Sous Vide Flank Steak Recipe

You may have heard of sous vide, the cooking trend that first picked up some steam about a decade back, but you still don't really know what it entails, do you? That's okay! You're hardly alone. But you'll soon realize that sous vide, rather than being some complex technique best left to professional chefs, is actually an easy and reliable way to cook proteins. Indeed, we predict that you'll soon become be a sous vide enthusiast. The superlative taste and texture of the foods you cook using the method may also play a role there, of course. And remember that all "sous vide" actually means is "under vacuum" in French. Not so daunting now, right?

The technique simply means cooking food in a sealed bag submerged in hot water, which keeps the temperature stable throughout the cooking process. The result is tender, perfectly cooked foods prepared with surprisingly little hands-on work. Chef and recipe developer Nathaniel Lee notes that "the difficulty level for sous vide is low [...] if you can set a microwave you can set a sous vide [machine and] it will not overcook while it's in the sous vide." As for putting a bit of a sear on the meat at the end? If you can fire up a grill, you can handle that, too.

Gather what you need for sous vide flank steak

In terms of ingredients, things could not be much simpler with this recipe. All you need is one flank steak weighing anywhere from 1 to 3  pounds (you can reliably plan for about 3 servings per pound of steak), 1 tablespoon of olive oil per pound of steak, and 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat. Yes, that's really all you need, at least when it comes to the ingredients needed for this recipe.

The only catch here is that you will need to make a modest investment in a sous vide cooking tool that can monitor and maintain water temperatures. Otherwise, you'll have to plan to stand watch over your stove with one hand on the food thermometer, while the other is deftly controlling the dial of a burner. That really flies in the face of the whole hands-off, easy-breezy nature of sous vide cooking, so it's really best to attempt this recipe with a sous vide machine for ease of use.

Prep then sous vide cook the steak

Fill your sous vide cooker and set it for 135 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don't have a freestanding sous vide cooker, you can fill a deep pot with water and put your immersion sous vide heater into it and then set the temperature to 135 degrees.

Next salt your steak on both sides. Now place the steak into a dedicated sous vide pouch, or else put it into a large, high quality freezer-safe bag (like a Ziploc brand bag brand). Then drizzle the olive oil into the bag, leaving it open, and gently work the oil through the bag to ensure that it fully coats the meat. Then, it's time to submerge the bag in water, which will help you press all of the air out of the bag. Then, with as much air pressed out of the bag as possible, close the bag.

Now place the sealed sous vide bag in the water and let it cook at 135 degrees for a minimum of 2 hours. And note that, thanks to the ingenious sous vide process, this steak can cook for many hours more without overcooking. In fact, it can become even more tender with more time, though this recipe's cook time is designed to get you to cooked flank steak in a reasonable time frame for dinner.

Grill the steak at high heat

Once the steak has been cooking in the water for at least 2 hours, preheat your grill to its maximum heat, making sure it warms up for at least 10 minutes to ensure that the grate is ready to receive and quickly cook the meat. Then remove the steak from the bag and pat it dry with a paper towel. Yes, it may seem a touch fussy, but this drying step is key to getting a good sear on the flank steak. "Just make sure to fully dry the meat before searing it or you will just be steaming the outside," says Lee.

Now grill the steak for 2 minutes per side on the grill. If you don't have a grill handy, you can also use a cast iron pan and sear the steak on the stove at high heat. If you go that route, you might need to cut a larger flank steak into sections and cook it in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. However you've decided to prepare the meat, once it's been seared, slice that steak. Serve it immediately, while the steak is still good and hot.

Some flank steak serving ideas

You can of course serve flank steak as it come just off the grill or out of the pan. It makes a delicious entree that pairs well with rice, potatoes, roasted vegetables, and many more sides. But it's also a great type of meat to incorporate into other dishes. "Flank is a very popular cut of meat for fajitas so tortillas, beans, roasted bell peppers, and onions are all very common pairings," says Lee. 

You can also use it in a steak sandwich or steak salad, chopped into a stew, or of course, you can use flank steak to serve a fine and classic dish of steak and eggs.

Sous Vide Flank Steak Recipe
5 from 21 ratings
This sous vide flank steak recipe makes a delicious meal that pairs well with rice, potatoes, roasted vegetables, and many more sides.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
2
hours
Servings
3
servings
Sous Vide Flank Steak served with rice
Total time: 2.08 hours
Ingredients
  • 1 flank steak, 1 to 3 pounds
  • 1 teaspoon salt per pound
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil per pound
Directions
  1. Use a sous vide cooker to heat water in a large pot to 135 degrees.
  2. Salt your steak on both sides.
  3. Place steak into a freezer bag, then pour in the oil. Gently massage through the bag to distribute the oil across the surface of the steak.
  4. Submerge bag in water to press all air out, then seal and cook under sous vide at 135 F for a minimum of 2 hours.
  5. When sous vide cook time is nearly up, preheat the grill to its maximum heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove steak from the bag and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  7. Grill for 2 minutes per side, then slice and serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 539
Total Fat 29.6 g
Saturated Fat 11.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 205.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 0.0 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Total Sugars 0.0 g
Sodium 713.7 mg
Protein 64.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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