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Pre-searing steak before sous vide

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Hi, I've been using the sous vide method to cook steak for a while. However, due to laziness, I've never pre-seared, only post-seared... I have a few questions for those of you guys who sous vide:

1) do you pre-sear, post sear, or both and why?

2) I watched this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZenV... and the chef claims that we would get sick if we pre-seared and then put the steak directly into the bag and started sous videing. So, my question is, do you also chill your meats after pre-searing?

3) do you pat dry after sous videing also (before the final sear)? chefsteps mentioned that it browns faster if you leave the juices on which I found weird.

thanks in advance!

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  1. I only post-sear. I don't see how pre-searing and then sous viding could make you sick, but it's an extra step that I find totally unnecessary.

    1. Sous vide, pat dry & sear. Never understood the idea of pre searing sous vide.

       
      1 Reply
      1. 1) I only post sear. It works well, and I'm too lazy to pre- and post-sear. There have been a few interesting tests of pre-searing vs post-searing vs both for sous vide meats. Here is one example:
        http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/03/ho...
        Generally speaking, pre-searing alone comes in last in these tests for flavor and appearance. OTOH, the biggest disadvantage of post-searing is the possibility of cooking the meat past bath's temperature, so make sure you rest meat for a little bit before searing it and use a pan that's hot enough.

        2) No. Dude in the video is plain incorrect. I could see an argument for letting the steak cool enough that it's not making steam before bagging it... maybe. Anything beyond that doesn't make any sense, and should be technically a tiny bit riskier if anything.

        3) Yes, I blot dry. Generally, dry meat browns faster. OTOH, a certain marinades - especially those that contain sugar - can sometimes be left on deliberately if you're grilling, and these can caramelize and form a glaze.

        1 Reply
        1. On the contrary, presearing will disinfect the surface of the meat which can be a source of some funky flavors and aromas when you open a bag after a longish cook. Beef is considered to be sterile on the inside. If you don't want to presearing you can drop the bag in boiling water for a brief disinfection before continuing with the SV bath

          2 Replies
          1. re: scubadoo97

            True. I do a brief submersion in near-boiling water for longer cooking times with beef, as you said, to limit those off flavors and improve the margin of safety. I haven't tried pre-searing instead for this purpose, as it seems to me that the quick dunk in very hot water would kill surface microbes more thoroughly, or at least with less chance of recontamination. But if you've tried pre-searing alone with good results, I'll take your word for it that it works well enough.

            But I think it's important to emphasize that this is mainly for medium and long cooking times. Off-flavors are not something I would worry about when simply cooking a steak until evenly heated through and then searing to finish.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              True CBAD. for a steak it's not really an issue. For the record I've done post sear most often. For tougher cuts that I expect to cook for several hours I've done a quick pre sear with a torch. Just took lest time than boiling water