Sous Vide Roast Beef

Sous Vide Roast Beef

A while back I was given an immersion circulator, sometimes known as a sous vide immersion circulator. They are used to cook food at very exact temperatures.  It is a kitchen tool that is becoming more popular, but still unknown to a lot of people. They can be expensive, although I have friends who have made their own, with some success.

So why would you want to use/invest in one and how exactly is the food cooked?

Sous vide involves cooking your food in a bag, submerged in water. I know that doesn’t initially sound all that appealing, but it is pretty cool and has some advantages.

Have you ever fretted about overcooking a really expensive cut of meat? Or do you have trouble with the ends getting too done before the middle is cooked?

In an immersion circulator you set the temperature that the water will be. If you like rare beef, you would set the temp at around 135 degrees F (60 Celsius). That means the water would maintain a temp of 135 degrees. When you put the meat in the circulator it can’t overcook. It will only get to a max of 135 degrees, or whatever temperature you like. The meat can’t overcook, even if you leave it in for several hours. It also will be the same from one end the the other. This also gives you the opportunity to cook less expensive cuts of meats for long periods, making them tender, but still rare.

The machine is attached to a pot that is filled with water. Once you set it to the temperature you want, you place the bag with the meat in it, in the water. Set the timer and let the circulator do its job.

Now, the one disadvantage is that the meat will not get that nice sear on the outside that comes from more traditional methods of cooking. To remedy that, you remove the meat from the bag, once it has cooked and place in a smoking hot skillet. I like to use a cast iron pan for this. You brown the meat over high heat, turning it often until it looks the way you want it to look. I did a roast, but you can do steaks and chops this way, too.

So for my boneless rib roast, which weighed about 3 pounds, I placed it in the circulator for 3 hours. I seasoned the meat with salt, pepper and garlic.  I used a freezer Ziploc bag. I made sure I got as much air out of the bag as I could, and made sure it was sealed. Once the time was up I took the roast out, heated up my skillet and using two wooden spoons, I turned the meat over in the pan to brown the sides. I let it rest about 15 minutes before slicing. The meat was perfectly pink throughout. Tender and very juicy, too.

Unlike poaching, the meat is never in contact with the water, so all the flavor stays in the meat.

There are groups on Facebook that discuss and share sous vide cooking. I am no expert. I just wanted to try cooking my roast this way. I was very happy with the result. I can’t say whether an immersion circulator is a good investment for you or not. I will say that I love mine and will be using it again.

Circulator in a pot of water- ready to use. I kept mine in the sink.