Sous Vide: Beef Skirt Steak, Bacon, Dark Side BBQ Sauce

Calling this specialty cut a "steak" presumes extremely thin slicing to overcome the inherent toughness. Fortunately, sous vide is able to meet the challenge.


NOTE: Make sure you read our other discussion/recipe on skirt steak, linked HERE

Beef skirt steak, 2.2 lbs./1Kg.
I used Painted Hills Oregon Beef, that I purchased from the fine people down at NickyUSA

Allspice, Chinese 5 spice powder, and cardamom, 1 pinch each, or your favorite seasoning blend, including:
S+P to taste.
Dark Side BBQ sauce, or your choice.

Sous vide roasted potatoes one or two per plate, or your choice, of course.
This recipe calls for one piece of crisped bacon per serving, but I will leave the portion up to your discretion!


Cherry tomatoes, assorted, cut in half, 6 each
Radishes, sliced thin, 2 each.
Parsley, fresh, 2 Tbsp./5g.
Barley, cooked, 3 oz.
Extra virgin olive oil, 2 oz./60 ml.
Lemon juice, 1 oz./30 ml.
Salt and pepper to taste.

NOTE: Combine 1 oz./30 g barley with 3 oz./90 g. water in a Ziploc bag and process sous vide @183 F/84C X 1 hour. Shock to 40 F/4 C to avoid overcooking.

Equipment requirements
Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Heat rated container, minimum of 2 gallons/8 liters.
Heat rated sous vide bags.
Flat bottomed skillet, approximately 12″/30 cm. and 3″/90 mm deep.
Metal tongs
wooden spoon.
Wire whisk.
Infrared or probe thermometer.


Serves 3-4
Level of difficulty 3


Seal skirt steak in vacuum or Ziploc Freezer bag and process sous vide @
129F/54Cx36 hours.

Cold shock to 70F/21C in cold/ice water, and refrigerate @40F/4C. Once chilled, remove the skirt steak from the bag. Save the juices, which can be processed according to the method HERE. Sprinkle the steak with the listed spices, and use a Lipavi L5 or comparable rack to stand the steak up. This is important so that the smoke comes in contact with all the surfaces, instead of just the bottom.

Use a cold start to smoke the skirt steak @
180Fx2 hours

Using a cold start minimizes your exposure to smoke at start up, and also prevents the steaks from overcooking. Once started, do not open the smoker–let it do its work uninterrupted for two hours. The PID controllers in pellet grills are not as precise as they would have us believe, but this is the nature of the method. Any BBQ/Smoker will work. You still have to monitor your progress much more closely.

Make the salad!

Combine and toss lightly as described above:
Cherry tomatoes, Radishes, Parsley, Barley, Extra virgin olive oil, Lemon juice, S+P.Keep in the refrigerator until service.

Remove the steak from the smoker, and let it cool just long enough to carefully remove it from the rack. Heat a saute pan to

add a few drops of vegetable oil, and quickly sear the steak–it is already cooked, so we are just adding a little crust to the surface! This process should take about 30 seconds per side. Remove the steak from the pan, and place on a cutting board. Remove the salad from the refrigerator, and spoon some on to the plate, as pictured.

Add the potato as a neighbor…cut the steak in approximate 5oz./150g pieces, and stack one on top of the other. Drizzle the sauce over the steak and on the plate, and crown with the bacon.

There are some fine chefs out there whose presentations I cannot even imagine replicating. Even so, I tell people to create altitude, and to put smaller amounts of food on larger and larger plates. There is very little mystery to that, but people always seem somehow enlightened when I tell them. This pleases me! Beyond that, try to combine as many colors as possible, with the exception of blue. There are exceptions to that too, of course! Who doesn’t love blueberries?

As always, I hope you gain some insight from this treatment. As always, comments are welcome, and I am live most days HERE

Norm King



The low and slow smoking process complements the significantly beefy flavor. A zesty vegetable salad with cooked barley kernels is the perfect embellishment. Bacon adds cachet!

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