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I have a nice piece of prime beef (for the sake of example, let's say NY strip or filet; I observe this with both cuts). I cook it sous vide at 130 degrees for 45 minutes. I immediately pat it dry and sear in a very hot cast iron at 1m/side.

If I immediately plate it, and cut into it, it is grey throughout. The texture and juiciness is undoubtedly medium-rare, but the color is uniformly grey.

If I slice the steak post-sear and let it rest for a few mins, it turns red (I've read that to achieve the rosy medium rare color, the myoglobin in the steak needs to contact oxygen). Slicing pre-plate isn't a problem with ribeye or strip, but when I'm making a filet, I'd prefer to plate it unsliced.

My question is, is it possible to achieve the red color without slicing the steak? i.e., is there a technique so that when I make the first cut into the steak, it's already rosy red? If I rest it either following the water bath, or following the sear, will that do the trick?

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    In your question, you appear to contractict yourself. Many in the US consider 125F (52C) to be medium rare, not 130F (54.5C). Then you sear it in the stove top which will increase the internal temperature. What color do you want? Red = rare. Bright pink = Medium rare. Dull pink to gray = medium I am totally unfamiliar with slicing into cooked beef causes it to turn ed Please clarify? – Cynetta Sep 21 '18 at 18:05
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    I suppose that is a contradiction if you want to be pedantic, but it is also irrelevant to the question - the 5 degree difference and being pedantic about red versus pink don't change the fact that if I cook the meat at this temperature, slice it, it eventually turns red/pink. If I immediately cut it, it is grey throughout (non-red/pink). My question is whether it's possible to achieve a non-grey color at this temperature, without slicing pre-plating. What does the difference between red and pink have to do with the question at hand? – Brian Mansfield Sep 21 '18 at 18:11
  • Are you doing Sous Vide -> dry -> sear -> rest -> cut? or sear -> cut -> rest? Are you actually cutting it and watching it literally "turn red before your eyes? Regardless of what temp you cook it to, the myoglobin should not "turn" the meat red. Unless you're talking about the colour of the juices that run out and you're letting more of it escape,? – talon8 Sep 24 '18 at 18:34
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My observation for cooking steak sous-vide and avoiding this issue is as follows:

  • If I cook it in a complete vacuum, it really stays gray for a longer time. Cooking in a zip-loc bag helps me shorten the time the steak turns red.
  • Normally you’re not supposed to rest the steak after sous-vide cooking. However, resting can also help (without cutting into it) the steak turning red from gray.
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There's a phenomenon called blooming that occurs with sous vide cooking. Basically the interior red/pink meat needs to be exposed to oxygen in order to take OB that rosy hue. So to answer your question, no you have top slice it. If you're eating a steak whole you can cut into it and watch it change color over time.

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    What is OB? Please edit into the answer. – Jan Doggen Feb 14 at 12:10
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    "...to take on that rosy hue" is almost guaranteed to be what was meant. This seems like a simple mistype on a mobile device to me, as very little else would fit, contextually. – Paul Beverage Feb 14 at 17:06

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