Sous Vide Chuck Roast (for French Dip Au Jus)
Sous vide chuck roast is magical. You can achieve a super flavorful, tender, medium rare cook with a normally very tough cut of meat. It's perfect for a delicious French dip au jus or just plain with gravy.
Servings (change as needed): 4 -5
- 2 pounds (1 kg) boneless beef chuck roast Note 1 about 1 1/2-2 inches thick (3.75-5 cm)
- kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder
- Optional: sprig of thyme of rosemary don't over do it
- For sear: mayonnaise, oil or mustard
French Dip Sandwich
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
- pinch of sugar
- 1 French baguette cut into 4 pieces and sliced in half, Note 2 (or 4 buns/rolls)
- Optional (Note 3): cheese, horseradish sauce
Beef gravy (au jus), Note 4
- natural beef juices accumulated in sous vide bag
- beef broth to add to beef juices to make 2 cups/473 ml, Note 5
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water. (for thickening slurry)
- Optional flavor boosters: splash of Worcestershire sauce, dash of Dijon, dash of sherry, hot sauce, fresh herbs (thyme, bay leaf, rosemary), pad of butter, salt, pepper
PREPARE CHUCK ROAST: Season chuck roast all over with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Place in fridge, uncovered, for 6-8 hours or overnight (up to 24 hours). This will enhance flavor, but if you don't have time, skip it.
SOUS VIDE CHUCK ROAST Heat sous vide water bath to 135F/57C for medium rare (note 6 for other temps). °For water displacement method: place roast in large zipper freezer plastic bag. Lower bag into water, unsealed, until top of the bag is just above water level. Then seal bag once all air is pressed out by water. °For vacuum seal method: place roast in vacuum sealer bag. Seal bag with vacuum sealer machine. Lower bag into water. Bag should not float. Use clip to attach to side of container or hang bag over side when you put on lid. Cover container with lid, towel or aluminum foil to reduce evaporation. Sous vide chuck roast for 24 hours (or up to 30 hours). If roast is thicker than 2 inches/5 cm, you can sous vide up to 36 hours. When finished, remove beef from bag and rest it for 15 minutes. Reserve juices. Dry meat well with paper towels.
CARAMELIZE OR CHAR ONIONS: While meat is cooking (or day before), heat skillet to medium heat and add oil, sliced onions and pinch of sugar and salt. Stir onions occasionally until lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high heat for quicker results. This will char rather than caramelize onions which need a slower lower-heat cook. Set aside.
SEAR BEEF: If you are making sandwiches, you can skip this step unless you prefer to brown the meat for presentation and extra flavor. Then grill or pan sear the meat.Spread a thin layer of mustard or mayonnaise over surface of meat. Or just spray with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. °To grill: Spray grill with oil and heat to high heat (500F+/260C+). Do a quick sear for 60-90 seconds per side and edges to brown it. °To pan sear: Heat large skillet to high until almost smoking. Turn on vent or open windows. Add a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil to hot pan and sear meat for 60 seconds per side and edges.
MAKE AU JUS BEEF GRAVY: Pour the beef juices from sous vide bag into the skillet (same one you used for searing meat). I strain the juices sometimes through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any bits but you don't have to. Add beef broth (about 1 cup/237 ml or a bit more) and thyme. Bring to boil, add cornstarch slurry and stir until thickened, 1 minute. Add seasonings as you like e.g. a dash of worcestershire sauce or sherry, a sprinkle of garlic powder, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes if you like heat. Gravy should be thin. If too thick, add more broth or a bit of water.
MAKE FRENCH DIP SANDWICHES AU JUS; Slice bread if half. If desired, add cheese on one side (or both) and broil for about 3 minutes until cheese is melted. Slice meat across grain (the grain may be in different directions on parts of roast). Add sliced meat to au jus gravy to warm through for 1 minute max (you don't want meat to cook). Place slices on bread, top with cooked onions. Pour gravy into small individual cups. Serve sandwiches with gravy and horseradish sauce if desired.
Nutrition values are estimates for 4 generous sandwiches, including buns, onions, beef and au jus gravy (with a mayo smear).
Instead of chuck roast, the French dip sandwich will also work with flank steak (only 2-3 hours in sous vide), trip tip (6-8 hours in sous vide), bottom round or rump roast (24-48 hours in sous vide). NOTE: if chuck roast is bigger than 2 pounds/1 kg, use the same time and temperature. If very thick e.g. 3 inches/7.5 cm, cook for 30-36 hours.
Sandwich bread options: Typical for this sandwich is a baguette of French roll. Other options are panini, hoagie roll, sub roll. Just be mindful that the bread gets soggy when dipping it into the beef juices, so you need bread that has a bit of structure. Or toast the bread before serving.
Add-ins for sandwich: charred onions (or caramelized onions as per recipe), horseradish sauce, cheese (provolone, havarti, swiss or gruyere). If using cheese, melt it on the split open buns in a 400F/204C oven before adding the beef.
- Shortcut for gravy/au jus: Skip the homemade au jus and use a packaged demi glace beef sauce (e.g. Knorr Swiss)
- Beef Broth: If you don't have enough natural beef juices, add beef broth. I like to use condensed broth in a can like Campbell's beef broth (no water added) or a Beef Better Than Bouillon base with water. If using cubes, powder or condensed broth, add a little less water than called for to deepen the flavors.
- Time and temperatures:
- medium rare 130-136F (54.4C-57.8C)
- medium 142F (61C)
- medium well 148-152F (64.4-67C)
- well done 158 - 160F (70-71C)
- Make Ahead:
- Store leftover chuck roast in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- Freeze for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
- To make a few days ahead: Cool the chuck roast in an ice bath after sous vide (or cool to room temperature on counter), place in fridge. To reheat, place in a water bath of 135F/57C for 10-15 minutes. Dry, sear, slice.
Calories: 640kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 157mg | Sodium: 1500mg | Potassium: 921mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 36IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 7mg