Uncommonly Low Steak Temps?

Hello folks - i’ve been experimenting with Anova for over half a year now, mostly making ribeye steaks.

I usually with with 1+ inch cuts and I noticed that whenever i try to sous vide at 51 to 53 deg celsius, it gets on the high side of medium, although most temp guides call for that.

I have to drop the temp down to 47.5 deg celsius (which many temp guides don’t even cater for - lower than even rare) to get a decent medium rare doneness. I sous vide for 40-45 mins.

I sear on cast iron for around 40 seconds with butter, etc. and usually i tend to bring it out of the pan earlier as im afraid to overdo it.

Is this normal for you guys as well? not sure if 47.5 degrees is common (though my friend advised me to try this temp as it works for him as well).

Here’s a sample: https://imgur.com/a/ADDYx

appreciate the feedback!

Definitely not normal Al.
After 6 months you should be thoroughly familiar with your Anova.
You’ve brought us a mystery, although you don’t share with us your expected degree of doneness, but i suspect it’s less than you are obtaining as 51C to 53C is decidedly rare.

What are you using as evidence of “high side of medium”?
Your pix certainly isn’t evidence of that.
Is that a typical steak you refer to as being high side of medium?
If it is, we certainly have significantly different standards when it come to standards of doneness.

I’m concerned with your “experimenting”.
Why experiment?
What variables are you introducing in your cooking?

I continue to be puzzled by so many folks cooking rib eyes using SV.
A decent rib eye is so easily and beautifully cooked conventionally i wonder why so many bother with the extra steps and time.
I know, i know, - it’s heresy to say that here.

There’s a chance it might be time to recalibrate your Anova if you are not achieving your expected outcomes.
First, I’d verify your sustained temps obtained during use.
Check operating water temp achieved with a known accurate thermometer just to be sure. It’s known as preventive maintenance and needs to be done regularly a few times a year.

Have you got ample water volume?

If your steaks are thinnish, an extended SV cooking time might be a cause, and your browning pushed doneness higher, - maybe.
With around an inch thickness, precision counts, but 40 to 45 minutes is at the short end of the cook time scale so not likely.

Your sear time seems right-on, only i’d use clarified butter, ghee, or a high temp oil if you are heating both oil and pan together., but that’s a minor detail. I’ve always used the dip and brown technique with clarified butter i learned in NOLA and haven’t had any interest in changing since.

The 47.5C temp yields very rare. I used to refer that as a “bleu steak”, barely cooked.

More specific details would be useful.

Firstly, if you have not already done so, read Baldwin and stay safe with your experimenting.

@chatnoir knows his stuff having spent many years with professional grade equipment in commercial kitchens, so anything that he recommends is well worth following.

My personal recommendations would start with sourcing thicker steaks to get the best out of the sous vide process. Your 45 minute baths are enough to get your 1" steak up to temperature equilibrium with the bath and not a lot more than that. Also with thinner cut steaks good finishing technique is more important. Thicker steaks will give you a buffer and larger margin for error.

The quality of steak that you choose will also have a big impact on the experience.

Hey guys, thank you for your comments!

Ok maybe “experimenting” was the wrong word to use - more of trial and error in varying temps, meat quality and thickness etc.

Sorry for being u clear - the pic i posted is one done at 47.5 deg. Im afraid i did not get pics of the high medium ones, but they were far from the pictures on temp guides i see haha.

I will check on the accuracy of the cooker next.

I do not use a large container when cooking single steaks - enough for the water to well cover the meat. Though the steak does sit pretty close to (but not covering the vents) of the Anova, maybe 10cm away. Is there a potential issue here?

As long as there is sufficient space for water to circulate easily.

The picture you linked really does seem to be very young for beef. At 47.5°C I would be expecting to see more colour in the flesh. This almost looks like pink veal. Of course different cattle breeds produce meat with different myoglobin contents.

At that temperature I would not suggest cooking longer than 2 - 3 hours for food safety purposes. But if that is the temperature at which you enjoy your steak, then do so.

I actually find with the edge to edge cooking of sous vide processing I have actually crept my preference up somewhat. When cooked traditionally a rare middle came with a lot of supporting medium cooked flesh. The combination of the two flavour/textures combined in the mouth to create my desired done-ness. I find 52°C tends to be my perfect steak now.

Excellent point @Ember. I am a BIG fan of a med rare steak cooked in the traditional method but I think my tastes will tend more towards the medium when cooked sous vide. I received my Anova for Christmas but haven’t had a chance to use it yet. I look forward to experimenting to prepare the “Perfect” steak

Chatnoir - what’s the NOLA dip and brown technique?

Rgs, the late Chef Paul Prudhomme of New Orleans, LA, (NOLA) was an exceptionally innovative cook who developed many uniquely delicious cooking techniques like blackening when he was the Executive Chef at Commander’s Place. (Emeril was his Sous Chef.) That’s the technique of dipping a fillet of fish, or steak/cutlet/paillard, in clarified butter, then in a spice and herb mixture, and quickly pan grilling over hight heat. Many SV cooks add fat to a pan before the browning finish, i coat the meat.

It’s become a very common steak house technique, particularly in open kitchen operations, as there’s a lot of showy initial flare up when a steak hits the grill.

Thanks, Chatnoir. Interesting. I believe I’ll try that technique. What spices and herbs to you tend to use with steak or fish?

Rgs, just a warning about that technique, it’s addictive.

I make up my own proprietary purpose-specific seasoning mixes. A good place for you to start is to find almost any of Emeril’s Louisiana-Style recipes. Most of them include the formula for his basic seasoning mix and it would be a good place to start for you. He probably learned it from Chef Paul. Then you can adjust the components to your taste. Make it yours.

With steak i use the woody herbs like thyme and rosemary along with freshly ground pepper although i don’t often eat it, i find it boring.

If you want to try blackened fish i suggest using a seasoning mix starting with three parts each sweet paprika and salt, then equal parts of onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne (or to taste). scant parts white and black pepper, plus half parts dry thyme and oregano. That mix will be ample for 6 to 10 fish fillets if you use a teaspoon as one part. Be sure to select thin fillets, 1/2-inch is good, never more than 3/4-inch thick. Dip the fish fillets in melted or clarified butter and generously pat on the seasoning. Blackened items should be cooked quickly in a hot cast iron pan. You want crusty-tasty on the outside and barely starting to flake on the inside. Ninety seconds to two minutes on each side is enough if your pan is properly preheated. While the first side is cooking pour a tsp. melted butter on the top side so it will taste good too. And please serve on a warmed plate.

There, that’s probably more than you wanted to know, but as i often say around the kitchen, - If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. I hope you try and enjoy it.

Happy cooking.

1 Like

Not at all more than I wanted to know. Just right. An addiction I’m looking forward to exploring. Thanks very much, Chatnoir!

Here is a mix that might get you close.

1 tbsp paprika
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne
3/4 tsp white pepper
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp fennel – or seeds crushed

1 Like

Thanks, John. I’ll try it.

1 Like

I start with the water at 129 F and a ribeye 2 1/2 inches thick. Season and cook for 2 hours. Re-season and finish in a very hot cast iron pan for 1 minute per side and roll the edges. I cut it on the bias. Serves 2-4. I “forgot” about it once and left it in for 5 1/2 hours. Absolutely perfect and I’m still alive. Didn’t plan it for that long as 2 hours is perfect for a piece of ribeye that thick.