All Newbies have the same challenge, to become a competent SV cook you need to consciously break with conventional cooking knowledge and experience. Your old way of thinking won’t fit with your new technique.
First step: practice precision thinking when using your precision cooker. Pink is not a precise SV stage of doneness. What internal temperature was attained in your filet mignon? It will be your temperature set point for that menu item. Don’t know, - then start thinking now about temperature before every SV cook.
Second step: thickness effects time.
SV steaks 1/2-inch thick are a challenge to precisely cook and 3/4-inch thick aren’t much easier because of the additional heat in browning them. Would you consider cooking a 1 1/2-inch thick steak and slicing it for service? You will have a more precise result.
> So what do you do when you have someone who wants a med-rare, and someone who wants a med-well? Do I need two precision cookers, cooking at different temps?
One cooker is enough for most folks. I’ve already told you what i will do and won’t do. However, since you ask you likely already know that the temperature for Medium-Well doneness is 150ᴼF.
Step one, overcook that steak at 150ᴼF according to its thickness. Then reduce water temperature to 130ᴼF for Medium-Rare and cook according to thickness. You can leave the badly cooked steak in the water. It can’t get cooked any more at the lower temperature. It is done precisely to Medium-Well. Always start with the higher cooking temperatures and go progressively lower in temperature and doneness.
Or, - you might just want to cook the Medium-Well steak conventionally in a pan when the Medium-Rare steak nears the end of its cooking time.
Regular Community members can stop reading here as you have read the following far to often for it to be a worthwhile use of your time.
To assist Newbies in anchoring their growing competence in SV cooking i recommend maintaining a SV cooking journal. That’s a detailed record of every SV cooking experience so you can replicate your successes and know what not to do again.
Record by date the following details:
- name of the menu item or cut of meat,
- frozen or fresh
- cooking temperature
- length of cooking time
- degree of satisfaction. Did the outcome meet your epectations? Be critical and record suggestions for improvement.
Using this method will enable you to develop a personal set of proven recipes that will precisely meet your expectations.
Do the work, and stay well.