timer. Add 60 extra minutes if you’re not defrosting.
When the timer goes off, leave the steak in the water bath for about 10 minutes. Next, remove the sous vide steak from the bag and place it on paper towel-lined plates. Pat dry carefully on both sides.
Unlike the traditional method, the sous vide steak doesn’t have a browned surface and a nice crust after cooking. It appears like boiled beef. So, you must sear it to improve texture and flavor.
There are two ways to do this: on a stovetop (indoors) or on a grill (outdoors).
For this method, you will need a cast iron or stainless steel skillet. You will also need 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and 1 tbsp of butter.
- Open all the windows for ventilation
- Add oil to the cast iron skillet and keep it on medium to high flame (you can substitute vegetable oil with canola oil or rice bran oil)
- Place the steak in the skillet once smoke starts to appear
- Add some butter (the milk solids in the butter should blacken and char the steak)
- Add a few herbs (ex. crushed garlic cloves, rosemary sprigs, thyme, and other fresh herbs)
- Flip the steak every 15 to 30 seconds
- Make sure the sides and edges of the steak come into contact with the pan too
Once you’re done, transfer the steak to a wire rack. Meanwhile, repeat the process for other steaks if you’re cooking more than one.
If you prefer smoky charred flavors, then grilling is the best method to sear the sous vide steak. For this, you will need a grill, cooking grate, and a long set of tongs.
- Light a chimney filled with charcoal and let it get covered from gray ash
- Pour the charcoal out and arrange it on a charcoal grate. Make sure that you do it on one side
- Set the grate, cover the grill, and let it preheat for 5 minutes
- Scrape the grates and oil them by using oil-dipped towels
- Place steak on it, and turn every 15 to 30 seconds
- Continue until the steak forms a nice crust
If a fire starts engulfing the steak, remove it and cover the grill to suffocate the flames. Direct fire exposure can overcook and even burn the steak.
Stovetop steaks can lose their crispness once they are set on a wire rack for too long. However, you can easily make them crispy again by reheating the fats in the skillet until they’re sizzling. Then, pour it over the steaks.
Serve the steaks immediately after crisping or grilling. You can cut the pieces against the grain and serve it, along with side dishes.
Timing and Temperature Guide
- Very Rare: 49°C to 53°C and 1 to 2½ hours
- Medium-Rare: 54°C to 57°C and 1 to 4 hours
- Medium: 57°C to 62°C and 1 to 4 hours
- Medium-well: 63°C to 68°C and 1 to 3½ hours
- Well-done: 69°C+ and 1 to 3 hours
Can You Freeze a Steak After Sous Vide?
Yes, you can freeze the steak after sous vide. However, make sure that the steak gets completely cooked before storage. You won’t get good results if you attempt to sous vide the half-cooked frozen steak again.
Also, remember to freeze your sous vide steak in airtight, high-quality containers. Cool the sous vide steak, place it in the container, and freeze it. The meat will remain usable for around 2 to 4 weeks.
All in all, cooking frozen sous vide steak is the simplest way to enjoy some delicious food. You don’t need to defrost the steak, nor do you have to spend time packaging steaks every single time you sous vide.
We hope this guide has answered all of your questions. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below!