sous-vide, sort of

Last week our friend David bragged that for fathers day he was making the all-time best pork chops. After years of trial and error, he had determined that thick pork chops from the farm marinated for 24 hours then sous vide at a low temp and briefly seared on the grill makes the perfect chop. Apparently he was right. Or at least that's what he proudly reported back.

The idea got me thinking...sous vide pre grill? Kind of brilliant. So this weekend at Loves Folly I made this recipe. It was a lot of work without a great stove or a sous vide machine or even a vacuum sealer like David has. I had to wing it and closely monitor the temperature, sliding the pot on and off the burner, adjusting temperatures every 20 minutes. But it worked-at least it was a revelation in sirloin cooking. The meat was super tender but tasty and perfectly charred on the outside so it didn't have that slippery grey feeling that just sous voiding can produce.

I served it with a simple salad and this amazing Zucchini Soup by Alinea chef Grant Achatz.

Seared Sous-Vide-style Tri Tip

  • One 2-pound tri-tip roast (can also use sirloin)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  1. Heat a large pot of water until it registers 134° on a digital probe or candy thermometer. Season the roast generously with salt and pepper. Rub all over with the thyme and garlic and transfer to a large, BPA-free resealable freezer bag. Add the butter and seal all but 1 corner. Press out all the air then seal.
  2. Add the bag with the roast to the pot and cook at 134° (or as close as you can get it on a regular stove) until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 130°, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  3. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Scrape off and discard the thyme and garlic.
  4. Light a grill or preheat a skillet. Pat the roast dry with paper towels, then brush with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the roast over very high heat, turning once, until nicely browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Return the roast to the cutting board and let rest for another 10 minutes. Thinly slice the meat against the grain and serve.