How to sous vide a perfect steak without buying any special equipment

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Making a steak is easy, but making a great steak is something else entirely. Grill masters know all the tricks for reaching that sweet spot where the meat is juicy and tender. But, thanks to sous vide, you can hack that same perfection with zero tricks and pretty much no effort. The process cooks the steak exactly to the desired doneness – no more or less – even if you forget about it while you’re reorganizing your Hardy Boys book collection and it cooks for a few extra hours. After it’s cooked, you still get that fresh-from-the-grill sear with a quick finish in a cast-iron pan.

How to sous vide a perfect steak without buying any special equipment

The best part is that you don’t even need a pricey sous-vide machine – just a digital thermometer, a pot, and a Ziploc bag. Also, a steak.

Heat your water and bag the steak
Fill a large pot with water, high enough to submerge the steak, and preheat it to 135°F (for medium-rare). Place a 1in thick steak in a gallon-size Ziploc bag, but don’t seal it.

Cook the steak in the water
Transfer the bag to the pot, completely submerging the steak while keeping the opening above water. The heat will naturally push air out from the bag. Fold the opening over the side of the pot, or clip it to prevent it from falling in.

Cook for 45 minutes, checking the thermometer every once in a while to make sure the temperature stays at 135°F.

Season the steak
Transfer the sous vide steak to a plate or cutting board and season with salt and pepper. Coat both sides with olive oil.

Heat a cast iron skillet on the stove over high.
Sear the steak
Add the steak to the pan and sear until crispy, brown edges begin to form, about two minutes; flip and sear the other side. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh thyme to the pan and baste the steak with melted butter.

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