Sous Vide Cooking

2K6TBSS

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I have been wanting a sous vide for a while, and the wife got me one for Christmas this year. So far we have tested with chicken breasts and pork chops.

The one she got me is the Anova AN500 (1000w) WiFi version. I just ordered a 12qt. container with lid and racks to make the cooking a bit easier.

What do you guys like to make with yours? I know the possibilities are endless, but I want to get a few ideas.
 

bfreebern

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Interested and following this thread. I don't have one yet, but I've been wanting one for a while as well.
 

Nihon_Ni

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I love my sous vide machine! The best thing about a sous vide is you can't over cook something they way you can in an oven. If I'm cooking steaks at 132° and fall asleep, I could come back hours later and they would still be a perfect medium-rare. (This is also good for when my wife says "I'll be home in an hour" and looses track of time...) The only danger in cooking things too long is bacteria growth, and that rate will depend on the temp you're using, but it's many hours -- probably 6-8 hrs for steaks cooked at 130-140°. I've sous vide a leg of lamb for 48 hrs, and short ribs for 72 hrs. Those were both at lower temps than you'd use for steak, but you can do long cooks sous vide at lower temps without bacteria concerns.

I mostly do protein in mine, but my friend at work does veggies as well. My wife likes medium rare steaks and I always struggled to get the temp just right. Now, I almost always do them in the water bath. I put each one in a ziploc bag or a Food Saver vacuum wrap with a little olive oil, fresh thyme, salt, pepper and garlic clove or two, and drop it in the bath. I set the temp to 132° and let it go for an hour minimum. It's also great for cooking items that are different thicknesses, like fish. If you pan fry a fish fillet, the tail and sides get over done and the middle where it's thicker get under done. Sous vide takes care of all of that, because everything in the water will only equalize to the temp you have set. I love salmon cooked sous vide at 113° for about 40+ minutes. It comes out super soft and buttery, but falls apart easily, so be gentle with it. I normally apply some sugary glaze (honey, maple syrup, brown sugar & butter, etc.) and torch it for a few seconds to caramelize the sugar.

There's three downsides to cooking sous vide: you don't get the Maillard reaction, and since you're cooking at a lower temp, you can't make a pan sauce after you cook your protein, and they really cool off fast. The Maillard effect is what you see when you sear a piece of meat -- it's that brown and crusty bit on the outside. Not only does it look good, there's a tremendous amount of flavor in it. When you cook a steak sous vide, it ends up gray and it doesn't really look like something you'd want to eat. So you need a method to add the Maillard reaction to most proteins. My favorite way is with a blow torch. I have a MAP gas torch from Home Depot that I use because it burns cleaner than butane. I flip my cast iron skillet upside down, put the steaks on the bottom, and torch it for a min or so until it looks tasty. I cooked lamb chops sous vide recently, and I finished them on a super hot grill for a few minutes to get that smokiness of the BBQ as well as the Miallard reaction.

The pan sauce is easy enough to overcome if you plan ahead. You'll need to adjust your tempo a bit to make sure you pull items out of the water at the last minute. Protein cooked sous vide generally doesn't need to rest since the temp isn't above it's final target. But you do have to be quick about serving, as they cool off rapidly. I thought that heating plates in the oven was a good solution, until I broke one of the wife's favorite plates. YMMV. I don't heat plates anymore, so I just work to minimize the time between taking the meat out of the water and eating by making it the last thing to do: pull it out, drain it, torch it, serve it!
 

modo22

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4,467
My wife just got one for the holidays and uses it all the time! Its pretty damn good and very easy. Just not the best yet at the seasoning of the meat first, but we are still playing with it to get everything right.
 

smellysell

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I love my sous vide machine! The best thing about a sous vide is you can't over cook something they way you can in an oven. If I'm cooking steaks at 132° and fall asleep, I could come back hours later and they would still be a perfect medium-rare. (This is also good for when my wife says "I'll be home in an hour" and looses track of time...) The only danger in cooking things too long is bacteria growth, and that rate will depend on the temp you're using, but it's many hours -- probably 6-8 hrs for steaks cooked at 130-140°. I've sous vide a leg of lamb for 48 hrs, and short ribs for 72 hrs. Those were both at lower temps than you'd use for steak, but you can do long cooks sous vide at lower temps without bacteria concerns.

I mostly do protein in mine, but my friend at work does veggies as well. My wife likes medium rare steaks and I always struggled to get the temp just right. Now, I almost always do them in the water bath. I put each one in a ziploc bag or a Food Saver vacuum wrap with a little olive oil, fresh thyme, salt, pepper and garlic clove or two, and drop it in the bath. I set the temp to 132° and let it go for an hour minimum. It's also great for cooking items that are different thicknesses, like fish. If you pan fry a fish fillet, the tail and sides get over done and the middle where it's thicker get under done. Sous vide takes care of all of that, because everything in the water will only equalize to the temp you have set. I love salmon cooked sous vide at 113° for about 40+ minutes. It comes out super soft and buttery, but falls apart easily, so be gentle with it. I normally apply some sugary glaze (honey, maple syrup, brown sugar & butter, etc.) and torch it for a few seconds to caramelize the sugar.

There's three downsides to cooking sous vide: you don't get the Maillard reaction, and since you're cooking at a lower temp, you can't make a pan sauce after you cook your protein, and they really cool off fast. The Maillard effect is what you see when you sear a piece of meat -- it's that brown and crusty bit on the outside. Not only does it look good, there's a tremendous amount of flavor in it. When you cook a steak sous vide, it ends up gray and it doesn't really look like something you'd want to eat. So you need a method to add the Maillard reaction to most proteins. My favorite way is with a blow torch. I have a MAP gas torch from Home Depot that I use because it burns cleaner than butane. I flip my cast iron skillet upside down, put the steaks on the bottom, and torch it for a min or so until it looks tasty. I cooked lamb chops sous vide recently, and I finished them on a super hot grill for a few minutes to get that smokiness of the BBQ as well as the Miallard reaction.

The pan sauce is easy enough to overcome if you plan ahead. You'll need to adjust your tempo a bit to make sure you pull items out of the water at the last minute. Protein cooked sous vide generally doesn't need to rest since the temp isn't above it's final target. But you do have to be quick about serving, as they cool off rapidly. I thought that heating plates in the oven was a good solution, until I broke one of the wife's favorite plates. YMMV. I don't heat plates anymore, so I just work to minimize the time between taking the meat out of the water and eating by making it the last thing to do: pull it out, drain it, torch it, serve it!
Seems like a cooking grate over a charcoal chimney (Alton Brown tuna steak method) would be a great way to sear also.
 

Breedy

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Nov 14, 2007
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Sous Vide chuck roast. Just need to keep an open mind about cook time (I've done 30 hours before).

MAP gas works well but takes some practice. Cast Iron on the grill works well too, if you are not doing a bunch of things.
 

Nihon_Ni

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That's a good point about using a torch -- it's easy to overdo something delicate, so I'd recommend you start with a steak that is a little more forgiving of errors. Just keep the flame moving and pay attention to the change in color. I like it because I can focus the heat at specific areas to get an even Maillard reaction across the whole protein.

I don't have a gas grill, so I normally don't go through the hassle of lighting charcoal just to finish a sous vide protein on the grill for 2 mins or less unless I really want the smoke flavor, like with lamb.

You could also just use a skillet on a stove top -- get it hot and kiss each side for something like 30-60 seconds. I've been thinking about slightly undercooking a steak sous vide (maybe 129°, then doing the reverse sear in a cast iron pan by butter basting it with thyme and garlic for a few mins on each side. I might have to experiment this weekend...
 

2K6TBSS

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2010
Messages
2,958
I love my sous vide machine! The best thing about a sous vide is you can't over cook something they way you can in an oven. If I'm cooking steaks at 132° and fall asleep, I could come back hours later and they would still be a perfect medium-rare. (This is also good for when my wife says "I'll be home in an hour" and looses track of time...) The only danger in cooking things too long is bacteria growth, and that rate will depend on the temp you're using, but it's many hours -- probably 6-8 hrs for steaks cooked at 130-140°. I've sous vide a leg of lamb for 48 hrs, and short ribs for 72 hrs. Those were both at lower temps than you'd use for steak, but you can do long cooks sous vide at lower temps without bacteria concerns.

I mostly do protein in mine, but my friend at work does veggies as well. My wife likes medium rare steaks and I always struggled to get the temp just right. Now, I almost always do them in the water bath. I put each one in a ziploc bag or a Food Saver vacuum wrap with a little olive oil, fresh thyme, salt, pepper and garlic clove or two, and drop it in the bath. I set the temp to 132° and let it go for an hour minimum. It's also great for cooking items that are different thicknesses, like fish. If you pan fry a fish fillet, the tail and sides get over done and the middle where it's thicker get under done. Sous vide takes care of all of that, because everything in the water will only equalize to the temp you have set. I love salmon cooked sous vide at 113° for about 40+ minutes. It comes out super soft and buttery, but falls apart easily, so be gentle with it. I normally apply some sugary glaze (honey, maple syrup, brown sugar & butter, etc.) and torch it for a few seconds to caramelize the sugar.

There's three downsides to cooking sous vide: you don't get the Maillard reaction, and since you're cooking at a lower temp, you can't make a pan sauce after you cook your protein, and they really cool off fast. The Maillard effect is what you see when you sear a piece of meat -- it's that brown and crusty bit on the outside. Not only does it look good, there's a tremendous amount of flavor in it. When you cook a steak sous vide, it ends up gray and it doesn't really look like something you'd want to eat. So you need a method to add the Maillard reaction to most proteins. My favorite way is with a blow torch. I have a MAP gas torch from Home Depot that I use because it burns cleaner than butane. I flip my cast iron skillet upside down, put the steaks on the bottom, and torch it for a min or so until it looks tasty. I cooked lamb chops sous vide recently, and I finished them on a super hot grill for a few minutes to get that smokiness of the BBQ as well as the Miallard reaction.

The pan sauce is easy enough to overcome if you plan ahead. You'll need to adjust your tempo a bit to make sure you pull items out of the water at the last minute. Protein cooked sous vide generally doesn't need to rest since the temp isn't above it's final target. But you do have to be quick about serving, as they cool off rapidly. I thought that heating plates in the oven was a good solution, until I broke one of the wife's favorite plates. YMMV. I don't heat plates anymore, so I just work to minimize the time between taking the meat out of the water and eating by making it the last thing to do: pull it out, drain it, torch it, serve it!

Thanks for the input!

I did New York strips last weekend, and finished them in a really hot cast iron on my gas stove. They cam out really juicy and even the wife was raving about them (she doesn't like steak).

I'm going to have to steal the idea of adding fresh herbs to the bags when cooking too. I just did salt and pepper on the steaks, but was thinking they would probably do good with some sort of a sauce added to the bag.

Glad to hear people have used it for long roast type of applications, as I was really leery about having a roast in the bath for 40-50 hours.
 

Nihon_Ni

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That's great to hear! Sounds like a successful first test.

I wouldn't think making a sauce in the bag would turn out like one cooked with dry heat. A lot of juices come out of protein and I think you'd need higher heat to transform them into a sauce. Add things to the bag that are more akin to seasoning -- herbs, peppercorns, juniper berries, bay leaf, garlic, ginger, etc. Try to get those flavors to go into the meat to accent it's natural flavor profile.

A friend just gave me half a deer, so I'm thinking about doing some of that sous vide.
 
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