The Perfect Medium Rare Steak
October 31, 2015
What does your steak nirvana look like? My perfect steak is a medium rare, 2 inch thick ribeye, with the beautiful tapestry of criss-crossed grill marks on the outside and cooked pink from edge to edge on the inside.
But how often do you succeed in cooking the perfect medium rare steak? Well the answer to that, as some people have told us, is rarely!
A knob of salted butter
Coarse sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
And of course a good cut of steak
Sous vide immersion cooker
Freezer grade Ziploc bag
1Set the temperature on your sous vide device to 129℉ / 54℃.
2Bag up your steak together with the knob of butter into the Ziploc bag.
3Using the displacement method, vacuum seal the Ziploc bag.
4Once the sous vide device reaches the set temperature, drop the Ziploc bag into the water bath and cook your steak for an hour.
5When time is up, remove the steak and pat dry on both sides.
6Get your grill pan smoking hot.
7Once the pan is ready, place your steak onto the pan to sear. To get the beautiful criss cross marks, place your steaks down at a 45º angle.
8After 30 seconds, flip your steak to sear the other side and season the seared side with salt and pepper.
9After 30 seconds, flip the steak back again and season the other seared side. Make sure to place your steak down in the reverse angle so that you get the diamond shaped pattern on your steak. Repeat this on the other side.
Here are some additional thoughts to share:
- Why coarse sea salt? My reason is simple. I find that it is easier to spread evenly over the steak. Fine salt tends to clump up more and this results in uneven salty zones on the steak.
- Why freshly cracked pepper? Try it and I’m sure you can immediately notice the difference. It has way more flavor and fragrance than the ‘standard’ ground pepper.
- If medium rare isn’t your thing, you can try 133℉ / 56℃ for medium. What’s that you say? What’s the temperature for well done? The only well done steak we know is one that’s cooked medium rare! : )
- To really showcase the perfection of the medium rare steak, I recommend that your steak be at least 2 inch thick.
- Dry-aged beef gives a more intense ‘beefy’ flavor.
- I love ribeye as I feel it’s got the ideal amount of fat on it. It’s not the cheapest cut but it also isn’t the most expensive cut. For me, it offers the most bang for the buck.
- Marbled beef like wagyu is more expensive, but it definitely tastes better. But I also don’t like too much marbling as I feel that the beefy texture is lost. This is, of course, a very personal preference for everyone and I would invite you to experiment with a few different cuts and marbling grades to see which you like best.
- Grass-fed beef is healthier for you than grain-fed because the natural diet of the cow is grass and not grain. But it is more cost;y to maintain grass-fed cows and so it is usually a little more expensive.
- On the flip side, if you prefer more fat on your steak then grain-fed beef is probably for you as it usually has a higher fat ratio than grass-fed beef.
- There are two reasons why we advocate only seasoning the steak after it is cooked. We don’t want the salt to draw moisture out of the steak. So if you salt it after it is cooked, your steak won’t lose as much moisture. The other reason is that because we sear the steak on a scorching hot grill pan, the pepper may ‘burn’ and leave a bitter aftertaste on your steak if you season it before it is seared.
- The final sear is not actually needed because the steak is already cooked when you take it out of the water bath. It is more of a ‘cosmetic’ purpose as we are used to the look of a steak with the seared grill marks. That’s just the ‘normal’ look of a steak that we are used to. And so, if you serve the steak without sear, our eyes will tell us that there’s something ‘wrong’ with the steak.
And now your steak nirvana experience awaits. You don’t need to be a MasterChef to cook the perfect medium rare steak! And because the temperature we cook the steak at is precise, we are guaranteed the perfect steak every single time!
So sous vide soon and bon appétit!