Kitchen Tricks: Reheating Steak

So, I had leftovers from a delicious grilled steak, and faced the leftovers dilemma: eat it cold, or reheat it somehow (which, if you use microwave or oven, tends to result in “shoe leather” rather than delicious steak). Last time I faced this dilemma, I chose “eat it cold” since overcooking steak is a Cardinal Kitchen Sin. Especially since steak is expensive! But the weather outside is frigid, and I really didn’t want a cold meal for my lunch today.

I’d read of a cooking technique called sous vide (if you read that as “expensive kitchen gadget,” you’d be right) and I’d also read of a chef who used a styrofoam cooler and compared it to a sous vide machine to cook steaks for a catering event – and found that for steak, the styrofoam cooler worked just fine. That got me thinking. I didn’t need to cook the steak, just reheat it – and I have an eensy-weensy quart-sized crock pot. The perfect size for immersing a single serving of steak!

So I popped my steak into a ziplock sandwich bag, and “vacuum sealed” it by submerging it in water up to the top, which I then zipped closed – the water pressure helps remove air from the bag. Just in case, I double-bagged it using the same trick of submerging the bag up to the zip closure to get most of the air out. I’d used hot water from my tap, so I simply turned the crock pot to “low,” popped the lid on, and went about cooking up some breakfast casserole for dinner. By the time I was finished prepping the casserole for cooking later tonight, my steak leftovers were nice and warm – and still as tender and juicy as they were right after they were grilled!

Problem: solved. It takes some time – I didn’t watch the clock, but I’d guess about 20-25 minutes at the least went by – but the genius of water cooking is that extra time cannot hurt the food, unlike cooking with more conventional methods. I’m going to have to try this method out with more foods – particularly, anything “juicy” that doesn’t reheat well in the microwave and tends to get overcooked. Leftover green beans might make a good second trial run!


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