Is there a way to make those cheap thin sirloin steaks tender? I think they’re one half to 3 quarter inch thick. Somewhere under an inch. And they’re tough to get tender. Pun intended. I have not used a sous vide cooker yet. My first one is coming today. But I have the steaks. Had something different in mind for them.
Cook them sous vide for 3-4 hours, but because they are very thin you will need to be exceptionally careful when searing.
Thanks. I’ll start there. To expand on my question, would using the Jaccard on them before cooking provide any advantage?
Yes, but then you should process them to pasteurisation them due to increased risk. Jaccarding increases surface area and, more importantly, pushes any pathogens that may reside on the surface into newly cut crevices in the meat. Searing an unjaccarded steak will kill any surface pathogens that have not deactivated during the sous vide process. With the jaccarded steak there is surface area that will not contact the searing surface. It is less of a problem if you’re doing the jaccarding them yourself and processing immediately, but there is still some small increased risk against unjaccarded meat.
The risk is probably small enough to only come into consideration when you’re feeding someone with a compromised immune system but it is still best to know the risk exists.
OK, here’s how it went. I Jaccarded them and put them in for 3 hours at 131 deg. Then I heated a cast iron pan very hot with Avocado oil, thru in some butter and seared for 20 seconds per side. By the time I had 2 done I couldn’t see the pan anymore. Too much smoke! I had 3 more to do so I cleared out the kitchen, middle of winter with all the windows and doors open and fan going. After cleaning the pan and starting over I only used the Avocado oil and a little less heat. They all came out very well in spite of myself. Those steaks turned out to only be about 3/8 of an inch thick, but they still had a tinge of pink in them and they were very tender. For my very first attempt I still consider it a success. Can’t wait to try a chicken breast.
To assist your searing process without getting the kitchen full of smoke consider heating your pan in a clean, dry state and only add a tiny amount of oil as you put the steaks in. I would usually consider brushing the steaks lightly with some oil rather than adding it to the pan, but the jaccarding provides pockets to hold excess oil.
The Maillard reaction itself happens at much lower temperatures than most people think. The chain reaction starts around 140-165C/280-330F. I went through the high temperature oils trying walnut, peanut, avacado and rice bran oil before stepping back and turning the heat down a little. I now use a small dribble of ghee to lubricate the pan a little and start the Maillard chain reaction.
Searing is a technique that, like any other, you will develop and improve as you progress.
Everyone, Ember makes an important point here.
Many cooks confuse pan searing to develop flavour and colour employing Maillard reactions with charring which dessicates the meat’s surface and adds bitterness by burning the meat’s natural sugars.
If you don’t mind adding flavours in your marinade you can use natural tenderisers like kiwi fruit, paw paw or pineapple. They are high in protease enzymes that break down the amino acids in the proteins. The steaks would need to be left in the marinade in the fridge for a few hours prior to sous vide otherwise the heat will denature the enzymes before they can tenderise.
I agree, BUT don’t know about Kiwi - IF you use Pineapple juice or whole blended pineapple, only marinate of 30 minutes or your steaks will be like eating a raw hamburger texture (mushy). On a 3/4 in steak after marinating, Dry, DRY and torch, or after drying, spread a little mayonnaise film on those thin steaks and torch them to medium rare. Steaks so thin are a problem. The juice is for tenderizing, and torching them is cooking them. Steaks so thin are hard to torch with out over cooking them. You don’t need to send them in to the spa.