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Soak your steak says Cook's illustrated

The VirginianThe Virginian Posts: 275
edited 3:28AM in EggHead Forum
Dear All,
This month's Cook's Illustrated includes an article on cooking steaks that offers an interesting suggestion: soak your steaks before cooking. The technique calls for popping your steak from the fridge into a plastic bag and putting it in a bucket of 100 degree water for an hour or so before cooking (that was for an inch and a half steak so make adjustments as appropriate). This raises the core temperature of the steak to about 70 degrees. Doing this reduces cooking time by almost half, producing more even cooking throughout the steak. You don't have to do the top third of an inch well done in order to get your middle medium rare. The author also indicated that the process reduced the livery offtaste that sometimes happens to steaks (had that last weekend at a restaurant, ech!). He got the idea from McGee's "On Food and Cooking" for those of you who are interested. [p]I plan on trying it this weekend. It was so interesting I thought I would pass it along now. I will report on the results. [p]Brett


  • Clay QClay Q Posts: 4,435
    The Virginian,
    Verrrrrry interesting. Thanks for sharing the technique. Doesn't do anything for the appearance of the beef steak by soaking in warm water but the cooking results are logical. So far I'm doing fine with the reverse sear method but I'm always looking for better ways to cook meat....... Hummmmmm, I'm wondering how soaking would work with thick cut pork chops(pork T bones)?
    Clay, going for a second cup of java to think this over.

  • The Virginian,[p]Interesting. I've always left mine out at room temp a couple of hours, covered to bring up the temp of the steak before I cook. What's the difference? Not sure if it is up in the 70's when I put them on the grill, I'll have to check next time. Sounds like it's time for a test!
  • Spring ChickenSpring Chicken Posts: 10,243
    The Virginian,
    Interesting. I wonder if you could achieve the same results by nuking it in the microwave for a minute ot so? But even if it works well I think I will stick to my old way of doing it. I kinda like the chared outside and red inside.[p]Spring "Cow Eater" Chicken
    Spring Texas USA

  • JasonJason Posts: 45
    The Virginian,[p]You arent actually soaking the steak in water as the steak should go in a sealed plastic bag and then put into water. At room temperature you would have to leave it out on the counter for a long time to reach 70° internal. just my 2 cents.[p]Jason
  • The Virginian,
    I found this interesting as well. Don't know why an hour or so, sitting on the countertop wouldn't provide the same effect. They used this method for london broil made from a bottom round. For this kind of cut, it may be more important to start with a more uniform temp in the meat. For a true steak cut, a cold center may be less of a concern.

  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    <p />The Virginian,[p]I was reading the same article last night. Since replacing my vacuum sealer I have been playing with Sous Vide cooking, so I may give this hot water bath/grill method a try. Besides flavor enhancement, the even doneness of the steak is attractive to me. (That is the main reason I like cooking standing rib roasts at low temperatures). [p]Seasonings could be added prior to vacuum sealing and it seems like the bath time is about the time I let the small heat up for the cook anyways.[p]~thirdeye~

    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • locolongball,
    The author said that after leaving his steak out for an hour, the temp in the center had only dropped by a few degrees, and that leaving it out long enough to come to room temp in the air would not be safe. [p]Brett

  • Spring Chicken,
    With this technique apparently you still get charred outside and red inside, what you don't get is the middle layer of "well done" meat (at least not as much of it). [p]Brett

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Essex County,
    i think the whole "sealed in a bag" thing, together with the relatively quicker warm-up with water versus air, means that Cook's Illustrated is advocating something safer than what they might feel is 'risky' food handling.[p]100 degree water removes the error of say, telling us to put it on our counter at 'room temp for an hour' and then Little Old Fanny Farquar leaves her steak out for an hour at 90 degrees in St. Petersburgh FLa

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • The Virginian,
    Hmm...after looking at the responses and thinking the logic through again...why not take a room temp piece of beef and put it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes???? Won't this have the same effect of even doneness? And, if the waterbath was to bring the temp up fairly quickly (to reduce bacteria growth), freezing the outside should do even better. Plus, I've found that partially frozen meat picks up smoke more effectively....[p]Paul

  • Essex County,
    Give it a try that way and we can all compare notes this weekend! [p]Brett

  • The Virginian,[p]Awesome, thanks!
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