Saturday, September 1, 2012

Our DIY Homemade Sous Vide Ribeye Steak!

Today I will be discussing about Our homemade-DIY "Sous Vide" setup ...

Our own setup and final product side-by-side; which I be 'explaining' more later ...
(via my very limited understanding)
I have come to know of a cooking method, 'Sous Vide' for about half a year or more; from the internet of course. Then, it seems like a hassle but interesting way of preparing food. The theory of Sous vi-ing, is to slow cook the 'meat' in a vaccum bag, at a constant temperature of 'water bath' to your desired temperature; for example, a perfect medium rare steak at 54°C. And I come to understand that actually alot of restaurant actually uses this method (whether you know it or NOT) to 'prep' their beef/fish/lamb, and only browned them when they are about to serve. And when the beef reaches the desired temperature, it doesn't matter how many more hours you 'Sous Vide' the meat, it will remain at the 'set' temperature.
(Reference: An Introduction to Sous Vide Cooking by Michael Chu)

And now Sous Vide can be done at home but at a PRICE!

Our 'Not-so-perfect' Sous Vide Ribeye Steak
I researched around and the most popular and showcased by some 'famous' food blogger is the 'Sous Vide Supreme' selling its basic set at about USD329.00, and up to about USD419.00 (including Vaccum sealer).

Yikes too expensive for a family of TWO!
How many steaks do we have to eat to 'break-even' the USD400.00+!? 
The next better alternatives would be a Temperature controller device that connects itself to a "On/Off Cooker" (rice or slow). I have so far see the brand; Auberin and Sous Vive Magic selling them. But the set sold cheapest will also cost us about USD160.00.

Cheaper by about HALF but then, is it worth it?

This electronic device doesn't takes up much space and doesn't need a secondary supporting device; Vaccum Sealer! But then again I might need to get a bigger Rice cooker or Slow Cooker that is big enough to submerge my steaks! So, next method please ...
Still in the market, there is this 'Nomiku' which only comes out in Decemeber 2012 selling at USD329.00, and there are also some other not so popular and more expensive brands available too ...

NEXT best alternative, is the Cheapest DIY method, and the easiest and most 'talk-about' would be the beer cooler method. But that method is really a hassle, when you have to keep reading the temperature, releasing and refilling the cooler with hot water to keep the temperature constant. Well, and I don't have a COOLER BOX! A cooler box would have set us back another USD20.00 plus, I have no other use for them and NO PLACE for me to keep them.
(Very comprehensive reference : Sous Vide Cooking at Home Setup Guide by Michael Chu

So after brainstorming, and discussing this 'topic' with Hubba, we came up with an idea. Why not experiment with our own 'SPT STEAMBOAT' Multi-Cooker which is sitting at one corner in our room. The Cooker has this temperature controller knob, and maybe we can try to control it to the desired temperature? But of course we would have to 'Supervise' the cooking ourselves for the full 45minutes - 1hour for the steak to be fully cooked? Ya we are cheapo and Hubba says I am a FULL TIME housewife, so I should have the TIME to do it this way ...

SPT Cooker (USD29.90), Ikea Pot (>USD10.00) and a Cuisinart Digital Temperature gauge (USD19.99).
And right after our 'brain-storming' session, we took out all the needed appliance and started trying to see whether we can keep the water in the Cooker at a constant temperature. And while waiting, we thought,"Might as well try it with a piece of REAL steak!".

And so we just RUSHED out to get ONE piece of Clearance Ribeye steak!

And this is OUR FINAL SETUP!
CLICK on to see what we did; STEP BY STEP!

I did not marinate the beef, I place the ribeye straight into the a ziplock bag and as advised slowly dipped the bag into the water before 'locking' the bag. It won't be 100% vaccum but for HOME COOKED, please make do!
After some experiment, we boiled the water till 56°C and then turn off the cooker, and the heat maintained at 55°C for sometime. When the temperature dropped to 54°C again, we switched on to '1' on the cooker and the water would be heated to 56°C and we shut off again. So we continue the procedure for the whole 1 hour.

A medium rare steak would be about 54°C but to play safe we set our thermometer gauge to 55°C and after one hour the beef temperature indeed comes to about 54°C.
Medium RARE
Pat dry the beef.
And I sear the beef in some butter on a HOT HOT pan!
I should have seared them for a longer period of time, but well; we learn from mistakes!
Set aside the beef and prep the sauce.
This is just simple and easy sauce; with garlic, onion, mushroom, white wine and BBQ sauce.
The middle of the steak is indeed rare.
But we realised that meat that are near the tendons or fats are not as cooked and that I should have seared them even longer to give a GRILLED smokey taste!
So Lesson Learnt :
1) Try to get beef steaks that are leaner and without much tendons and fats; this would ensure EVEN cooking in the SV(water bath).
2) Seared the meat till they are very CHARRED, really BROWN; almost BURN!
3) Maybe we should Sous vide the beef for longer period of time like 1.5 hours instead of the 45minutes that we do today.
4) Or we should maintained a higher temperature at of 56°C or 57°C.
I don't know whether this method is better than the cooler method but it saves us the trouble of dealing with boiling water, releasing water and refilling water when we have space constraint. Plus we do not have to get anything NEW and just made-do with what we have at home!

It is not perfect but for something FOC and home-made, I think we can make-do!
Will experiment more the next week and maybe we will get a better result?!

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