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Sous-Vide London Broil Questions

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  • MGMojo
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 19
    • Charlestown, RI

    Sous-Vide London Broil Questions

    Inspired by MH's "Sous-Vide-Que" video with ChefSteps, I'm going to attempt a sous-vide London Broil using a thin-ish. 20oz. top-round steak tomorrow. I'm marinating the steak overnight, then planning to cook the top-round at 135 for 6 hours, followed by a quick sear on the Weber grill. The question I hope the Pit can help me with is, after marinating overnight in vinegar-soysauce-honey-garlic-ginger, should I try to vacuum-pack with the marinade or will that completely overwhelm whatever beef flavor is to be had over a 6-hour cook?
  • EdF
    Club Member
    • Jul 2016
    • 3157
    • Atlantic Highlands, NJ
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    Personally, I'd go without, but that's a personal thing. I'm trying to remember how long we did it a few weeks ago - I think we went for 6, then decided 7-8 was better for the second piece. Not that 6 wasn't good - it was.


    • MGMojo
      MGMojo commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm not committed to going 6 hours. If you thought top-round could go longer I'll try it and report back. Thanks!
  • MBMorgan
    Club Member
    • Sep 2015
    • 5802
    • Colorado
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    I'd be careful about vacuum sealing with marinade in the bag. Some herbs, spices, oils, and other things (like garlic) can produce unpredictable results after a few hours in the SV bath. I'd probably marinade overnight then rinse and dry before sealing and cooking SV. Because you say the steak is "thin-ish", you'll want to sear it very fast and hot after SV. You might want to shock chill it (still in the bag) after SV and before searing.


    • MGMojo
      MGMojo commented
      Editing a comment
      There's no oil in this marinade, but I'll take your advisory regarding garlic (and possibly ginger?) to heart and wipe them free. I was also considering leaving it to rest a couple hours in the fridge as the sv-smoke-sear experiment suggested. Thanks for the warning -- it's greatly appreciated!
  • tbob4
    Charter Member
    • Nov 2014
    • 2253
    • Chico, CA
    • BBQ's
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    I have been told on the site that it is only the garlic you have to worry about. In fact, by sound advisement here, I tossed some old garlic olive oil. I wouldn't worry about rinsing so much. Just pat it down and vacuum pack it. Please pass on your results. My dad loves London Broil and I am not such a fan. I want to know how your experiment turns out so I can possibly appease the both of us. I have done it SV and have been happy with the results but not with the marinade. I'm really excited to read about your results. Thank you in advance.


    • MGMojo
      MGMojo commented
      Editing a comment
      Will do, tbob4 -- thanks for chiming in!

    • EdF
      EdF commented
      Editing a comment
      I like how it comes out SV+sear too!
  • MGMojo
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 19
    • Charlestown, RI

    Gentlemen -- this experiment qualifies as an EPIC FAIL. I was wondering why the Pitmasters didn't chime in with encouragement, and suspect this was one of those "teachable moments" whose lessons can only be learned through experience.

    After marinating over night, I patted the top-round dry and brushed off remaining garlic, then vacuum sealed the steak and left it in a 135-degree circulator for 7 hours. When I pulled it out, I was concerned by the amount of liquid and air/gas within the sealed bag.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	after 7 hours.jpg Views:	1 Size:	82.8 KB ID:	332053

    I let it rest for two hours, and was fully expecting it to look unappetizing, and it did, but I hoped putting a browning sear over hot coals (two minutes a side) would help.

    Last edited by MGMojo; June 12th, 2017, 08:50 AM.


    • MGMojo
      Founding Member
      • Jul 2014
      • 19
      • Charlestown, RI

      It didn't.
      Click image for larger version  Name:	finished.jpg Views:	1 Size:	118.4 KB ID:	332055

      This sad picture -- taken AFTER trying to sear it over hot coals -- is remarkably faithful to how it tasted: grossly overcooked, faintly vinegar-y, and dry as sawdust. Completely inedible. I'm thankful I wasn't cooking it for anyone.

      I'm guessing the big mistake was the first: using a vinegar-based marinade. All evidence points to the prolonged sous vide "super-charging" the vinegar/acid, which over the course of 7 hours completely wrung every drop of viable meat juice out of this already very-lean piece of meat. Once pulled from the bath, the sealed bag -- distended, sloshy and rising from the tub like the hag in "The Shining" -- is all the warning anyone needs to realize something is horribly wrong, drop what they're doing, and beat a hasty retreat.

      All I can say is "lesson learned."


      • EdF
        EdF commented
        Editing a comment
        Sorry about not catching that possibility - I pretty much never marinade anything getting the bathtub treatment.
    • choffert
      Club Member
      • Feb 2016
      • 137
      • Seabeck, WA
      • Blaz'n Grill Works Grid Iron
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      I did one last night. 2 hrs @ 131 degree F. & hrs may be a bit long. Also, only did a dry brine ahead of vacuum packaging. I typically buy several on sale, dry brine and vacuum pack and freeze. The go into SV bath frozen or thawed, same time...2 hrs. 131 is for me, wife and kids prefer more done, say 135 degrees. Sear is the same, hot as I can get cast iron griddle on the gasser, long enough to get a good crust...2 mins total per side, or so...I suspect combination of marinade and time/temp in the bath is the culprit. For me, I treat steak cuts to a short ride in SV, long enough to heat through. Tougher cuts like brisket need that good 6 hr+ soak.


      • Potkettleblack
        Club Member
        • Jun 2016
        • 1835
        • Chicago, IL
        • Grill: Grilla Original / Weber Genesis EP-330
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        I would not do the marinade at all. Sous vide it, and replace the marinade with a sauce. The sauce would be: garlic cooked in butter, with ginger, when they are cooked, add: filtered bag juice, honey, soy sauce, which you might reduce a bit for consistency sake. Add a bit of vinegar at the end, then mount with a bit of butter. This, while searing it off.

        You will definitely want to shock this cold, as it's under an inch.


        • Mikey C
          Former Member
          • Jan 2017
          • 64
          • Henderson,NV

          I'd say for that thin of meat 131 for 3 hrs at the most. To get any type of sear without cooking it more you need a stuper hot cast iron pan or the jet engine(chimney starter). Oh and chill it after SV before searing. As for the marinate I think I you would have enjoyed the flavor of it more if you used it as a glaze in the end. SV and marinates not always a good combo. JMHO




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