Sous Vide steak in advance? (served same day)

Hey guys,

I’ve had my Anova for quite awhile and absolutely love it. I’m running into a situation for cooking a steak in the Anova earlier in the day, and searing to serve later on.

I have a tomahawk bone-in ribeye currently cooking @ 131 degrees. I will be serving the steak for guests roughly 3-4 hours later tops. After doing research, It looks for safety purposes I should stil:

Do I need to:

  1. Flash-cool in ice bath (half hr?) then put in fridge. I will leave sealed in the bridge.

I will be finishing searing on BBQ.

Thanks guys!

Item 3 has the potential to get people really sick!!

The rule when it comes to meat - shouldn’t be consumed if left at room temperature for 2 hours or more.

Flash cooling it has the advantage of stopping the cook immediately. Gets the food quickly out of the “danger zone” - also highly desirable if you are planning on leaving the meat out later - appetizer plates, etc. The clock hasn’t started ticking on that meat yet.

Refrigerate, then you can re-heat the meat in your sous vide, or, if you want a cool, rare to medium-rare centre, you may just elect to take the meat from the fridge and directly apply your sear. (also depends on thickness).

Heating the steak on the BBQ on low temperatures??? So, why did you sous vide then? (as doing so with almost certainly change the doneness of the steak). That’s really how you want to prepare a well done steak - low heat for a prolonged period.

When you apply your sear to your sous-vide cooked meat, you’re really going to minimize the impact of the sear on increasing the doneness of that steak. You want the sear to penetrate as little as possible. This means getting your BBQ or pan as blistering hot as possible and only exposing the meat for the minimum amount of time to attain the desired sear.

If you haven’t practiced using your BBQ to do the sear previously, you can easily end up over-cooking your steaks. Be very, very conservative with how long you’re searing them.

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Thanks very much for your quick reply. My apologies, option 3 shouldn’t of been added as I changed my ready/eating time to over 2hrs.

EDIT: you’re right, I’ll bring the Anova with me. Any issues with reheating at 120, so as to have more time to sear/brown on the bbq without overcooking the interior?

You should reheat at the same temp that you cooked at (ideally). Hopefully that’s above 127F, so you don’t encourage the growth of any pathogens.

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so it’s not safe cooking a steak in a vacuum bag at 54°C and leaving it for 1 hour on the countertop to cool down and than refrigerate it for like 8 hours and after that searing it?

@mejakm because you are only leaving it on the counter for 1 hour it is technically safe. As @fischersd mentioned above “The rule when it comes to meat - shouldn’t be consumed if left at room temperature for 2 hours or more”. The problem with your scenario is the reheating; if you sear it from cold you will have a cold center (unless you are going for a rare to med rare), if you reheat all the way through by searing it you will at the very least have a steak with a higher doneness if not an overcooked steak which is why it is advisable to reheat through sous vide at the same temp you initially cooked it at and then sear to add the final crust.

@jajohnson5 so if I make two scenarios I was thinking to do, tell me your opinion about them

1st: Steak cooked at 54°C for 2h and left on the countertop for 1h to cool down. After it’s cooled I would put in the fridge and then put it out of the vacuum bag and sear it like 12-24h later just to get the crust so I would leave it medium-rare.
2nd: The other scenario is as the first, but suppose that I have SV with me and I would reheat it to the same temp (54°C) and than sear it.

Mekjakm, in SV cooking we need to employ a more detailed awareness of temperature and time for food safety. After a while it will become automatic. I will never understand why there is such resistance to common sense practices. Old habits i guess.

So for Cook-Serve a SV cooked protein product should not be held ambient for more than two hours, particularly if it has not been Pasteurized. You should know that colonies of bacteria double in number every twenty minutes at room temperature and exponentially faster when warmer.

For Cook-Chill-Serve, just because your steak is in the refrigerator doesn’t mean it’s at a safe temperature because you haven’t pre-chilled it. By leaving the meat on the counter you are giving any bacteria present a head start on spoilage. Always think hot and cold and shorten the time in between as much as possible. Please use an ice bath.

I make it a practice to prepare and use an ice bath at the end of every SV cook unless i plan to serve shortly. It’s a habit that will keep you safe and well.

@majakm either scenario will work. My personal preference would be the 2nd option as it minimizes the risk of overcooking when searing while still ensuring proper temperature throughout. My issue with the 1st scenario is that to get a good sear without impacting the doneness of the steak requires a high heat that will not bring the center of the meat, which in this scenario has now been chilled, back to temperature without drying out your steak.

Why are you leaving it out at room temperature at all??? (really doesn’t make any sense to do that). If you’re concerned about the hot steak shocking your tempered glass shelving in your fridge, just put the steak on a plate and put it in the fridge. But I can assure you the steak really isn’t all that hot at all. :slight_smile:

because Ramsay says that you should never put hot food in the fridge because bacterias can grow in the center…

You’re going to grow a lot more bacteria allowing it to sit at room temperature. If you want to minimize pathogen growth, then you should do an ice bath - plunge the bag into the ice bath - leave it for about 30+ minutes, then transfer it to the fridge.

Putting it into the fridge should get it out of the danger zone quicker than leaving it at room temperature if you just want to compare the two.

How did it go? Why can’t you just keep it in the SV that long? You are above 129° that has the limit of 2 1/2 hours, the texture should be ok up to 4hrs.

In this scenario, how long to SV when reheating before the final sear? This is a first attempt.

Welcome aboard Shufy. For your early cooks i recommend you keep them as simple as possible. That’s your basic cook, sear, and serve technique. That facilitates learning as you go.

My crystal ball is in the shop for repairs so i have no idea of the product or it’s size that you want to reheat. You don’t even reveal if it’s frozen or thawed. Anyway, you will need to reheat at the original cooking temperature.

You ask how long to reheat your secret product.
Here’s how:
If you haven’t already discovered Dr. Baldwin’s authoritative SV web site you are doing yourself a serious disservice. Your answer resides within Table 2.2 or 2.3 in his Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking. They are at the following:

Happy cooking.

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Excellent. Thanks

Hi guys,

I´m wondering if one can cook a sous vide steak, chill properly, store in the fridge, then reheat in sous vide for food service and serve whatever portions are ordered during service. What if I´m left with reheated steak in the sous vide that has not been ordered during service? Is it possible to chill and refrigerate again?

Xavier, you ask if it is possible to cook, chill, refrigerate, reheat, chill again, and reheat again?
Possible yes, - but be allowed by Public Health officials?
Not likely.

How will you know how many heating and cooling cycles a steak has been through? And prove you know?

Most Public Health officials don’t like SV in restaurants mostly because of what you are thinking of doing. That’s bringing meat through the Food Temperature Danger Zone multiple times.

Yet restaurants, and many of the very best restaurants, use sous vide techniques every day. However, they do it knowledgeably and responsibly.

Thanks for the prompt reply chatnoir. Yes, that is what I was asking in case say I reheat 20 portions of steak for service and sell 15. What should/can I do with the other 5 that weren’t sold during that service? Discard or chill and refrigerate again? Based on some sous vide food safety journals I’ve read and on your reply the proper way to handle the “leftover steak” is to discard it.

Xavier, if you’ve read some of my posts here you already know that i am positively evangelical about labeling or identifying every food item’s package. It’s a fundamental element of my production system. I do it right on the package, no paper labels.

Many restaurants SV cook on the day of planned service which then allows ice-bath chilling and holding unsold items once for future service, but only if cooked to Pasteurized status. Rare steaks (125F) could be cooked more to over 131F and chilled to be safely held.

Remember, if 20 steaks is your forecast sales number for that day you don’t have to start service with 20 being warmed all at once. You only need to heat and hold the steaks you estimate you will sell in the first few hours and the responsible line cook replenishes as sales progress through the day or night.

For example, on the day i cook 40 rib eye steaks the following would be my label for the first steak packaged:

10 oz. Rib Eye - 125F - 1/40

And for the second package:

10 oz. Rib Eye - 125F - 2/40

  • and so on. Then i would heat steaks sequentially numbered 1/40 to 10/40 of that cooking date. As i said above, you can always replenish from the refrigerator while always serving the lowest numbered steaks.

Now how about those 5 steaks that were heated and unsold?
First i would be sure to record selling 15 steaks in my daily journal, or spreadsheet, or POS system; however you record daily sales by menu item which is the base for your menu item forecasting. Next, ask yourself why there were 5 unsold steaks. Five wasted steaks daily has a brutal impact on your food cost.

I would discuss your leftover steak question with your public health official. Some areas allow a second reheat, many don’t.