Monday, August 15, 2016

Triple Steak Sous-Vide Faux Aging Experiment

Experimenting with crazy food ideas has become my new passion & hobby. Taking on new approaches to food has brought me great joy and insight too. It's hard to describe but making new things and testing unusual ideas is exciting and is just plain fun. Call me crazy and silly but coming up with new ideas, shopping for the food and creating something new is awesome.

Following those noteworthy sentiments here's one more thing to think about or ponder. This experiment is extra special because I get to eat more meat!! Once again I am happily tasked with another experiment that combines Faux Meat Aging (using fish sauce) and Warm aging (using Sous-Vide). On this occasion I will contrast two great products made by the same company which are Red-boat Fish Sauce with the Red-boat Salt.  Make a note to yourself that when it comes to fish sauce and their salts there's almost nothing better out there then Red-Boat products. I wanted to contrast them using the Faux aging approach I have done in the past. 

Read for your self. A pretty amazing product and contrasting it with the fish sauce seemed appropriate. If I can achieve the same results with the salt I won't use the Fish Sauce for this application anymore. Fish sauce is smelly and messy.

In addition to comparing these two fine products I decided to also use kosher salt just as a distraction. The meat will be weighed and a percentage of each product will used for each steak. Each steak will receive a coating of..... Fish Sauce at 3%, Red-Boat Salt at 1% and Kosher Salt at .65%. Why these numbers? These numbers have worked in the past for me but this time I will compare them side by side. 


Steaks were placed in their separate bowls and coated with the appropriate product. I.E steak 1 weighed 482g. 482 X 3% = 14.46g of fish sauced used.

The steaks are individually vacuumed sealed and labeled 1-3. Steaks will be warm aged at 104 f degrees for exactly 90 minutes than cooked at 128 f degrees for 2 hours and 15 minutes (15 min to allow bath to come up to temp). If you want to learn more about Faux Fish Aging and Warm Aging using Sous-Vide check out this LINK.

After the thermal bath the steaks were given an ice-bath-shock and placed in the refrigerator for a few days. 
Steaks were removed the from packaging and dried using paper towel & weighed. BTW- Steaks treated with Red-Boat smelled beefy and fresh. The steak treated only with salt smelled OK but bland when compared to the Red-Boat steaks. 

Steaks were treated with coarse black pepper and coriander. All the steaks were seared off at the same time and weighed after 7 minutes of rest. Results are at the bottom. As you can see the moisture loss was negligible. 

Review- Let me stress this one thing. All these steaks tasted great!!! Just for fun I tossed in a steak that was not treated but cooked identical to the others and it paled in comparison in every way. The untreated steak was lousy. My family and I have gotten spoiled. 

First observation was texture. The steak treated with Fish Sauce was just a tad more tender than the one treated with the Fish Salt. Of course this can be just a fluke and can be attributed to that that specific steak. The one treated with plain kosher salt was definitely not as tender as the ones treated with Red-boat. So we can conclude that in addition to adding Umami the Red-boat treatment tenderizes too. The untreated steak (#4) was dense and not worth consuming. Not even worth talking about. 

Let's talk about how we compared the steak treated with Fish Sauce to the one treated with Fish Salt. It was really hard to do. They both tasted delicious and were both tender. The differences were extremely subtle and contrasting both was difficult. I had both steaks in front of wife and I and we kept sampling both trying to identify the differences all the while rinsing our palate. A fun but difficult task.

Here are some of the highlights and differences we noticed. The Fish Sauce steak was the tiniest more more tender then the Fish Salt version. The Fish Sauce steak had just a little more beef flavor but this was nearly indistinguishable. That was only realized after we ate half the steak. The Fish Salt steak had a slight enhanced flavor characterized by Umami. Still very hard to describe and classify. Both steaks had the exact same spice rub and had the same sear. How could this be? My wife and I agreed that the Fish Salted steak flavors were enhanced or slightly more pronounced then the Fish version. The Fish Salt version achieves a slight Umamified advantage over the Fish Sauce version. 

In conclusion all three steaks were great but the aforementioned still holds true. 

The advantage of using the Red-boat Salt to the Sauce version is mess and clean up. Much easier to coat a couple of steaks with the salt then the sauce. However for large quantities of meat (see pic below) the sauce is great!!!!

UPDATE 4/02/17- Depending on the thickness of the steak I am finding that 1.75-2.25% Fish Sauce is adequate.