After much experimenting with sous vide, I find that I like aspects of grilled food, and aspects of sous vide. Sous vide gives you tenderness and even cooking. Grilling gives you that excellent outside texture.
Tonight, I experimented with doing a tri-tip in a little different way that I hoped might combine the benefits of each. First, I put the meat in the sous vide machine at 134 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 1/2 hours. (It’s recommended to cook these for 8-24 hours, so this was under the minimum time they recommend, but already far longer than the pasteurization time needed.) Then I slapped them on the grill at 400-500 degrees for four minutes a side (far more than the 30 seconds to a minute they recommend).
The result was heavenly. I lost none of the Maillard reaction you get that makes the sear necessary. But the inside was immensely tender and just the right shade of pink. (It didn’t hurt that, unlike my initial effort, I have now learned to cut against the grain — a process that requires cutting the piece of meat in the middle, and then cutting each one a different direction.)
I may experiment with even shorter sous vide times in the machine. (I once tried 24 hours, the highest recommended time, and I do not recommend that — the meat had essentially turned to mush. Tasty mush, but mush.) I think longer grilling times and shorter sous vide times will get me the best of both worlds: meat that is cooked perfectly throughout, but which retains that grilled texture that makes grilled food so appealing. I definitely recommend that anyone who gets the machine lean towards the shortest cooking times possible.
Did anyone who got one of these machines (I know a couple of you did) enjoy the results? If so, let me know.
P.S. The promo pack is still available on Amazon, but it’s now $479. When I recommended it to you, it was at a historically cheap $395. Shoulda listened to me then!