Secrets to Sous Vide Seasoning
We’ll start with the age old pairing of salt and pepper. Some argue that it can’t be beat, and we agree that when it comes to a perfect steak that this classical combo reigns supreme. But, what would life be without a little flavor experimenting? Read more below to check out how to expand your seasoning smarts.
So Many Seasonings
After salt and pepper, theres a whole wide world to explore. Depending on the type of food you’re serving up, your rub regimen may differ. If you’re doing a barbecue style meat such as pork shoulder, ribs, brisket or the like, it’s recommended to rub your protein heavily, wrap it up, and let it hang in the fridge for a few hours. This achieves two things: wicked flavor penetration from the herbs and spices, and the rub gets super-sticky which turns into a delicious crust! Common barbecue rubs go heavy on sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, mustard seed and more.
For smaller cuts, like fish, chicken breast/thighs, steaks, pork tenderloin, and the like, you can season and cook right away. A lot of peeps in our #anovafoodnerd Facebook group even season AFTER the cook and before the sear with great results.
Behold the Brine
Beyond the traditional surface seasonings, there’s a way to get flavor into the very center of every bite. A brine seasons the food while improving tenderness and flavor with additions such as herbs, spices, sugar, and more. The most common types of brining involve submerging the food in a super-salty solution for up to 24 hours. For an average size turkey, 12-14 pounds, add 2 cups of salt to a gallon of ice water, submerge the bird, and brine away. If you wanna get down and nerdy, 6% salt in relation to the bird’s weight (6g of salt for every 100g of food) is a great place to start. All that’s left is a sous vide cook to perfectly-prepare the turkey! Brining works best with larger cuts of meat. Instead of just a flavorful surface you get a flavorful surface AND interior because of the salts penetration into the proteins center.
The second type of brine is a dry brine. Very similar to the results of a wet brine, we forego the water and apply a healthy coating of salt directly to the surface of the meat, let it hang out uncovered in the fridge, and after 12-24 hours, we get a very similar result to a traditional wet brine with flavor brimming from edge to edge. This works great on steaks, chicken, pork chops/loin, etc! Start with 1 % kosher salt in relation to the food weight (1g of salt per 100g of food weight), and adjust from there. It’s common to settle between 1 and 3% depending on the desired flavor outcome.
Store Bought is A-Ok
While there is definitely a sense of pride involved in blending up your favorite flavors into a custom rub, there’s nothing wrong with hitting your spice aisle at the grocery store and finding a new favorite seasoning. From regional specific spice blends, to barbecue rubs, sweet, savory and anything in between, a pre-packaged store bough rub is a great way to jazz up any cook. They cost a few dollars, are available at any grocery store, last a while, and allow you to skip the guesswork of building your own flavor profile.
What are Your Seasoning Secrets?
As always, we rely on our superb #anovafoodnerd family for countless inspirations and recipes! Share your seasoning tricks below, or on social media using #anovafoodnerd! Check out the world’s largest collection of sous vide recipes for times and temps to nail all your cooks.