This taco might be a bit different from your usual asada taco but amazing nonetheless and if you love meat and you love tacos and you love sous vide cooking… then, yes, you must try this.
By definition most asada tacos feature carne asada which is grilled or pan-seared flank steak. I didn’t have any and as much as I love flank steak I tend to take sides with the less popular tougher cuts when cooked sous vide. Why? because they can be transformed into something that’s quite possibly superior in flavor and texture via sous vide. And you’re still within rare to medium rare range… which is just amazing.
Yeah, that’s the thing… I love rare or medium rare steak and without sous vide cooking, it’s nearly impossible to achieve the doneness level I’m looking for when cooking these tougher cuts. You can choose to sous vide your steak to whatever level you want but most of my posts on this blog are about applying the least amount of heat to cook ingredients. Just enough to ensure the food is cooked, the texture is what I like and proper pasteurization is achieved.
Enough with this sous vide babbling. Get your gear ready because this is extremely simple once you have all the components ready. This is not a recipe per se. More like a reference guide if you’re interested in this kind of cooking. Let’s do this.
How long does it take to make this taco? come again??
Labor of love? is that the expression? this thing takes days in the making. Hey, if you’re a sous vide cook, this should’t come as a surprise. This is what we do… low and slow. So to answer my own silly questions, this taco takes about 3-4 days to make. Roughly 2 days brining and 2 days cooking. But as you can already tell, you don’t have to be there for most of it. Brining prep takes say.. 20 mins plus post-cooking sear which takes about another 20 minutes. Taco prep… give it who knows… 10 minutes all together. So under an hour of actual hands-on work. During the rest… no need to worry, just resume life.
Why round tip?
The main reason I chose to go with round tip is because it looked awesome at the store. I rarely buy something because a recipe calls for it. I rather go to a store and browse and select stuff that looks great and then let that factor into my decisions. It’s annoying at first, because you’re not in control (most cooks… control freaks…)… but you’ll end up with better food in the end and that’s the whole point of cooking I guess. Animal protein and vegetables/fruits… always go with what looks best. Not with what some recipe is telling you to get. We could get into seasonal cooking here too… but we won’t. That’s a whole other subject.
Cooking this thing.
Like I mentioned above, the process is pretty simple. Making potato salad is a lot harder if you wanna place this taco in some sort of difficulty level context. For those of you already familiar with sous vide cooking you can skip this part and actually most of this post, expect maybe the hot sauce section below. But for those of you getting started and not familiar with my post format, this is how it usually goes… I don’t like to write a list of ingredients and then give you a list of instructions without going a little bit over the thought process and maybe ramble a bit about cooking science here and there. When an ingredient list is due… I’ll type one up as I’ve done many times in the past. So… now that that’s out of the way… let’s sous vide us a round tip!
I really enjoy brining. Specially meats. Some people prefer dry cures and I do like them but I find brining convenient and I like the added juiciness and even seasoning that it brings. I keep the salinity of the brine to about 2% and usually brine for 24 to 48 hours. Make sure you are working with sanitized equipment and place the brining tub at the bottom of you fridge and keep your fridge to the coldest setting. Sugar is also great in brines, specially brown sugar. Now.. if you’re planning on adding any other flavourings keep in mind that the concentration might require you to use a TON of say for example… black pepper… or garlic… to impart the amount of flavor you’d really want it will not be cheap. Imaging throwing away saffron like this… kill me. So in this case go with a marinade or dry cure/dry rub it. Another ingredient I use in some brines is instant coffee. I probably added about 2 Tbsp. You should taste the brine before you use it to make sure the flavors are correct. Obviously, don’t taste after you’ve added raw meat in it.
I wish there was a better descriptor for this kind of cooking. The words “Sous vide” don’t really capture the whole idea of cooking in a bag. Vacuum sealing isn’t even necessarily a requirement but it does help a lot. It reduces the risk of uneven cooking which could potentially lead to pathogen reproduction and we definitely don’t want that. So, if you have the money, get yourself a vacuum sealer. I use mine all the time and not just for sous vide cooking. Anyways, once you have ‘re done with the previous section you’re ready to sous vide. Drain any liquids, wash the meat under cold tap water and bag it up. Make sure you get your water bath to cooking temperature before adding the meat… I’m not the best at following this rule but it’s important. Keep food out of the danger zone and if you don’t know what this is google it up. It’s a good safety rule to keep in mind when cooking and not just sous vide. And.. you’re done… go find a chair and wait for 32 hours. For more detailed information regarding this, please visit: COFFEE FLAVORED ROUND TIP SOUS VIDE @ 55C 32H
I don’t always bother with searing meat, specially if nobody is looking but for presentation purposes and definitely for blog posts I do (don’t get me wrong, I love the flavor of golden caramelized anything but I get impatient sometimes!). There’s countless ways of going about this so I will just tell you about how I do it. I don’t have a grill and ventilation in my apartment isn’t the best… my smoke detectors hate me too. Yeah, hellish environment for cooking, I know. This is why I mainly deep-fry for searing purposes. There’re a few issues with this technique but I stand by it. Keep a fire extinguisher handy though. Grease fires are literally living nightmares. Because you can’t really use a commercial deep fryer for this (they don’t get hot enough) you will need a pot and oil with a high smoke point. I find that safflower oil works great, very neutral in flavor and you can get it pretty hot, up to 500F without burning it. Another rule of pot deep-frying… don’t fill your pot with more than 1/3 of oil. Just don’t. You don’t want to deal with 500F oil overflowing and catching on fire. Grease fire living nightmare more like a living night terror. I do most cooking at night by the way.
Don’t really need to bother allowing meat to rest if it has been cooked sous vide. So let’s talk about the … rest of the steps involved (see what I did there?) in making these simple but amazing tacos. You will need 2 more things a least before you can call this a taco. One is a tortilla and the other, sauces and garnishes. All equally important components. I like flour tortillas but feel free to use whatever you like. If you do go for flour tortillas you can use them straight out of the bag. I either deep fry them (hey, the deep frying pot is already hot and ready) or I toast them over a gas stove, flipping them a few times until they “ready”. They will char a bit here and there and smoke a bit too but not enough to anger the detector gods. If you deep fry them, they will bubble up real quick so be ready to pinch them or take em out of the oil quickly. It really only takes a few seconds for tortillas to turn into tostadas. Up to you.
Ok, if you’re still with me that’s great! we’re almost done here. Let’s talk about sauces or salsas. When it comes to salsas and tacos tons of books could be written… so I’m not gonna get into it but I will point you to a few hot sauces that I’ve developed at home if you’re interested. Otherwise, there are plenty of decent ones you can buy at your local store. I’ll leave you with some options and I hope you really enjoy them. I’m working on 2 more hot sauce recipes this weekend. Both fermented and I’m hoping to get the blog posts in before Monday!
And that is it!
Get your sharpest knife and slice the meat to the desired thickness and start stuffing those warm tortillas. After that, smother it all with your favorite hot sauces. You can also add cubed avocados, or make your own guac and use that instead. Chopped cilantro, pickled red onions, etc. It’s really up to you. I keep garnishes to a minimum but that’s me! Go crazy. I won’t be there to stop yah. And that’s it! So yeah… that’s how I make asada tacos. It’s a bit of a long process but as you get more comfortable cooking sous vide or if you already are but haven’t tried the long slow cooking times required to break down tougher cuts, you’ll start to get in the mind set of long term cooking planning with impressive results. Have a great weekend guys!