Seasoning steaks for sous vide can be as simple or as complex as the cook desires. A tasty steak seasoning can be made from the trio of salt, pepper, and garlic. Alternatively it can be an intricate rub created to harmonize with the other dishes. Here we present a few tips for achieving perfect steak seasoning for sous vide steaks of all kinds.
The Uses of Salt
Salt is unlike any other seasoning in that its effects extend far past flavor. Salt also affects the moisture retention of the steak, and thus its tenderness. If you have a few hours to spare, try salting your steak and covering or wrapping it tightly, then letting it rest in the fridge. What this does is allows the salt to penetrate the meat, unwinding some of the proteins and causing them to enfold a larger amount of water. This helps the meat hold onto its moisture as it cooks.
On the other hand, if you decide to cook the steak just before you start cooking, hold back on the salt. Added just before cooking, the salt will pull water out of the steak, drying it out a bit. Also, this water will contain flavorful proteins which will be lost when the steak needs to be patted dry before searing. Instead season the steak with salt and a bit more pepper just before searing. This will meld the seasonings into the flavorful crust that develops.
Enhancing Steak Flavor
One of the primary draws of steak is its rich, delicious flavor, and one of the primary goals of seasoning the steak is to enhance and strengthen that flavor. To prep your steak for best flavor development during the sous vide process, rub it with a light drizzle of oil before applying spices. Many of the flavor compounds in spices dissolve in oil. The oil rub will help the meat absorb these flavors while it comes up to temperature. Alternatively, season the steak savory ingredients like soy or Worcestershire sauces. These deepen the steak’s flavor both with their meaty essence and their additional salt.
Save a little of the spice or spices used on the steak until after it comes to its internal temperature. Add them just before searing, after patting the steak dry and while the Cinder Grill comes to temperature. This both reinforces their flavors in the finished steak and contributes to the burnished crust. This crust is the hallmark of a perfect steak, and this step will make it perfectly seasoned.
Harmonizing With Other Components
While choosing seasonings for the steak consider the accompanying dishes. For instance, smoked paprika adds a smoky flavor which goes well with most potato dishes. Fresh green vegetables such as broccoli or green beans may pair well with herbs such as thyme and oregano in the steak’s rub. As well as reinforcing flavors, one can also consider contrasts. Imagine a spicy steak rubbed with a dash of cayenne pepper and served alongside a cool salad with a creamy blue cheese dressing. Considering the harmonies and contrasts possible between flavors can provide bold new ideas for seasoning your steak.
Seasoning a steak for sous vide cooking can be very easy. While the sous vide raises the steak to its target internal temperature, it also provides a considerable advantage of time to develop flavor. There are many variations of a well seasoned steak. The perfect steak seasoning is the one you like best, and these tips can help you achieve that perfect steak, perfectly cooked on the Cinder Grill