Steak?

Steak for example, what is better? Sear first and then vide? Or vide first and then sear afterwards?

My personal approach is sous vide first, then season, sear, and serve.

I season, sous vide, then sear,
And the juices I use to deglaze the pan and make a pepper sauce with cream and brandy.

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If you sear first, the sear will disappear in the sous vide.

I personally prefer to sear after sous vide.

Unless it’s something like tofu.

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if you go by what some books say, sear first to lock in, sous vide, sear again.

Searing first doesn’t lock in anything. This is one of those kitchen myths that keeps persisting, no matter how much evidence to the contrary there is

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Sous Vide, pat dry and sear with the large 100,000 BTU Lee Valley Tools Propane Weed Torch. http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=47306&cat=2,2300,44822&ap=1 . Fastest and best sear ever. I have the Searzall and it produces a decent sear but the Weed Torch aka Flame Thrower produces that right off the grill type of a sear with just a hint of char, plus the fat crisps up really well, which is critical IMHO. You can also sear more than one steak at a time. Don’t believe me? Check out https://youtu.be/XQR-c1MFjEE. This awesome Sous Vide focused channel took on every possible searing method including Cryo-frying which apparently is di rigeur for steak searing, but actually not.

I dont sear first. Just Thomas keller’s book cooking under pressure and others do. Just pointing that out

Any book that tells you to sear to “lock in juices” should be thrown away. That’s been widely shown to be a cooking myth.

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Sous first. If you reverse that the crispy crunchy crust that is obtained with the searing will be lost. Sous to the desired doneness then brown, sear the outside being sure to not sear too long or your perfect interior doneness will be overcooked. 30 /45 seconds per side in a really, really hot cast iron skillet is the way to go. Perfect medium/rare on whole inside and a perfect char on the outside. With sous vide you can duplicate it every time.

There’s nothing like a sizzling steak when it hits your plate, so SV first and sear next. My two favorite searing methods:

  1. Hot cast iron pan with a tab of butter. About 45 seconds on each side.
  2. Harbor Freight flame thrower. $20. Sears a steak in about a minute. One flip.
    Both methods will produce a very good sear. The flame thrower is outdoors only so more suitable for better weather. Also, some people complain about a propane taste which I never experienced. Not sure why it’s an issuer for some since it’s the same as a propane grill but who knows.
    Third way is a well heated ceramic grill like a Big Green Egg brought up to 600+. Great sear and charcoal flavor, however a lot of wasted time and lump charcoal for 60 seconds of searing.
    Last, I agree with a previous post. Check out Sous Vide Everything on Youtube. They do a fantastic job of demonstrating how to cook (SV) a wide variety of meats.

SV then sear… if you have the infra red searing thingamabob on your bbq… do that… it works great… .couple minute heat up then less than 2 mins to sear…
Searing beforehand, as mentioned, you will lose that sear in the sous vide…

I tried both ways with 2 Strip steaks from the same piece. I seared on before and let the other one raw. SV them then seared the other one. after SV We both agreed that the one seared after SV was better, just remember to pat it dry before searing if you ant that crunchy crust.

If part of the reason for searing is to raise the surface temperature of the meat so it tastes more “normal”, then searing afterwards is the only approach that makes sense.

The reason of pre searing is to create a crust prior to the actual cook. When you have a crust going into the bag, it takes less time to refresh the crust when you post sear. It also, if you believe the claims, does aid in the overall flavor, due to those flavors created by the sear being in the bag while the product is cooking. I haven’t expended any energy into seeing if there is any scientific evidence is this, this is just what I’ve read from individuals in the industry.

Brian, it seams to me your theory is correct, the flavours are in the bag, but do they contribute to improved edible portion quality? Unless those diluted flavours are captured and reintroduced with the cooked menu item pre-searing could be a wasted effort.

In my opinion it’s better to only post sear to use the unconverted sugars that are available on meat surfaces for the Maillard reaction. If they have been previously dissolved in solution they cannot also be totally available to recreate a tasty crust.