Tag Archives: sous vide

Tenderizing with salt? Really? Perfection at last!

After some more googling (how did people ever find out anything before google?) I came over an interesting article about marinating with salt. Yes, salt. I thought salt was bad for meat because it extracts moisture, and so, I am sure, do you. Read the article yourself here, don’t take my word for it. According to the article, the salt is “pulled” into the meat due to reverse osmosis, and once inside, it breaks down the muscle fibers.  Sounds reasonable. A little moisture is lost, but very little, and it doesn’t affect the overall juiciness. So I thought, why not do a comparison, one with salt, and one with some popular ordinary marinade? As seen on the picture above, the one on the left was covered with large flakes of sea salt, and the one on the right was marinated in a bag filled with a popular marinade found here. The left one was covered in salt on all sides, and I applied generous amounts of minced garlic as well. They were both left for 2 hours in room temperature before they were sous vide’ed for two hours at 136 deg fahrenheit (58 degrees celsius). Before cooking, it was clear that the tenderizing action had kicked in on both steaks. The result, after searing in a very hot pan, is seen on the right. Yummy! But do you notice the color difference? For some reason, the marinated one got a darker color, although they were seared at the same time in the same pan. Interesting. So, how was the end result?

Two fantastic, juicy, tender, mouth-watering steaks!

What a great result! I was hoping maybe one of them would be great, but these were both spectacular in their own ways. The one to the left, the salt marinated one, was extremely juicy, tender, and had a mouth-watering taste of mild salt and garlic all the way through the meat. If you like garlic like I do, this one will make you very happy indeed. The one to the right, the marinated one, was slightly less juicy (but still very juicy!), slightly more tender, and with a lovely taste of different spices and sauces part of the marinade. Actually, my fiancé preferred the marinated one, while I think I preferred the salt-treated one. But they were both great steaks! Finally, success at last. I couldn’t be more happy. I’d like to thank the authors of the two aforementioned articles, especially Jaden Hair for the tips on the salt-tenderizing thing. I would never had guessed that would work 🙂  I had made some nice Béarnaise sauce to go with the steaks, but we didn’t even touch it! The steaks actually had so much flavor and juiciness, none of us wanted to obscure it with sauce. Wow, that’s a first for myself.

An interesting note for the end: The salt-treated steak was actually marginally more juicy than the marinade treated one. How about that.

Happy sous vide’ing everyone!

If first you don’t succeed…

So, my first sous vide session was something of a disappointment, and what should have been a perfect steak turned out juicy but chewy. Something was wrong. Could my cheap-o meat be to blame? I went to my local store and opted for some Entrecote steaks which was label as having a tenderness of 5 on a scale from 1 to 6. The price was higher than for my last batch, but not frighteningly higher, and the meat looked good. So, I invited a good friend over, and cooked the meat for 2 hours (these were quite a bit thinner than the last one, around 1 inch) at 58 degrees. Yes, that’s one degree hotter than the previous attempt, I thought the last one was a bit to much on the red side perhaps. This time, the result was much better. Clearly, the cheap-o meat was to blame, but I still wasn’t happy. This steak was fine, but far from perfect. It should still be more tender. Maybe, in spite of the fancy cooking method, it needed some tenderizing? Some marinade perhaps?

This needs more experimentation. Check out the next post! 🙂


My first attempt!

Finally, I’d gone to my local store and bought a big, good looking piece of sirloin meat. It was from a cheap brand, but I reckoned that wouldn’t matter as I was going to sous vide cook it anyway. Any meat gets perfect with sous vide right? Because of the thickness of it (probably a good two inches) it was supposed to cook for 4 hours at 134 fahrenheit (57 degrees celcius).  So, after 4 hours I took it out, and noticed that it hadn’t changed color at all from the cooking. This is to be expected, and is why you’re supposed to sear it briefly on all sides at high temperaturs in your frying pan. I did (be careful

 to dry off any water or moist with a paper towl first), and the end result looked beautiful! Wow, I could hardly wait to sink my teeth into this one 🙂

Great was my horror therefore to discover that my beef was chewy! How could this happen? The temperature was right, the time was right, and it looked great, both on the outside and on the inside. Sure it was juicy, but it took too much force to cut it, and it was chewy in the mouth. This was definately not right. Could my cheap meat be to blame? Was it simply not tender enough, simply so low quality that any amount of clever sous vide’ing wouldn’t help? Or was my 

timing wrong? 

The only way forward was to try agin. Check out my next post! 🙂