Sous vide from the freezer is becoming my favorite “I’m too busy to cook” trick. My local grocery store had a sale on Certified Angus Beef porterhouse a month ago; they were so gorgeous that I bought two. One was dinner that night. The other I salted, vacuum sealed, and stored in the freezer for later.
Last Saturday was “later.” I was working on my blog redesign all day 1, and I didn’t have time for an elaborate dinner. At 4PM I took a break from the keyboard. I filled my sous vide with water, dropped in the frozen porterhouse, and set the temp for 134°F. (My kids like their steak a little less rare than I do.) While I was in the kitchen, I put a few russet potatoes in the oven, along with my cast iron skillet, and set them to time bake. Five minutes, end to end, and I was back on the internet, fixing 404 errors. 2
At 6:15, my wife asked if we were ever having dinner. I dragged my focus away from the laptop, stood up, and said dinner is at 6:30. That got me the “fifteen minutes? I’ve heard that one before” look.
I tossed a salad, pulled the potatoes out of the oven, and moved the preheated pan from the oven to the stove top. I patted the porterhouse dry while a couple of tablespoons of butter melted in the pan; A quick sear on each side, basting all the time, and the steak was ready.
Even better? The comments at the table. “Ohh…this steak is so good.” Twenty minutes of actual time, and dinner earns raves? Try a sous vide porterhouse. You’ll be a hero.
No sous vide water bath? No vacuum sealer? No worries. See the notes section, below, for bubba sous vide instructions.
Recipe: Sous Vide Butter Basted Porterhouse (From the Freezer)
Sous Vide Butter Basted Porterhouse (From the Freezer)
Inspired by: Jeffrey B. Rogers, Porterhouse Steak Using the Constant Flip/Hot Oil Method [youtube.com]
- Sous vide setup (I use an Anova Precision Cooker)
- Heavy skillet (I use a 12 inch Lodge cast iron skillet)
- 1 thick cut porterhouse steak (1 1/2 inches thick, about 2 pounds)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of butter
1. Sous Vide the porterhouse
Sprinkle the porterhouse with the salt and pepper, put it in a large (gallon) vacuum pouch, and vacuum seal. (The vacuum sealed steak can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for months.) Set the sous vide to 136°F/58°C for medium. (125°F/51.5°C for rare, 131°F/55°C for medium-rare, 141°F/60.5°C for medium well.) Drop the porterhouse in the sous vide water and cook for 1 1/2 hours to 6 hours. (Cook for at least 2 hours if the steak is frozen.)
2. Butter baste the porterhouse
While the steak is cooking sous vide, preheat the pan over medium-high heat. (I preheated my cast iron pan in a 425°F oven for at least 20 minutes, then moved it to the stove top over medium-high heat.) Remove the porterhouse from the vacuum bag and pat dry with paper towels. Add the butter to the pan, and the moment it stops foaming, add the porterhouse. Sear the porterhouse, basting with butter, until it is well browned, about 1 minute a side. Remove to a cutting board, carve, and serve.
- A thick cut porterhouse is a lot of beef. After carving – everyone gets slices of the tenderloin side and the new york strip side – it will serve at least two people, and up to four normal eaters. I try to keep the bone for myself, but Diane usually steals it from me.
- The bone in the porterhouse can result in uneven browning – one side of the steak has good contact with the pan, the other does not. Use the butter basting to even out the browning, concentrating the butter on the less browned parts of the steak.
- No sous vide water bath? No vacuum sealer? Use bubba sous vide: a beer cooler and regular zip-top bags. They’re fussier than a sous vide water bath and a vacuum sealer, but they do the job.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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