If you’ve been low carbing for awhile like I have (it’ll be 8 years this June), then you’ve heard over and over again that grass-fed beef is the way to go. There are lots of good reasons – primarly because the cows are eating what they are supposed to. But what seldom gets mentioned s how hard it is to get a good tender steak out of the stuff. Grain fed beef is popular for a reason, that stuff can be really tender. Especially an nicely marbled USDA prime ribeye, yum yum. The only problem is that the tenderness is a result of feeding a cow an unnatural diet of grains, using antibiotics to keep the cow alive whilst eating an unnatural diet, forcing lots of cows to live in crowded nasty feedlots, etc. etc. etc.
So, to be a good low-carber, it seems you need to learn to like those grass fed steaks. But dammit, they can taste like shoe leather….
Over the years I’ve tried various cooking methods – sear in the pan, finish slowly in the oven usually worked best, I also used the Flavor wave oven heavily. But my results were always hit and miss. Once in awhile I got a nice juicy tender steak, but that was more the exception than the rule.
Then I discovered something called sous-vide. I found about this on the Big Green Egg owner’s forum. They call it hot tubbing a steak. You toss the steak in a bag, vacuum seal it if you have the tools for that, and toss the steak into some hot water. Hot tap water from the sink will do. If you have an actual hot-tub, yes, you can use that too. Leave it in the water for an hour or so, and then take it straight to a very hot grill.
That works great, and I highly recommend it, for grain fed steaks or grass fed. But here’s where I took it further. I read somewhere that you can safely sous-vide meat for several hours. Ah ha, I thought, maybe eight hours or so in the soup would be just the thing to soften up the toughest grass fed steak.
Let me walk you through the process.
Here’s the assembled tools and ingredients.
A grass-fed strip steak from uswellnessmeats.com, pueblo rub from Nantucket, the rub doesn’t have any salt in it, so we’ll fix that with some sea salt, a Reynolds vacuum bag and vacuum device (some day I’ll get a proper vacuum machine but this stuff works fine for now), and a rice cooker.
Ah, my poor rice cooker, it sat neglected for all these years, since I started low carbing. Luckily I kept it, cuz it’s an excellent sous-vide device.
I hit both sides of the steak with olive oil, add the rub and salt, seal the steak in the bag, fill the rice cooker with hot tap water (luckily our home tap water comes through at just the right temp – about 130 degrees).
After dropping the steak in the water, I head to work. It’ll sit there for about 9 hours or so.
When I get home, its time to fire up the grill. But first, if it’s Friday. Or Saturday. Or Tuesday. Time for a drink!
And then its time to start ‘er up.
When the grill is good and hot – around 600 degrees in this case, take the steak out of the water. Its basically cooked at this point, of course, and I suppose you could just eat it as is, but I like to grill! And I like a good char!
So, onto flames yee go!
On a grill this hot, you only need a couple of minutes per side.
Here’s how it looks on the plate.
Lemme cut that sucker open, show you what really tender sous-vided and grilled to perfection grass fed steak looks like.
And is it tender? Trust me, this is one of the most succulent, tender steaks you will ever taste. Magnifico! IMHO, grass fed steaks cooked this way taste way way way better than the best grain fed steak. After eating this stuff, grain fed just tastes bland, like they way Budweisers might seem after you’ve developed a taste for Guinness. It didn’t take long to polish this one off. Notice the neglected salad, mahahaha.
A sad footnote: As you can see, I live in an urban area, and unfortunately, the local fire dept. banned gas and charcoal grills in buildings like ours. These pics were taken about a year ago, before I got the bad news. Now I can legally use an electric grill, and I can get ok results with it. Its no big green egg, tho.