First timer sous vide steak- What went wrong?

Hey everyone,

First timer here and need some advise. I tried to sous vide my first steak and didn’t come up right :disappointed:

I had two sirloin steak about 200g each and 1 inch thick. Simple seasoning with salt and pepper and a little dry rosemary. I followed the app’s guide - setting the temperature to 53.9Celcius (129F) for medium-rare. But because they were small steak, I set the time to 45minutes instead of 1 hour as suggested by App. I seared them with my cast-iron skillet.

The steaks turned out overcooked…some parts were even well-done. Was the setting wrong? Or could I have over-seared them. The guide said about 30-45 seconds each side but I think I did it for a minute or more.
Any advice would be great! Thanks.


Because of the thin steak (an inch is considered quite thin for sous vide) it is most likely that your sear is at issue. With thin steaks the searing technique must be perfect. Hot and quick is vital.

When I am cooking thinner steaks I lower my cooking temperature a few degrees. This gives me a little more room on the timing of the sear. I don’t use sous vide very much for the thinner ones as the timing of the sear becomes very critical. I use a fairly hot grill most of the time.

1 Like

JC, the evidence you present indicate that your steaks were twice cooked.

Those one-inch thick steaks are difficult to cook to medium-rare if you are going to sear them without using a count-down timer and a digital instant read thermometer. Those two or more additional minutes of high heat probably caused the over cooking.

With the high price of meat it’s well worth the small investment in having the necessary cooking tools to do the job right. You need to continue the precise control your Anova provides at the last step of the process.

Next time buy one 2-inch thick 400g steak and share it. You will be amazed by your results.


Thanks for the advice. Will try again with a thicker steak and timing the searing process.

And make sure the steaks are well dried after removing them from their sous vide packaging. Last time I did striploins I didn’t dry them as thoroughly as I usually do, and I definitely noticed the difference as the extra surface water caused them to overcook on the outside although the middle was still medium-rare.

JC, - and put an instant-read digital thermometer up at the top of your Wish List.

If you want to enjoy meat consistently cooked exactly the way you want there’s no better kitchen tool than your thermometer.
No poking.
No slashing.
You just need to know the precise temperature when you end the searing process. Aim a few degrees lower than most doneness tables indicate and that will allow for a little heat carry over after searing. You will soon learn that exact point.
And then serve right away on heated plates.

1 Like

Dear jc.icegal,

I do a lot of steaks (mostly ribeye) that are one inch thick… The thickness I love, because when presented, it is easy to eat, and nice looking.

I do not think the process you had was wrong. Temperature is right. In fact, I SV it always for 1hour. Afterwhich I remove from waterbath, wipe dry, discard food-safebags and seperate the liquid from the medium rare meat.

For the liquid, I will use it for sauce by first heating up sauce pan on low heat, meat butter, add in diced onion and garlic, turn up fire to medium heat and stir. Upon fragrant garlic and onion, I will add the liquid in. Adding salt and pepper for taste.

For the meat, I will sear it only 30 seconds each side (tried one minute, it went to a little under well done). However, I will be patient and heat pan to have it really hot. To the point where I feel the heat with my palm 2-3 inches away from surface of pan. Then would I sear it to achieve the brown I want. I always have my iphone timing my sear, alarming me at 30 seconds interval.

Don’t be discouraged, it takes a little practise to get it good. Hope to hear great news from 'ya soon!!

Sorry typo…
“For the liquid, I will use it for sauce by first heating up sauce pan on low heat, MELT butter, add in diced onion and garlic, turn up fire to medium heat and stir.”…

Hi, you can also try searing thin steaks before cooking. Brush lightly the steaks with olive oil (or any other oil that you fancy), very hot pas, quick sear 30-40 seconds max, then sous-vide 45 minutes, make sure that they don’t overlap in the bag to ensure even cooking…

Oh. Phooey. I was kind of looking forward to the idea of a recipe for meat butter. :slight_smile:

1 Like

You could use a gas blowtorch to sear after SousVide as the heat will not penetrate as deep as searing in a pan. Mappgas is my favorite as it has a hotter flame.