Sous Vide Tri-Tip

I haven’t yet conquered the perfect sous-vide egg. It remains elusive. Although, I will soon try David Chang’s slow cooked egg timing from the Momofuku cookbook. I will serve it with a plain fig, just to piss him off. I have, however, found my favorite thing to sous-vide: Tri-tip.

Tri-Tip roasts are a West Coast thing apparently. They’re a fairly tough cut of meat, but have a lot of flavor. That’s perfect for sous-vide cooking. They had them in Hawaii too where I setup my first crock pot sous vide. Now with the Nomiku in the house things are so much easier.

Sunday’s dinner included the tri-tip, with a most excellent mushroom demi-glace and re-fried four cheese mac & cheese. Fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden tossed with a little vinegar and olive oil rounded out the plate. An olive bread from the farmers market was also delicious.

Sous-Vide Tri-Tip

1 tri-tip roast
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Red Miso
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, ginger powder, onion powder
1 – 2 teaspoons of chili paste with fermented soy bean or other chili paste to taste

Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Rub all over the tri-tip. Put any excess into the vacuum bag you’ll be sealing the trip-tip in. Add in the tri-tip, vacuum seal and allow it to marinade in the refrigerator for an hour to overnight. If you don’t have time you can just go to the cooking stage.

When you’re ready to cook get your sous-vide going set at 130°F and put in the sealed bag. Cook for 4 hours. This will make the meat “prime rib” tender, but not mushy. If you like more chew, you could opt for 3 hours.

Heat up your grill or broiler

Take the meat out, adding any juices to any sauce you’ve got going. See below for approximately what I did for my mushroom demi-glace last Sunday.

Grill or broil the meat for just a couple of minutes per side. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

Mushroom Demi-Glace

2 shallots minced
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound brown crimini mushrooms or other flavorful mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped (lemon thyme is lovely)
1 1/2 cups red wine
2 tablespoons Demi-Glace Gold (I keep this on hand. It lasts a long time)

Melt the butter over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add the shallots and sauté for a couple of minutes then add in the sliced mushrooms and thyme. Raise the heat and sauté until the mushrooms brown a bit. When the mushrooms are brown and have released most of their water mix the demi-glace gold into the wine and add it to the pan. Simmer until reduced to a thick sauce on the mushrooms at least a few minutes to burn off the alcohol in the wine. If it gets too thick, thin with a little water or more wine. Be sure to put in any juices  from the meat.

Refried Mac & Cheese

When you make your next mac & cheese make it in a loaf pan a day ahead. Put it in the fridge overnight and then pop it out of the loaf pan. While still cold, slice it into serving sized slices. You can do this ahead and pop it back into the fridge. At serving time, heat up the slices in a non-stick skillet or on a griddle over medium high heat. Let one side get crispy before turing it over.

My favorite:

Macaroni with Quattro Formaggi (four cheese mac & cheese)
from Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook

5 T. unsalted butter
1/4 c. flour
2-1/2 c. milk
5 oz. Gorgonzola, crumbled
4 oz. Fontina, grated
Pinch ground nutmeg
S&P to taste
1 lb. ziti, cooked al dente and drained
4 oz. Mozzarella, cut into 1/4″ cubes
4 oz. fresh Parmesan, grated
1 tsp. paprika

Bread crumbs
Melted butter

Preheat oven to 350º. Butter a 2 qt. baking dish.

Melt butter in a med. saucepan over med. heat. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook, stirring constantly until lightly thickened to consistency of cream. Whisk in the Gorgonzola and Fontina. Cook, whisking constantly, until cheeses are melted. Season w/ nutmeg, S&P to taste. Remove from heat.

Combine cheese sauce and cooked ziti. Stir in the Mozzarella and spoon into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle w/ Parmesan and then paprika. Cover with breadcrumbs and dot with butter. (optional-my addition)

Bake until bubbling and top is browned, 30-40 minutes. Serve immediately.

Nomiku Sous-Vide

nomiku_front_mediumI’ve been blogging on and off since 2007. I knew I didn’t have a lot readers back then, and that was fine. I stopped completely after leaving Hawaii in 2008. Somewhere in 2010 several people I know said around the same time that I should blog what I was cooking. So, bowing to peer pressure I started up again.

Over the years, I’ll admit some envy creeping in when blogs I read and blogger friends got shipped boxes of goods to evaluate and blog about. Who wouldn’t want to get a box of high end cheeses? Well, the saying goes good things come to those who wait. It certainly came true this time.

A few days ago Sean of Punk Domestics, Hedonia and, added me to the Facebook Bay Area Food Bloggers page.IMG_2432 (Sean’s blog Hedonia is actually what started me blogging in the first place.) Within minutes I was connected with Lisa Q. Fetterman the CEO of Nomiku. They make immersion circulators for Sous-Vide cooking. They were Kickstarter funded and are aimed at the home cook market. They sent me a refurbished unit. It arrived yesterday.

I’ve been cooking Sous-Vide since 2008. Back then the only choice to buy was a very expensive restaurant grade immersion circulator. They were thousands of dollars, even used. But someone somewhere on the internet showed me how to use a greenhouse temperature controller to turn on and off my crockpot to do sous-vide. You can read my blog post from back then here. It worked well enough, but was a lot of equipment on the counter: the crock pot, the controller and heavy wires. So, I was a bit remiss in using it much. I found that meats did the best, finally settling on always doing my tri-tip roasts in it. A more recent blog post about that is here.

So, the Nomiku unit arrived yesterday and I just so happened to have lamb chops IMG_2433selected for dinner. I tore open the box and put it right to work. The manual is very small, with good reason, it’s super easy to use. Clip it to a pot, fill with water to level of between the two indicated lines, plug it in, turn the dial to the desired temperature and that’s it. A press of the dial switches between Celsius and Fahrenheit. It heated the water quickly and I vacuum sealed the chops with my Foodsaver, putting some Basque Marinade in. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you can just use zip lock bags, sealing them pressing out as much air as possible.

The recipes that came with the Nomiku suggested two hours at 55°C for lamb chops and that’s what I did. It gurgles away like the sound of an aquarium while it’s running. Far from loud or annoying. If you’re playing music I doubt you’ll even notice it.

After the two hours I seared the chops in a pan on the stove. They were perfect. Medium rare from edge to edge and delicious. Here’s the result:


This morning I made a sous-vide egg for breakfast, one hour at 65°C. The yolk was like custard and amazing. The whites were still a little runny, which I’ve been told can be solved by dunking in boiling water for a few seconds. I will try that the next time. IMG_2443Theres also an iPhone/iPad app that I may try that takes another way to cook the perfect sous-vide egg.

You’ll notice I’ve been sticking with Celsius. Most of the recipes out there are for Celsius. The Nomiku is easy to switch back and forth though.

The bottom line is that this unit is easy to use and works very well. This version is $299. A new Wi-Fi version is coming and will be $199. Both can be ordered at

I was given a refurbished Nomiku. There was no request for me to write a review. The opinions are mine alone and based on having the unit for a day, using it twice.

Sous-vide Buffalo Tri-Tip

Sous-vide is a cooking technique that until a couple of years ago was only possible in a professional kitchen. It is simply cooking with vacuum sealed bags in a water bath kept at a constant temperature. One of my main concerns for the home cook though was food safety. This issue was addressed in a blog post that I stumbled upon. It finally convinced me to try the method. I’m quite happy I did.

The post talked about the author’s use of different controllers to turn a crockP1040890 pot or rice cooker on and off to maintain the constant temperature of the water bath that is required. I ended up ordering the Ranco Electric Temperature Control. A home vacuum sealer, in my case a Foodsaver, is the other necessary piece of equipment, which I’ve had for several years.
So, today I mixed up a marinate and sealed up a nice sized Buffalo Tri-Tip P1040889that came with this month’s meat C.S.A.* It went into the crock pot that was plugged into the Ranco ETC. The temperature probe is left in the water bath and I set the controller for 132°F, medium rare. I got this all going about 11:30 am this morning. I had meant to get it going earlier as I like to cook a tri-tip of this size 8 or so hours. The great thing about the method is that the meat will be medium rare no matter how long you cook it. The texture does transform though and too long of a bath will make for too soft of a texture. With a tough cut of meat like this 8 hours is about right.

P1040900It turned out perfectly. After removing it from the bag, I cut it in half to save part of it for the freezer and grilled the rest for just a few minutes. It was very tender, but still had great texture. The flavors of the marinate, which was miso, soy sauce, honey, garlic, onion and ginger powders, was distinct and tasty. A little salt at the table really brought out the flavors.

Roasted broccoli and fresh tomatoes from the garden rounded out the plate. My dinner plates are looking so similar in these posts! That will surely change when the tomato season ends.


Read about my fist sous-vide experience in my long dead Hawaii Blog here.

Tri-Tip Marinade
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce, Reduced Sodium if possible
1 Tablespoon Red Miso
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon each, garlic powder, ginger powder, onion powder


*C.S.A. – Community Supported Agriculture. I.e. buying directly from the farmer.