Sous Vide Beef Chuck Shoulder Steak

Contains: No known allergens of common nature.  Is:  Paleo, Whole 30, nightshade-free.  
sous vide, beef, beef shoulder, beef chuck, recipe

My cut from the local farm-share was labeled “Beef chuck shoulder steak for London Broil“.  I decided I needed to know what the deuce that meant, and learned that there are several of the somewhat tougher steaks that are called “London Broil” – and that London Broil is not exactly a cut but a method of preparation.  Well, I’d already decided I wanted to test my sous vide equipment out on a tougher, relatively thick cut of steak, so we’re dropping the package-suggested method of preparation.  I am GLAD I did!

recipe, beef, chuck steak, shoulder steak, beef, sous vide

A dab of oil, plus salt and pepper on each side of each shoulder steak. Waiting until the sous vide water comes to temp before inserting in the two silicon containers, one of which is depicted above.

I’ve played a little with the sous vide using cuts of beef.  I think for many, the traditional methods of either getting out and grilling, or using a good skillet on the cook top, is preferable to the sous vide.  I’d much rather do ribeye, flank, flat iron, and other steaks without any sous vide implement in sight.

Basically, if your steak is thin, it is going to cook up just fine and without worries without the sous vide – when one goes to sear the steak, the searing will overcook the inside, well, unless you like medium-well or drier, which for something I want to serve as a steak… I don’t.  And for a tender steak like ribeye – just, no.  Again, it’s not going to provide this household any bennies.  (I did try it once – you won’t ever see THAT write-up!  Didn’t hate it, just wasn’t something deserving any love.)

Note:  this is grass raised and finished beef, which tends to have less of a fat content than those steers who spent their final weeks on junk food corn.  Inherently, this will typically have less fat than your supermarket slabs.

I had planned on adding the garlic powder to the steaks prior to sous vide, but even though it was sitting out on the counter by me, I forgot.  I thought about adding it prior to searing, but decided that for the purposes of the blog I wanted all my seasonings to occur prior to the sous vide process.  You can certainly add some after sous vide but prior to searing.  As for the fresh thyme… it’s not in my garden quite yet!!!  Winter!  (Next year I will have an indoor kitchen herb garden with my most-used small-footprint herbs.)

recipe, beef, sous vide, chuck steak, shoulder steak, Paleo, Whole 30, gluten-free, nightshade-free

This is one of the steaks ready to be reverse-seared. It doesn’t look that good right now… (but…)

Reverse searing:  The concept here is that one sears the meat after cooking, and from various things I’ve seen on line, this is usually the best way to go for beef, lamb, goat, pork.   Chicken – it depends.  Reverse searing can be accomplished on the cook top, on the grill, or on broil in the oven.  In a skillet on the cook top, or on a grill are probably the top methods.  Oh, there are folk with blow torches and searzalls, but while I like watching them on YouTube, I’m happy with the cook top skillet or the charcoal grill.   This recipe uses the skillet on the cook top.  However, today, I’m not firing up my grill for just searing, a waste of heat.  And, baby, it’s cold outside.

Beef, sous vide, shoulder steak, chuck steak, recipe, reverse sear, Paleo, Whole 30, nightshade-free, gluten-free

The second (leftover) steak, served this time with sautéed mushrooms and savoy cabbage. Seared just prior to eating.

New bags for sous vide:  I’ve not used this sous vide equipment a whole lot yet, partially out of a concern for plastics off-gassing.   The Ziploc bags I’ve been using have been rated as bisphenol A-free, but I’m given to understand that’s not the only issue.  So, I bought a couple silicon-based plastic-free bags, and are giving them a go this time around.

Sous vide, silicon, plastic-free

This works nicely. I do need to find the best way to clean these out, and to find larger ones.

silicon, sous vide, plastic-free

Sous vide in action. I was worried that the silicon bag  tops would not seal completely (visually hard to tell) ,so I put a mason jar and a couple of glasses in there (filled with water) to keep the seal part upright. I probably did not need to worry, but better safe than sorry…  Push out any extra air as far as possible, the bottom is indeed air-free.  They did sink nicely.

Prep Time:  about 20 minutes, including time to get the sous vide water up to temp.
Sous Vide Time:  Tested at 8.5 hours, worked perfectly.  I’d say, 7-12 hours.
Cook Time (searing): 1-2 minutes per side,  hit the long edges for a minute each.  (5-6 minutes).
Rest Time:  Resting is less critical than with conventional methods of cooking steak, but with photography and all, this rested about 5-6 minutes.
Serves:  2-4, sides depending.  
Cuisine/Style:  Sous vide (French?)  
Leftovers:  Prior to searing, keep the extra steak with juices in its bag, store in fridge.  Sear upon use, removing juices but adding them back to the seared meat in the pan.  Alternatively, prior to storage, sear and store with its juices, and slice into future salads.

Sous Vide Beef Chuck Shoulder Steak

  • 1.5 pounds of beef chuck shoulder steak, about an inch thick.  (This came as two steaks here).
  • 1 teaspoon olive or avocado oil.
  • Salt and pepper to preference.  I used pink Himalayan salt, and I use a LOT less than those TV chefs use.  Figuring I’ve added enough in that the salt will do its thing, but not so much to over-salt the taste buds while one is eating.  I fear Gordon Ramsay has lost his taste buds when it comes to salting foods.  I easily use at least half as much as he does… and I can always add more at the dinner table if I erred on the lower side!  But you do need to cook with some, helps balance moisture and draw out flavor.  Other salts are fine, just keep amounts sane!
  • OPTIONAL:  Garlic powder, a sprig or two of fresh thyme per steak.
  • A couple teaspoons of ghee, avocado oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil.  (High cooking oils for searing.)

Set the sous vide at 131 F / 55 C for a nice medium rare.  For long cooking, you don’t want to set this lower than 130 F. (130 F will give you a little leeway should your device have any thermometer inaccuracies.)   If you are doing a tender steak short-term cooking steak (which this one is NOT) for short term (say around 2 or max 3ish hours) you can certainly cook it rare at around 121 – 125 F / 50 – 52 C.

For medium:  Set the sous vide at 135 – 140 F / 57 – 60 C.

For medium well:  (not recommended, but the sous vide method does keep the juices in the bag so this sort of prep will keep the steak moister than most others – and can be tasty with fattier cuts).  Set the sous vide at 145 – 150 F /  63 – 66 C.

For well done/shoe leather:  I’m so not going to provide this information.

Rub 1/4 teaspoon of oil on each of the four sides (two steaks, four sides), using all 1 teaspoon when done.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on each side, don’t overdo it.  I don’t CARE how much Gordon Ramsey has burnt out his salt tasting taste buds.  Add garlic powder and/or fresh thyme sprigs if so inclined.

Place in your sous vide containers – you can use the silicon bag method as described above, pressing out as much air as possible.  You won’t get every last bit out, so having the bags stand upright in the water bath WILL keep any lighter air up to the top where it won’t interfere with sous vide work.  You can use the Ziploc water displacement method if you use a Ziploc-style bag.  Or you can vacuum seal using the proper equipment and following the instructions on your unit.

Sous vide at chosen temperature for 7-12 hours.  I pulled mine out at 8.5 hours.

Remove, reserve juices, pat dry, and sear in a hot skillet with the ghee or cooking oil, (or on a grill) for 1-2 minutes per side.  Hit the two long edges for a minute each.

Serve, with whatever sides work for you, topping with the still-warm juices.

I ate the second steak on a later date (hence you’ll be seeing two somewhat different sets of sides on the plates I show).  Basically, save the steak in its juices in the fridge until use – when ready allow to warm to room temp, about 40 minutes, then sear as above.

sous vide, recipe, chuck, shoulder steak, beef, Paleo, Whole 30

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble.

sous vide, recipe, shoulder steak, chuck steak, Paleo

Sous Vide Cooking Times by Thickness – Beef Pasteurization

How to Sous Vide Shoulder Steak

Sous Vide 7-Hour London Broil

Food Lab’s Complete Guide to Sous Vide Steak

Verdict on the silicon bags:  They work quite well.  I need to find some larger ones for larger cuts.  I do wish they cleaned out a bit easier, but soap and a brush to reach in helps.

Drop on by the Link Parties as they appear.  Loads of good ideas in them!

For instance, try Fiesta Friday, co hosts are Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau and Fiesta Friday’s very own Angie.

And Full Plate Thursday, run by Miz Helen in her country cottage.




About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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7 Responses to Sous Vide Beef Chuck Shoulder Steak

  1. Pingback: Sous Vide Beef Chuck Shoulder Steak — Of Goats and Greens | My Meals are on Wheels

  2. Well would you look at that! I’d never guess you could come up with the chuck cooked like that! Only in a sous vide, I;m guessing!!

    Thanks for sharing with us at Fiesta Friday this week!


  3. I need to use my sous vide machine! And top round steak (aka London Broil in my store) is on sale this week. Perfect timing, Diann 🙂

  4. Dave says:

    I cooked a shoulder steak at 130 for 10 hours a few days ago. It was cooked to a perfect medium rare and was tender enough to cut with the table knives.
    I salted and seasoned the frozen steaks before adding them to the vacuum-sealed bags with a sploosh of EVOO.
    My issue: the meat was lacking flavor.
    Do you have any suggestions to make the shoulder steak more flavorful? I really liked the price and the tenderness, but flavor was lacking.

    • I’d season the steak with salt (not overboard on it), ground pepper, prior to putting in the bag. Perhaps also garlic powder. Also, use a few springs of fresh thyme. Add more seasonings when searing post sous vide including a butter baste. An additional thought is to add something in the chili family to the sous vide bag – ancho for those who don’t want hot, but any variety of chilis in between, depending on heat preference. I also reserve all the juices after the sous vide process and make a sauce. I don’t tend to thicken my sauces with flour (preferring au jus), but you could indeed do that, too – and you can play with this sauce, too. Let me know how this works out for you? (Someone suggested not adding EVOO to the bag, as it may draw out flavors instead of adding them…. I’ve yet to experiment on that.)

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