Pre-searing vs Not Pre-searing Steak Before Cooking Sous Vide

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Christina Wylie is an award-winning writer, author, editor, food stylist, recipe creator, entrepreneur and radio host whose work has been featured in The Times & The Sunday Times, Time Out (Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong and Dubai), Traveler’s Digest, Fah Thai Magazine, ...

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Recipe Temp 129.2 F / 54 C
Recipe Time
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(NB: These steaks were cooked for slightly longer than we would normally cook them in order to exemplify the results.) When you're trying to minimise finishing time as much as possible - as you often are with sous vide - it might seem counterproductive to sear a steak both before and after you cook it sous vide. But as this video shows, quickly searing steak in a hot pan before cooking it sous vide can actually help to avoid overcooking in some cases - it can help to attain more even cooking. This is because the pre-searing is done while the steak is cold as opposed to hot. When the steak is hot through, there is more risk of the meat immediately under the surface overcooking. The pre-seared steak also needs less time in the pan when finishing. Owing, again, to the fact that you're searing while cold, less moisture seemed to leave the pre-seared steak in this experiment, which resulted in a more tender steak. In addition, there are benefits to the way the steak tastes. After pre-searing, the surface of the steak has more flavour, which releases further during sous vide cooking. There are definitely pros and cons of pre-searing and not pre-searing, but if done correctly, you can gain great results with pre-searing. The main benefits are: - Less overcooking near the surface of the meat (more even cooking) - More flavour
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Ingredients for 2

  • 2 steaks

Directions

  • Step 1

    Pat steak dry with kitchen roll

  • Step 2

    Sear in pan with oil on high heat very quickly

  • Step 3

    Season with salt and pepper and place in bag with butter

  • Step 4

    Cook in the Anova sous vide immersion circulator at 54C for 30 minutes (cooking time depends on thickness of steak and cooking temp depends on desired doneness)

  • Step 5

    Put butter and thyme in pan on high heat

  • Step 6

    Sear steak just until you get a good colour

    • Finishing Steps

    • Step 1

      Put butter and thyme in pan on high heat

    • Step 2

      Sear steak just until you get a good colour

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129.2 F / 54 C Recipe Temp
Recipe Time
Prep Time