Strip Steak overcooked @ 128 degrees

Hi everyone. I’m totally baffled; I’ve cooked steak sous vide before, with predictably terrific results. The past three times - twice at 129 degrees and yesterday at 128 degrees, the steaks came out medium / medium well done (brown, with a minimal trace of light pink.) they were cooked for 2 hours the first two times, exactly 3 hours yesterday @ 128 degrees. I had two steaks, each about 10 ounces, 1.5 inches thick.
Before I simply try again at a lower temp, perhaps 125 degrees, am I missing something? I didn’t think it would be possible to overcook at 128 degrees.
Also, btw, I checked the temperature with a thermometer which indicates that the Anova is precisely calibrated.
Thanks to all for your comments and recommendations.

How does searing look like for these steaks? (time, method)

It may be you seared it a bit too long. How did you sear it and did you dry it well before searing. If the meat is not dry it takes more time to boil off the moisture and the internal temperature has time to rise.

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Last time I seared in a pan, this time a torch to sear. No I did not dry beforehand. Probably 2 minutes per side with the torch, 3 in the pan. But what you say makes perfect sense, thank you.

The sear might have been too long. I’d try just under a minute on each side.

Since you are problem solving, I suggest the old fashioned cut the steak to see if it is done method after SV and before searing. If it is happening in the searing step, be sure that the meat is dry and has been cooled a bit.

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I like to pat the steak well-dry with paper towels, and then brush it lightly with a little bit of butter. It sears very quickly with the torch or on the grill that way.

The sear is definitely where the problem lies. Too long by far.

Cast iron is the best option, but if not that other things that will take very high heat are good. Stainless steel is not good. Put the pan on to heat before you remove the steak from it’s package. Dry the steak well and salt ‘n’ pepper. When the pan starts to smoke apply a little high smoke-point oil and allow a little time for the temperature to rise a bit further before adding the steak to the pan.

Searing in a perfect world should take around 30 seconds per side, but certainly less than a minute each side.

NB: Open windows may be advisable.

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You could verify the water temp to make sure it matches what the Anova says. My guess it’s that it’s happening at the sear stage. The thickness of 1 ½ would overcook too quickly if sear for 2 minutes. Also not drying makes the sear take longer. Make sure the pan is hot (cast iron preferred. Try a thicker steak. I would not lower the temp to 125.

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Thanks to all for your answers (and echiriff, I did check the water temp, it’s right on target). Next time I do steak I’ll (a) cut off a pre-sear piece to check) and (b) dry better and reduce the sear time to 30 secs in a hotter pan.

To expand a little. Water creates a barrier between the meat and the pan that must evaporate before any searing effect takes place. Also creates steam that “boils” the steak before it even has a chance to sear. Pan has to be hot to the point where the little oil used to coat it begins to smoke. Keep in mind that searing time will vary depending on whether you are using a pan or a charcoal grill (which can reach temps of 1000 degrees) or a gas grill that will max out at around 450-500.

So yesterday I did 129 degrees, then dried followed by a quick sear… perfect! thanks to all for your very helpful advice! Cant’s wait to get a charcoal grill!

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I agree with the cast iron skillet. I put it on my weber grill( gas) for 15 minutes on high during the last 15 minutes of sous vide time. This avoids the fan, windows open routine. The steaks I cook are in the 1.5 “ thick area and I set the APC to 130 degrees. Timing: I cook for 1 hour and sear in the cast iron skillet for 30/40 seconds per side. I also will hold the steak on its edge (with long tongs of course😁) also for 30 seconds and sear the sides in that way.
Don’t know how to upload a pic of my results tonight but it was FABULOUS!!

Images for forum publication have a size limit. Not sure of the exact details, but 1024x768 pixels maximum should be fine, and probably under 500kb.

Thanks for the info but problem is I see no icon that lets me add a pic to my reply.

It is the one with a bar and an an arrow. 7th from the right.

The ‘Upload’ button/icon is for uploading images. Not necessarily the most obvious choice of label, but that’s the one.

File too big.

Trying again.


Very nice.

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