When sous viding a steak, lets say at 130F for 90 minutes, the steak will be completely red on the inside. However, the steak will look a pale gray on the very outermost portion. The point of sous vide is to get the temperature throughout the meat to be even with the temperature of the water, so it shouldn't go above 130F. I didn't take a picture of my steak specifically, but the picture below is reasonably accurate to what I was seeing.

Raw, post sous vide, post sear Raw, post sous vide, post sear

What is the difference in the meat on the inside vs the outside if it is not the temperature? Why is there this difference in color?

  • 1
    I think this is likely answered by cooking.stackexchange.com/a/32619/1672, though I hesitate to call it a duplicate.
    – Cascabel
    Oct 23, 2020 at 17:04
  • That definitely helps a lot, one thing I still don't quite understand is if that's caused by a combination of temperature and lack of oxygen, why doesn't the inside of the meat also go gray when using sous vide? The center of the meat should have less access to oxygen than the outside
    – Alex
    Oct 23, 2020 at 18:31
  • "The center of the meat should have less access to oxygen than the outside" -- should it? I admit, I don't know the answer to your question. But, meat is oxygenated naturally, some oxygen might remain, and the act of preparing the steak for sous vide might actually remove oxygen from muscle fibers on the surface of the steak even as oxygen is left inside the steak. Or there could be some other molecular activity going on when sealing up the steak. I think if one doesn't actually know what's going on, one should be careful to assume they know what's not going on. Oct 24, 2020 at 0:20
  • 1
    All that said, I think it's entirely possible that the change in appearance is just from the surface getting water-logged, as the cooking process causes the muscle fibers to tighten and squeeze water out to the surface. The photo you have in the middle looks just like what I see meat looks like when it gets extra water on it. Oct 24, 2020 at 0:21


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