Sous Vide Chuck Roast on the Cheap
Sous Vide is a cooking technique by which you vaccuum-seal food in a plastic bag and drop it into a water bath that is kept at a constant temperature for a length of time. Because the internal temperature of the food is never higher than the water temp, any interactions that happen above that temperature don’t happen, and you can let it cook for a longer period of time. While I have been into sous vide for a while, it was my friend Ashley Grant who gave me the idea of doing a chuck roast for 2 days!
When you cook a beef chuck roast for 48 hours at about 135 F, the connective tissue has a chance to melt, making the meat tender and juicy, yet it comes out a beautiful medium rare. We’re taking one of the most flavorful (and fairly cheap) cuts of beef and making it as tender as filet mignon.
The problem with sous vide is that traditional immersion circulators are expensive. However, you can use this $100 device (DSV) and an off-the-shelf crock pot and get amazing results. Simply, the DSV device has a thermometer on a long cable. You fill the crock pot with hot water and drop the thermometer in it. You’ll have to make sure that the thermometer isn’t touching the bag or the side of the crock pot. Turn the crock pot on the High setting and plug it into the back of the DSV plug, which you then plug into an outlet. You then set the temperature on the device. It turns the crockpot on when the water temp is too low, and turns it off before it gets above the desired temp. The result is that the water temp stays constant. Brilliant!
You’ll need the crock pot and DSV device, of course. It would be wise to get a vaccuum sealer as well.
When I cook chuck roast, I start with a 3 to 4 pound roast. I completely cover it with coarse salt, olive oil, crushed garlic, and chopped herbs (thyme and/or rosemary are great). I let the water come up to temperature (135F). I seal the roast in a vacuum bag and drop it in.
Now you wait for 2 days. When I say 2 days, I mean 48 hours. So if you want to eat dinner at 6PM, drop it in at 5:45PM two days before.
You will hear a clicking sound once it comes back up to temp. That’s the relay inside the DSV turning the crock pot on and off. Some people are annoyed by this. I don’t mind it at all. If it’s driving you crazy, though, maybe you could move the whole thing to another room, or even the garage.
48 hours later, take the bag out of the crock pot and let it sit for 5 minutes. Open the bag and pour all the delicious juice into a sauce pan. Now’s your chance to make a wonderful sauce. Add butter and/or heavy cream, maybe some red wine, mushrooms, etc.. Turn up the heat so it bubbles and thickens. Cook it down a bit, maybe 5 or 10 minutes, and set aside.
Before you cut into the roast you might want to sear it on all sides. Sous vide meat doesn’t look very appetizing, even though it tastes wonderful. Put a saucepan over very high heat and let it get smoking hot. Place the roast into the bare saucepan and sear it on all sides for about one minute per side.
Slice the roast into serving portions. Now, if the meat is too rare for you at this point you can brown it up in a saucepan over medium heat.
Serve with the sacue and enjoy!
I introduced this recipe on my ketogenic lifestyle podcast with Richard Morris, 2 Keto Dudes.