Sous vide cooking creates mouth watering, restaurant quality steaks every time. In fact after discovering sous vide steaks you will find yourself eating in rather than heading out when you have a hankering for a steak fix!
So what cut of steak is best for sous vide cooking? Opinions vary…wildly. But there is a new cut of meat on the block that is causing a bit of a sous vide stir. Saratoga steak. In this article we explore this cut of delicious meat and why it’s great for your next sous vide cook.
Related reading: To learn more about sous vide cooking, head to our Start Here page or FAQ
What is a Saratoga Steak
Saratoga steak is a cut unique to specific regions (eg the Gourmet South in the US) and comes from 100% black angus cattle. According to Gourmet South, it is cut from the area near the shoulder of the cow and the inside area known as the rib cap. Saratoga steak is tied before cutting which is why the cut steaks are round.
Some sous viders say that saratoga steak is an alternative name for ribeye. But the cut itself is very slightly different.
The rib cap is removed and whatever remains is trimmed of excess fat and then rolled. The saratoga steak is a smaller cut than the traditional “side-of-beef-on-a-plate” items such as a Porterhouse or the larger Rib Eye.
Saratoga steak is the heart of the rib eye and perfect for sous vide cooking
The saratoga steak is effectively the heart of the rib eye. The rib cap is removed and you are left with the heart of the rib eye steak. So basically, the butcher separates the steak eye from most of the rib cap and then removes all the inter muscular fat from the seam. The butcher then ties the cap and the eye back together. Voila – saratoga steak!
Here is a link to the Gourmet South website for more information.
Why sous vide saratoga steak?
Because it tastes absolutely delicious! The saratoga steak is a great option for sous vide cooking because it is both tender and lean. Not all rib eye steaks fall into this category.
The best results for sous viding saratoga steak
Most sous viders like to cook their saratoga steak in their sous vide water bath before a quick reverse sear in a super hot iron clad pan. The time and temperature for your water bath will vary depending on the model of your immersion circulator or water oven and the level of “doneness” you like for your steaks.
Is it worth the cost when you can sous vide far cheaper cuts of meat?
Opinion certainly varies amongst sous viders. Some would argue that the beauty of sous vide cooking is that you can purchase cheap cuts of meat and turn them into restaurant quality meals every time.
On the other hand, some home cooks are happy to pay a premium for their steaks. After all, this supports local producers and gives home cooks the peace of mind that the meat they are purchasing is organic.
Yet another group of sous viders who value quality produce, have found a middle ground. They have quite rightly pointed out that you can get high quality prime meats that are not USDA certified that still taste amazing when cooked sous vide.
The bottom line is that for some, saratoga steak is worth the additional price if this specialised processing is what they are after. Given saratoga steak is not inexpensive, perhaps this cut of meat could be saved for sous vide cooks on super special occasions rather than using it for a middle of the week quick meal solution.
Wouldn’t you just buy rib eye instead?
Many people would. Most rib eye cuts are cheaper than saratoga steaks. And they are more readily available in stores like Costco as well as from online butchers and retail meat providers.
But purchasing rib eye is not as straight forward as you might think. There are actually 17 different ways to trim and package a whole ribeye according to the AMS. Who knew! Check out this informative PDF for more information.
Our verdict on sous viding saratoga steaks
The one commonality between all those who enjoy sous vide cooking is that they have different taste buds with varying flavor and texture preferences. Not everyone takes up sous vide cooking because they can turn cheap cuts of meat into miracle meals.
Some people genuinely love purchasing new cuts of organic meat from local producers. And whilst this comes at a higher cost, they enjoy the sous vide cooking process with a high quality cut of meat more than snagging themselves a bargain.
As we always say, sous vide cooking lends itself to experimentation in the kitchen. And steering away from the meat cuts you have always used can create sensational meal surprises for both yourself and your guests. Giving a new cut of meat simply allows you to compare options. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.