wow thx for sharing all that!
>so be careful switching from Koshering salt to Pink Himalayan, or sea salt.
I recently tried different salts and think I'll stay with kosher...maybe I've just grown accustomed to it...some like the pink himalayan had an almost soapy taste to me..was overall disappointed. hawaii black salt was the most interesting..
Thanks for this post, a lot of good info here.
So far I have done more poultry and pork with my Joule, but you brought up two points that I want to expand on.
I have also found that most store bought spice mixes do not work well with sous vide. In order to get enough flavor it seems like I was was using close to half a spice jar to season two chicken breasts. The two big exceptions have been lemon pepper and that Cavendar's all purpose Greek seasoning. Chicken breasts seasoned with either of those came out fantastic. But I am also rapidly getting to the point of just using salt, pepper, garlic and fresh herbs if I have them. I don't really have a strong opinion about fresh vs. powdered garlic, I haven't noticed much of a difference in taste. I know the Sous Vide Everything guys say powder tastes better, I'm not sure about that, but it is a lot easier to use.
The other comment is that I disagree about the vacuum sealer. I couldn't live without mine. We go to Costco and buy a decent amount of meat. When I get it home I season it up, bag it, and freeze it. It makes dinners so much easier having that all ready to go. I also have other sous vide ready meal prep already frozen in bags ready to go too. Including a bunch of peeled diced sweet potatoes bagged up with butter and brown sugar which will be turned into sweet potato pie.
Having a vacuum sealer also seems to be easier for larger cooks. For thanksgiving this year I sous vide'd the turkey. You have to butcher the bird first, the breast and the drumlets, and the thigh and the drumsticks. If I had tried to water displace all four bags, and fit them all in my 12 quart container at the same time it would have been a mess. The dark meat was also in the water for over 24 hours, I'm not sure if I would trust a freezer bag for that long of a cook.
I bought the 12QT Rubbermaid container plus the lid that's made for the Anova (Amazon). I've been very pleased.
A few thoughts after having an ANOVA for 2.5 years. First, I think the focus on steaks (eg r/sousvide like 80% of posts) it's unfortunate. Sous vide is a very recent cooking technique at the consumer level, previously almost entirely constrained to restaurants, and home cooks should think outside of the restaurant book. Steaks are a great application, but not the most remarkable, even when only considering meats, or even beef.
I've done many long (up to 72h) and high temperature cooks and never had a leak with zip lock freezer bags. Using the "submersion" technique (hold 99% of the bag underwater to squeeze the air out before zipping the last inch) works fine. If you have multiple bags, you can seal each one, lay on counter, then cram them all into the container after sealing. Stock pots don't have a great geometry, plastic food storage containers are better, and coolers better yet. I have 8, 16, and 25 qt coolers to suit a range of tasks. They're about the same price and are still available to use for picnics. An advantage of sous vide is that you can get the container off the counter -- even out of the kitchen, which is convenient for long cooks.
In the non-steak realm, tough cuts like chuck & short ribs (beef), spareribs, and shoulder (pork), can get textures that no other form of cooking really can. Tender cuts like poultry white meat, pork chops & loin can be likewise be cooked to moisture levels (juiciness) that are very difficult to match. Perhaps the most remarkable protein for me is delicate fish (eg sea bass) or any type that is traditionally poached.
I'm not much into sous vide vegetables, but they have their fans. I use canning jars a lot, making things like scalloped potatoes, rice, dried beans, lentils -- which, while might not make sense for some schedules (take longer and taste the same) work well for me (work from home, can cook different things at the same time, require no pot watching -- or washing, for that matter). Low temperature canning (eg 140f/2.5hr) of brined vegetables (pickles) has been a total game changer (home garden). You can also pasteurize eggs (or re-pasteurize milk that's close to expiration) this way. Yogurt making is a cake walk with sous vide, you can do the scald and ferment steps and refrigerate in the same jars. My 4 qts each week takes literally 10 minutes of active time (in 16-24hr clock time).
Sous vide is also great for defrosting, reheating and holding foods at serving temperature, which can dramatically simplify logistics at big/complex meals, and free up oven and stovetop space for other tasks -- or eliminate entirely, which can be nice on hot days.
I bought my sous vide stick to cook steaks, but now I have 2 running all week, and steaks are less than 5% of their use. They have totally changed the way I cook. Pro tip: $25 Harbor Freight propane weed burners kill at searing, and the SVE guys back that up.
> Dry aging isn't worth it. I haven't gone to a top tier butcher and ordered the super expensive cuts of meat, but I have visited a few higher end ones and on more than one occasion purchased identical cuts to compare the dry aged to non-aged cuts. In both instances my guests and I were unable to taste the difference at all. With grilling there is quite a noticeable difference and I wonder whether with sous vide if it is masked because of how tender everything comes out. I may continue to experiment with this and try doing some of my own dry aging, but for the moment it just seems like a wasted and unnecessary expense.
Woahhhh gonna disagree with you here. Maybe for <28 day dry aged, but 28+ (my personal fave is 60+, but not everyone likes that funk) is absolutely amazing. But I would never sous vide a steak that's been dry aged that long, because the smell of it cooking in the oven is downright heavenly.
>* For best results preheat a good cast iron pan (**careful not to get it too hot**)
This seems at odds with the popular habit around here of trying to get your sear so hot the face of the sun would seem like a snow vacation in comparison.
When I cook steaks on my weber, i use GrillGrates, beautiful marking and prevents flare ups.
I just bought an anova online. Your post inspired me to do this. Let's see how well it goes!
I'm surprised at the low temperature (~54.5 C) you used. Most of the sous vide books I have recommend more like 62 C.
Do your steaks come out red, pink, or what? Rare, medium rare, or what?
I've had mine for a few weeks and haven't tried steak yet, because I don't have the ability to sear it at the end (no cast iron pan, no torch, no grill), and I also hate filling my place up with smoke because the ventilation at my stove isn't the best. Is the sear *totally* necessary on a sous vide steak? I should just get a new cast iron pan but I find that with how little I used my last one it became a bit of a pain
What do you do when you’re cooking two steaks for people that like them cooked differently? Like one rare and one medium? I haven’t been able to figure this out since it takes an hour at least to cook.
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