Overcooking every time...

Hello everyone.
I was given a anova for Christmas which I was thrilled about having watch many videos online.
However each time Iv used it the steak comes out overcooked with just a hint of pink in the very centre.
Iv cooked a variety of different thickness of steaks and been sure not to sear for long at all. Normally I go for 129 for 1 hour. I even went down to 127 with the same results.
The only area I’m not confident in is the bag as I don’t own a vacuum sealer so perhaps there’s to much air inside and that’s why it’s overcooking?
Would aprecaite any help.

1 Like

Elliot, from your description it seems you are getting medium doneness at the high end of rare cooking temperatures. Unless you are a Board-certified Alchemist you shouldn’t be able to do that.

There is likely one or more errors in your technique. When giving this Community a problem solving challenge please provide ample details.

The symptoms you describe indicate significantly higher water temperatures than your set point.
Have you verified the set cooking water temperature with a thermometer?

Are you cooking the steaks from the raw state?
No pre-sear.

Do the bags float during cooking?

You don’t describe your packaging technique, but you appear to understand that successful SV cooking takes place in a nearly air-free package.
You should use the air displacement method of packaging and sealing until you get a vacuum sealer.
However, air in the bags would retard cooking, further deepening the mystery.

In previous similar over cooking challenges long searing times have been diagnosed as a cause. Exactly how long is, . . . not-to-sear-for-long-at-all.
If you become distracted during searing the internal temperature of a 1" steak can quickly get away from you.

More detailed observations by you will help.

As @chatnoir noted, it would be helpful to provide more information about your cook. It’s difficult to determine what may have gone wrong here.

Thank you for the responses.
To give a bit more info, the steaks are cooked from raw. I do try and push as much air out as possible
Before putting the steak in the water. Searing time is just over a minute each side. And each time Iv pulled a steak out the bag I can tell it’s overdone.
Perhaps I do need to check the temp of the water, which would be very disappointing is the device isn’t working correctly!

There’s the most likely problem. If you’re cooking a 1 inch steak without sous vide first, a good minute each side over high enough heat is going to give you a rare steak.

Everyone has their favourite searing method, but here are some basics.

Put your dry pan over a high heat and leave it sit there while you’re drying off your sous vide meat. It might take 5 or 10 minutes to get it hot enough. It’s essential that your meat surface is dry. Blot it well with paper towel and season it well.

When your pan its hot, hot, hot, use a dry wad of paper towel (or a silicon brush) to wipe some high smoke point oil* over the surface of your pan. If your steak has a fat layer on the edge start with this. Hold the steak on its edge in the pan and let it sizzle. You might need to roll it back and forth along the fat edge. 30 to 40 seconds should do it.

Now lay your steak in the pan and season the second side of it. Wait no longer than 30 seconds and flip the steak. Have a look at it and decide if this is seared enough. If you want longer, flip it again when side 2 has had it’s 30 seconds. This time you don’t want to wait longer than 10 seconds. Keep flipping until you get the lovely brown sear you desire.

If you are using thin (1" or less) a good searing technique is vital. Thicker steaks are much more forgiving.

*High smoke point oils: The higher the smoke point of your oil the better. Consider using something like Avocado oil or Rice bran oil. There is a table of fats and their smoke point on the Anova blog (but I couldn’t find it in a hurry.)

There’s more about searing in this post by Alyssa:

1 Like

Appreciate the responses. I feel the only problems is either the bag having to much air inside or the anova machine is off and making the water far to hot.
I even tried a top side roast which was relatively thick and it came out exactly the same. I’m confident that my searing technique is fine.
Next step I guess is to test the temp of the water

Personally I would get an accurate temperature gauge and verify the temperature of the water bath.

If temperature is not the problem then I would try putting the steak (fresh out of the water bath) into your fridge to cool it off before searing it.

Steaks will always (in my limited experience) be sickly gray overcooked looking out of the bag while the inside is the right rawness according to the temperature you set.

I had the same problem with thinner steaks and chilling it before searing did the trick for me.

Also, I can’t see how air bubble in the bag will cause it to over cook since only (as far as I know) only higher than desired temperature will over cook and air bubble should only cause uneven cooking if the cooking time is not long enough.

That’s my novice theory so please feel free to shoot that down if I’m wrong :slight_smile:

Chilling it in an ice bath would be quicker than the fridge, but yes, that’s the next step once the APC has been checked and properly calibrated.