Cooked my First Steak - It was overcooked

I got my Anova last weekend. Tried it first time last night - a little less than a pound ribeye steak @ 129F for 1 hour 15 minutes for medium rare. It came out overcooked and dry.

The weight isn’t that important, it’s more about the thickness of the meat. That being said, the time sounds reasonable for an average cut ribeye (about 3/4"-1" thick)

How did you sear it and for how long? Did you dry the meat off before searing (to prevent it from steaming itself and cooking further)?

Other possibilities are that you just had a less than stellar cut of meat or the temperature sensor is off.

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More information like how long you seared your steak + thickness can help us a little more with trying to figuring out why it came out overcooked and dry!

When I buy steaks it is always closer to about an inch thick and some good marbling in it, mostly ribeye or occasional NY strip. This time it was my wife who bought the steak - it was about half an inch thick and almost zero marbling. I finished it on smoking cast iron skillet with a little canola, butter and garlic, flipping it a few times every 45 seconds. Before searing, I dried the steak with paper towel (which I always do when I pan fry steak). So it might have been because of the thickness and quality of the meat.

What I noticed when I took the meat out of the Ziploc bag after the water bath was it looked more brown than the color of the one in the App instructions. Should the outside of the meat look cooked or a bit raw after 1 hour @129F?

I will try a thicker cut and better quality meat and will post the results here.

CheeP

Yeah, searing a 1/2" steak without continuing to cook it is hard to do. You could ice bath the steak, then sear, but it’s just so thin it’s probably still going to cook a bit more.

Now that you have the SV cooker, forget 1" steaks, go for 2" - 2-1/2" thick. cook time at 129F will be around 2.5 hours, although I like to go 45min to an hour at 103F, then another 45 min to hour at 120F, then finally 2 hours at 129F. The lower temp steps give certain enzymes a chance to do their stuff and bring out flavors and make it bit more tender.

Toss the bag in an ice bag for a minute or so before opening it, then pull the steak, dry it and sear it. The sear will heat it up with hardly any additional cooking of the meat.

Did I also read that right > flipping a few times every 45 seconds

Definitely overcooked in the sear. The quicker and hotter the sear the less impact the extra cooking will have on your already perfectly cooked steak. Your method sounds good, but the time is a little heavy handed. You might do better with a higher temp oil too. Peanut and avocado have higher smoke points than canola or rapeseed. I use rice bran oil, but I’m told it is hard to get in some places.

I think I read the same. The issue may have been in the sear. 45 seconds, once, on each side should be good enough.

CheeP, don’t let your first cook disappoint you. It was a good learning opportunity for both of you. As pointed out here searing means very short and very hot. You had a “quick-fry” steak that was inappropriate for sous vide cooking. Did you happen to check the steak’s internal temperature as you seared it? Temperature control is your best guide for cooking success.

At 129F the meat’s exterior will appear cooked while the interior will still be red, but certainly not raw looking.

One of the most significant advantages of sous vide cooking is that it allows you to use less expensive yet flavourful cuts of meat and have superior outcomes.

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@chatnoir is 100% correct - with any form of cooking you’re new with, it takes time and experimenting. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I am getting there.

CheeP, consider buying yourselves a spiral bound notebook at a Back-to-School-Sale.

In it record the date of each of your SV cooks including: item cooked and size or number plus time and temperature used. In my sous vide journal i also record anything out of the ordinary. Be sure to record your results each time so you can make informed adjustments to your techniques over time. Use detailed comments on results and add your recommended adjustments. Over time you will have created a valuable personalized cooking tool.

If you don’t have one, please get yourselves a digital instant-read thermometer. It will save you many times its price every year. You don’t need to have an expensive professional model. If you enjoy your meat cooked medium rare you want to aim at a final internal temperature of about 134F to 136F. I usually set my SV cooking temperature about 10F below the temperature as served to allow for the rise in temperature from searing and resting before service.

Happy cooking.

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Thank you all for the tips. I will be cooking my 2nd SV steak this week and will let you know the results. In the meantime, I have another non-positive SV result to report:

Twice I SV cooked 4 eggs @160F for 45 minutes (based on the guideline in the app) for the desired hard-boiled egg result… All of the eggs, on both times, had perfect firm and creamy yolk but the whites were all runny (?). I would think that cooking hard-boiled eggs would be pretty much straightforward. What could have here?

CheeP

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Eggs can be tricky.

Were your eggs at room temperature to start? Were they fresh? Eggs bring their own packaging to the cook so it’s easy to tell. If the eggs sink in your water they are fresh. As they age their air pocket grows and they float. The outer whites also become more watery as they age.

For “hard boiled” SV eggs, as for egg salad, next time try an hour or a little longer at 165F. That worked for me, although i prefer to cook mine on the stove top.

The eggs were fresh and did sink to bottom of the pot during SV. It came out of the fridge and sat in the counter for about 15 minutes before SV so they were probably not room temperature yet.

I don’t like boiling eggs as the yolk’s color becomes pale yellow, texture is dry and the outside turns to green. I like the yolk to be firm but creamy. color almost yellow-orange and the white not runny… You can only get this result if you simmer and not boil the egg, but it is often hit and miss for me. I was hoping I would get a consistent result if U SV the eggs. I will try 165F/1 hour.

Well, last night was my second try to SV a steak. It was a rib-eye steak that was a little over a pound, 1-inch thick and nice marbling. SV it @ 129F for about 1.5 hours, removed the bag from the hot pot and dropped it to an ice-bath for about 45 seconds, pat-dryed well with paper towel and on to a smoking hot cast iron skillet with a little vegetable oil, flipping each side every 15 seconds and repeated about 3 times. I dropped about 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet after flipping the first time. The steak came out nicely seared, with the edges a bit crusty and a perfect even medium rare inside. It was one of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten.

Thank you all for the tips.

CheeP
Chee

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Hi Chee, I don’t like boiling eggs either because the result can be just as you describe, only you omitted the sulphurous odour.

Try this never-fail technique; place the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Cover the eggs with an inch of water, bring to a rolling boil, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare an ice bath.

After the 10 minutes pour off the water. Give the pan a few good hard shakes to crack the shells and add the eggs to the ice bath. You should be able to do that in less than a minute. You can peel the eggs after 5 minutes. If you like creamy yolks 8 minutes will do you. Shaking the pan to crack the eggs makes them easy to peel after the soak.

Congratulations! Glad to know that big rib-eye was a delicious success. I don’t find any benefit from a pre-sear ice bath, so i skip it. Before searing I paint my steaks with warm clarified butter to get that premium steak-house flavour. Don’t tell anyone the secret. It has to be clarified butter, regular melted butter will burn. Your searing technique is correct, the steak is already cooked so you turn it frequently.

I haven’t gotten my Anova nano yet. I use the other companie’s unit (not the stick immersion type). I NEVER have issues with 1/2" steaks. If you cook at a medium-rare temp and You cook for an hour and cut into the steak and it’s brown, You may have a problem with the unit. Use a good quality thermometer to check the temperature.

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Hello everybody!!
Along with this topic, I have some burning questions.

Was really excited using my new SV machine last week. This was what i did:
Seasoned lightly with salt 5 pieces of grain fed ribeye, each 1 inch thick, vacuum packed;
SV at 138F for 5 hours.
Removed from SV, pan seared (less than 45seconds each side).

Result: Quite a bit of juice in bags when removed.
Doneness is more medium well;
Felt that steaks are not as tender…

Burnign Qs:

  1. Juice left in bags mean procedure wrong? (Because the juices are out and meat drys up?)
  2. the 5 hours is too long and contributed to the fact that meat is not as tender?
  3. What are your recommendations for a juicier steak?

Thanks a million!!!

Jerry

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Cooking will always produce juice from the meat. The longer or the hotter the more juice there will be. This doesn’t necessarily mean your meat will be less juicy.

If you’re after medium rare then I would be looking at 130 - 135F. Recommendation tends to be between 1 and 4 hours. Ribeye should be a fairly tender cut, but each beast is a little different. The medium-well-ness of your steak probably contributed to the perceived lack of tenderness.

For an inch thick steak, you’d probably do well to shock chill it in a water/ice bath before you sear it. It will just give you a slight buffer zone for searing.

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Hey @jerryleeks…@Ember is correct - it’s normal to find juices in the bag (they are great for sauces and gravies by the way). How thick were your ribeye steaks? Up to 4 hours is the the recommended maximum time for them. I usually go for 1-2 hours for ribeyes. 138F will get you more of a medium result.

I’ve read from others that salt tends to draw out more moisture from meats, however, I have never faced any negative outcomes from salting prior to dropping them in the bath.

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Hi Ember!!

Wow… thank you!! I will try at 135F for 2 hours the next round! Really like the medium, but not rare.

For shocking the meat, do i drop the whole bag into ice water?

My steaks were 1 inch thick. Will remember not to go beyond 4 hours!! : )

Thank you!!