Question for Sous Vide Veterans

(FRANK) #1

New sous vide user here. In regard to cooking steaks, is there a benefit to going longer in the sous vide? i.e. 4 hours vs. 24 or 48 hours? Does the meat get more tender with time in the sv bath?

Thanks in advance,

(Doug) #2

Hey Frank - it definitely makes a difference, especially with tougher cuts of meat. When there is more connective tissue that needs to be broken down, the longer cooking times are essential for sous vide to really do its magic. The more exercise a given muscle (cut of meat) got, the tougher it’s going to be, in general, and the older the animal was, as well.

As far as usual “steaks,” per se, most people don’t do long cook times - which to me means more than 4 hours. A lean, tender meat like filet mignon/tenderloin doesn’t have much fat between the muscle fibers to start with, and it will dry out - even during sous vide cooking - at higher temperatures. I think 45 minutes to a couple hours is normal cook time.

For meat that ends up rare up to the cool side of medium rare - temperatures under 54 degrees C or 130 F - it’s not advised to go longer than 2.5 hours, as it may not be hot enough to kill all the bacteria, and the warm conditions over a long time may even foster bacterial growth.

For hanger, flank, skirt, ribeyes, T-bones, strips, Porterhouses, it’s usually 1 to 4 hours. It’s personal preference how one likes it best. “Tender meat” is great, but most of us still like a certain amount of chewiness. Long cook times like 12+ hours will make the meat shred easier, and give a considerably different eating experience.