Sous Vide vs. Reverse Sear...


  • Team Blue

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    Last week I borrowed an Anova ‘Precision’ Sous Vide and cooked nearly every meal with it. I made boneless skinless Chicken thighs, Chuck Eye steak, Tri-Tip, Pork Chops, Apple Blue Cheese and Sage Brats and fresh local Asparagus. All the meat was finished on the grill. Everything turned out fine but there are a few things I would critique with this technique.

    Texture: Sous Vide changes the texture of meat. There is no avoiding this. With tough cuts of Beef that could be a good thing. With pork and particularly Chicken. Both turned out good. Both were juicy. Both were flavorful. Both were…weird. I’m on the fence with the texture of Pork sometimes as is. I’ve never had much issue with Chicken unless it was under cooked and that’s exactly what it reminded me of. This time it wasn’t due to not getting the meat to temp. It was the cooking method. Overall the meat was fine and I finished all of it but I won’t be using Sous Vide on Chicken ever again. Same goes for Pork. The results were similar but the texture was not favorable. [censored] you Sous Vide.

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    Crust or Bark: After the cooking all of the previously mentioned meats I finished them on a searing hot grill. While everything came out tasty and picture perfect it didn’t quite have that crusty, caramelized exterior I enjoy in a steak. When you pull the meat from the Sous Vide it has been cooked in it’s own juices. While flavorful this makes it nearly impossible to get a good crust on the grill. Pan searing might be the way to go. It was good but not great. The Chuck Eye was super tender. The Tri Tip was already cut into small-ish pieces from the butcher so I prepared them as kabobs. They turned out great but could probably used a bit more time. That might be one I revisit in the future.

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    The good: The brats and sausage turned out perfectly. I’ve never made brats that retained so much of the juices. They were perfect. Likewise the asparagus was perfect. They turned a vibrant green and were still crisp but cooked through. If I decide to pull the trigger on a Sous Vide of my own, brats and veggies will be in the regular rotation.

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  • Team Blue

    In my opinion…Reverse Sear beats Sous Vide hands down. It’s not even close. I prepared my steak as I did in the “This is how I do ribeye” thread.

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    Salt cure, dried overnight in the fridge than applied some seasoning and vacuum sealed overnight. I cooked the steak at 250 in the oven for about 28 minutes and went to a scorching grill. After a couple minutes per side I had the crust I was looking for and moved the steak aside while I grilled some chops. Reverse sear does better with thicker cuts so the pork was straight from the bag to the grill.

    Success! The crust on the steak was amazing and the crispy bits of fat on the chops was sizzled to perfection.

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  • Team Blue

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  • Team Blue

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  • Team Blue

    The Verdict…I will never use Sous Vide on a quailty cut of beef, chicken or pork again. I thought about trying some Copper River Salmon until I tried the chicken…I’m not about to screw up something as special as that. I’m sure I’ll pick one up at some point if the deal is right but I will only use it for a few specific items.

    That said…if you struggle with grilling or pan searing your proteins I would highly recommend it. It’s a nearly fool proof process. I’m a little picky when it comes to texture so take my criticisms with a grain of salt. It’s a product that I would recommend but like the ‘Instant Pot’ it has it’s limitations. It’s not magic.


  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Admin Walton's Employee Canning

    Joe Hell I have to say I agree on the chicken. I did not like the juiciness of the chicken and that might sound weird but I know Joe can understand what I am talking about, it was too juicy, not in a good way. I’ve tried chicken breats twice and both times prefered the grill, even after I finished it up in a pan I just find a grill or an oven as a better fit for chicken.

    I disagree on the high quality cuts not working for sous vide but that might be a personal preference thing and, like he said if you have trouble with a pan or grill sous vide is absolutely safer. If you have a very refined pallet, like I suspect Joe does then you might notice a difference in a sous vide steak vs reverse sear.

    It took me a LOOONNNGG time to like sous vide as much as I like reverse searing. It is similar to how I like my older dog more than my puppy, I just have more of an attachment to one than the other!


  • Team Blue

    Jonathon My finer cuts example would be the Ribeye I bought the other day…$18 for one steak. I’m sure I could have made a near perfect steak using the Sous Vide but I just couldn’t bring myself to risking it on such a spendy piece of meat. For that same reason I wouldn’t try that technique on a Filet, Tenderloin or Salmon. I just can’t do it. That said…a lesser quality Ribeye might lend itself well to pan seared and blackened. My reverse seared steak had the best crust I’ve ever had on a piece of meat. Hands down it was the best steak I’ve ever had. I would like to try the Sous Vide method on something like a London Broil. That cut has always been hit and miss for me.


  • Team Orange Power User Masterbuilt

    Joe Hell
    I would have to agree. I tried the sous vide method with a ribeye a few days ago. I wont do that again. I did get a nice sear on the grill but decided a ribeye doesn’t need that method. That first one I tried was a tougher cut and sous vide definitely helped on that.


  • Team Blue

    PapaSop I just can’t see an advantage to using Sous Vide on cuts that are already notoriously tender. The Sous Vide reminds me of the Instant Pot fad. My mom had to have one. She bragged how you can take a piece of frozen meat and throw everything in the pot and a little while later as if by magic you would have a perfect meal. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cooking meat with that method changes texture and I haven’t found anything to be super flavorful.

    That said…there are things that the instant pot does perfectly. I’m not sure I’ve ever had hard boiled eggs cooked better. Peeling them has never been easier. Rice, perfect. Beans and Potatoes…perfect. Frozen Pork shoulder…[censored]. lol.

    IMO meat needs the caramelization and crust that only the Malliard reaction can offer. Sous Vide and Instant Pot are great tools for specific jobs…so is my Weber Kettle, My Masterbuilt smoker, Char Broil grill, Weber Gas grill, my open fire pit, Gas convection oven, Cast Iron cookware, Weston dehydrator, etc., etc…

    As with every cooking tool there is a learning curve and I may not have found mine quite yet but that doesn’t mean I am done with it. One thing I would like to try is brewing beer with it. During the mash process you need to hold specific temperatures for specific times to get the highest conversion of starches to sugars from the grain. The Sous Vide would excel at that. Maybe that will be my next thread on this topic!


  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Admin Walton's Employee Canning

    Joe Hell I agree that the general public does seem to fall for the fads a lot, you mention insta pot (my mom and sisters were crazy for it) and I was air frying everything I could for a while there until I realized it really wasn’t any simpler than baking. Also, it is odd that hard boiled eggs are much better in the air fryer than a normal pot, toss them in the air fryer for 8 minutes then a pot of ice cold water for 5 or so and they peel like a dream!


  • Team Blue

    Jonathon That’s interesting on the air fryer eggs. I wonder what’s going on that makes peeling so much easier with either machine. I would probably own the air fryer if it wasn’t for avoiding everything that is great when fried.

    If I was picking my next toy it might be something like this. Who doesn’t need a vertical roasting meat carousel in their kitchen? I’d be shaving and eating meat every time I got near it!

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  • Team Blue

    Jonathon Another thought that I had was using the Sous Vide to pre-cook my sausages prior to freezing. It would be quite a convenience to simply open my package of sausages and reheat or brown in a pan.

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  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Admin Walton's Employee Canning

    Joe Hell yeah that will work, I’ve done it before and liked the results. Precooked fresh sausage is a great thing to have!


  • Team Blue

    I’ll say this…The Sous Vide is an absolutely perfect tool to reheat meat. In this case it’s smoked pork chops. Somehow they almost seem juicier and more flavorful than before. Once again it absolutely nailed the vegetables.

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  • Team Blue Power User Traeger Primo Grills PK Grills

    I personally think sous vide is a great way to cook steak, I love rare to medium rare edge to edge. I finish my steaks in a screaming hot cast iron pan for about 2 minutes per side and get a great crust. A recent trick I have tried is putting a slather of mayo on them before searing, and it really helps to build beautiful crust. I’ve cooked chuck roasts for 24 hours sous vide as well, and had them come out as tender as prime rib.

    I do agree it is just another tool in the arsenal, and it’s not an end all be all gadget. I will say I’ve made cheesecake with it in Mason jars, and that is a great way to make cheesecake for a crowd.


  • Team Blue

    Tex_77 I did enjoy the results with the beef I’ve tried so far! A roast is something I’d like to try as well as several other cuts. I’m done with chicken and pork! Lol.

    The cheesecake sounds interesting and something I might try with one of the low carb recipes I’ve seen lately.

    One thing I might try soon is using it to brew beer. The temp control would be a huge advantage for the mashing process.


  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Admin Walton's Employee Canning

    Joe Hell Any time anyone says roast with steak and sous vide all I can think of is the Ribeye that Austin and I Sous Vide(d?) for 24 hours, it was very tender but it was no longer a steak it was a roast. Part of that might be because Austin insisted we do it at 140° or something like that. I might try it again at 125° for 24 hours and see what the results are.


  • Team Blue Power User Traeger Primo Grills PK Grills

    Jonathon I generally don’t sous vide my steaks for any longer then an hour. That being said, I have done whole rib-eye rolls for 8 hours making prime rib, and they came out great. I don’t like to go much above 125 for steaks, as I like mine on the rarer side of things. For tri-tip I’ll usually sous vide for 4 hours or so. Have you ever tried doing a whole packer brisket sous vide? I saw a video once of one being done, and Meathead was there and he couldn’t distinguish between the one that was cooked sous vide vs the one that was smoked traditionally.


  • Team Blue

    Jonathon 140 is criminal! I wonder about that Austin character


  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Admin Walton's Employee Canning

    Tex_77 Austin and I have talked about doing brisket in the Sous Vide before yes. We just need to do it and we might have time in the next few weeks. My only fear would be that without any bark on it doing it sous vide…so youd have to finish it up on a grill or something? We planned on using Pa’s Black Bull injection with just a touch of liquid smoke.


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