How to Sous Vide a Steak Without Immersion Circulator

Last Updated on by SteakEat

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This article explain how to sous vide a steak without immersion circulator, using a simple recipe and minimum cooking utensils.

If you were looking for a steak cooking method that gives a perfect result EVERY time, then sous vide is certainly for you.

This simple cooking technique, which doesn’t require you being physically present at the cooking spot, is what I really like about it.

 

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All you need a thick, good quality (i.e. organic grass-fed) steak, a food-safe plastic bag and a warm water bath for about an hour.

After that we only need to sear the steak’s surface and we are good to go – l o v e l y! ūüôā

As you see, we are not using immersion circulator – an expensive (but useful) device that really helps to control the temperature inside the water bath.

We will instead rely on our ovens to make things happen.

I hope you are intrigued…let’s dive in!

Contents:

 

 

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Part 1: Ingredients & Tools You Need

Once again, the idea behind this guide is to cover the actual TECHNIQUE, that’s why the recipe is very simple.

Here is what you need:

  • 1-inch thick steak
  • 1 tsp¬†ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp¬†organic grass-fed butter
  • Kosher/flaked salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

And the following tools:

  • Dutch oven
  • Food-safe plastic bag
  • Oven-safe candy/oil thermometer
  • Paper towels
  • Blowtorch or Skillet
  • Meat tongs

The Dutch oven is not a must-have. Any heat-resistant oven-proof casserole or saucepan will do just as good (ceramic is better for temperature maintenance though).

Ready? Let’s SteakEat!

 

 

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Part 2: How to Sous Vide a Steak Without Immersion Circulator in 5 Steps

 

And now we are going to look closely at the details and see how to actually sous vide a steak to perfection…

However I must warn you.

If you are using sous vide method first time, you might run into a relatively time-consuming process, because you will need to become ‘good friends’ with your oven and other tools behaviors.

Once you get to know them all, you will find sous vide without immersion circulator much easier.

Let’s go!

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Step 1: Water & the Dutch Oven

Everything starts with the Dutch oven – fill it up with warm water (taking it from the tap is fine), so there is enough of it for both, the steak you are cooking and the candy/oil thermometer.

We’ll use it to help us control the water temperature inside the water bath (look at it every once in while during the cooking process, as you might need to adjust the temperature as you go).

Place the Dutch oven inside the actual cooking oven (stove top will also do) and start heating up the temperature (next step for more details).

I totally recommend oven over stove top, because temperature control (i.e. thermostat) is better at maintaining the temperature we need and that’s essential for sous vide cooking.

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Step 2: Sous Vide Steak Cooking Temperature

And now – the temperature. Which one to choose..?

It all depends on the doneness level you would like to choose.

For example, I am a rare steak fan, so I will only heat up the water to 50C / 122F (exactly the inside temperature of the rare steak).

If you like, medium-rare or better still medium, go for 55C / 130F and 60C / 140F respectively.

Easy! ūüėČ

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Step 3: Get the Steak Ready

Now the easy part – put the steak inside the food-safe plastic* bag (e.g. freezer) and zip it, letting all the air out.

You want to have some form of vacuum inside, so try as good as you can!

Note that we are NOT adding any salt or pepper at this stage.

They go in later, because salt, when used for a long time, will deteriorate the steak’s surface drying it out, while pepper will get burnt at high temperature, when we are seariung the steak at the end (it will give¬†off charred flavor).

* Unfortunately even food-safe plastic is not the healthiest choice, because some chemicals still affect the food you are cooking (and even storing). At the moment of writing, sous vide community believes that reusable silicon bags is the safer option.

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This¬†is Page¬†2 of the ‘How to Sous Vide Steak’ guide. Click here for Page¬†1.

 

Step 4: Sous Vide the Steak

Once the ‘steak bag’ is ready,¬†check the temperature inside the Dutch oven water bath.

In my case, once it’s at 50C / 122F, I’m good to go – drop the steak gently inside the Dutch oven and close the oven again.

Pay attention to the thermometer, because the water temperature might change after you put the steak inside, especially if it was right out from the fridge (not a problem with sous vide).

So I put the steak inside and the reading now shows 45C / 113F (instead of 50C / 122F).

I then wait for 10 minutes (with the Dutch oven inside the preheated oven) and check the oil/candy thermometer.

If the temperature has reached 50C / 122F, I leave the oven setting unchanged and still come back in 10 minutes to check whether the temperature has not increased further.

If the temperature is still low, increase the oven’s temperature by 10C / 20F and check the thermometer in a couple of minutes.

Again, the first time sous vide cooking (especially without the circulator) IS time-consuming, but it gets much, much easier as you do more of it (for example, you know at which temperature setting your oven produces your desired level of doneness).

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Step 5: Cooking Times for Sous Vide

How long to sous vide your steak in the water bath?

It really depends on its thickness…here is the table:

Thickness                           Cooking Time

0.25 inches                        23 minutes
0.5 inches                           31 minutes
1 inch                                   60 minutes
1.5 inches                           1 hour 45 minutes
2 inches                               2 hours 50 minutes
2.5 inches                           4 hours 15 minutes
3 inches                               6 hours

As you can see, a 1-inch thick steak will need at least 1 hour to get ready, but…

It doesn’t mean that if you sous vide for longer than 60 minutes, you will end up with overcooked, dry piece of beef.

After all, the temperature (provided you controlled for it) is stable at¬†whatever you want it to be (50C / 122F for me), so the steak can’t cook more than that.

Taking the point further…longer sous vide cooking is especially beneficial for tougher cuts like flank, skirt and chuck, as they have more time to tenderize at low & moist type of heat.

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Step 6:¬†Brown the Steak’s Surface

After the 60 (or more) minutes have passed, take the ‘steak bag’ out from the warm water bath, cut it open and place it on a plate.

Remember that it is still technically a raw piece of meat, so you must treat it accordingly.

Now we are going to sear the steak’s surface in order to fix the browning – I want you to have a delicious steak!

To do that, you can either use my favorite blowtorch or standard pan-searing.

Let’s look at the blowtorch first, but before that…

  • Pat the steak dry using paper towels to help browning develop easier and quicker.
  • Season the steak with coarse Kosher salt (it’s still not the time for pepper).

 

How to Sear Steak With Blowtorch After Sous Vide

  1. Light up your torch and set it to the maximum temperature.
  2. Carefully sear both sides, so that they develop rich browning.
  3. Once ready, add freshly ground pepper (here it is) and let the steak rest for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Cut & serve – you are good to go!

SteakEat Tip: If you have a blowtorch, make sure it’s a powerful, professional type. There are many ‘creme brulee’ torches, which are just not powerful enough to sear the steak.

 

No blowtorch? Not a big deal…here is the standard method.

How to Sear Top Sirloin Steak After Sous Vide Cooking Using Pan

  1. Add the teaspoon of ghee/coconut oil inside the skillet.
  2. Start heating it up at high heat on stove top.
  3. Once you see gentle fumes taking off the skillet, count till 20 and put the steak inside – this way we can guarantee the skillet is hot enough.
  4. You will hear gentle sizzling sound – sear each side for 60 seconds. Flip with meat tongs.
  5. Once ready, transfer the steak on a plate.
  6. Season with freshly ground black pepper and let it rest under tin foil for 3-5 minutes.
  7. Cut & serve.

SteakEat Tip: Looking for extra flavor and browning? Add a tablespoon of organic grass-fed butter 30 seconds before you are done searing the steak and flip it 2-3 times, letting the surface absorb that extra flavor and browning.

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steakeat-approvedFREE Bonus:

[ninja-popup ID=2775]Download this ‘How to Sous Vide Steak in Oven’ Guide in PDF format.[/ninja-popup]

It is convenient, EASY-to-print and includes the awesome photos from above!

That’s pretty much it…

 

How to sous vide a steak without immersion circulator?

You’ve seen the method. ūüôā

 

Happy Steaks!

SteakEat

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