1st Cook: The (So) Basics of Time and Temps

Okay folks -

There’s A LOT of information about time + temperatures for sous vide and things can get a little confusing.

Let’s clear up the basics. Alright, let’s do this!


###General Rule Of Thumb

TIME: Determines texture.

TEMPERATURE: Determines desired doneness.


TIME

  • The thicker the meat, the longer you should cook it.

  • Cook time needs to be long enough for proteins to reach their target temperatures.


TEMPERATURE

  • Lower temperatures --> more rare.

  • Higher temperatures --> more “done.”


EXAMPLES:

1" Rare Steak: 120F (49C) | 1 - 2.5 hours

1" Medium Steak: 140F (60C) | 1 - 4 hours

1" Well Steak: 160F (71C) | 1 - 3 hours


From The Community:

Cooking Time for Large Portions

Newbie: Questions On Thickness and Frozen State…

Cooking Meat and Veggies At The Same Time?

From Everywhere Else:

Sous Vide Time and Temperature Guide

How to Select the Right Temperature (Steak)

Strip, Ribeye, Porterhouse/T-Bone, and Butcher’s Cuts Temps and Time

Our Recipes Page


Things To Remember :

TIP #1: Careful with searing time! If you sear for too long, this can cause internal temps in your meat to rise and cook more. Try keeping your searing time for under a minute on each side.

TIP #2: Weight does not determine the time of the cook, thickness does.

TIP #3: If you stack meats on top of each other, this will affect your cook time. Try to lay meats side-by-side, instead.

FINAL TIP: Experiment! Find what works for you. Sous vide is very forgiving, and everyone will have their different idea of what’s “perfect.” Experiment to find out what “perfect” looks for you!


###If you have any tips for our new #anovafoodnerds about time + temp, add on to the thread! :nerd:

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You lost me at the ridiculous, unnecessary and completely pointless gif of the toddler.

Admit it, you loved the GIF. You’re just ashamed to say so. @acs

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Am I that transparent?

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Hell yeah you are! :laughing: It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone - beyond the four walls of the community. @acs

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Thanks for the info!

We cooked chicken at 148.3F for 1.5hrs. Are we going to die? :smiley:

Are you still alive?! @CaptKrunch

Well this post is so basic…

I guess you have seen a need to fill some info gap though… scary, but fair enough… the Gif is horrible and unnecessary.

What is much more on my mind are the massive disparities in time and temp. in the recipes on this site and also between the app. and Douglas Baldwin’s scientific work.

I can understand that all posts can’t be moderated (and the times and temps get really wild in some of them), but the fact that the app. differs so much from Baldwins work does need explaining.

My experience is that Baldwins temperatures and timings give better results.

Though I do like the curves for the demise of bacteria on the app.

Please address this disparity.

Thanks

Supposed to be basic. Quick and easy info for someone on their very first cook (Hence “First Cook Essentials”). You’re totally welcome to write an essay and throw it into the community if you want. :wink:

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Baldwin’s times at temperature charts are for pasteurisation and have nothing at all to do with the actual cooking or finished texture preferences.

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Somebody’s answer elsewhere to confusion on cooking temps and times included the quality of the meat (beef) being sous vide cooked. When I first saw the cook-time range of 1 - 3 hours in my sous vide gadget’s brochure I immediately was confused. But, I think what I needed to understand is that a good tender steak such as ribeye or filet needs the same temp for rare, but less time than say a sirloin steak. Have I got this right? Also, if I cooked at a temp lower than suggested, say 115 deg F instead of 129 as per my brochure, do I just cook it longer and is that helpful in cooking lower quality cuts? Thanks!

Holly, i think you’ve almost got it now.

The cooking temperature always determines the degree of doneness and that never varies whether you are cooking beef tenderloin or something as tough as your flip-flops. Your understanding is correct, but it may be easier to comprehend if you turn your example upside down as in:
Tender meat takes less time than tough meat.

However there is a limit, and that is a time and temperature combination that prevents bacteriological growth which may be detrimental to your wellbeing. Too long a time at too low a temperature and there could be serious tummy trouble at Holly’s. Most serious cooks use 4 hours as the absolute limit of time the internal temperature of meat stays between 40F and 131F.

Now then, just what ever persuaded you to consider cooking your sirloin steak at 115F?
What outcome do you expect?
Do you normally like your steaks barely warmed to what is called Blue?
No matter how many days you cook the steak at 115F it will always be Blue. Tenderness in meat begins about 122F and increases to 150F. After that meat tends to toughen at higher temperatures.

Please just know that at some point the active spoilage pathogens in the steak will take over and the result will be very unpleasant which is why cooking as opposed to warming was invented.

Please use the recommended 129F cooking temperature.
You may enjoy it.

Hi. I am going to try and use my Anova for the first time. I need help. The temp and times are too confusing for me. I have four one inch silicon steaks. How long should I cook them for.

I meant sirloin

Donna, as far as i can tell there are no mind reader members of this Community. To receive detailed assistance you should share a few details concerning your expected outcome from cooking those steaks. If you don’t care how well they are cooked you’ve come to the wrong Community.

I know you’re anxious to get started so i’ll do my best to guide you through this first cook.

One-inch steaks, thawed - not frozen, vacuum packaged singly, or in pairs, but not stacked, will be cooked in about 75 minutes starting from the time your Anova gets the water up to the set point. Cooking your steaks longer will gradually make them more tender, but don’t go longer than 4 hours.

To what degree of doneness do you want to enjoy those steaks?
Rare? Then set the temperature to 125F or 50C.
Medium-Rare? Then set the temperature to 130F or 55C.
Medium? Then set the temperature to 140F or 60C.
Badly? Then set the temperature as high as you want but expect substantial losses in moisture from those steaks and cooking above 150F toughens meat.

You didn’t ask about searing them, but i am going to tell you anyway.
After cooking remove the steaks from the water bath, decant or unpackaged them. collect the meat juices if you want to make a little pan sauce using them. Heat the heaviest skillet you own over medium-high heat. Pat the steaks very dry with paper towels to remove all the beads of surface moisture.

Now season the steaks as you always do maybe adding a little more than usual, why not?

Since poached steaks which are what you have at this point are just plain weird you are going to quickly brown them in the skillet that’s getting good and hot. Browning or searing adds considerable flavour to your steaks but takes a little practice to get just right. It’s better to under do than over unless you are aiming for Badly done.

Collect a few drops of water in your cupped fingers and flick a few drops on the skillet. When the drops do a little dance around the skillet instead of just boiling away in one spot you’ve got the right temperature and are ready to sear your steaks. If you are control oriented that surface is over 400F.

I don’t mean to get too personal, but if you are right-handed do the following. If you’re a lefty, do the opposite. Stack two of your steaks with their fat caps on the right. Pick up the pair of steaks with your kitchen tongs and thumb down. With a quarter turn clockwise of your wrist rub the fat caps on the surface of the pan to lay down a film of melted fat. Smells good already doesn’t it? That will take up to a minute. No more now.

Next place all the steaks flat in the skillet. If it’s too small do two batches with a brief pause in between to get the heat back up.

The steaks should make a healthy sizzle sound as they hit the pan. If they don’t, crank the heat to high, but keep going.

This is the tricky part. You want the just the surface of the steaks to brown, They are already cooked. If you have a seconds timer, set and use it for 45-seconds. Americans will say The Pledge of Allegiance. When done, flip the steaks and brown the other side for the same time. A minute on each side is going to be too long.

Serve on heated plates.
And enjoy.

One last item for future consideration. One-inch thick steaks are very difficult to cook precisely while with 1 1/2-inch or 2-inch steaks you can achieve much better results. To serve the thicker steaks, slice across them on a bias.

Haha… I was going to say you’d need a really long cook to stop that one from being rubbery.

Ok. We need to know how you like your steak. This will select the temperature for your cook. Commonly accepted temperatures include 130°F/54°C for medium rare, 140°F/60°C for medium, etc.

The next part of your question is time. With something like a steak which is a naturally tender piece of meat, you don’t need to do much more than bring it up to full temperature all the way through (temperature equilibrium). The time required to do this will depend upon the thickness. An inch thick steak takes about an hour to reach equilibrium. Two inches thick will take a bit over 2 hours.

But, time is fairly flexible with sous vide processing. You will notice very little difference between your 1 inch thick sirloin cooked in the bath for an hour or left to swim for 4 hours.

In conclusion, ‘at what time and temperature should you cook your sirloin steak’ the response is 1 to 4 hours at the temperature that corresponds to your desired doneness.

Note: When packing your steaks for cooking make sure you do not overlap them in the bags.