Sous Vide in high volume steakhouse

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by ChefD333, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. ChefD333

    ChefD333

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    I have recently accepted a job for an executive chef position at a 200 seat steakhouse in a small southern town. It is a small southern town where the only competition is a longhorn franchise. Based on the social media buzz and lack of other restaurants in town we are expecting to be busy.


    I am interested in using sous-vide to cut the cook time down on our grill station. At the bare minimum I want to sous-vide our large double cut bone in cowboy ribeye. I know some places will hold the steaks hot in a sous-vide and than reverse sear, while other places will sous-vide to temperature, cool the product and hold cold for service and than rewarm/ sear the steak during service.


    I am mostly concerned in what you do with the sous-vide steaks that were held hot during service if they don’t sell. Does the clientile prefer the steaks cooked this way? Does any body have any experience or information on these practices?


    Thanks.
     
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  2. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    IMHO, the only steaks I would Sous Vise are the real larger cuts like 18, 24, or 32 ounce steaks. The other steak I feel does best Sous Vise is a think cut Fillet Mignon. Your Dbl cut Ribeye should also do well. What I've seen for a steak house operation is rotating the steaks as sold. I don't know the answer to what happens to the unused steaks. The whole point of Sous Vide is to keep the steak at the perfect doneness from top to bottom. If that's the case why can't they be reused. Good question! The other point would be for the Health dept that leftovers can only be used once. If the steak is originally cooked Sous Vide then reheated in the water bath that would be the second heating or construed as the leftover. If that steak was reused then it would be using a leftover. Beats the Hell out of me.......Good luck......ChefBillyB
     
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  3. Seoul Food

    Seoul Food

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    Personally I don't like sous vide for steak, I would prefer a reverse sear for a large cut like your double bone. I'm not sure how big your sous vide machine is to accommodate a commercial operation with steaks that size but if you can only do a couple at a time anyways I would probably look into other cooking methods.
     
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  4. someday

    someday

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    You should work out a system where you don't heat up too many of the steaks at once (i.e. it's better to heat up 10 steaks 3 times during service than 30 steaks at the beginning) in order to keep time in bath to a minimum. The steaks you have leftover from service go into an ice bath to chill and then stored with a bright red "use first" sticker stuck to them, and they are the first ones sold the next night.

    It's a little esoteric for this thread, but you should look into pasteurization temp/times for your steaks so you can be sure that you are effectively pasteurizing them when you cook them. This greatly increases shelf life and makes holding the steaks in the bath safer.

    I would not re-therm the steaks beyond the "use first" label. Probably an abundance of caution (assuming everything previous has been correct) but better than making someone sick...plus the quality begins to deteriorate over time, even if the "temp" never changes.

    I think that sous vide will be beneficial to you for the larger cuts of steak. it will save time and ensure consistency. For smaller cuts, assuming you have a decent broiler cook, probably not worth it. It might make sense if you do some things with chicken and pork, depending on what it is...rack of lamb is good SV as well.

    Let me know if you have any more questions.
     
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  5. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

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    Personally, when I go to a steakhouse, I expect the steaks to be cooked the traditional way.

    Steaks cooked sous vide, while the taste is good, they don't taste like steak steak.

    I only expect to be served sous vide steak at a fine dining restaurant. I'd be very disappointed if I get one at a steakhouse.
     
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  6. ChefD333

    ChefD333

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    Thanks everyone, I 100 percent agree with the thought that “people just want a steak off the grill” especially in our location and our price range.


    I appreciate the feedback!
     
  7. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    There is a reason why sous vide is typically not used in steakhouses as a means to cook steaks. Its not that sous vide is a bad method. Quite the contrary. Sous vide is an excellent method to cook a steak, IMO. But, the flavor is different, even when the meat is reverse seared.

    If you want to compete with Longhorn's, you would be shooting yourself in the foot if your steaks were not prepared over flames. That means whoever is manning the grill has to be your rock star. That means that everything in the kitchen is set up to ensure that the grill station works perfectly and efficiently 100% of the time. If the use of wood and/or charcoal is permitted where you are, I would strongly suggest you consider the use of those fuels to cook your steaks. Otherwise, gas will have to do.

    I agree with @Pat Pat. The majority of people that go to steakhouses are expecting a steak that has been prepared in the traditional method over flames.

    Good luck. :)
     
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  8. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    I still see nothing wrong with the larger cuts being in Sous Vide. The New York Strip, Top Sirloin, Reg cut Rib eye, Porterhouse, T-bone can all be on the flame broiler along with the larger heaver cut extra large Ribeye. This way it wouldn't take any longer to get the whole meal up at the same time. The Sous Vide is also great for the thick cut Fillet Mignon. The Sous Vide is much gentler method with the Fillet. The Fillet is just a piece of solid steak with not much fat. The Sous Vide method would give a nice R or MR top to bottom allowing you to put a nice seasoned crust in a short period of time. The Sous Vide method has nothing to do with what Longhorns is doing. You're just taking some advanced cooking methods to get the meals to the table faster.......Good luck........ChefBillyB
     
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  9. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    I agree. There is nothing wrong with preparing the larger cuts sous vide. However, what's the ticket time on medium rare ribeye, T-Bone or Strip on a grill? 6, maybe 7 minutes, at most? So, we are not talking so much about kitchen economy as we are cooking preference.

    If it were me and Longhorn's was my competition, I would grill everything on my menu that moo'd, clucked or oinked over a wood/charcoal grill.

    If I did not have any such competition, I would sous vide and flame finish everything.

    :)
     
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  10. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Whats the ticket time if you have to broil the larger cut ??? along with the smaller cut. My point was if the larger cut was already cooked Sous Vide all it would need is a quick sear. In that case everything comes up in 7 minutes. I'm not sure how upscale the OP's steak house is. I'm thinking it's more fine dining if they have an Executive Chef. If it is fine dining then Longhorn Steak house shouldn't even come into the conversation. That would be like Shake Shake worrying about McDonalds.
     
  11. ChefD333

    ChefD333

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    We are calling ourselves "upscale casual" we're going to be the best restaurant in town but its also not going to be french laundry. Currently we are a steakhouse and the only other steakhouse in town is longhorn, I wasnt trying to bring up Longhorn as competition I was using it as an example as to why I think the lack of other dining options in this smaller town is going to contribute to how busy we are going to be.

    The 7 minute point you make is spot on. Every other cut on the menu is under 14 oz and smaller, I personally think using sous vide for my single large cut and our pork chop and just giving them a hard sear will help evenly balance the pick up times on my grill station.
     
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  12. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    ChefD, We raise our own pigs. I use Sous Vide for our Dbl Cut Pork chops. It works wonderful. Just think of taking it out of the Sous Vide and finishing with a nice caramelization.
     
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  13. hookedcook

    hookedcook

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    There is no reason to sous vide any steak that has fat in it. A filet, leg of lamb, tough cuts, 36 hour medium rare short ribs, yes, other than that its a gimmick.
     
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  14. chefross

    chefross

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    I have a concern with Sous Vide steaks that are leftover at the end of service. Can they be cooled down in a ice bath and brought back to temperature using Sous Vide for service the next day?
    The main theme here is to cut down on ticket times, but it would seem that the dining public would not know the difference nor accept it as a viable alternative to a steak cooked entirely on a grill. I've had my share of steaks done Sous Vide and I do them at home too.
    I call it a gimmick as well but respect the fact that it is an alternative cooking process.
    Does it really create such a difference that kitchens will adopt this method and make it standard operating procedure?
    I don't think so.
    For know Sous Vide is relegated to the "upscale casual" dining scene.
     
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  15. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    To my mind, its a matter of preference. I don't think any opinions expressed in this thread are wrong. In fact, I think there are some excellent opinions expressed in here that are based on many years of experience that cannot be overlooked.

    However, sous vide is just another cooking method that gives the food a specific flavor profile. Its really no different than choosing between pan frying and grilled. I know some people who prefer the flavor of pan fried steaks to grilled steaks. I can never be friends with those folks, but, that's beside the point. Lol...j/k.......(not really) :) But, I understand why they prefer pan fried to grilled.

    Sous vide is a just another tool in the bag. But, is it a practical tool to use as a means to cook steaks in a steakhouse? I don't think so. I think that if steaks are going to be your restaurant's focal point, they have to be grilled. You could sous vide the pork and chicken and reverse sear. But, the steaks should be done over flames. If we want to get into a discussion that examines the issue from a kitchen management perspective that focuses on the comparison of prep time, volume capacity, ticket time, overhead, labor costs etc, between sous vide and grilling, that's probably fodder for another thread. :)

    Now, on the other hand, will the steakhouse collapse and the end of days descend upon us if the steakhouse chooses sous vide as the cooking method? No. Of course not. However, getting caught up in that discussion is, by definition, focusing on a chef's personal preference rather than what that chef's guests want or expect. We are, after all, a service oriented industry, are we not? :)

    So, here is my suggestion. Take a survey. Sous vide some steaks and grill some steaks. Offer free samples of both to your guests or send one or two employees into the streets with samples and see which sample people prefer. (Make sure to use the same cuts for both samples).

    May the better steak win. :)

    Cheers! :)
     
  16. chefandrewl

    chefandrewl

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    We sous vide and chill steaks at my restaurant. Ribeyes are vacuumed sealed with onion brulee, thyme, and some of the dry aged beef fat trimmed from the ribeye. Ribeyes are then sous vide at 55C for 25 minutes, then placed in an iced bath to cool. For service the Ribeye is removed from the bag, patted dry, seasoned and placed on the char broiler 2 minutes a side for medium rare. Similar method for the fillet except 35 minutes and truffle butter. The fillets are finished in hot cast iron and basted with butter.

    This method works well for my restaurant and I enjoy it because you get a full medium rare from edge to edge and I believe the steak tastes beefier.
     
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  17. chefross

    chefross

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    Thanks for sharing this. I might ask please just how many ribeyes and filets you process this way for an evenings service? How do the leftovers reheat the next day. How many covers does your restaurant serve an any given night?
    I ask because this is exactly what we're discussing here.
     
  18. chefandrewl

    chefandrewl

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    I do not hold them for service. We are par cooking them sous vide to rare, then placing them in an ice bath. For Service we take a cold steak that has already been "cooked" to rare and finishing it on either the char broiler or in a pan depending on the preparation. The process of establishing the crust is enough to heat the center of steak to med rare. We do an average of 30 ribeyes and 40 fillets out of 180 covers on a busy night.
     
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