The Outright Best Thickness For A Sous Vide Steak Cut

It's no secret that most Americans love their beef. In 2021, each American consumed about 58.6 pounds of beef throughout the year, while the nation ate around 27.6 billion pounds of beef overall, according to Statista. What's even more interesting is how Americans like to enjoy their beef, more specifically their steak. There's a lot of debate over the perfect level of cooking for steak. For every person that says anything over medium rare is sacrilege, you have another person who says they like it well done. Interestingly, a 2019 survey by YouGovAmerica revealed that most Americans — 24% in fact — prefer their steak to be cooked well done, while 23% of Americans prefer their steak medium rare.

Due to the versatility and range that steak has, there's not one specific way to cook it. Although, in that same survey, most Americans thought that steak is best grilled or smoked. The only problem with those cooking methods is that it can be difficult to get that perfect cook — whether it be medium, medium rare, or well done. That's where the relatively modern cooking technique called sous vide comes in.

Sous vide is a unique yet precise way of cooking

Sous vide is a cooking technique that was invented by chefs in France around the 1970s, according to Britannica. To prepare food using the sous vide method, it must be placed in a plastic bag or pouch and vacuum sealed, then placed in a container of water. The water is kept at a constant, low temperature with an immersion circulator, and depending on what the food is, it's cooked in this water for an hour up to a day. In French, sous vide actually means "under vacuum," and American chef Thomas Keller is credited with popularizing the French technique in the United States.

The best thing about sous vide, especially from a commercial standpoint, is that you can achieve very precise levels for all sorts of foods and recreate the same end result over and over again. To find the precise settings for each individual, sous vide cooking takes some experimenting with water temperature and cooking time. Per Omaha Steaks, pork chops can be cooked via sous vide for one to four hours in water that's 140 degrees to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and steaks can be cooked for 45 minutes to an hour at 120 degrees to 156 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on how you like it cooked. But once the exact specifications are found, the same cook can be achieved repeatedly without fail.

The perfect thickness

With a little trial and error, you can find the exact time and temperature to sous vide your steak to get it just how you like it. The ideal thickness for sous vide steak depends on the exact cut of steak, and Anova recommends a cut that's at least one and a half to two inches thick.

According to Sous Vide Wizard, the minimum thickness for sous vide steak is one inch, which can cook in about one to three hours. For every additional inch, you should add an extra hour to the cooking time. Yet another thickness range for sous vide steak is anywhere from one and a half to one and a quarter inches thick, per Sous Vide. As you can see, there's a bit of a variation in ideal thickness, but a good rule of thumb is anywhere from one to two inches. Anything thicker than two inches will take longer to cook, so if you have enough time you can still cook it to perfection using the sous vide technique.