How to Cook DIY Sous-vide Steak

You don’t need thousands of pounds worth of equipment to cook sous-vide, says Tim Hayward. With a cool-box and a thermometer, you’re away.

1. You’ll need a big beer cooler. Mine’s a 36qt American job that claims to keep ice frozen for 5 days. You’ll also need a probe thermometer, a kettle and, if your butcher can’t vac-pack for you, a couple of strong ‘zip’- type freezer bags.

2. Fill the beer cooler with hot water from the tap. Today the stuff coming out of my domestic boiler was just under 60C.

3. Put the steaks in the feezer bags but leave them just a little unsealed. As you lower them into the water the bag is crushed by the pressure and expels all the air. Seal up as soon as there are no big air pockets left in the bag.

4. Add small quantities of hot or cold water to adjust the temperature …

5. … and stir vigorously with the probe. Your target temperature is 55.6C for Medium Rare (60C for Medium, 65.5C for Medium Well … and you can stop right there, buddy).

6. Close the lid firmly, trapping the probe inside if you need the reassurance of a running temperature check. Allow 30 minutes for the heat to penetrate medium to thick slices of fillet but remember, with this method you can’t ‘overcook’ by leaving longer.

7. On the left is the sous-vide fillet after around three quarters of an hour. The piece on the right is at room temperature. Dry the meat carefully with kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt.

8. I put my pan under the grill for half an hour to get it marginally hotter than the surface of the sun. Drop on the seasoned meat and ‘colour’ both sides. I like to baste with a little melted butter at this point too.

9. Serve immediately. Remember there’s no need to ‘rest’ the meat with sous-vide, though it won’t do it any harm. The right hand steak is the best attempt I could make at cooking an identical piece in the traditional manner.

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