Monday, February 13, 2012

Perfect Carne Asada at Home (Sous Vide style)

As you know, Dave and I love to make restaurant quality food at our house.  You may have been to a very nice restaurant and seen "sous vide" style cooking.  It's meat, in a bag, in hot water at a specific temperature for hours and then taken out and seared on each side for a perfect seared outside and a very tender, medium rare center.  Well, the machine to do this costs $299, so we decided to figure out a way to do this at home WITHOUT spending $300.

So, here's how we did it:  (and it turned out great!)

Start by making a marinade.

Add 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice to a bowl.

We love garlic, so mince and add 6 cloves garlic.

Add 1/2 cup soy sauce.

Take 3 chipotle peppers from the can, dice and add to bowl.

Add your seasonings:
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper 
Chop and add cilantro, probably 1/4 cup.
Add 1 Tablespoon white vinegar

That's your marinade!

Take 4 lbs. skirt steak.
(This is a great way to make a cheaper cut of meat very tender and flavorful)

Tenderize the meat.  You can use a mallot, a jacardi (or both), or even the back of a plate.

 Now take a Vacuum Seal bag (from the foodsaver).  Put 1/3 or 1/4 of the meat in the bag.

Add the marinade to each bag.

Seal each bag.
Once all bags are sealed, put them in the fridge for awhile (a couple hours if you can).

Now here's the fun part!
Take a Crock Pot and fill with enough water to cover the vacuum seal bags.  You'll want the water to reach 134 degrees (the internal temperature of medium rare meat).  You can either put a bowl of water in the microwave for 1 minute at a time until it reaches 130-135, or you can put the water in the crock pot and let it heat up to temperature.  We've done both, and both work.

Put the meat (that's in the bags) in the water.

Once the water reaches around 130-135 turn the crock pot to warm.  It will maintain this heat the rest of the time!  You'll want some sort of thermometer in there to regulate the heat.  (and if you've met my husband, you know that everything you cook needs a thermometer to regulate heat...)
Let this meat stay in the water for at least 45 minutes but not longer than about 8 hours. (it'll start to get mushy past that)
After that time, take the bags out of the water.
Remove the meat from the bag.

Heat a skillet, cast iron worked great!

Sear on each side. (about one minute each side)

Serve perfect Carne Asada!

I don't have any pictures of it sliced with the perfect outside and medium rare middle because we ate it all up without taking any pictures!  Delicious!!!


  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. lime juice
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce
  • 3 chipotle peppers (from a can), diced
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground oregano
  • 1 T. black pepper
  • cilantro, chopped (about 1/4 c.)
  • 1 T. white vinegar
  • 4 lbs. skirt steak
  • Mix marinade together
  • tenderize meat
  • add marinade to meat in vacuum seal bags
  • Let set in fridge for 2 hours.
  • Put bags in 134 degree water for at least 45 minutes.
  • Remove from water. Remove from bags. Sear on each side in skillet for 1 minute on each side.
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  1. I would definitely only cook it at 110, You need to get a good char on it after sous vide, if you cook it to 135, then try to get a nice char on it, it's not medium rare anymore, it's well done.

  2. For the person suggesting cooking in a water bath at only at 110, 110 over that much time will encourage bacterial growth. You can look up the charts showing time/temp graphs for cooking various things in sous vide such that you won't give yourself food poisoning. The recipe as it is written is good. If I were to magnify on anything, I'd suggest that once you remove it from the bag after the multiple hour 135 degree F water bath, dry it really well with paper towels and let it sit for a couple minutes. Dab it dry again with new paper towels right before hitting the pan. This will both allow the temp to drop just a bit but also dries the surface as much as possible making the searing vastly faster. Then drop in a touch of oil and sear it right away in that ripping hot pan. Done right the interior temp will not change at all and you'll also get the char you want on the exterior, so it will be charred and medium rare still inside. If you're using cast iron, start heating the pan a good 15 minutes prior to searing. Cast iron holds a lot of energy and it takes a while to get an even heat. But once you get it ripping hot, it stays ripping hot. FWIW.