Butchers should love sous vide. They should be actively promoting the cooking method. They could, if they had the wit, see that the saving of their dying craft is tied to innovation. Domestic sous vide is such an innovation and could help on a path to profitability. Using sous vide, one can turn out a spectacular steak in just over an hour. I can turn out a spectacular steak in a lot less time without sous vide. Granted, the SV steak may be a bit tastier and a bit more tender. But, this is not where Sous Vide really shines.
The sous vide cooking method allows home cooks turn cheaper cuts of meat into outstandingly tasty, tender, juicy joints. It makes “awesome” both possible and affordable. That should be great news for independent butchers.
The proof of the sous videing is in the eating, if you will pardon the metaphorical mashup. To demonstrate, I cooked a Ball of the Round joint (ask your butcher) sous vide for 24 hours at 54°C (130°F).
- 3 kilo (6lb) Ball of the Round joint
- 3 teaspoons of sea salt
- 3 teaspoons of mixed peppercorns
- A handful of fresh thyme
Pat the joint with the salt and peppercorns. Place the thyme all around the joint.
Vacuum seal the joint. I like to double seal. Place the joint into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds or so. Then place the joint in the sous vide for 24 hours.
The joint looks pretty awful before de-bagging. Remove it from the bag, being careful to save the juices. Pat dry, remove the thyme and brown the joint on a frying pan.
You can make a delicious sauce by frying a couple of shallots, adding some beef stock and a glass of red wine. Reduce this down a little before gently adding the bag juices and seasoning. Happy days!
Carve the joint and serve with your favourite vegetables. This tasted about as good as any rib roast I have ever eaten.
This is a budget joint that tastes as good as it gets. This part of the beast would traditionally end up in burgers or as stewing steak. Promoting both these joints and sous vide can add sales and margin for hard pressed butchers. By having a more educated customer base, any butcher worth their salt can generate interest in more parts of the beast. That becomes a self sustaining and sensible business strategy. Oh, it tastes great too.