Weeknight Sous Vide Ribeye is more public service announcement than recipe. It’s a message from one amateur chef to another to illustrate just how consarned easy it is to make a perfect steak on a weeknight using the sous vide method. It takes a little bit of special equipment but very little skill. As I write this I truly stand on the shoulders of giants. This ‘recipe’ is an amalgamation of wisdom and technique from various internet resources, most notably seriouseats.com, Guga’s excellent Sous Vide Everything Youtube channel, and the respective websites of immersion circulator manufacturers Anova and Breville/Joule. Each site and internet chef have slightly different ideas about how to achieve perfection, but I’ll be honest with you: simpler is better. There are all sorts of techniques out there for doing a final baste in butter and rosemary or throwing fresh herbs and butter into the sous vide bag. I won’t dissuade you from experimenting but to me it’s all guilding the lily.
What is important is finding yourself a quality piece of meat. If you live in the United States this is easier than it’s ever been. Even my local discount grocer routinely stocks fresh USDA Choice grade beef, which is the price of admission for a decent steak. Lower grades, like USDA select, simply don’t have enough intramuscular fat to be tender or tasty. I can usually find a Choice grade ribeye or strip steak for around twelve dollars about, and if you shop the sales you can often find them for half that, especially around the holidays.
Once you’re comfortable cooking grocery store steaks, and if your circumstances and budget allow, I’d recommend finding an honest to goodness meat market. There are a few high end grocery stores with decent meat counters, but try to find yourself a real old-school butcher shop. I’ve got a place down the road from me that run a meat market out front and process game out back. Most of the steaks in the place are hand-cut from fresh sides of beef delivered daily by local ranches. I will almost always buy steaks from a particular farm. Like many local ranches their meat is not graded by the USDA, but from the marbling I’d guess these straddle the border of Choice and Prime. Compared to grocery store cuts there’s a noticeable difference in freshness and flavor. But buyer beware: a high price doesn’t always translate to a better steak; a local upscale market offers expensive organic, grass-fed steaks that taste like sandpaper.
- 2 boneless ribeye steaks (choice grade or better, 1-2 inches thick)
- kosher salt or coarse sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- garlic powder
- neutral oil (such as canola or grapeseed)
- Prepare your sous vide bath with the immersion circulator set to 131 F.
- Liberally season the steaks with roughly equal amounts of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Be sure to season all surfaces of the steak.
- Seal steaks in a bag using a vacuum sealer and place in the water bath OR place steaks in individual freezer bags and remove excess air using the water displacement method. Allow to cook in the water bath for about 90 minutes.
- Remove steaks from plastic bag. Reserve juices for another use and pat steaks dry with a paper towel.
- Add 1/4 cup of neutral oil to a cast iron pan and heat over high heat until oil starts to smoke. Add the steaks and fry for one minute on each side until a dark brown crust is formed. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.