How Do You Get Steakhouse Texture from Sous Vide - Ask Jason

I get a lot of great questions from my readers. In order to help out everyone else I'm answering some of the most popular ones here on the blog. Have something you need help with? You can ask me on Facebook, contact me directly, or view all of the Ask Jason questions!

Texture seems to be a problem with my steaks. What about a 2-inch thick New York strip to get steakhouse texture?

- Paul McLester

Note: The following article is an edited transcript from the video.

In general, I use thicker steaks whenever possible. With sous vide, I find that the thinner the steak is, the harder it is to get a good sear on it without overcooking it.

If I'm cooking for me and my wife, we obviously each don't need a 2-inch thick big strip steak. I'll just get one to sous vide and cut it in half after the sear. The presentation is less fancy, but the steak has a much better sear and texture at the end. If you are looking for a good presentation, you can use individual dishes by slicing the meat and arranging it on each plate.

Sous vide surf turf 24

It's important to remember that there's a wide variety and quality of meat too. A select strip steak is not one of my favorite cuts of meat. I think they're a little tough, they don't have a lot of marbling and therefore not a lot of flavor or texture to them. So if you're cooking with something like a 3/4 inch or 1-inch thick select strip steak that might be leading to it.

A prime strip steak I really like. It's more tender and has a lot more marbling through it. I actually prefer a ribeye, but it's normally about twice as expensive as the prime strip steak. So I tend to get strip steak pretty often when it's a prime or good looking choice cut. And that's kind of the difference in the grades of meat. It can make a big difference in the end result.

Sous vide strip steak 13

Paul got back to me that he uses USDA prime steak. So I would suggest extending the cooking time just by a few hours to maybe tenderize them slightly. I prefer my strip steaks cooked for 5 to 10 hours. The longer time tenderizes it just a little bit more and makes it a little more melt in your mouth, which I really like.

Also, make sure they're thick enough or you're not searing them too long to overcook them at all. If you can only find thinner ones, a good tip to still get a quality sear on the steak is to throw it in an ice bath or cold water for 5 to 10 minutes to bring down the outside temperature. Then when you sear it and it brings up the outside temperature, you have increased your sear time by 30 to 45 seconds per side. Which if you're normally only searing for 1 to 2 minutes, it is a pretty good increase in sear time.

Sous vide ice bath 2

Sous vide can do a lot. It can make a cheap strip steak tastes like the best cheap strip steak you've had. But even sous vide is not going to make it taste like 28-day dry-aged prime rib. You get the flavor out of the quality of the ingredients you start with. Sous vide can do a lot but getting really inexpensive ingredients doesn't always translate. So just keep in mind the better the ingredients the better the end dish.

We all use what we can depending on the circumstances and our different levels of what we're willing to spend. When I'm having pork chops for lunch and they're a little bit on the tough side. I am aware that they were going to be a little on the tough side because they were $3 or $4 a pound pork chops. And when I have pork chops for a fancy dinner with my wife, I expect them to be tender and really good because I bought them from a place online like D'Artagnan or Snake River Farms. These are high-quality heritage pork and cost $10 or $15 a pound. But they produce a very different flavor, a very different texture and a very different end result for that special occasion.

If you like this you can get more than 85 inspiring recipes to get you on your way to sous vide success. It's all in my best selling book Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Sous Vide - Get Your Copy Today!

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All tags for this article: Ask Jason, Sous Vide, Sous Vide Porterhouse Steak, Sous Vide Steak , Sous Vide Strip Steak

Jason logsdon headshot This article is by me, Jason Logsdon. I'm an adventurous home cook and professional blogger who loves to try new things, especially when it comes to cooking. I've explored everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to pressure cookers and blow torches; created foams, gels and spheres; made barrel aged cocktails and brewed beer. I have also written 10 cookbooks on modernist cooking and sous vide and I run the website.
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