Sous-Vide Flank Steak
Sous Vide cooking is one of the easier ways to make consistent delicious dinners. Get on board and try this perfect sous vide flank steak!
Sous-Vide Flank SteakJump to Recipe
I started experimenting with Sous-Vide cooking a few years ago and it has since become one of my favorite techniques in my kitchen. It sounds fancy and you do need some equipment for it, but once you get the setup, it’s actually one of the easiest ways to prepare recipes like this Sous Vide Flank Steak because there’s almost zero chance for error.
Read on to learn all about sous vide cooking and why this flank steak recipe is a favorite!
Table of contents
My Intro to Sous Vide Magazine
Last fall I was sent a few copies of Sous-Vide Magazine and was immediately blown away by the content. For one, it’s so beautiful it’s almost an art book. The photography makes me hungry. But mostly, I like the recipes. They are tailored specifically for sous-vide cooking which is definitely a niche, but if you are willing to dive into the world of sous-vide, I think you’ll find that you can easily make some stunning dishes.
Case in point: THIS FLANK STEAK.
Why you should try Sous Vide Flank Steak
I’ll be honest, I was a little concerned when the recipe called for cooking it for 10 hours. I’ve never sous-vide cooked anything that long and was a bit concerned about leaving the setup running overnight. After thinking about it though, I’m not sure why. I frequently leave my slow cooker going overnight and it’s perfectly safe. Leaving my water immersion circulator going all night is probably safer honestly.
So, I made this steak. It’s one of the best steaks I’ve ever had in my life. It required almost no work minus a little equipment setup.
What is sous vide cooking?
For those who do not know, sous-vide cooking is a method of cooking where you immerse an item in very specific temperature-controlled water for a long period of time. The constant and steady temperature cooks food in a very different and more gentle way than any other cooking method. It also lets you make stuff well in advance actually, which is a nice benefit.
Sous vide cooking works best for stuff that needs very exact temperature OR needs a long time cooking. Something like this sous vide rack of lamb works beautifully because overcooking lamb is the worst thing you can do to it. But also sauces like this sous vide hollandaise sauce are wonderful because they are no fuss and blend up perfectly ever time.
Sous Vide Equipment Basics
My opinion on sous-vide equipment is that the really perfect is the enemy of the pretty perfect. There is a ton of sous-vide equipment you could buy to cook something this way and, yes, it will make your life easier. Specialized bags, vacuum sealers, and large containers for even water circulation are all available.
But, the only thing you really need to cook something sous-vide is the actual sous-vide device. I don’t have anything else and I cook stuff sous-vide all the time. You just have to be flexible on some recipe steps. At the end of the day though you are still safely cooking items at a very exact temperature and will have good results!
There are two popular sous-vide devices on the market these days. The Anova and the Joule. The Joule is a bit more expensive but heats water very quickly and is a bit sleeker. It’s what I use but both tools have great reviews.
As far as bags and sealers, I don’t buy special bags for sous-vide cooking yet. You do need them if you are cooking at very high temps but for average temperatures you can use BPA-free sturdy plastic bags from your grocery store. I also don’t have a vacuum sealer although it’s on my wish list! I just immerse the bag in water and it pushes out all the air and then I seal it with the item submerged. There’s a great tutorial on that method from Serious Eats about halfway down this post.
So, what you do need is a large pot of some sort and a sous-vide cooker, but everything else can be improvised a bit until you can find it in your budget to expand your sous-vide arsenal!
How to cook flank steak using sous vide cooking
My favorite way to cook flank steak is typically on the grill so I was excited to try this method.
I seared the steak as directed first. The steak is still basically raw at this point. It just gets some caramelization going to sear it first.
Then season it liberally and use the water displacement technique to seal the steak in a bag (or use a vacuum sealer if you’re fancy)!
Next is the part that shocked me. Cook this steak at 141.8 degrees F. for 10 hours. TEN HOURS! Yes, I did it overnight. The only possible danger here is that over a long time you can actually lose a fair amount of water. I’d guess about ¼ of my water evaporated during the cooking process so make sure you have plenty of water in your pot.
The finished steak is a thing of beauty. I used the juice in the bag for the curry sauce that was suggested for the steak.
Making the curry sauce for the steak
In the original recipe, they actually had instructions for cooking the curry sauce sous-vide as well, but I just made mine on the stovetop. It came together perfectly although probably would’ve been smoother if I had sous-vide cooked it.
The finished steak was super tender, cooked completely evenly, and just flat out one of the best steaks I’ve ever had. My wife described this meal as the fanciest thing I’ve made in a while and I would agree. It’s our little secret that it was actually very easy as well.
Sous Vide Flank Steak with Curry Sauce RECIPE
Sous-Vide Flank Steak
- 1 ½ – 2 pounds flank steak
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons Montreal Seasoning
- ½ cup shallots sliced
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup beef stock or juices from sous-vide
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup raisins
- ½ cup cashews
- Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat and sear steak for 1-2 minutes per side. Remove and let steak cool completely. After chilling, rub steak with Montreal seasoning on all sides and seal in large Sous-vide safe bag. Cook at 141.8 degrees F. for 10 hours.
For Curry Sauce:
- Add all ingredients to a medium pot and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Then blend and keep warm until serving. If the sauce seems very thick, add a little water to thin it out.
- Serve steak and sauce over a bed of sweet potato mash. (I just boiled a few sweet potatoes and mashed them with some coconut milk, salt, and pepper.)
Did you make this?
Snap a photo and tag @macheesmo so I can see your work.
44 Responses to “Sous-Vide Flank Steak” Leave a comment
I have been thinking about investing in one of the sous-vide circulaters for quite some time. This article just sealed the deal! Thanks, Nick! You are now responsible for causing me to spend more money! ;)
Oops…one question. A slow cooker tends to tenderize tougher cuts of meat after long periods of time. Am I correct in assuming this won’t be the case in sous-vide cooking since the meat will not normally reach a high enough temperature to break down the connective tissues, etc.?
Hey Larry! Welcome to the sous-vide club. Ha! Actually you can sous-vide at any temperature (below boiling temp obviously). So if you wanted to do something like a roast or short ribs you technically could as the circulator goes up that high. BUT, if you do cook at higher temps in this method you have to buy the specialized bags. Ziploc bags, while they are fine at lower temps like 130-140 range, they will break down if they get too hot. My Joule app has a sous-vide short rib recipe, for example, that cooks at 170-175. Easy to do but just need to at least by the specialized sous-vide bags for it. CHEERS!
For a little more insight, there are two ways to get a tough cut of meat to tenderness. The tough texture of the meat is caused those cuts containing more collagen. There are two ways to turn the tough collagen into tender gelatin and get the desired texture, high temp cooks or cooking the meat for a long time. The high temp cooks are what you are used to in the slow cooker, relatively speaking of course. You’re looking at temps of 180 to 200 degrees, and getting tender in a few hours. With sous vide you get access to another option, the long cook. Collagen will turn to gelatin at low temperatures, but it can really take some time. Look for short rib recipes that cook for anywhere from 18 up to 72 hours, but are at temperatures that are closer to the one from the recipe you read above. You don’t get the ropy fall apart texture of braised/stewed meats, but it is tender and closer to the texture of a steak with all the flavor of the tougher cuts. It’s a pretty cool part of the sous vide repetoire.
I am a big steak lover but have never tried cooking it Sous-Vide before. It looks amazing though, so I am going to give it a go. I’ll let you know how it goes!
How different would it be if you sous-vide’d at 200 degrees for 4 hours and 141.8 degrees for another 1-2 hours, or however long to get to that temp?
You would end up with a very very overcooked steak. You want to cook it at whatever you want the final temp of the thing to be. Steak is medium rare around 140 degrees so that’s what you cook it to. 200 degree steak is NO BUENO.
Maybe I was too simplistic. But if you cook it for X hours at a high temperature, but before the internal temperature reaches 141.8 degrees, then set the temperature to 141.8 degrees until finished…would that affect the consistency/tenderness/etc?
I mean, really, sous-vide is an extremely slow process, with the benefit of it being hands off and fail-proof. But if you were willing to make sure you didn’t pass your final cook temperature, would speeding it up on the front-side affect the quality when perfect temperature is reached?
Short answer: yes, you will have a different experience if you start hot and attempt to coast it in, not unlike cooking a steak in a pan and finishing it in the oven. While the core temperature of the steak will be the same, you will have overcooked significant portions of the meat in between the edge of the steak and the core. If you start at the desired temperature, you can have a steak that is evenly cooked from edge to edge. In this article, Nick sears before bagging the steak, bit I’m a bigger fan of the post sear for thinner cuts like a flank steak.
P. S. For thinner, tender cuts like steaks you can cook for a much shorter time than you think. You really only need to bring the core temp to your desired temp, there’s no reason to hold it. It doesn’t get much worse by holding for a few hours, but you can have a tender steak, especially with a thinner cut in 60 to 90 minutes.
Thanks for the explanation!
I have read some amazing things about sous-vide and would love to try it! Your post gives me some confidence that you don’t have to have all that fancy equipment – thanks!
We have, but only once and it was a cheat zip-top bag version on the stove. Excellent pork chops, though!
I have been cooking Sous Vide about a year now! I love how it cooks beef! Chicken! Salmon! It really is a great way to prepare food.
I am going to try this recipe, it sounds really good!
I ordered a Sansaire Sous Vide device from William Sonoma. It arrives today and I am anxious to put it to use! I’m on overload with information and recipes. I am following several Sous Vide groups on Facebook and gleaming great advice from Sous Vide users!
Stacey, I have been using my sansaire for a year, it works terrific!! Enjoy!
Not yet but I absolutely LOVE to cook and this is something that I am very interested in learning about.
Thanks, I like to cook and this looks very cool. My birthday is coming up. This is tops on my list.
Looks like a great way to cook. Thanks for inspiring confidence in the kitchen.
Just a few weeks ago I starting cooking with a Sous Vide. I LOVE it!!! I have almost used it everyday so far cooking chicken thighs, strip steaks, burgers with home ground and pre-ground beef, flank steaks (my favorite so far), and eggs. Next up is chicken breasts then of course the recipe above.
I have never tried Sous-Vide Cooking.
Not yet, but hopefully I will soon!
I have not tried it but I would really like to!
Not yet but I like to cook and this is something that I interested in learning about.
Yes, I have! It’s also one of my favorite ways to cook.
Looks absolutely amazing. The whole sous vide things has always seemed a bit intimidating to me.
Flank steak is one of my favorites – would love to learn more about this process!
Haven’t tried it but there’s a first time for everything!
I have never tried it but I would like to.
No I haven’t tried this before but I’m always interested in learning new cooking techniques!
I haven’t tried it yet, but really want to.
oh my steak, that looks melt in mouth delish!
cant wait to try!
My wife would absolutely love Sous-Vide Cooking to try daily.
A fascinating and amazing Sous-Vide Cooking, my wife would definitely enjoy having everyday.
My lady friend likes great tasting meals, and Sous-Vide Cooking would be just marvelous for all occasions.
I really like good food, and the wonderful Sous-Vide Cooking, I would just love and enjoy having all of the time.
Captivating and fabulous Sous-Vide Cooking, my girlfriend would like to have and enjoy all of the time.
The awesome Sous-Vide Cooking would be just right, for the day and my wife.
I love sous vide. I use this method twice a week.
Absolutely backwards from how you are to do this correctly. Look around folks. You don’t sear first then Sous
Hey Dee, thanks for your input. I’ve tried it both ways and both work fine. The problem with searing after is you have to be really sure you dry the steak out completely, which can be hard because of all the juices. Both are fine though.
I just got the Anova machine and have begun experimenting.already. I had the best sirloin steak with a two hour water bath before searing at the finish. The left overs were amazing cold too. Today I had a disappointment when I cooked chicken breasts at 65.5C for about 1.25 hours. The meat was chewy so we had to pan fry the sliced meat at the end. Next time I will try for longer and more spices too.
Question:. Do you ever cook the meat sous-vide in advance and then refrigerate it? The idea is preparing the meat in advance. When it is time to serve I imagine it can be reheated in the sous-vide for a shorter period of time and then seared to finalize? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Hey Jack! Awesome. Glad you are liking it. RE: chicken… I’ve had success at slightly higher temp (like 66-67C) for longer. I did chicken breasts for two hours at that temp and liked the results. Chicken thighs I would do even longer probably. If you’re doing skin-on chicken, it definitely helps to sear it afterward.
Re: cooking in advance, absolutely! Once it’s cooked, it’s definitely safe to store it for later and eat it even cold if you want. Or you could reheat quickly in a skillet or in sous-vide. Sometimes I’ll just do a quick sear to reheat whatever I’ve previously cooked. Hope that helps!
Thanks so much for replying! I spoke with a restaurant chef who spices and cooks his chicken breasts for 8 hours at 62.5! He then cuts up the chicken, batters it in panco and egg whites andthen quickly deep fries them. This makes chicken fingers that are quite out of this world .
Last night I made flank steak (bavette de beauf) at 55.5 for 10 hours. It came out fantastically, especially as I seared it on the BBQ for 3 mins a side. The sauce was based on slow fried onions and the juices from the bag, mixed with cold tea (we always save our left over tea for sauces and soups), mustard, port and a bit of balsamic vinegar. I mashed the onions up before serving. Yum!
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