Sous Vide Cooking – A Great Technique

Have you heard of sous vide cooking? It’s a fabulous method of cooking that allows you to cook your meats to juicy, tender perfection every time you cook. Sous vide has been long used by top notch restaurants, but now you can try it at home. In this post, we’ll explain what the term means, give you a quick step by step guide to sous vide cooking and offer some recommendations on cuts of meat that are great to cook sous vide!

What Does Sous Vide Mean?

Sous vide is a French term that means “under vacuum.” This method is called sous vide because you literally cook vacuum sealed food in a bath of warm water. A sous vide cooker will heat the water bath to the temperature you wish your food to be cooked to and then hold that temperature for a long period of time. Put the vacuum sealed food in the water bath and it will slowly come up to temperature, ensuring even temperature throughout the cut of meat without letting the juices inside the meat escape. Give the finished product a quick sear and you have meat perfection!

How Do I Cook Sous Vide?

Cooking sous vide is easy to do in three easy steps – seal, sous vide cook, and sear. Here’s a guide:

STEP 1 – Seal

Sealed Rib Steak

Pick out your favorite cut of meat (or vegetable) then seal it up. We can use our professional grade vacuum machine to seal cuts of meat for you, you just have to pay for the bag, or you can do it at home with your home grade vacuum machine, or even a high quality zippable bag. We don’t recommend seasoning the meat when you put it into the bag, because the pressure of vacuum will force the seasonings hard into the meat. This will create some areas that are seasoned heavily and others that aren’t at all.

STEP 2 – Sous Vide Cook

Sous Vide Cooking Rib SteakWith your meat sealed up, it’s time to cook. We use the Anova Precision Cooker, which is inserted into a pot of water and then heats it up. If you use a similar machine, heat your water to the temperature you want your meat to be when you’re finished, then drop in the meat and let it cook. We recommend cooking steak to 130-135ºF for medium rare – medium, pork chops to 145ºF, and chicken to 165ºF. Here are two handy charts from Serious Eats on how long to cook your steak or your chicken breast.

STEP 3 – Sear

Cut Open Rib SteakThe food coming out of your sous vide cooker is completely cooked through and ready to go, even if it doesn’t look like food prepared used “traditional” methods. One of the key differences you’ll notice is that the outside doesn’t have a beautiful, delicious crust. That’s easy to fix though, just by giving the food a quick sear. As the food in the sous vide cooker is almost done, heat up a skillet to HOT. Remove the meat from the sous vide cooker, season it if you desire, and then put it in the hot skillet for just long enough to sear each side. Once the meat is seared, it’s done and ready to serve. As you can see from the picture above, it’ll come out perfect!

What Cuts of Meat Are Good For Sous Vide Cooking?

Honestly, almost all cuts of meat are great when prepared sous vide. We particularly like these cuts though:

  • Thick Cut Steaks or Chops – by cooking sous vide, you don’t have the problem of the outside of the steak being overcooked and the middle stone cold.
  • Beef Brisket or Short Ribs – cooking sous vide will allow these dishes to slowly cook all the way through, melting fat and getting deliciously tender.
  • Pork Tenderloin – it’s easy to overcook this lean piece of meat using traditional methods, but sous vide makes it very hard to overcook. You can even put your favorite marinade in the vacuum bag with your pork tenderloin when you seal it up.
  • Chicken Breast – is there anything worse than overcooked chicken breast? Sous vide will solve that problem and turn out perfectly juicy, flavorful chicken breasts every time.
  • Salmon – try it! You’l make incredibly delicate, flavorful salmon by cooking it sous vide! You can even cook it in the vacuum sealed bags that we package the meat in our store.
  • Carrots – we know we’re a butcher shop, but whole carrots turn out amazing when you sous vide cook them. Cook them for an hour at 180º and then quickly sear them for perfection. They’re great served with any of the meat items on this list!

You can find lots of Sous Vide recipe ideas on the Serious Eats website. Serious Eats is a website dedicated to teaching home cooking with the actual science of cooking in mind. We wholeheartedly recommend the website and love the information that’s posted on it.

How Can I Get Started Cooking Sous Vide?

Anova Cooker

The Anova Cooker, via the Anova website.

It’s easy! First, pick up a sous vide cooker. We recommend the Anova Precision cooker. It’s easy to use, comes with recipe tips and Nick’s been using it for a year with no hiccups. You can get one here. Once you have your cooker, stop by Lake Geneva Country Meats and pick up your favorite cut of meat. Have us seal it up for you (for the cost of the bag) or seal it at home. Then get cooking!

Thanks for reading our quick guide to sous vide cooking. We hope you found it helpful and start to experience the rewards of sous vide cooking at home. If you have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below. We’d also love to see if you have tips, recipes or pictures of your finished product, so, please, share them in the comments too. Get cooking and we’ll see you soon at LGCM!

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