For dinner tonight, I had a chuck roast that I put in the sous vide Friday morning. Everything I had read online said it comes out exactly like prime rib. While that wasn't exactly true, it was an excellent meal and I will definitely do it again.
First, I seasoned the roast with salt, pepper, fresh garlic and two sprigs of fresh thyme. I then vacuum sealed the roast on Thursday night and put it in the sous vide Friday morning at 135. Everything I read online said to go for 29-36 hours. With work, life, etc., mine ended up being at the high end of that, possibly a little over.
Saturday dinner time, I pulled the roast and preheated my cast iron skillet. I got the skillet screaming hot, preheating on high for 10-15 minutes. There was a little over a cup of liquid in the cooking bag that I reserved.
I dried the roast and seasoned with course sea salt, smoked salt, garlic powder and pepper.
I seared the roast for about 30 seconds per side just to build a nice crust. I made sure to let it cool down a little bit before searing so as to not overcook.
After I pulled the roast, I deglazed the pan with red wine, cooked it down a bit and added the reserved liquid from the cooking bag and reduced it to make a pan sauce, which I finished with some butter.
I sliced the roast fairly thin and served it with the pan sauce and a homemade horseradish sauce. Both went very well with the roast and I liked the combination of both the best.
This turned out great and I really enjoyed it. It was surprisingly tender and had a great beefy flavor. The texture really impressed me. This is one of those recipes that really highlights the things you can do with sous vide that you can't do any other way. I really like pot roast and cook a lot of chuck. In the crock pot or dutch oven, it is obviously well done and goes from too-tough, straight to falling apart. This was completely different. The meat was on the high end of medium rare and as tender as good prime rib. It sliced very nicely and held together. Just to check, I tried to cut a piece with my fork. It took more effort than using a knife, but I got through it. I definitely would not have guessed chuck roast could turn out like this.
That being said, If someone put a blind fold on me and fed me this dish, I would not guess it was prime rib, but it does share a lot of qualities with prime rib. It has a great beefy flavor and perfectly rendered fat. The texture is similar to prime rib, but not quite the same. I am having a hard time describing the difference - I think I would say it is slightly firmer. Not tough or chewy at all, but I feel like if you poked a slice with your finger, it would bounce back more than a slice of prime rib.
Based on what I read online, I chose the leanest chuck roast I could find. I think that was probably good advice. The fat rendered nicely, and was a very similar texture to prime rib fat, but I wouldn't want to eat a ton of it. My lean roast had just enough fat and I didn't leave anything on the plate. For reference, I tend to eat some of the fat on a nice slice of prime rib, but not all of it. Next time, I will chop the thyme and spread it evenly over the meat. The whole sprig looks great on Instagram, but once in a while, I would get a bite with overwhelming thyme flavor, presumably from the spots where the sprig sat.
Next time, I will do some research and see if it is safe to lower the temp a bit. This was really good, but a bit more done than I prefer my beef - a common complaint I have with real prime rib. All in all, I really liked this. Prime rib is not my favorite to begin with. I prefer ribeyes "Pittsburgh Blue", with a hard sear on the outside and a cool center. If you are a prime rib fan, I would definitely give this a shot. It is not the same thing, but it shares a lot of the best qualities of good prime rib. I will definitely make it again.