Sous Vide Filet Mignon in Advance - Salt or No Salt?

Hi all, I’m new here. Thank you for having me.

My husband and I are attending a dinner party this weekend. Each couple is responsible for a course + wine pairing. We want to show off our new Sous Vide and cook Filet Mignons, but obviously wouldn’t ask them to wait 2+ hrs for our course to sous vide.

I’ve read articles that explain the ease of using sous vide to prepare bulk food ahead of time.

My question is: When preparing the filets for sous vide, should we season with salt, pepper, butter, herbs, etc? Should we include everything EXCEPT the salt? Or, no seasoning at all?

Model: Anova Precision Cooker Pro

Sous vide steaks at ~9am
Flash cool and refrigerate
Sear on cast iron at ~7pm

Tips for cooling and safe refrigeration also appreciated

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Welcome to the community. That sounds so fun, and your plan sounds great. For the same day, salting the steaks before cooking is just fine! You can add everything, make it super easy on yourself, and cook them at 9am, then drop 'em, still in the bag, in a bowl of ice water to chill for 30 min. From there, they are totally cooked and safe to eat! You can either 1) sear to serve or 2) warm them at the original cook temp for 45-60 minutes prior to searing.

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Hey @anovaculinary - thank you for the quick response! Very helpful :smiley:

Follow up question: Would you recommend reheating the steaks in the water bath AND searing? Or one or the other? We will definitely be searing them - gotta get that char! - but would hate for the center to be cold.

Hello :slightly_smiling_face: I’m sure you can do some awesome fillet mignon in the SV…

But in my personal experience, I’ve really “graduated” to much cheaper cuts :slightly_smiling_face:
My favorite cuts before I started doing SV were Ribeye, and New York’s… But I quickly learned that with SV I could make nearly any meat tender, and juicy, and perfectly cooked.

Since then, my favorite cut is Petite Sirloins (Picanha) which I got before the whole Covid thing, on sale for $2.98 a lb. Skyrocket to $5.98 for a while, but I’ve been seeing it for $4.48 the last couple trips, and not even on sale. So hoping I’ll see a $2.98 sale again one day, and when I do I’ll be stocking up ! :+1:
Btw, they are usually 4 in. Pack, And SV all 4 at one time… Then just brown them in a skillet with butter, individually. I have steak about 3-5 mornings a week :slightly_smiling_face:

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If you’re party is small I would contact the attendees in advance to see if anyone is on a reduced salt diet. If someone is then I’d prepare a special bag just for them with no salt. Otherwise, spice away and enjoy.

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This really comes down to personal preference! If your goal is a great char I would likely sear from cold, and the center should be at least warm. If you want more of that perfectly even sous vide cook with a traditional sear we would recommend reheating in the water bath prior. You really can’t go wrong!

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Nani, on your follow up item:
Yes, reheat at original SV cooking temperature. Reheating progresses at an inch of thickness per hour. With tenderloin you definitely do not need to go longer.

Then when ready to serve in 15 to 20 minutes;

  • preheat pan,
  • decant steaks and paper towel pat dry,
  • re-season because a lot of flavour is left in the bag juices,
  • apply a smear of oil to steaks,
  • quickly sear and serve. The key to a good sear is getting that pan hot, that’s 400F/200C to 500F/250C. Cast iron takes longer than you think. And you don’t need a puddle of hot oil, that’s frying, not searing, and it splatters.

Chris offers a useful suggestion. You can enjoy filet mignon tenderness at 1/3 to 1/2 the cost when buying other cuts.

When hosting a dinner party i would serve a pan sauce with the filets to create a special experience, but that would be a change of topic.

Make it a great party!


Thank you everyone for your thorough responses! I’m feeling much more comfortable with the SV method.

Last questions (hopefully) about reheating in the water bath.

Do you heat the water to cook temp before submerging the steaks? Or should they be in the water as it heats up?

It says to cook these steaks at 130° for 2 hours. Does it also take 2hrs to reheat?

Thank you in advance! :slight_smile:

Hi Nani, have you noticed Anova frequently uses the word Precision with their fine products? That’s not just marketing but an essential component of the SV cooking technique.

Yes, for precise time and temperature control preheat to target temperature before adding small menu items. With roasts that are to be cooked for many hours it’s not as critical to cooking time. Thickness is critical to reheating time too. Wether cooking or reheating energy diffuses through meat at the rate of about 1-inch per hour at typical SV cooking temperatures for tender meat.

Only you know your filets’ thickness, thus only you can answer your reheat time question.

One more item, Filet Mignon is enjoyed for its tenderness, not so much for its flavour. Considering that most meat flavours are fat soluble, you might not want to add butter to the cooking bag diluting flavours.

This cook adds unsalted butter to the searing pan for the last minute of the sear, basting the steaks with the browning butter. The result is substantially increased flavour and aroma.

Want even more flavour and aroma? After removing the seared steaks to a heated plate, add split and slightly crushed garlic cloves with the allium or core removed to the remaining butter in the pan along with a thinly sliced shallot or 2. You might need to add a little more butter too.

  • Add some minced fresh woody herbs, thyme and rosemary for example.
  • Sauté for a minute then add a big splash of wine and quickly boil to reduce to a few tablespoons, about 30ml.
  • Add more butter and swish around in the pan to finish your sauce. I usually strain the sauce at this point, or not for a more rustic result.
  • Plate steaks and sides on heated plates, add garnish if using, and why not?
  • Top each steak with a spoonful of your sauce.
  • Got any Malden or finishing salt? This is the time to add a pinch to each steak along with a grind of black pepper.
  • Serve and enjoy the murmurs of appreciation.

Doing this you may be getting a lot of dinner party invitations in your future.

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Over the years our family take on sous vide meat is this:

cook as is in the bag, be more selective of the breed & the resulting cut.
We tend to look at Serious eats piece on salting burgers & the resulting mush that can occur as salt breaks down fibres.

Any extras can be introduced in the pan (3 people, up to 3 different finishes, 2 different degree’s of state of cook (or the foul “doneness” word)

Our meats which are pre-cooked are always brought back up to temperature in sous vide before hopping in a pan of butter for a sear finish otherwise they will still be cold-thru-luke warm in the centre from the fridges designed action.

(if we are doing noodles in an insulated bento container that is different, both cooked egg & meat are bunged straight from the fridge (we keep ours at 2c / 3c in with the noodle water / broth & seal & sweat themselves to dinnertime)

Don’t “bungle” a cook, use the app, practise, …cheap eggs, cheap meat, the difference is in the cook via sous vide.
I’d be more impressed at the turn around of a lowly steak cut than an already “posh” one, because that makes for better eats on a regular night.

Basically all steak will be good steak done via sous vide.
Refer to the guide section of the app before getting absorbed in user recipes, (you can cook straight from the guides)

I will forever bang on about “salad chicken” …done so nicely via sous vide that my daughter pleads to take a salad to school …which is unheard of under normal packed lunch circumstances.

With sous vide you can do white tablecloth type “restaurant” steaks, however more succulent day to day food is where it is at, because it all becomes “restaurant” with minimal effort, a little set & forget, or forgot & need to defrost, …which becomes a mere blip in the process of a sous vide cook …likely why blokes love to cook via sous vide, …its more my domain than my wifes, a bit of culinary sharing by dint of result is to be encouraged, get a few basic pork steaks, some chicken breast & a few cheaper steaks, a dozen eggs too & simply “play” to find your feet, it offers a lot more confidence than jumping into a pricey steak with great expectations & maybe a bit of potential one up manship, that does nothing to nerves regardless of how simple a sous vide cook can make it.

When finishing the steaks have your other half with you as plate presenter / pair of hands …the pan finish is very quick (thank-you butter browning)