If you aren’t familiar with sous vide cooking, seeing a 24-hour cook time in a recipe might cause a raised eyebrow or two. But that is the beauty of this cooking method. Since the food is sealed in bags and immersed in temperature-controlled water, it never gets above the desired doneness level. All that changes over the long cooking process is the texture of the meat itself.
For this recipe, I chose two distinct venison roasts. The first was a section of top round, a normally tender cut that I often slice into grilling steaks. The second roast was a sirloin tip, that football-shaped roast from the quad muscle area of the ham. Sirloin tips can be tough, and I often slow braise or slow cook them until they eventually fall apart. Both roasts came from a 3.5-year-old Midwestern buck taken in mid-November.
The words Sous Vide are French for “under vacuum” and that is exactly how you could describe the food being cooked. We vacuum seal the roasts in standard bags, just like we are preparing them for the freezer. The roasts are then submerged in a large pot of water and the sous vide unit is turned on and set to the desired temperature. The unit contains a heating element and will heat the water to the set temperature. A small propeller circulates the water around the food being cooked.
For a medium-rare finish, we set our sous vide unit for 130 degrees. The roasts cooked for a full 24 hours. Since the meat is cooked without any contact from hot air, the surface doesn’t brown while it is still in the bag. Popular methods for browning sous vide cooked meats include a hot grill, a cast iron skillet,-or even a hand-held torch.
Since adding salt to meat before a long cook can actually begin to cure the meat, causing it to be a little tough on the surface, I prefer to do the bulk of my seasoning after the cook and before searing the surface of the meat. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add some flavor during those long hours under vacuum. For this recipe, we sprinkled the meat well with dried rosemary. The juice from the meat softens the rosemary and the flavor works its way deep into the meat.
The results from the long cook time exceeded expectations. The meat was done to a perfect medium-rare, but the texture was fork-tender, even for the sirloin tip. We sliced the roast thin and served it with roasted potatoes and a nice salad. Leftovers made for a fine sandwich the next day.
3-4 pounds of venison roast
Tablespoon dried rosemary
Teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Begin by trimming the roast of all fat and silver skin. Season well with the dried rosemary. Vacuum seal the roast with your Magic Chef Vacuum Sealer. Place the sealed roasts in a large pot filled with warm tap water.
Set your sous vide unit to the desired temperature, for us it was 130 degrees. Cook for a full 24 hours. Remove the roast from the sealed bag and finish seasoning with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil over high heat in a cast-iron skillet. Sear the roasts for 1-2 minutes per side, until the surface is nicely browned. Rest for a few minutes and slice thinly across the grain.
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