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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Banjo's Recipe - Sous Vide Skirt Steak Carne Asada

Last Update: 5/16/11, 7:38 PM

I an in the process of developing this recipe to cook, so this post will be modified several times over the next several hours/days before the full, final version is posted, so keep checking back.

Prep Time Sauce
1. If making your own adobo sauce from my recipes, then use suggested prep time from there. Wherever you obtain the adobo sauce/paste, you will need about 1 cup of adobo sauce/paste. If you prefer to buy your adobo, see references and links below.

Prep Time Meat about 15 mins
- 15 minutes for Sous Vide to come up to temperature of 135 dF.
- 10 minutes to get meat cut and bagged, done while Sous Vide coming up to temperature.

Sous Vide Cooking Time
24 hours at 135 dF.

Grill Time
- 30 minutes to start and charcoal to become fully lit.
- 5 - 10 minutes for meat on the grill depending on your grill and your preferences of toasting to meat.

1 1-gallon size zip lock bag
charcoal and grill
1.5 - 3 pounds of skirt steak depending on your desired portion sizes and number of people. 1.5 pounds should be about right for 2 people.
1 cup of adobo sauce paste for 1.5 pounds of skirt steak. 1.5 - 2 cups for 3 pounds.

Steps (partial - evolving. See 'Big Picture' below)
1. Cut skirt steak into serving portion size, and place into a 1-gallon zip lock bag, remove air, zip lock closed, and place into refrigerator.
2. Add water to Sous Vide and adjust setpoint to 135 dF. Place lid on Sous Vide.
3. Prepare Adobo sauce using this link.
4. Obtain bagged skirt steak from refrigerator, open up zip lock and pour in adobo sauce.
5. Remove air from zip lock, zip lock closed. Try to spread the meat around so it isn't overlapping, but some overlap is OK.
6. Place into Sous Vide at 135 dF.
7. Cook for 24 hours. The meat will be cooked in an hour or so, but the additional time will make the meat more tender. Work with whatever is convenient for you. If it would be more convenient to go to 30 hours, then that is OK. If more convenient to go to 8 hours, then that is OK too. Anywhere in a range of 8 hours - 30 hours is OK; the longer it stays in, the more tender it will become, but you don't want much! We like the tender/resistance at 24 hours.
8. 20-30 minutes prior to taking bagged meat out of Sous Vide, start up your charcoal grill. This will allow the charcoal to take be completely started and at maximum temperature before using. Place grate onto grill to get hot.
9. Use a wire brush to remove any carbon from previous cooking.
10. At alloted time for cooking meat in Sous Vide, remove meat from Sous Vide and place onto plate to take to grill. Because the meat is cooked, you don't have to worry about cross contamination from raw food, so you can use this plate to take out to the grill and to bring back in from the grill.
11. Place all meat onto grill surface directly over hot coals. it won't be here long! (see below for additional insight)
12. Toast the meat on a side until finished before flipping to other side. You will only turn once. To judge when to flip, lightly lift meat with tongs to examine heated side. When it looks like your desired amount of toasting has taken place, flip. Do not re-flip!
13. When both sides have been toasted to your desired doneness, plate the meat and take to serving area.
14. If desired, you can remove some of the liquid from the bag and place into a bowl and microwave to bring up to a temperature for use as a dipping sauce.
15. Any leftover meat can be kept in the sauce and rezipped and returned to refrigerator for use in the next couple of days.
16. If reheating within a couple of days, bring the Sous Vide back up to 135 dF. Once at temperature has come to setpoint, place the bagged meat into Sous Vide and warm back up to desired temperature. Allow 1 hour or more for this step. Do not overlap meat or you will have to go for a longer time. You want to ensure all meat has come up to 135 dF before consuming. It is OK to return to the grill at this point or to a skillet if desired, but be careful of obtaining too much toasting as it may make it bitter.

Big Picture
1. DoneI'm going to purchase Skirt Steak. I don't know what the standard sizes are yet at the supermarket, so not sure how much I will be buying.
2. DoneI'm going to marinate the skirt steak in a marinate suitable for Carne Asada. TBD: how long to marinate, and what will the marinate be.
3. DoneI'm going to cook the skirt steak via Sous Vide Supreme. I'm going to target 135 dF. TBD: How long I will cook the skirt steak in the Sous Vide Supreme
4. Charcoal Method - DoneI'm going to brown the meat. I will split the meat into two (2) servings so I can brown one (1) piece in the skillet while browning the other on the grill.

4.1 Cast Iron Skillet browning. Important: Pat the meat dry with a paper towel prior to placing into the skillet. This is important because water and hot oil can cause serious burns from splatter when the water on the marinated skirt steak hits hot oil. When browning in a skillet, it is important for all of the meat to make contact with the skillet, and for heat to transfer from the skillet to the meat. It's also very important for the skillet to be very, very hot. Usually, you don't cook items in a pan on high heat because it is difficult to get the heat to transfer fast enough from the outer edges to the middle of the meat without over cooking the exterior, or under cooking the middle. However, since the meat has already been cooked to the proper temperature via Sous Vide method, this is not a worry. Instead, you now have the opposite worry - you want to brown the outside while not transferring any additional heat into the middle because the middle is already at the perfect temperature via the Sous Vide. Therefore, you want high heat to brown the outside fast for a short amount of time so the transfer of heat into the middle of the meat is at a minimum.

Several methods are commonly used to assist in transferring heat from the skillet to the meat. Since liquids are of higher density than air, the amount of energy that is contained within liquid at a specific temperature is higher than the amount of energy in air at the same temperature. Also, heat migrates, or transfers, faster in liquids than in air. This all means that cooking in liquids will result in the food being cooked faster in liquids than in air. The Sous Vide method makes use of a water bath for this reason, instead of being an air enclosing oven.
- Water: Since water boils at 212 dF (at sealevel, lower temperatures at higher altitudes), the maximum amount of heat that can be transfered
- Oil: The temperature of oil is limited only by its smoke point. Some common oils have smoke points from 200 - 500 dF. (see references below)

Oil to use: Because the food will not be absorbing much oil, the fat content of the oil is not an issue in this cooking method.

Maximum Flavor: Because I'm after the maximum flavor, if I can obtain it, I intend to use Lard. However, if that's not available, then I intend to use Crisco. I would prefer not to use this oil because it has been hydrogenated, which results in the type of fats that the USDA deems least desirable. Lard has a smoke point of about 370 dF.

4.2 Grill Method. I use a Weber grill. I will place enough Lump Charcoal (this is not briquettes) to provide an area bigger in diameter than the meat it will be cooking. Since the meat will not cover the whole surface of my grill, I will not place charcoal under the whole surface of the grill; only the area where the skirt steaks will cook. I start the fire (my Weber grill has a propane starting lighter), then allow about 20 - 30 minutes for the charcoal to get very hot. I place the grill over the charcoal during this time so it burns off any residue and sterilizes the grill surface. I use a wire brush to remove any carbonized material from the grill in the area that will be cooked. Once the charcoal has reached the desired cooking stage, I use the palm of my hand to quickly glide over and above the grill area to determine the hottest points of the grill. I place the meat directly onto the grill, directly over the hottest point of the grill.
I will leave the meat here, occasionally lifting to observe the amount of browning. When the desired amount of browning has taken place (for your desires), I flip the meat over and repeat for the other side. I do not flip other than the one time. Depending on how hot your charcoal is and the distance from the charcoal to the grill surface, the time can vary. However, expect anywhere from 2 - 8 minutes per side. Since the meat has already been cooked, the plate it was brought on to the grill should not have had any raw meat on it and can be used to place the meat on to bring it back inside. Note: since the meat has already been cooked via Sous Vide, you are NOT trying to cook the meat through - you are trying to brown the exterior only.

Recipe Steps
- Under development. Check back for updates.

- Under development. Check back for updates.

Suggested Changes
- Under development. Check back for updates.

References and Useful Links
Banjo's Recipe for Adobo for this Carne Asada
Commercial Adobo
A good web site.

An excellent web site for Sous Vide cooking

Reference: Oil Smoke Points

Reference: Oil Smoke Points


Lump Charcoal

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