Sous Vide Time and Temp Conundrum

bbstx

I cook our steaks sous vide so that DH and I can each get the exact temp we want. Someone on here taught me to cook DH’s first because he likes his medium well. Then I lower the temp and throw mine in at 132.


Here is the current problem. This time I am going to cook the steaks from frozen. I know that I need to increase the cook time by 50%. How do I do this with 2 steaks that need to be added at different temps? Are there any dangers that I’m not seeing? Am I over-thinking this?

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2ManyDiversions

I typically add another 30 to 45 minutes from frozen, depending on thickness. This just means you DH's steak will be is the SV another 30 minutes, so no harm I would think. You'll need to watch your temp for when it reaches your desired cook time, as I assume you do anyway.

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rockypointdog

How do you usually finish the steaks? I would SV both steaks at 132 degrees and then put DH’s on a grill for a couple of minutes each side to cook it a little more. Or, invest in another SV, LOL.

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2ManyDiversions

I find that grilling SV steaks makes them too done. I SV to the finished degree, so I just do a fast sear in a hot skillet. Oil, butter, herbs as needed. Note if using butter it should be added immediately before you sear, with an overhead fan, as it creates smoke. Both steaks, if SV'd to your preferred temp can be seared at the same time. If I want the grilled flavor, I skip SV altogether and just grill.

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foodonastump

bbstx - Is there any particular need to cook them from frozen? I feel that steak suffers from extended SV time, so I’d be thawing them first. “SV” them in cold water in the fridge, doesn’t take long.

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chas045

I assume that it was dcarch that suggested the two temp method for SV. But as I recall, he would have suggested that all steaks go in the lower temp bath and that rare (or whatever low temp) then be removed while the higher temp steaks continue at the raised temp. One could in fact have multiple degrees of doneness with this step approach.

I can't imagine that it takes 45 minutes for a steak to reach any water temperature. I suspect 10 minutes is more than required and the rest of it is just SV at set temp.

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foodonastump

You'll need to watch your temp for when it reaches your desired cook time, as I assume you do anyway.


2MD - I think you might not be following the method, (chas you have it backwards) which dcarch has recommended here many times. Say the temps are 135 and 125. Cook one to 135, lower bath temp to 125 and add the second steak. No need to watch your temp any more than any other standard SV. My issue is that if both are cooked from frozen, per your 30-45 minute rule you’d be cooking the 135 steak at least an extra 1.5 hours more than needed. Some might find that acceptable but I’m not a fan.

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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Nothing to add. Just wanted to leave a comment so I will get notifications about post to this thread. I am getting prepared to cook steaks by sous vide and need all of the information I can acquire.

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plllog

I've never SV'd steaks, so I may be missing something. Poultry gets mushy if you SV too long--I try to keep it to four hours for a 6 lb. rolled turkey breast. But the whole point of SV, in its original form, was that meat could be preprepped and sealed, then thrown into the circulator before service, and plucked out and plated as dishes went out. That is, it's to hold them at temperature over time. Unlike the three day cook on a big chuck roast, a steak doesn't take a long time to get to temperature, but surely an extra hour in the bath isn't going to be an issue or you wouldn't bother with the S.V.

The big kicker is the freezing. Freezing meat at home (as opposed to cryovac or flash freezing) can break the cells and make the meat mushy. Different thawing methods can also be an issue.

So is this a sous vide question, or a thawing question?

Is the problem putting the steaks in the circulator frozen? Is that a too rapid thaw?

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foodonastump

As I read it this is a Sous Vide question: length of time first steak will cook due to the extended time needed for the second.

Plllog I hope you do try a SV steak sometime and report back. I’ve gotten from disliking it to being ok with it by minimizing cook time, but I don’t prefer cooking it this way. I, along with my family, appear to be in the minority though.

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plllog

Yes, but the discussion seemed to be about whether the length of time were too long for the quality of the meat. But I may have misunderstood. I cook steaks as such about once every four years. If I had occasion to do so, I might consider sous vide, but it's more likely that they'd be on the barbecue (if I had to eat one), and not actually cooked by me (if I'm going to eat one). I don't like the soft texture of less cooked steaks (or red meat in general), so I don't know that I would find any joy in well done meat with the texture of rare...

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foodonastump

Clearly a bad candidate. 😛

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bbstx

FOAS, you are right. I am following recommendations posted by dcarch: The first steak to go in is the one with the higher temp. When it finishes cooking, throw some ice cubes in to cool the water to the degree of doneness for the second steak. Cook the second steak, but keep the first in the pot too.


I like cooking steaks SV. DH has ruined many pieces of expensive meat on the grill (he’s a bit lackadaisical about grilling, but generally errs on the side of overdone - way overdone!). I don’t want to grill. DH likes his steaks medium+; I like mine medium rare. SV makes all of that easy to pull off. Until I started cooking steaks SV, we went out if we wanted a steak.


I think the easiest thing is going to be thaw the steaks and cook them the way I usually do.


I use this chart from Serious Eats for timing.

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2ManyDiversions

"lower bath temp to 125 and add the second steak." This is what I meant by watching temp.

FWIW, yes, bbstx has it correct, the higher temp steak goes in first. Yes, it is in the SV bath longer, and therefore from frozen would be an additional 30 minutes on top of what bbstx usually cooks the 2nd steak. People should experiment with SV cooking times. Some dislike the mushiness which comes from cooking meat too long in the bath, but times, tenderness vs mushiness will vary depending on the quality and cut, as well as thickness. Sometimes another 30 minutes is nothing, sometimes it's a big difference.

Me? I'd give it a shot. DH tolerates if his is more tender, has less a chew. I don't. I like it to be tender and juicy, with the texture and chew of grilled steak, if that makes sense.

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foodonastump

Sorry I misunderstood!

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2ManyDiversions

FOAS, (how bizarre, my autocorrect knows your name! Lol!) no need to apologize, I think it's often so easy to misunderstand, especially in posts, and I didn't explain what I meant at all when I typed that : )

I do love to SV. I've certainly ruined my share of steaks when grilling. I keep a spreadsheet which I print out to update, which lists times and temps for a variety of food, grades and cuts of meat. We now enjoy 'choice' steaks because of SV. But it takes a bit of time to find that right amount of time. Some things can take an extra hour or three... Some things can't take another 30 minutes (ruined carrots that way!) People sometimes think SV meats means mush, but it's just getting your time adjusted.

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bbstx

My DH is not averse to super tender steaks (that’s a nice way to say “nearly mushy”). I’ve pretty much got the SV cooking of filets down....His is 135 for 45 minutes, then lower the temp to 131. Throw in my steak for 45 minutes. I sear them in a cast iron skillet on the side burner of the grill. Pour out the oil, deglaze with a healthy splash of red wine; take it off the heat and swirl in a knob of butter. Makes a great sauce!


My main issue was trying to figure out how to get the same results when the steaks are frozen. DH’s I can do as usual adding 50% more time. But when I throw mine in, it is going to greatly lower the water temperature. Bringing the water back to temp and adding 50% more time to the cooking of my steak will cause DH’s steak to cook for too long. Plus I worry about the temperature of the water being lowered when my frozen steak goes in. I think FOAS nailed it. Thaw them first. I butterflied the steaks before I froze them. Thawing shouldn’t take long.

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