With so many cuts of steak out there, what is the best steak cut for sous vide cooking?
Let’s go steak cut by steak cut to find out the details of various steaks and how to sous vide each steak cut.
Best Steak Cut for Sous Vide
Other Names: Beef Tenderloin Steak, Tender Steak
The Filet Mignon is the most tender cut of steak, while still being lean. The tenderloin filet is the most expensive steak cut, but it offers the best texture that will feel like it’s melting in your mouth.
Sous vide cook it for 1 to 4 hours at 132ºF / 55.6ºC for a perfect medium rare center that’s juicy and delicious. Longer for more doneness.
Other Names: Scotch Filet, Beauty Steak
The juicy and full flavored Ribeye is a highly popular cut among meat connoisseurs and everyday chefs alike. It can be served boneless or bone-in, with the bone-in variety commonly nicknamed the “cowboy cut” in American restaurants. The high marble and rich fat content found in Rib eye steaks gives it a looser grain that results in a tender, rich and buttery texture once cooked. The Ribeye is the best cut of steak of sous vide for me.
Cook your Ribeye steak in a sous vide water bath at 129ºF / 53.9ºC for 2 hours.
New York Strip Steak
Other Names: Shell Steak, Kansas City Steak
Cut from the short loin of the cow, the New York Strip Steak comes from muscles that don’t do too much work. That makes it one of the most tender cuts of meat you can find, only second to the Tenderloin. Typically served boneless, the lean muscle fibers present in a New York Strip Steak cooks evenly and quickly. You get a great beefy flavor with great texture, especially when prepared via sous vide.
New York Strip Steaks should be cooked at a temperature of 130°F / 54.4ºC for 2 – 4 hours.
Other Names: Porterhouse
Fans of the TV show Seinfeld will probably find this name familiar – T-Bone.
The T-Bone steak is a giant cut of steak – enough for 2 people or a very hungry person. This cut combines a New York Strip and delicate filet mignon separated by a T-shaped bone in the middle – hence the nickname T-bone. It’s packed full of great beefy flavor and has a perfect tenderness.
To sous vide a porterhouse, the perfect sous vide temperature comes at 131ºF / 55ºC for 2 hours for a juicy medium rare center that is still pink.
Prime Rib Steak
Other Names: Standing Rib Roast
Compared to the Ribeye, the Prime Rib steak cut contains more bone, fat and connective tissue as it is a larger roasting cut. This results in more complex flavors present in the Prime Rib.
Since the cut itself is so tender already, a sous vide temperature of 131ºF / 55ºC is just perfect for a nice medium rare center.
Other Names: Top Sirloin
The Sirloin is lean and full of juice and flavor. Moderately tender with no bones present and very little fat makes it good for both grilling and frying. The Sirloin also provides excellent value for money for those looking for quality cuts at an affordable price, tasting delicious in any way that it’s cooked.
At 131ºF / 55ºC water bath temperature, cook your sirloin for 2-4 hours and finish it off with a quick, high-heat sear on each side with a kitchen torch.
Other Names: Onglet, Butcher’s Cut, Hanging Tender
Known as onglet in France, it’s a highly popular cut of steak prepared in most French brasseries. The hanger cut isn’t one of the more well-known cuts of the cow, but you can ask your butcher for it.
When at the butcher shop, the savory flavor and tender qualities of this cut is astonishing and because it isn’t as popular as the other more well-known portions of the cow, you can afford to spend relatively little for maximum payoff – if you cook it right.
To sous vide your hanger steaks, go for a 130ºF / 54.4ºC water bath temperature and set the timer for 2 – 4 hours.
Other Names: London Broil
The Flank Steak, found in most fajitas recipes, is sinewy and full of hardworking muscle fibers that can sometimes be tough to chew on. The texture from the flank steak can be considered low quality, hence its very attractive affordability factor. However, a braised Flank Steak produces a large number of servings that makes it perfect for the buffet table.
Sous vide your Flank Steak at 132ºF / 55.6ºC for 1.5 hours for an inch thick cut, or 2.5 hours for a thicker cut.
Other Names: Philadelphia Steak
This is the go-to choice for carne asadas because of its flavorful qualities and great marbling. It’s just as savory as a Ribeye at a fraction of the price. A quick marinade is a great way to amp up the flavor of the Skirt Steak.
Sous vide your skirt steak at 130ºF / 54.4ºC for 2 hours for a great tasting medium rare quality.
Flat Iron Steak
Other Names: Top Blade Filet
The Flat Iron Steak is cut from the shoulder, or “chuck” of the cow. It’s tender and marbled, with rich flavor, and the cut itself is of a uniform thickness and shape. The flat iron steak only needs a simple marinade and takes on the flavors of the ingredients it’s combined with for a great taste experience.
Sous vide your Flat Iron Steak at 135ºF / 57.2ºC for 2 hours for a juicy, tasty medium rare doneness.
Steak Cut Temperature and Time Chart
Here is a temperature and timing guide chart you can follow generally to get the doneness of steak you desire in your home kitchen. Different steak cuts and thicknesses will require different times.
|Medium-Rare||129-134ºF / 54-57ºC||1 to 4 hours||Juicy, tender, and still pink|
|Medium||135-144ºF / 57-62ºC||1 to 4 hours||Less Juicy, less tender, pink center|
|Medium-Well||145-155ºF / 63-68ºC||1 to 3 hours||Barely any juice, tougher cut, barely pink|
|Well Done||156-170ºF / 69-76ºC||1 to 3 hours||Almost no juice, tough meat, no pink|
Steak Criteria to Consider When Buying a Steak Cut
The tenderness and cook time of your sous vide steaks will depend on the thickness of the cut you use. In general, 1 inch is the ideal thickness for steaks that are being cooked following the time and temperature chart above. If you have a sous vide steak thicker than 1 inch, a good rule of thumb is to add an extra hour of cooking time per inch.
Meat with more marble delivers a more robust flavor compared to leaner cuts. Look for a happy middle ground between lean and fatty cuts to get the best of both worlds.
Unless you’ve got a huge bankroll to spend at the butcher shop, be conscious of the prices you pay for the premium cuts. Don’t think that the more money you pay, the better the sous vide steak will be. You might just get better value out of a cheaper section if you know how to cook it right.
There are still other cuts out there like short ribs, chuck roast, and round steak you can try. You can also even sous vide frozen steak if you have it.