Hi there! I am planning camping were I am the designated chef & want to show off my new Anova with cooking some delicious boneless ribeye steaks for 8 people. I would like to season (salt/pepper) & vacuum seal the night before we leave, i’v heard mixed answers when it comes to seasoning & not cooking right away. Is this okay? Will this mess or alter the taste and consistency of the steak? packing space will be sort of limited & prefer to have to bring the vacuum sealer or use ziploc bags. Thanks everyone
You’re fine to season in advance. It’s really a matter of preference.
Matt, somehow the simplicity and precision of SV cooking with your Anova rig while camping with limited packing space seems incongruous. Too many things can go wrong at a camp site, leave Anova et al at home if you can.
I’d SV cook the steaks to the desired degrees of doneness at home with or without seasoning. If i were cooking for 8 i’d leave them unseasoned to start. Carefully label each steak by doneness and chill or freeze depending on how far into the future you plan to serve them. Frozen travels best and helps keep beer cold.
If you’re going to grill the steaks over an open fire pit let the fire get down to a wide bed of glowing coals. Bring extra long tongs and a grate to make things easy. If you lean towards the more rustic side of camping impale the gently warmed and dried steaks cap-side towards the hand on peeled and soaked forked sticks, amply season or not, and let each hungry guest sear her own.
Should anyone drop a steak onto the coals that’s alright, it’s just a little extra browning. That’s why you brought the long tongs and paper towels for wiping off ashes.
Make it a great experience.
Thanks @chatnoir. Great idea! I am new to the SV game & didn’t even think of that
My pleasure Matt. As you become more familiar with your Anova you will grow to appreciate how it can simplify many cooking challenges using the advanced cooking technique i suggested.
For best keeping always thoroughly chill your just cooked meat or poultry in a 50% ice water bath. Similar to heat energy, plan on cold penetration taking an hour per inch of thickness in an ice bath.
Chat Noir, can you really get your rib eye “rare” with that method? If yes how? I could never do that using Anova
Guy, no, not if your Rare is anything like mine, 125F / 50C.
Well i could, but i wouldn’t considering logistics and safety.
There’s also some question in my mind as to what’s camping? There’s everything from roughing it in the wilderness to going to one of the great Adirondack camps with their Otis escalators to take you from the boathouse up to the main camp building.
If i was preparing steaks for a group on a camping trip i would SV cook to Pasteurize for safety. Food poisoning can be a substantial bummer while camping.
Matt didn’t reveal any preference as to degree of doneness so by default i’d plan on providing the ultimate in selection, - all Medium-Rare, take it or leave it.
It’s probably way past your camping trip but…
First, you can (and should) definitely season steaks (or any beef) before sealing and sous vide-ing. This is true even if you plan to freeze it before the sous vide. It does no harm and only tends to flavor the meat more thoroughly. Season as you would if you were cooking it on the grill - but you can even add fresh herbs - rosemary is great - and it will all be wonderful.
Second, don’t worry. The worst part of my early sous vide experience was the anxiety I felt. Once you determine proper temperatures the device and process takes care of itself. There is SO much room for error - regarding time in the bath - that I have a suspicion this cooking method was devised to help us cooks more fully enjoy the cocktail hour.
Enjoy your trip and your steaks!