My traditional Christmas roast isn’t turkey. I like to make a beef roast for Christmas. Since I now have a sous vide machine, this year’s roast was cooked sous vide and finished with a reverse sear in the oven. It turned out pretty good. It was medium rare throughout with a nice crust on the outside.


This was the last prime rib roast left in the grocery store. When Julianne and I went to pick it up a woman had it in her hands and was asking the butcher to cut it in half. She eventually talked herself out of it and we quickly grabbed it. Score one for us… but this was a monster roast. I was planning on using my roaster to run the sous vide but this thing was just too big for that. I had to use a picnic cooler to cook this thing sous vide. I did manage to use my roaster for something. I used it to get the water into the picnic cooler. I think I filled it and dumped it into the cooler six times before the water level was right.


I don’t have a fancy vacuum sealer so I simply put the roast in a Ziploc bag with some herbs and wine and used the water displacement method to remove the air. I could have used fresh herbs but I had a bag of all the leftover herbs from the pots on our deck. It was sitting on the counter for a couple months driving Julianne insane (she hates clutter) so now was a good time to put those to use. I used half a bottle of red wine. Having some liquid around the roast fill in gaps where air can get trapped in the bag and helps make a better seal. That liquid didn’t go to waste either. It ended up in the gravy and it was delicious.

The ChefSteps time and temperature guide gave me the best time and temperature to cook my roast at to get a tender, juicy medium rare. 60 degrees centigrade for 5 to 14 hours was the guide. According to ChefSteps 6 hours was the optimal time. My roast ended up cooking sous vide for about 7 hours. My sous vide machine had a little trouble maintaining accurate temperature in such a large vessel. I think I could have set it for 61 degrees.


Usually when you cook meat sous vide it comes out looking kinda grey. I think the red wine helped with the colour this time. The thing looked like its ready to eat right there. I still wanted to get that nice crust that comes from oven cooking so I cranked up the oven to 525 degrees and put the roast in for about 10 – 15 minutes to get a reverse sear. I probably could have gone for 475 degrees and a little longer time for a gentler sear. I’ll save that for the next roast.

Roast Beef - Sous Vide
Serves 8
Prime rib roast cooked sous vide and finished in the oven with a reverse sear.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
7 hr 15 min
Total Time
7 hr 30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
7 hr 15 min
Total Time
7 hr 30 min
  1. Beef rib roast (this was a 4 bone prime rib roast)
  2. 1/2 bottle of red wine
  3. Fresh or dried aromatic herbs
  4. 3 garlic cloves
  5. Olive oil
  6. Salt
  7. Pepper
  8. ZipLoc bag (large enough to hold the roast)
  1. Fill the picnic cooler with enough hot water so that it's in the sous vide machines sweat spot and set the temperature to 60 degrees C (140 degrees F).
  2. Season the roast with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Place about 3/4 of the herbs and the roast in the ZipLoc bag and in pour about 1/2 bottle of red wine.
  4. Gently place the bagged roast into the water. We're using the water displacement method to seal the bag so try to push the roast down so it's below the water line and the bag is tightly wrapped around the roast and seal the zipper.
  5. Cook the roast sous vide for 6 to 8 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees C (475 degrees F)
  7. Remove the roast from the ZipLoc bag (the juice can be reserved to make jus or gravy)
  8. Pat the roast dry with paper towels.
  9. Cover the roast in olive oil and spread some chopped garlic and herbs evenly over the roast. Season with more salt and pepper.
  10. Place the roast in the oven and roast until you get a nice crust on the outside. Mine took 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. Remove roast from oven and carve. You don't need to let it rest like a roast that was cooked entirely in the oven.
  1. I was going to set this up in a standard roaster but the roast was just too big. Had to use a picnic cooler instead.
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