Sous vide

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Sous vide adventures here. I've been wanting one of these for a few years, but so $$$. I finally got all the parts to assemble my own.

Jaq, Sunday, 12 May 2013 21:32 (ten years ago) link

All the parts:
Pump and basket (with immersion heater and temp sensor) in the cooler:
Filled with water (the white part of the immersion coil isn't supposed to be submerged:

Jaq, Sunday, 12 May 2013 21:34 (ten years ago) link

Pump on:
I filled with warm tap water - the starting temp was 97 F. I've got the setpoint at 146 F (for some slow-cooked eggs) - and the temperature's increasing 15 - 20 deg/hour:

Jaq, Sunday, 12 May 2013 21:36 (ten years ago) link

so cool!

call all destroyer, Sunday, 12 May 2013 21:52 (ten years ago) link

It's hit 146 and I've got some eggs in for one hour :) There's a grassfed hanger steak thawing, and that will go in overnight at 140.

Jaq, Sunday, 12 May 2013 22:01 (ten years ago) link

This just reminds me of when we made scrambled eggs for Sunday brunch when I worked in a resort kitchen. You'd have to keep nudging and massaging them with tongs while they boiled or else the eggs would set up in the exact shape of the bag. I'll keep an open mind because Jaq is the final word on p much all things culinary but I admit to skepticism.

lets just remember to blame the patriarchy for (in orbit), Sunday, 12 May 2013 22:04 (ten years ago) link

ok i just looked this up because i had no idea what it was and i have to ask: why?

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Sunday, 12 May 2013 22:18 (ten years ago) link

to cook food to a precise internal temperature

call all destroyer, Sunday, 12 May 2013 22:20 (ten years ago) link

but why would a person want to do that? i'm being totally honest. i don't understand. what is the application of this cooking method?

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Sunday, 12 May 2013 22:24 (ten years ago) link

the food can never exceed the temperature of the water. so if i set my water for 130, my steak will come out at 130 and be completely evenly cooked at that temperature. it's basically a tool for extreme precision. and for unforgiving cuts like jaq's hanger steak it basically guarantees perfect tenderness.

call all destroyer, Sunday, 12 May 2013 22:26 (ten years ago) link

it's basically a tool for extreme precision

aha, got it.

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Sunday, 12 May 2013 22:28 (ten years ago) link

like, while it's fun to sear and pan roast a steak and try to nail a perfect medium rare with great crust, it's also really hard to do and very time sensitive. you can leave food in the sous vide for a pretty long time and it will still be perfectly cooked.

call all destroyer, Sunday, 12 May 2013 22:28 (ten years ago) link

thank you
i love how many different kinds of obsessive cooks there are
this is not the kind that i am, but i appreciate the diversity!

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Sunday, 12 May 2013 22:29 (ten years ago) link

You can also get certain textures, like with eggs, that are impossible otherwise. If I didn't suspect I'd electrocute myself, I'd do this too. It looks great.

хуто-хуторянка (ShariVari), Sunday, 12 May 2013 22:30 (ten years ago) link

argh now i'm reading sous vide recipes and thinking about evil uses of wedding present money....

call all destroyer, Sunday, 12 May 2013 22:36 (ten years ago) link

ahahahah!! there you go, cad :)

Y'all don't remember when I did the slow-roasted eggs that took 2 days in a 150 deg oven or something? They were amazing, tasted like pretzels due to the very controlled maillard reaction.

Jaq, Sunday, 12 May 2013 23:03 (ten years ago) link

also, cad thanks for putting 130 in that post - I double-checked the temp for medium rare and 130 is what I want, not 140.

Rereading Harold McGee for all the temperature points where proteins do amazing things now.

Jaq, Sunday, 12 May 2013 23:22 (ten years ago) link

So another great thing is that once your food is cooked, it will keep in the fridge for a week (still sealed up) with no loss in flavor or texture. I did asparagus last year (veggies are held at higher temps for shorter times - easier on a stovetop) and the flavor was just so intensely good.

Jaq, Sunday, 12 May 2013 23:42 (ten years ago) link

Not exactly on point but in response to LL's q: I finally found a rice maker in Mexico!!! This makes me happy because I was quite dependent on my rice maker at home, which I couldn't bring with me due to extreme space constraints. Well, I could have brought it, but would have to have left behind at least one of the cats.

Anyhow, my mom (who is here visiting us now) always gives me a hard time about using a rice maker, saying "how hard is it to make rice?"? And the fact is, it is FUCKING HARD to make PERFECT RICE each and EVERY TIME with LITTLE ATTENTION. And I feel like sous vide is also method that is helpful for getting things perfectly perfect each and every time, with little attention once you have worked out the basic technique.

So kudos to Jaq, and kudos to me for once again having a rice cooker :)

quincie, Sunday, 12 May 2013 23:51 (ten years ago) link

Yay for perfect rice!

We just cracked two of the eggs - quivering whites and yolks like custard. So then we had two more, with a drizzle of balsamic. Oh man, so nice.

Jaq, Monday, 13 May 2013 00:12 (ten years ago) link

these days i'm usually having soft-boiled eggs for breakfast and the thought of replacing with sous vide eggs is tempting

call all destroyer, Monday, 13 May 2013 00:17 (ten years ago) link

also rice cooker is obviously a key appliance--to me it's the difference of being able to devote more time/concentration to the non-rice portions of your meal

call all destroyer, Monday, 13 May 2013 00:18 (ten years ago) link

Jaq, Monday, 13 May 2013 01:26 (ten years ago) link

Eggs, hanger steak, broccoli w/ghee, asparagus - all successes. The hanger steak was in for 24 hours and could have easily gone for 48 - perfectly medium rare, so much more tender than the one we cooked on the grill for comparison, and also better flavor. Flavors intensified on the broccoli and asparagus too, and both well cooked but still crispy (1.5 hours at 130 F).

Jaq, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 02:02 (ten years ago) link

did you sear the hanger steak before serving?

call all destroyer, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 02:02 (ten years ago) link

Yep, for 2 min/side. Next time, I'm seasoning the meat before sealing it up too. I just vacuumed this one up plain.

Jaq, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 02:04 (ten years ago) link

I'm thinking I'll do a pork loin roast next.

Jaq, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 02:05 (ten years ago) link

Excellent resource:

Also, I need a blowtorch.

Jaq, Wednesday, 15 May 2013 18:46 (ten years ago) link

So, eggs cooked at below 135 F never ever look anything but raw. Which came as a surprise at lunch yesterday.

Jaq, Wednesday, 15 May 2013 18:47 (ten years ago) link

they looked raw but were cooked?
this method of cooking still seems like a complete mystery to me

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Wednesday, 15 May 2013 18:54 (ten years ago) link

I held them for 90 minutes at 135 F - they could be considered pasturized after that, but the white was totally liquid and the yolk hadn't changed texture from a raw one. I ate the yolks with a little salt. Tonight I'm putting the rest of that batch back in the water at a higher temp (there's a pork roast in there at 137 F right now).

It's pretty fascinating to me (obv) - being able to get exactly the same results over and over again, and how the smallest change in temperature modifies the outcome. I'm going to do some custard sealed up in mason jars, maybe this weekend!

Jaq, Wednesday, 15 May 2013 20:12 (ten years ago) link

Sous vide was a "thing" in certain restaurants in the Napa Valley about 5-10 years ago, Thomas Keller even wrote a book about it.

Here's a vid from 2007 when the hype was at its peak:

I dismissed it as a novelty, and maybe I am wrong but I think if you brine/marinade/season anything for 1-2 days before cooking it in a traditional manner it will tenderize or make things more flavorful or whatever you think the sous vide apparatus/method is doing.

Yes I am luddite with a crusty skillet and a meat thermometer. Plus I hate all that plastic.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 15 May 2013 20:49 (ten years ago) link

On UK cooking shows, sous vide is def the method of choice for most dishes, and i think it was raymond blanc who said that most michelin-starred food (again, at least in the UK) is now made this way

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:46 (ten years ago) link

Sous vide is great is you have a high volume restaurant. I don't.

Three Word Username, Thursday, 16 May 2013 09:00 (ten years ago) link

So, eggs cooked at below 135 F never ever look anything but raw. Which came as a surprise at lunch yesterday.

There was a feature in Lucky Peach last year that detailed what happens to eggs when cooked sous vide at a variety of different temperatures. There was an optimal one, i think. I'll try to dig it out later.

хуто-хуторянка (ShariVari), Thursday, 16 May 2013 11:06 (ten years ago) link

I'm finding it more convenient and easier to clean up than a slow cooker. And none of the meat I've cooked has been dried out, which slow cooking definitely does. So far for me, it's a win.

Jaq, Thursday, 16 May 2013 12:50 (ten years ago) link

ShariVari, both those links I posted have the 6x egg info - 63 C for 45 minutes is optimal. That's how I did my first batch and they were very nice.

Jaq, Thursday, 16 May 2013 12:53 (ten years ago) link

Best thing so far - skin on chicken breast sous vide at 140 F for 3 hours, then finished on the grill for 15 minutes. Impossibly juicy meat and crispy skin with no worries of undercooking.

Jaq, Tuesday, 21 May 2013 04:20 (ten years ago) link

My friend set one of these up last month. Everyone out here eats tri-tip, and this is the only technique that makes it edible. I will definitively convince him to try eggs now.

lost it all for a bag of doja (Sufjan Grafton), Tuesday, 21 May 2013 07:20 (ten years ago) link

Got Thomas Keller's book and a blowtorch yesterday for my birthday! Did up some carrots and parsnips in herbed ghee today.

Btw, pork is better slow roasted. Sous vide really changed the texture too much.

Jaq, Friday, 24 May 2013 18:37 (ten years ago) link

hey jaq, this is rad

btw, if you don't mind me asking, how much did all the kit cost, and how difficult was it to assemble? alternately, do you have some ~links~

my dad is pretty interested in trying out sous vide and my sister and i were thinking we could get him something DIY for father's day

well if it isn't old 11 cameras simon (gbx), Friday, 24 May 2013 23:55 (ten years ago) link

I already had the cooler and got the rest off amazon for under $150. Oh though - I already had a vacuum sealer too. Those are less than $100 for a basic model or you can use Ziploc bags for a lot of things. You want some kind of guard for the heating element - i had that metal basket thing from another pot but you could find something similar for not much at target or ross. It was super easy to set up. The lid of my cooler is plastic so it squished around the power cords and I didn't have to cut any holes. Maybe get a tube of silicone caulk to help waterproof the top section of the heater - a lot of water condenses inside the lid and drips down.

Jaq, Saturday, 25 May 2013 01:15 (ten years ago) link

Thanks! My dad actually has a vacuum sealer (why because gadgets) so the rest seems doable. Is the wiring difficult?

well if it isn't old 11 cameras simon (gbx), Saturday, 25 May 2013 01:17 (ten years ago) link

Wiring is a piece of cake - just two standard 110 outlets needed, one for the pump and one for the temperature controller. The heating element plugs into the temperature controller.

Here's the pump I got - it's overpowered for my 8 gallon cooler but works great:

Heating element is super cheap and has the disadvantage of can't be plugged in if it's not already in water or it burns up:

(I bought this one to upgrade to, but it's too tall for my cooler so I have to figure something else out:

And the thing that makes it all work - the temperature controller:

Jaq, Saturday, 25 May 2013 01:27 (ten years ago) link

oh whoops, messed up that link:

The temperature controller is a simple on-off thing that has an RTD temperature element prewired. You stick the temperature element in the water and the controller cycles the power off and on to the heater (which is plugged directly into it). There are straightforward push buttons on the front where you set the target temperature and where the current temperature is displayed.

Jaq, Saturday, 25 May 2013 01:30 (ten years ago) link

good luck to your dad with it - I'm finding it great fun :)

Jaq, Saturday, 25 May 2013 01:34 (ten years ago) link

thanks a lot for the info! I think we may go for it, but go a little more budget and use that temperature controller with a crockpot (which works fine, i think? if you've heard Bad Stuff about that set up, I'm all ears)

well if it isn't old 11 cameras simon (gbx), Friday, 31 May 2013 18:24 (ten years ago) link

My Hamilton Beach slow cooker doesn't work with it - you test by plugging the cooker in to the wall, setting it, then unplugging and plugging back in once it starts to heat up. It has to start heating again without anyone needing to push any buttons or anything.

I have this other, more basic roaster/oven thing (has a temp knob that goes from 140 F up to 450 F, but otherwise looks like an oval slow cooker) - and it works fine with the sous vide controller. It's great for smaller batches.

If you do go for the cooler idea - set it up on some 2x4s or something, so there's an air gap underneath but still with some support along the edges and across the center. When you lift the lid, the condensation drips down the back. Combine that with the warmth of the setup and no ventilation underneath and you get a mold harbor. Lesson learned.

Jaq, Friday, 31 May 2013 21:20 (ten years ago) link

two months pass...

So this is really the best thing ever for cooking chicken. I make up packages of 2 bone in skin on breasts seasoned with salt/pepper/whatever herbs, hot tub at 140 deg F for 6 - 8 hours (or overnight, though they start to get a little mushy at 12 hours). Chill, freeze for however long, then thaw and slap on the grill to crisp up the skin/warm up (15 min) or debone/skin and chop for quickest ever curry/salad/soup. No worries about undercooking because they are totally pasteurized.

Jaq, Tuesday, 13 August 2013 00:11 (ten years ago) link

eight months pass...

Can't decide between an Anova or a Sansaire.

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Saturday, 26 April 2014 04:45 (nine years ago) link

i got an anova, based on all the reviews i read

gbx, Saturday, 26 April 2014 13:18 (nine years ago) link

Is the touchscreen interface fiddly at all?

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Saturday, 26 April 2014 15:47 (nine years ago) link


gbx, Saturday, 26 April 2014 15:52 (nine years ago) link

it's really straight-forward. not ~quite~ as easy as turning a knob, but it's easy. plus i think the clamp is a better design than the sansaire clippy thing.

gbx, Saturday, 26 April 2014 15:53 (nine years ago) link

this is how they cook meat bags at taco bell, only a lot faster

j., Saturday, 26 April 2014 16:26 (nine years ago) link

its also how they cook meat bags at a lot of michelin-starred restaurants, too

gbx, Saturday, 26 April 2014 16:27 (nine years ago) link

"meat bags"

flatizza (harbl), Saturday, 26 April 2014 17:18 (nine years ago) link

Just ordered an Anova. Hope the duck eggs I got at the farmer's market today are still good when it arrives.

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Sunday, 27 April 2014 01:51 (nine years ago) link

eight months pass...

I have upped my sous vide game with an Anova and it is way awesome. Anyone from here that's interested in the temperature controller linked upthread, email me at seattle_skies @ yahoo dot com and it's yours for the shipping cost.

Jaq, Sunday, 18 January 2015 16:43 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

my anova came today! jumping in w/pork chops (which i decided prob two years ago i'd never cook again until i bought one) later this week.

call all destroyer, Monday, 28 March 2016 02:19 (seven years ago) link

I'm using my circulator mostly for vegetables these days - there's just something about carrots/asparagus/zucchini spears/etc. cooked at 185ish for an hour and then a quick saute in the bag juices that's amazing.

Chicken breast is my other go-to - 140F and then seared is juicy and delicious. I haven't ever stepped up to the 48+ hour short ribs and similar, but I need to give it a shot.

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Wednesday, 30 March 2016 07:54 (seven years ago) link

three months pass...

love sous vide.

today i went to the farmers market at five, bought totally frozen pork tenderloin and had it on the table around 7:30. focussed on my vegetable prep with the comfortable knowledge that sous vide tenderloin from a local farm was going to taste really good with minimal effort on my part.

call all destroyer, Friday, 22 July 2016 04:04 (seven years ago) link

So is this how they'd do stuff like say, nandos chicken? Pre-sousvide it, so they onlyhave to chargrill it for 5 mins pre-plateup? I did notice them pulling chicken parts out of what looked like a giant steamer drawer.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Friday, 22 July 2016 04:20 (seven years ago) link

six months pass...

rack of venison tonight, 2+ hours at 131F. about as easy as it gets.

call all destroyer, Monday, 20 February 2017 01:49 (seven years ago) link

two months pass...

everyone with an anova still happy with it? my friend has one on his wedding registry and i was gonna get it for him

ciderpress, Monday, 15 May 2017 19:17 (six years ago) link


call all destroyer, Monday, 15 May 2017 19:25 (six years ago) link

I like mine. I don't use the connectivity features at all though.

DJI, Monday, 15 May 2017 19:51 (six years ago) link

yeah, still like mine, and mine is pre-connectivity features

thinking about selling it off, though, and getting a joule

jason waterfalls (gbx), Monday, 15 May 2017 20:25 (six years ago) link

what does the joule have going on these days?

call all destroyer, Monday, 15 May 2017 22:10 (six years ago) link

as compared to my older school anova? smaller, doesn't need as large a pot, magnetic attachment, pretty

jason waterfalls (gbx), Monday, 15 May 2017 22:33 (six years ago) link

it is indeed a nice-looking gadget

call all destroyer, Monday, 15 May 2017 23:05 (six years ago) link

five years pass...

i do a local monthly meat share thing, which is great except sometimes you get some items that are outside the lines like a cut of brisket that is a little less than 2 lbs, no idea if it came from the flat or the point or whatever brisket people talk about. doing 24 hours at 155 and oven finish tomorrow, don't sous vide much these days but i am always happy to have the option.

call all destroyer, Sunday, 12 March 2023 03:56 (eleven months ago) link

I am amazed at this odd way to cook - I am curious - the plastic bag - the love... but so long a cooktiime - for modern lovers ()

| (Latham Green), Wednesday, 22 March 2023 13:43 (eleven months ago) link

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