Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Video: Sous Vide Reverse-Seared Ribeye Steak

Hey everyone!

Earlier this year, I put a video on YouTube demonstrating how a great ribeye steak can be cooked via the sous vide method.  Getting in front of a camera sure is a humbling experience, and if I did it again I'd do it differently, but the video turned out okay, despite the corny comments.

Enough jabbering... here's the video!  It was shot and produced entirely on an iPhone 4 with iMovie, and it's viewable in 720p HD on the YouTube site.

I mention that I'm making the "perfect steak", which of course it's not...  It's just by far the best I've ever made.

The sous vide controller used in the video cost me $85 in parts, and the rice cooker was only about $18 back when I bought it. Plus, it's also a rice cooker/vegetable steamer when it's not on sous vide duty, so it's worth the extra expense!

Here's a drawing I did of the controller I built: http://www.creativesparkeng.com/misc/SousVideController.pdf All of the part numbers are in the parts list on the right. The end plates require some creative carving in order to get the tangs on the power inlet/outlet housings to lock in, since those tangs are made for a thinner end plate than this enclosure has... That's the only reason I didn't publish a how-to on building this device. However, instead of using those built-in power connectors, a person could just get a 3-prong extension cable and use each end of it so the power could be passed in and out of the enclosure through a couple of ~5/16" round holes or strain relief grommets.  That way the panel cutouts would be much simpler and it'd be relatively easy to build! Maybe I'll do one like that and publish a how-to. It's been great to use so far! Not shown in the part list on the drawing is the temperature probe I wired up to the connector:

Comments welcome!



  1. Hey, thanks for putting these up. Man that steak looks out of this world! I usually just finish them with butter in a pan (there is something about the chemical reaction with butter solids that's supposed to improve browning in steak), I'm tempted to try a similar set up for the sear.

    By the way, I think the video is pretty good, so I hope it wasn't too "humbling". Most youtube videos of people cooking are pretty terrible, e.g. they start with a long pause and then the person says "uh... so...". You actually edited, didn't ramble/stumble over your words, etc. Anyway, just thought you'd appreciate hearing that.

    Thanks for the link to your controller plans. I'll have to look at the different options. I did notice that the prices on the PID that Seattle Food Geek used have gone up compared to what is on his site, that might explain why it was looking way more than $75 when you tried it. I might just use his PID + Probe + Relay setup and add a regular wall outlet to control a rice cooker (which I already own), we shall see.


  2. Thanks for the compliments on the video! Yeah, the chimney works great for putting a sear on a tri-tip too!

    When I looked around at PID controllers, I couldn't find one cheaper than $35 or so. If you're interested, I'll give you an awesome deal on a completely unused PID controller almost identical to the one he used, which I bought when I was going to build his system. I also have the little fountain pump and a K-type TC probe (same external design as what SFG used). Shoot me an e-mail at bbq (at sign) rsparks.com if you're interested. The only reason I didn't use it is that I suddenly wanted to make a small, sleek device instead of a big, bulky one. ;-)

    The rice cooker is definitely a great way to go. It has a powerful heater, great conduction between the heater and the water, and a fairly low level of insulation from the environment... all factors that lead to easy, accurate temperature control. Also, as long as you don't pack it too full, temperatures stay very even throughout.

  3. I enjoyed the video, but we've really got to talk about food handling safety. You were stressing me out while contaminating all of your seasoning shakers... We need to get you some indoor tongs too. :]

    Looking forward to the next video!

  4. Ya know, I do get a little bit loose with beef, but I'm paranoid about chicken and pork, washing my hands often and cleaning up with bleach water. I need to step it up a bit when dealing with beef.

    Aside from that, I'm glad you liked the video!