Steak is a popular starting point for sous vide cooking. It showcases how easy it is to achieve an even level of done whilst retaining both moisture and flavour. Our sous vide rib-eye steaks have been consistently delicious.
Sous Vide Seared Rib-Eye Steak
- Sous vide device, e.g. Sous Vide Supreme
- Vacuum sealer
- Vacuum sealable food-safe bags
- Cast iron skillet or other searing method, e.g. Big Green Egg
Ziploc bags can also be used in place of vacuum sealable bags.
- Four thick rib-eye steaks
* – use salt and cracked black pepper, or a steak rub. I use Dizzy Pig Cow Lick Steak and Big Green Egg Cosmic Cow rubs, both have produced excellent results.
- Pre-heat the sous vide device to the desired temperature (the steaks will go up a couple of degrees above this during the sear):
- 49°C/120°F for rare
- 55°C/130°F for medium-rare
- 60°C/140°F for medium
- 71°C/160°F for well done
- Season the steaks with salt and pepper, or your preferred steak rub. Place each steak into a bag and the bag.
- Immerse the bags in the sous vide device. Cook for a minimum of 45 minutes. I cook them for 1 hour.
- Remove bags from sous vide. Open them and remove the steaks.
- Medium and well done steaks will have some liquid in bags, save this for au jus.
- Sear steaks in a hot cast iron skillet with a little butter or bone marrow for 30 seconds each side. Make sure to sear the edges as well.
- Can be done with a Big Green Egg direct heat setup at 315°C/600°F for grid marks. Brush a little melted butter onto the steaks before grilling.
Hints, Tips and Pictures
- A thin slice of butter can be added to the sous vide bag for extra moisture.
- The temperatures above are suggestions. Medium-rare is the one we use. Different websites quote varying figures, e.g. the medium temperature ranges from 135°F to 144°F.
- Searing can create a lot of smoke, make sure that if this is done in a kitchen it is well ventilated.
- The steaks will be tender, almost fragile, when they come out of the sous vide bags. Use tongs to manipulate them when searing.
- If using a Big Green Egg to sear, be sure to light it in plenty of time. I start ours after 30 minutes of sous viding the steaks.
Analysis – Does Sous Vide Make a Difference?
A sous vide means there’s one less thing to watch when the meal preparation nears completion. The steaks take about as long to cook as the triple cooked chips. The Big Green Egg gets up to temperature in plenty of time. Green veg on just before I took the bags out of the sous vide. The cooked steaks needed a minute (15 secs per sear, twice for each side) to sear at the end. Hassle-free steaks.
That’s nice … but what did the steak taste like?
Our standard ¾inch rib-eye steaks sous vided at 55°C/130°F are cooked evenly and correctly. Every time. They have been uniformly medium-rare, tender and delicious.
Having said that, an experienced cook (e.g. my wife) can get close this with a cast iron skillet (or Big Green Egg). The steak below was cooked over direct heat for 8 minutes, flipping every minute. We have learned this is a good target time to get medium-rare at 550°F searing temperature. However, it’s not as uniformly and consistently tender as sous vide.
Also I missed the slightly smokey flavour that comes from reverse searing with wood chips in a Big Green Egg.
Would I Sous Vide Cook Rib-Eye Steaks Again?
Yes. If I have the time and was doing individual steaks (especially when entertaining friends). If I was doing a single 2inch+ thick steak to be carved at the table, I would still do reverse sear. I like the hint of smoke, as well as cooking with the Egg. Variety is the spice of life.