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Imagine your favorite steak cooked to perfection with that perfect combination of the hard crust and a juicy center. You finally managed to control the heat just right to lock in the juice and turn it so it had a nice even cook all the way through. Now imagine that it turned out this good every single time you cooked, and you used your Instant Pot to do it.
Let’s go one step further. You open an application on your phone at work that activates your Instant Pot to cook sous vide steak before you get home. Now, you can enjoy the scent of grilled meat and anticipation as you sear it to finish cooking.
We will cover what sous vide is and which Instant Pot models you can use. Then we will walk you through how to cook sous vide steak and answer some FAQs.
What Exactly is Sous Vide?
Sous vide is cooking that utilizes controlled temperature to produce consistent results. Vacuum-sealed plastic pouches with food items cook in a hot water bath, which allows for precise temperatures to cook the food evenly. The food temperature cannot rise higher than the water temperature, and it cooks sealed with its own juices.
We cook slowly because we cook food at the desired final temperature – lower than what we would use with traditional cooking methods. Sous vide consistency depends on maintaining the precise temperature throughout the process. The more precise your tools are, the more consistent your cooking will be.
What Instant Pot Models Can Cook Sous Vide?
Instant Pot Max
Instant Pot designed the Max to have a sous vide cooking function. The official Sous Vide Program with this model keeps the temperature within +/-1°C (+/-1.8°F). This is the best potion you have for cooking with Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Ultra
Adjust the temperature settings for the Ultra 60 to get the exact temperature to cook sous vide. The Ultra lacks the accuracy of an appliance dedicated to cooking sous vide but will cook evenly and has received numerous positive reviews.
Instant Pot Wifi
You can use this device, but the thermometer at the bottom and may not accurately read the entire pot. Calibrate it by setting the desired temperature for sous vide using a phone app, running the program, and measuring the water temperature with a thermometer. Factor in any difference the next time you use it for sous vide.
Cooking Sous Vide Steak
Seal the steak and marinate in a sous vide bag.
Set the desired temperature and add the steak. Fattier steaks require a higher cooking temperature, and lean steaks should cook a few degrees lower.
- Rare 120-128°F (49-53°C).
- Medium-Rare 129-134°F (54-57°C).
- Medium 135-144°F (57-62°C).
- Medium-well 145-155°F (63-68°C).
- Well done 156°F (69°C) or higher.
Cook the steak for the recommended time based on the cut.
The thicker the cut, the more cooking time it needs. A half-inch thick steak requires 30 minutes, while one that is two inches thick requires two hours. Sous vide steak is cooked evenly throughout though it may appear grey.
Pre-heat and season your cast iron skillet with butter and oil (or bacon grease) before adding the steak. Reverse searing the steak on a cast-iron skillet for that delicious crust on the meat to really enhance the flavor. High-temperature searing hastens the process and leads to a thinner crust to enjoy the end-to-end texture of sous vide steak more.
Dab, don’t squish, the steak with a paper towel to remove excess moisture from the surface. Steam from that water cooks your meat further as you sear.
Add the steak to the hot skillet and let it cook for a minute before flipping. The key is to let it cook undisturbed, then you can flip it and sear the other side.
Sear the fat cap on your steak if you have it. Sous vide does not render and soften fat the way traditional cooking does.
Cut and serve the steak – no need to let it rest.
Things to remember when sous vide cooking
- Cook longer at lower temperatures to ensure that harmful bacteria are killed; most die when cooked at 130°F (54.4°C).
- Vacuum seal your bags when cooking sous vide – the exception is an egg with a shell.
- Use BPA-free bags.
Can you sous vide in Ziploc bags?
Yes, you certainly can! The bags soften at ~195°F (90.6°C) and melt in boiling water (212°F/100°C). Most recipes require temperatures below 190°F (90°C).
Place ingredients in a Ziploc and close it up with about an inch unzipped. Submerge the bag in water leaving the unzipped part above the waterline. Zip that last bit when the pressure from the water forces the air out.
You can definitely cook delicious sous vide using your Instant Pot. We only covered steak, but you can cook so many other dishes with this method. Learn new recipes, try them and enjoy this new way of cooking food.
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