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Here I explain how to sous vide any round steak – bottom, top or eye – without any special equipment (such as immersion circulator).
Is it even possible to prepare this lean, chewy cut without bothering to be physically present at the cooking scene? 🙂
Sous vide lets you do THAT and so much more…Michelin-star restaurant steak at your crib. Every time!
The method works like this – you take your bottom/top/eye round steak and put it inside food-safe plastic bag, letting all the air out.
After that you get it inside a warm water bath and cook it for about an hour.
Sear it to get the browning developed and here you are: cut-n-serve! 😉
Part 1: Necessary Ingredients & Tools
My goal is to explain the actual sous TECHNIQUE, so I use the salt-n-pepper recipe to keep things simple.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1-inch thick round steak (either bottom, top or eye)
- 1 tsp ghee or coconut oil
- 1 tbsp organic grass-fed butter
- Kosher/flaked salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
With the following tools:
- Dutch oven
- Food-safe plastic bag*
- Candy/oil thermometer
- Paper towels
- Blowtorch or Skillet
Got them all? Let’s SteakEat!
Part 2: Sous Vide Bottom, Top or Eye Round Steak in 5 Simple Steps
Now that you got all the ingredients, we’ll do just that – sous the steak and sear its sides, using either, blowtorch (my favorite) or frying skillet.
Let’s look into the details.
Warm Up the Water
Clip the candy or oil thermometer onto your Dutch oven and pour in warm water from the tap – it should at least touch the very bottom part of the probe to let us read the water temperature.
There should also be enough to fit the steak!
Transfer the pot inside the actual cooking oven and start heating it up to the required temperature (more details in the next step).
I recommend using oven instead of stove top, because it tends to be easier to control its inside temperature.
This is very important for sous vide (without immersion circulator).
Round Steak Sous Vide Temperature
So, what’s the required temperature?
Your goal is to heat up the water bath to the temperature you wish your steak cooks to.
This depends on your preferred level of doneness.
For example, I am a rare steak fan, so I will heat up water in the Dutch oven to 50C / 122F.
If I wanted medium-rare or medium bottom/top/eye round steak, I would instead go for 55C / 130F and 60C / 140F temperature respectively.
Hence adjust your oven temperature accordingly and check the temperature readings frequently.
Get the Steak Ready
Now that the water temperature is taken care of, prepare the steak for cooking.
Pack it into the food-safe plastic* bag, taking all the air out as you go (freezer food bags work pretty good for that).
Avoid using salt and pepper at this stage, because salt will dry out the steak and pepper will burn at high heat later on.
* Apparently even food-safe plastic is not entirely safe and still produces some chemicals during cooking.
At this stage the best alternative is using silicone bags, which can be used multiple times.
Sous Vide Cooking Times
After your round steak is packed and the water is at the temperature you nee, place the steak inside the Dutch oven water bath.
Make sure the water temperature is still stable after a couple of minutes – you might notice that it goes down initially (colder-than-water steak is bringing it down), but it should return to the initial point.
Now, important question – how long to cook it for?
Here are sous vide cooking time guideline approximations:
Thickness Required cooking time
0.25 inches 23 minutes0.5 inches 31 minutes1 inch 60 minutes1.5 inches 1 hour 45 minutes2 inches 2 hours 50 minutes2.5 inches 4 hours 15 minutes3 inches 6 hours
So our bottom/top/eye round steak with 1-inch thickness will need around 1 hour to finish cooking.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean that it will overcook, if you leave it there for 2 hours – the water temperature is still at 50C / 122F (in my case).
In fact there is a chance that it will get even tenderer, because there is more time to break down that tough connective tissue, so give it a try next time – just remember to monitor the water temperature.
Contemporary ovens are quite good with temperature, but if you find yourself using sous vide more and more, I recommend you either get a sous vide minioven or an immersion circulator like this – they are well worth the investment.
Sear the Surface
After the steak is ready, take it from the water bath and open up the bag.
Be careful handling it, because there will be moisture inside.
It’s important you keep in mind that this is still practically a raw piece of steak (it never reached really high temperature to kill bacteria on the surface), so you should handle it accordingly and with care.
Place it on a plate and pat it dry with paper towels – it really helps with developing the golden crust on the surface.
Next thing – season it with Kosher salt. I recommend you start with 2-3 pinches per side as a rule of thumb.
Now we are going to sear it using either, blowtorch (my favorite) or skillet.
Searing Round Steak with Blow Torch
- Light your blow torch and turn it to the highest heat.
- Apply the flame evenly to the surface of the round steak – you need to develop a good level of browning on each side.
- Once you are done, season your steak with freshly ground pepper and let it sit for 2 minutes to help stabilize juices inside.
- Cut and serve.
Caution: Open fire is dangerous – handle it with care.
SteakEat Tip: Make sure it’s a professional blow torch, you are using, because smaller versions do not have enough power to sear the steak properly.
Searing Round Steak in Skillet
- Add a tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil to the skillet and heat it up. You will know it’s ready, when you see gentle smoke coming off it; then wait for another 10 seconds to make sure the pan is hot enough.
- Put the steak inside the skillet and sear it for 1 minute per side so it develops the surface browning.
- Once ready, rest the steak for two minutes on a plate, season with freshly ground black pepper, cut and serve.
SteakEat Tip: Once you are 30 seconds away from finishing to sear the second side, add the tablespoon of organic grass-fed butter to develop even more browning and flavor!