Making Ribeye steaks

I’m making Ribeye steaks 2" thick. I plan to target temp at 130. Why can’t I put the steaks in the bath before heating the water to target temp? I’ll be doing 8 ribeye and it’ll be so much easier to arrange them while the water is cool. I plan to cook them for 3 hrs.


You certainly can put them in the bath before bringing it up to temperature, but one of the benefits of sous vide is precision - being able to produce the same results time after time. If you’re inconsistent with the cooking time, the results will be slightly different. (in this case though, they’re pretty thick steaks, so that extra cooking time shouldn’t hurt).

What are you doing to keep them separate? (so you have water circulating around all of them)


I’m putting them in separate plastic bags using a food saver vacuum with a sprig of rosemary and a pad of lemon basil butter

It will be fine, but let the water get up to temperature before starting the clock.

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Thanks everyone for your help


You should probably do the steaks at 132˚, and probably should heat them for 3-1/2 hours. Once the water temperature has been reached, add the steaks to the water 1 every few minutes so that the water temperature doesn’t fall dramatically by adding 8 cold items to the bath all at once. Since the steaks never get above 132˚ anyway, you can take a half hour to load the bath … some will just get to the appointed temperature faster. It’s important that meat UNDER VACUUM does not stay at temperatures below 131˚ for any length of time because clostridium botulinum could grow and potentially produce deadly toxins. You’d then end up killing yourself and your guests. Only two grams of botulism toxin is enough to kill one billion people, so it doesn’t take much to take out a small crowd.

Really? I’ve been cooking my rib-eyes at 130 since I got the unit 2 years ago. You mean there was a risk?

Ignore that advice. I’d say that person likely has a bottle of antibacterial gel on their belt. :wink:

There’s a bunch of papers. We all talk about 130F being the tipping point for starting to kill pathogens, but there’s others that say that 127F is actually the tipping point.

In any case, the usual rule is not to cook anything longer than two hours below 130F, as you run the risk of giving pathogens the opportunity to multiply. The same rule applies for meat left in environments below this level (e.g. your kitchen counter) - two hours at room temperature, throw it out.

You want your bath not far off of that 130F mark when you start to put your meat in, to ensure food safety. You haven’t stated what the size of your bath is either. The meat is going to absorb a fair amount of the energy of the warm water when it’s submerged…so, ideally, for a big amount of meat, you want to have several times that volume in water, so the temperature doesn’t dip into the “danger zone” for very long.

Also, there’s thickness charts you can consult for cooking times - just use the search function above - we’ve pasted links in for them before. (not sure where that 3 1/2 hour suggestion came from).

Thank you my origanl question was 'm making Ribeye steaks 2" thick. I plan to target temp at 130. Why can’t I put the steaks in the bath before heating the water to target temp? I’ll be doing 8 ribeye and it’ll be so much easier to arrange them while the water is cool. I plan to cook them for 3 hrs.

Yur comments? Will this safely work?

Bottom line - you don’t want the meat in the “danger zone” for very long - the longer, the greater the risk (and 2 hours is pretty much an automatic, toss it).

Me, I’d be using sous vide racks to ensure that the meat had water on all sides (and some of them - like the LIPAVI racks, have handles on the sides, for lowering them into hot water after they’re filled).

You should test how long the water takes to get up to temperature with your bath prior to doing your cook. (then add some additional time as the cold meat will slow down the warm up). No-one can state how long your vessel will take to come to temperature as we don’t have enough information - you need to find that out for yourself.

IMHO 129˚F/54˚C for a minimum of 2 hours from room temp should make for a rare steak. The starting temp and length of time are important. Provided you reach and hold the minimum target temperature for a couple of hours you should be safe – at the lower end of the safe-scale you want to cook longer, not shorter. The length of cooking time makes up for the lower temperatures ability to destroy pathogens. Obviously you don’t want to cook at length BELOW safe temps!

We’re talking whole muscle here, where pathogens from butchering are likely on the outside of the meat – ground up meat presents greater danger and I would cook at higher temps and for longer times if I were to do so.

If you’re really worried about the source and safety of your meat then a) increase time and/or temp, b) spray your steaks down with vinegar before sealing them in bags, or c) pre-sear the steaks (which you can also post-sear again afterwards) – the pre-sear adds lots of flavour through the Maillard reaction.

I routinely poach from frozen, adding an hour for each 1/2" depth of penetration required (add and extra 2 hours for your 2" steak to reach the centre at a depth of 1").

Well folks God watches out for the stupid because I’ve cooked 3, 2" ribeyes that were at room temp in preheated water at 127 for 3 1/2 hours once and 5 hours the second time. (Now that I think of it though I had marinate them for 24 hrs in pineapple juice, soy sauce, garlic, cracked pepper and tobasco.)Then seared them on the grill.Perfect rare meat. Guess I have been lucky. I thought the beauty of this cooking was you could never overcook so it didn’t matter how long it was in the water.

Heh. You’re dancing on the edge. :slight_smile: There’s a lot of papers that say that 127 is the tipping point (most documentation states 130 to be on the safe side).

Pathogen growth will be marginal at that temperature…and it really depends on the type of bacteria present about whether it would thrive that hot or not. If you trust the source of your meat, you’re likely not encountering a significant risk. (but, I wouldn’t do that with any mass-produced meat).

There is some good info here on this thread from fischersd. In all I’ve read, botulinum is not the main culprit in undercooked meats whereas salmonella is and should be only on the surface (unlike ground beef where it is distributed throughout). I think the writer that seared his first then cooked them is in fairly safe territory. I do understand the importance of not pushing your luck when using today’s “sourced from who knows where” beef. When I was a kid growing up on a farm, we used to grind our own burger and I’d take a salt and pepper shaker along to the grinder. That’s as fresh and rare as you can get. Anyway, I prefer my meats medium-rare to medium and well seared outside with a torch. Sous vide is a wonderful application.

You don’t want to cook at below safe temps, but you’re quite happy to store you meat at room temperature? It would take more than 4 hours for an inch thick piece of steak to come from fridge temperature to an equalised ambient temperature throughout the product.

54C/129F is not a rare steak but medium rare.

Who stores their meat at room temperature ember? Your reply to my comment seems to suggest so. Try reading it again …

BTW What temp do you cook your RARE steaks to – and for how long?

You talk of your steak being at room temperature. Otherwise, why mention room temperature at all? If you’re looking to cook your steak from room temperature it needs to be out of the fridge for long enough to come to room temperature. That would require it being out of the safety of a refrigerated environment for longer than is recommended.

I tend to cook my steaks at 53C for 2 hours depending on thickness and cut. I have cooked them as low as 52-52.5C but I’ve discovered I no longer enjoy the texture of a blue steak as I used to do. I cook beef, lamb and pork ‘roasts’ (ie, large muscle masses intended for slicing and serving) at 54C for anything up to 3 days depending on the texture I desire and the muscles involved. But these are long cooks and have other considerations.

It is possible that our meat processing environment is safer here. I don’t know. I know our processing of poultry is greatly different to America (if that is where you are).

Ah, you know what they say about assumptions …

I never claimed to store meat at room temperatures. If you read my post you’d know I typically poach from frozen.

But, if I were to defrost, surprise, surprise, I defrost to room temperature in my hot water bath (set at 20°C) for only about 20 to 30 minutes at most!

Not an assumption. A misinterpretation from an unclear statement. But not important.

Most people will cook from fridge temperatures or, like you, direct from frozen.

Those who think they’re cooking meat from room temperature usually aren’t. Leaving it 5 or 10 mins on the bench isn’t going to have a whole lot of impact on its core temperature.

Proper racking technique, good tools to manipulate hot items (tongs, canning jar handlers, etc), and being able to quickly raise and lower the temp using your hot/cold tap water will save you from your food safety woes and burned fingers. Best of luck.

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