Nebraska Famous Steaks sends frozen steaks out to customers who purchase meat from them. Most people are familiar with this concept by way of other companies like Omaha Steaks. I had not heard of Nebraska Famous Steaks until they reached out to me. Their ask was simple: Would I like for them to send me some meat to try out at home and post some pictures, write a review, etc? My answer was fast: Yup.
Here’s what they sent me:
I was blown away. I wasn’t expecting so much!
I have to say, their filet mignon destroys Omaha Steaks. The filets I recently cooked up from Omaha were thin, while these were nice and thick. Quality was similar, however, at good choice.
The Nebraska Famous Steaks rib eyes had some really nice marbling throughout the muscle tissue, and a nice sized spinalis cap. I was impressed! And also excited to eat them.
I did my usual quick and easy cooking method for steaks at home: sous vide followed by blow torch. Here’s a video of the whole process, from unboxing through to plating.
And I took a shitload of photos, of course. I simply seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic, then seared, and then added some flake salt. We also ate this with some wasabi as well. Nice touch!
I decided to go bonkers this year on Superbowl Sunday with some Omaha Steaks tenderloin cuts that my wife and I received as a gift from her father. It had been a while since I used my sous vide machine, so I knew I wanted to use that.
I also figured this would be a good time to bust out the Searzall again, since the cuts were only about an inch thick, and, fearing a blasphemous overcooking, I didn’t want to put them in a pan to get that coveted sear on the outside.
Nothing new there. I’ve given you recipes for that before. The ringer here, for this meal I envisioned, was the Bitterman Salt Co. Himalayan salt block that I had chilling in my freezer. I keep it cold for serving sliced sashimi and raw fish items, but I thought it might be nice for medium rare, seared, thin-sliced tenderloin as well.
Essentially, I cooked the steak to rare at 130 degrees in the sous vide machine, right from the sealed Omaha Steaks bags (no seasoning beforehand). Then I popped the steaks into an ice bath to cool them down quickly and halt the cooking process. I know that the Searzall can continue to cook the steak’s interior with prolonged exposure, so I wanted them rare when they came out of the sous vide machine.
After blasting them with the Searzall, I had a good crisp on the outside and a perfect medium rare pink on the inside. Then I sliced them on the salt block, using that as a serving platter. I finished them off with a drizzle of Trader Joe’s black truffle oil, a few cranks of fresh cracked black pepper, and some ground sea salt.
Check out the video demo that I posted on youtube:
And some photos of the finished product:
It was a great, cool-temperature, lean beef dish that really packed a delicious flavor profile. The truffle oil was a great way to bring out the earthy flavors from the steak. Simple but robust. Try it at home!
I was watching some Mind of a Chef recently (Season One), and I saw some dudes using this fucking crazy-ass device called a Searzall. After some further internet research, I found that the creators (Booker & Dax Labs) did a Kickstarter campaign to get the ball rolling on their product.
Chef David Chang took a big liking too it. He actually has his guys use it at Momofuku Ko to get the fish skin nice and crispy:
The Searzall itself is actually just an attachment. To put the whole device together you will need other shit. I nabbed a blow torch, a can of propane, and a Searzall, because I want to flame my steak shit sometimes instead of finishing in a pan. Below I’ve included a few pics of the shit I used to assemble the Searzall:
SEAR THE FUCK OUT OF SHIT. Get medieval with a blowtorch! I use a Searzall on my sous vide steaks, because I’m a fucking badass with a massive bag dangling in the area between my asshole and my dick shaft. Listen to that fucking sizzle just before I flip it over:
So you probably get the impression that I love this thing; I do. It’s like having a power tool for cooking. It’s manly. But I think it takes some practice to really become skilled with it, just like a table saw or any other power tool in the garage or at the construction site.
For example, if you take your cooked meat directly from the oven or the sous vide bag and started searing it with a Searzall, you’ll ruin the food. You need to wait until that shit cools down significantly, otherwise you’ll end up adding too much heat to an already hot item. You’ll overcook the center of the meat, not just add crisp to the outside. Also, this works nice for fish. The skin and flesh get really crispy. But you need to give the fish a light spread of butter or olive oil first, so you have flavor and brown-colored crisp instead of pure, black, burnt fish skin charcoal.
Recently my cousin sent me a text message with some pretty alarming and exciting photos and videos.
Yeah, that’s right… the motherfucker made his own sous vide machine, cooked up some filets to medium rare, and then seared them the fuck off in a cast iron skillet to get some texture on the edges.
What exactly is a sous vide machine, for you non-food nerds? The words translated from French mean “under vacuum.” It is essentially a hot tub for meat. How it works: you place vacuum sealed meats into the water bath and leave them there until the meat comes up to the proper temperature, which is set and regulated with a water heater and temperature controller. You can’t overcook the meat! You get perfect medium rare shit every time, evenly cooked through and through.
As you can imagine, I was flipping out at what my cousin had achieved. I browsed some DIY sous vide instructional websites a few years back when I was living in a house on Long Island, but it seemed like a ton of effort. I thought to myself, “I’ll just get a real-deal machine someday.” But once I saw these things from my cousin, I knew it was time to pull the trigger.
Lucky for me, my cousin is super handy and craftsmanlike when it comes to stuff like this, and he has access to a bunch of great tools like dremels and drill presses.
A flurry of texts immediately ensued. It’d be fun to build one together, I thought. THIS LINK is the instructional we worked from. My cousin ordered a bunch of the materials online…
I pulled my cooler out of the closet, which would serve as the main cooking vessel or “hot tub” (and it saved me some bucks for not having to buy a plastic tub).
and I ordered a vacuum sealer via Amazon Prime…
I also nabbed a blow torch, a can of propane, and a Searzall, because I want to flame that shit sometimes instead of finishing in a pan. Plus, this works great if I ever do fish – the skin… oh maaaaan it gets crispy…
I sent the dimensions of my cooler lid area to my cousin:
He used this to figure out how to cut the plexi down to size to serve as the top portion that suspends the water heater in position. He also built the temperature control housing, and wired the power supply for the temperature control unit and heater probe (thermometer).
I was initially concerned that the hinged top of my cooler wouldn’t close properly with the plexi in place. It turns out that closing the top tight isn’t too big of a problem when you’re using a nicely insulated vessel like a cooler. Also, we dropped the plexi to a lower lip within the cooler, so the thing closes nicely now:
Then you suction this to one of the walls. Essentially this is a water circulator. It keeps the water swirling around so that there are no warm or cold spots within the bath, which makes for a nice even cooking temperature.
BOOM! I can’t wait to fire this fucker up. I’m going to pick up some fish and beef right the fuck now.