It's hard to cook a thick steak medium-rare. If you don’t give it enough time to temper, you end up with a steak that has a cold reddish-blue center. If the meat is not at room temperature, you can easily overcook the peripheral meat by the time the internal temperature reaches 125-130° Fahrenheit.
That’s where “hot tubbing” comes in. This is a tempering technique that provides a consistent temperature throughout a piece of meat by submerging it in lukewarm water.
Meat that has been tempered in a “hot tub” requires less heat to raise the internal temperature, which in turn leads to less overcooking.
How to "hot tub" your steak
- At least one hour before you plan to put your steaks on your grill, place the individual steaks into disposable plastic food-safe bags. Press out the air and seal with a twist tie.
- Place the steaks in a container large enough that when you fill it with hot tap water, the steaks are completely covered.
- As time goes on, change the water as necessary so that it stays at or above 100°.
- After the hour is over, your meat will have an internal temperature suitable for immediate searing. Give it some kosher salt, and sear at 650° or higher for about 2 minutes per side, or until you reach 132° internal temperature.
- Enjoy one delicious perfectly cooked steak!
This method works best on steak cuts that are thicker than 1.5”. Thin cuts can be cooked this way if you want them to be more medium to well done, but you’re probably better off cooking them in direct heat. If you want meat on the rare side, simply hot tub them for a shorter amount of time.
If you’re dealing with large cuts of meat, be careful not to overheat your water! You’ll cook your meat before it even makes it to the grill, robbing it of that smoky grill flavor.