If friends say you can't cook, treat them to a beer cooler sous vide steak

Christian Winkler, the Austrian “Cook with Meat” chef, shared his newest way to make sous vide steak. Rather than use an official sous vide cooking appliance, Winkler decided to try a different method for his beer cooler do-it-yourself sous vide steak recipe. We have tweaked his idea just a bit. We called it Two Cooler Steak, for what we think are obvious reasons, but it’s still his recipe and we didn’t change his recipe or instructions.

“Sous vide” means “under vacuum.” When cooking sous vide style you put meat in a plastic bag, remove the air, and then slowly cook it in temperature-controlled hot water. The advantage is the meat is cooked evenly. Most people who cook sous vide use designed-to-task sous vide water immersion heaters that usually cost $100 to $200.

A while back, Winkler showed how to cook steak sous vide in a dishwasher while running a load of dirty dishes. Some thought that was a great idea, others pushed back on the aesthetics. So Winkler thought about the problem and came up with the beer cooler solution.

Not counting a beer cooler (we say two beer coolers) and some hot water, you only need four ingredients: Steak, salt and pepper, butter, and a ziplock bag. You will also need a hot skillet for a couple minutes at the very end.

Here is what you do.

beer cooler sous vide steak

First, buy a good steak.

beer cooler sous vide steak  in freezer bag

Put the steak in a heavyweight locking plastic bag.

beer cooler sous vide steak  add butter

Add a hunk of butter.

beer cooler sous vide steak  almost close bag

Almost close the bag, leave room on one end for a plastic straw (not paper).

beer cooler sous vide steak  insert a straw

Use the straw to suck the air out of the bag and then seal the bag. Now you have a vacuum.

beer cooler sous vide steak  suck air out

It should look something like this.

beer cooler sous vide steak  pour hot water in

Put a bunch of really hot water in one of the beer coolers.

beer cooler sous vide steak  measure temperature

You want the water to be 54 degrees Centigrade (about 130 Fahrenheit). It is better if you get it 5 to 10 degrees hotter because of heat loss in the cooler.

beer cooler sous vide steak  put lid on

Put the lid on the cooler and, here is the hard part, wait for 50 minutes.

beer cooler sous vide steak  put the bag with in

After 50 minutes have passed, take the bag out of the cooler.

beer cooler sous vide steak  pat the dry

Pat it dry, preferably with paper towels or napkins.

beer cooler sous vide steak  season with salt

Season each side generously with coarse salt.

beer cooler sous vide steak  sear in hot pan

Put the salted steak in a pre-heated frying pan. Hot, not warm.

beer cooler sous vide steak  one minute each side

Sear each side of the steak for one minute. Chefs call this “finishing.”

beer cooler sous vide steak  pepper each side

Pepper each side of the steak to taste.

beer cooler sous vide steak  done

Slice, serve, and enjoy. Your friends will be impressed.

Oh, and the second beer cooler? Well, you are using your regular cooler to cook. You need the other one for beer. What else are you going to do while you wait 50 minutes?

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