Reverse Sear vs. Sous Vide


  • Walton's Employee

    Reverse Sear vs. Sous Vide

    Learn about Reverse Searing and Sous Videing with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.

    Reverse Sear vs. Sous Vide

    We decided to see which method gives you a more perfectly cooked steak, Reverse Sear or Sous Vide Cooking. We are going to rate these on taste, tenderness and appearance and let you know which was our favorite.

    Sous Vide Method - We vacuum sealed a Waygu steak that set our Sous Vide Cooker at 125° and let it sit there for 2 hours. Then we are going to pull it out and sear both sides on our grill that we will get as hot as we can.

    Reverse Sear Method - We set our grill at 225° and put our steak on until it was an internal temperature of around 120°, then we are going to take it off the grill and loosely cover it in foil for 5 minutes while the grill gets to max temperature and then sear it for a few minutes a side.

    Taste - The taste was exactly the same for each method. This was expected, there wasn’t going to be any identifiable taste difference as we were cooking them to the same temp, using the same seasoning and it was the same cut and type of steak. So this was a tie.

    Tenderness - They were both really nice and tender, you aren’t going to go wrong with either of these. However, the Sous Vide method was so tender I could have cut it with the plastic fork if I had wanted too. The Sous Vide won this round.

    Appearance - This was a resounding win for the Reverse Sear method in my mind. The sous vide one took longer to get any bark on it and even when it did it didn’t have a nice firm crust, it was mushier. Once you cut them open the Sous Vide was perfectly pink all the way through where the Reverse Sear had a centimeter or so of darker meat down into the pink.

    So the winner, in my opinion, was the reverse sear method! I just liked the appearance more and anyone can do it, it doesn’t require any special equipment, just either a grill or an oven and a cast iron pan and you are capable of cooking the perfect steak!

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  • P

    I do it all the time. Still remember my mom saying it’s not a good idea. I’m sure if you are buying a nice steak and intend it eat it as a grilled T-bone you might notice some flesh cell break down (texture change). If you are going to use it in sausage you will not notice any difference. Made brats last night. Once frozen pork and elk. Refroze the brats. I do it time and time again.

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  • E

    Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
    As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
    I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
    Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
    Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
    I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
    Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.

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  • K

    @jonathon

    Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??

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  • K

    @lamurscrappy

    Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your input. Pulling the meat at 152 will make a big difference I bet! Thanks again.

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  • @Kinger Thanks for the information. Your process, other than going to 178, is on in my mind. The only thing I do differently is an ice bath for 20 minutes. Showering for 10 minutes, if you are running a cycle and a fan in your smoker can work, but I still think an ice bath would bring it down faster and more. Last time I did thick summer sausage it was down to 110 in 20 minutes, I also tried showering it at 2 minutes on 2 minutes off for 20 minutes and it was only down to 136 (ish) but i did not have a fan running on them.

    One more thing you might want to try, if you are stalled towards the end you can finish them up by putting them in a vacuum bag (I have done then hot, right from the smoker, some condensation in the bag but it still gets a good vac) and get some water going at around 165, it should get up to temp in under an hour depending on the thickness.

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