Last Updated on November 21, 2023 by Carne Diem
Origin: European, Austrian
Method: Sous VideJump to Recipe
Sous vide tafelspitz is a modern take on this classic Austrian dish. Instead of boiling the beef as is typically done, the beef tri tip is cooked in a sous vide, helping the meat retain more moisture while not sacrificing on flavor or tenderness.
Table of contents
What is Tafelspitz?
Rumored to be the favorite meal of Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I, Tafelspitz is a Viennese dish consisting of beef boiled with root vegetables and seasonings. Tafelspitz is considered the National dish of Austria and remains a popular holiday meal in Austria and Bavaria to this day.
What type of meat is used for Austrian Tafelspitz?
Traditionally tafelspitz was made with ox or veal. Today several different beef cuts may be used, often from the hind quarter of the cow. Beef topside (top round), rump roast, chuck, or brisket are commonly used, as is tri-tip which is what we choose to use for the sous vide Tafelspitz.
Tri tip comes from the bottom of the sirloin and is a very popular cut in California where it is used to make Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip.
How to make Austrian Tafelspitz
To make the Viennese Tafelspitz you will need a roughly 3-pound tri tip roast, assorted root vegetables, and some spices and seasonings.
Traditional vegetables used in tafelspitz include carrot, celery, parsnip, and onion. In addition, herbs and seasonings like black peppercorns, thyme, bay leaf and marjoram are also typically used.
To prepare the sous vide tafelspitz, peel and slice the carrots and parsnip. Halve the onion, and slice the celery, reserving the celery leaves.
Char the onion halves and garlic in a pan over medium high heat, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
To prepare the tri-tip, trim the excess fat from the tri-tip roast.
Add the tri tip, 2 sliced carrots, ½ parsnip sliced, 1 sliced celery with leaves, onion, marrow bone, Juniper berries, peppercorns, Bay leaves, 3 garlic cloves, salt, thyme, and marjoram to a large sous vide bag and seal.
Cooking the Beef Tri Tip with a Sous Vide
Heat sous vide bath to 133 degrees. Sous vide the tri tip for 12 hours. We love this method of cooking the beef as it allows for maximum flavor and tenderness. Using a sous vide allows you to cook the tri tip to an even medium temperature, while the extended cook time allows for perfectly tender beef.
For this recipe we used our Anova Nano sous vide. This is a great unit for those interested in getting into sous vide cooking. Best yet it is typically available for under $100.
Is cooking beef for 12 hours in a sous vide safe?
Whenever sous vide cooking is discussed, there are always questions about food safety. Doesn't cooking beef at 133 degrees for 12 hours go against the USDA danger zone guidelines? The answer is not that simple. Food safety and harmful pathogen kill rate is a product of time and temperature. At a cook temperature of 133 degrees for 12 hours the meat undergoes pasteurization with a pathogen kill rate similar to the "safe temps" posted by the USDA. For simplicity the USDA publicly posts food safe temperatures in which bacteria are killed almost instantaneously. If you dig deeper into the USDA website you will find charts demonstrating food safe temperatures based on hold times.
In short, sous vide cooking at 133 degrees is safe as long as the meat is held at that temperature for long enough to kill the bacteria (in this case about 1 hour) which the 12 hour cook time far exceeds.
How to make Austrian Apfelkren (Apple-Horseradish Sauce)
Austrian Tafelspitz is almost always served with a traditional apple-horseradish sauce known as apfelkren. This Austrian applesauce is super easy to make and complements the sous vide tri tip roast perfectly.
To make the apfelkren sauce you will need 2 apples, prepared horseradish, sugar, a little cinnamon, and some water. Peel, core and dice 2 apples.
Bring ½ cup of water to a boil. Add the diced apple, sugar and cinnamon. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir in the horseradish. Move to a bowl and mix until smooth.
What to serve with Austrian Tafelspitz
In addition to the apple-horseradish sauce, Viennese boiled beef is traditionally served with root vegetables. Typically, the vegetables that are boiled with the beef are served, but since we cooked the Austrian tri tip in a sous vide, we prepared some fresh potatoes and vegetables.
In a medium pot of water, add the quartered onion and sliced garlic. Bring to a boil then add the yellow potatoes and boil for about 5 minutes. Next, add in the carrots and parsnip and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 5-10 more minutes, or until the potatoes and vegetables are fork tender.
Serving the Sous Vide Tafelspitz
Once the tri-tip is done cooking, remove the roast from the sous vide and discard the herbs and veggies. Slice the tri tip roast, against the grain, into ¼-inch slices.
Serve the tri tip tafelspitz warm with the potatoes and veggies and the warm applesauce.
Don't forget to try some of our other Austrian, German, and Bavarian recipes:
- Authentic Wiener Schnitzel: Viennese Veal Cutlet
- Smoked German Beer Cheese Sauce
- Authentic German Sauerbraten
- German Beef Rouladen
- German Beer Pretzels
- Authentic Schwenkbraten: German Swinging Pork
- German Hunter Sauce: Bavarian Mushroom Gravy
- German Kasespätzle with Bacon
Frequently Asked Questions
Leftover tri-tip is best reheated, wrapped in foil, and reheated in an oven at 300-350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, or until warmed back through.
We have had the best results cooking tri-tip at 133 degrees for 12 hours in a sous vide. This results in tender meat, without drying it out.
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Sous Vide Tafelspitz: Austrian Tri Tip Roast
- Sous vide
- 3 Pound Tri Tip Roast fat trimmed off
- 2 Carrots Peeled and sliced
- 1 Yellow Onion Halved
- ½ Parsnip Peeled and sliced
- 2 Celery Sliced
- 1 teaspoon Juniper Berries
- ½ teaspoon Black Peppercorns
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 3 Garlic Cloves Divided
- 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
- 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- ½ teaspoon Marjoram
- 1 Marrow bone
- 2 Apples Diced
- ⅓ cup Water
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons Grated Horseradish
Vegetables and Potatoes
- 2 Carrots Sliced
- ½ Parsnip Sliced
- 1 Celery Sliced
- ½ Onion Quartered
- 2 Garlic Cloves Sliced
- Trim the excess fat from the tri tip roast.
- Char the onion halves and garlic in a pan over medium high heat, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Add the tri tip, 2 sliced carrots, ½ parsnip sliced, 1 sliced celery with leaves, onion, marrow bone, Juniper berries, peppercorns, Bay leaves, 3 garlic cloves, salt, thyme, and marjoram to a large sous vide bag and seal.
- Heat sous vide bath to 133 degrees. Sous vide the tri tip for 12 hours.
- Peel, core and dice 2 apples.
- Bring ½ cup of water to a boil. Add the diced apple, sugar and cinnamon. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the horseradish. Move to a bowl and mix until smooth.
Vegetables and Potatoes
- In a medium pot of water, add the quartered onion and sliced garlic. Bring to a boil then add the yellow potatoes and boil for about 5 minutes.
- Next, add in the carrots and parsnip and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 5-10 more minutes, or until the potatoes and vegetables are fork tender.
- Remove the tri tip from the sous vide bag and discard the veggies and seasonings.
- Slice the tri tip against the grain, and serve with the warm apple sauce, potatoes, and vegetables.