Step 1: Get up early and take a nice two-mile walk to Union Meat Company at Eastern Market before work. Buy these dry-aged, grass-fed, prime ribeyes:*
Walk to work and try to concentrate while they sit in the refrigerator, taunting you with their beefy goodness. Carry them home, guarding them zealously against potential marauders.
Step 2: Vacuum seal the steaks with some whole peppercorns and slightly mashed cloves of garlic:
Some people recommend adding butter to the bag. This is a mistake. Butter absorbs flavors. You want those flavors to be in the steaks.
Step 3: Cook the steaks in a water bath at 134F for 3 hours (for 1.5″ steaks). I use the Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator, but there are lots of options. When done, you will have a bag of cooked meat and the beefiest liquid you’ve ever encountered:
Cut the corner off the bag and drain the liquid into a bowl. I dumped it over a bunch of onions and mushrooms after I sauteed them and let the liquid reduce a bit.
Step 4: Remove the steaks from the bag and pat both sides dry. Remove any embedded peppercorns or garlic cloves (you can put them in the mushrooms and onions if you’re feeling adventurous and don’t have a date). Salt both sides. The steaks are perfectly cooked inside. But outside, not so much:
Step 5: Put a heavy skillet or griddle (I use cast iron) on a gas grill with all burners set to high.** Close the lid and wait until the grill thermometer reads 600F. Wait a bit more. Drink some wine if you’re bored. When the skillet is screaming hot, use long tongs to place the steaks on it. Place them carefully; they will immediately stick. Don’t worry, once a sear forms, they will release. Cook them for 30-45 seconds on the first side. Flip. Cook for 30-45 more seconds. Remove and bask in their outer beauty:
Cut through the steak, and bask some more in their inner beauty, an eighth-of-an-inch crust, followed by perfect medium rareness all the way through to the next eighth-of-an-inch crust:
Don’t bask too long, though. Steaks cooked sous vide don’t need to rest.
Step 6: Eat immediately. Add a bit of bleu cheese compound butter if you want. But it’s not really necessary.
*I got these as a very rare treat for a special occasion. You can use this method with run-of-the-mill steaks from Safeway. They will still be yummy.
**I do this on the grill because it will smoke. A lot. If you have a good range hood that vents to the outside, you can do this over a burner set on high.
Thanks to my brother-in-law Tom for the photos.