Sous Vide

Fryowa

Administrator
I know there's a food thread, but this is more equipment-related.

Any of you guys use a sous vide cooker?

Been on the fence considering one for a long time but I never pull the trigger. My kid plays sports pretty much year round and by the time he's home it's 6:00 and I don't want to mess around with a bunch of prep. I like the idea of setting the water temp at 125 in the morning when I leave for work and having a steak seared and done in about 5 mins when I get home. We're big fans of cast iron searing in butter, garlic, and thyme.

My boss' brother owns a steakhouse, and he does two big containers of 20-30 steaks every Friday and Saturday morning. One is medium-rare and one is medium, then at night the cooks just grab the one they need, sear it, and you have a steak on the plate in no time.
 

Chickenlounge

Well-Known Member
I bought one a couple years ago and use it all the time. Just used it last week on 4 thick-cut NY Strips. Sous Vide at 130 for about 4 hours, then seared in the cast iron for 30-45 seconds per side. Cooked to perfection. It's so dead easy.

I actually found a tailgating recipe for "chuckies" this football season. Sous Vide a chuck roast for a looong time (I've seen anywhere from 24-72 hrs) to break down the toughness, then shredded it like a pork butt and mixed in some BBQ sauce. It was good and cheap for a crowd.

Haven't done fish, chicken, etc. yet, but I've seen people do that online. Considering they're sub-$100, there's no reason not to get one.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
I bought one a couple years ago and use it all the time. Just used it last week on 4 thick-cut NY Strips. Sous Vide at 130 for about 4 hours, then seared in the cast iron for 30-45 seconds per side. Cooked to perfection. It's so dead easy.

I actually found a tailgating recipe for "chuckies" this football season. Sous Vide a chuck roast for a looong time (I've seen anywhere from 24-72 hrs) to break down the toughness, then shredded it like a pork butt and mixed in some BBQ sauce. It was good and cheap for a crowd.

Haven't done fish, chicken, etc. yet, but I've seen people do that online. Considering they're sub-$100, there's no reason not to get one.
Thanks. I'm pretty sure I'll end up getting one.

That chuck roast recipe sounds interesting.
 

MattinColumbus

Well-Known Member
I’ve also been considering one for a long time but haven‘t pulled the trigger. I’m pretty used to reverse searing steaks and chops, and we pan roast fish, so no need there, either. Plus, I don’t have a vacuum sealer, so I’d have to pick up one of those, too.

If you get one, let us know details and how you like it.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
Plus, I don’t have a vacuum sealer, so I’d have to pick up one of those, too.
Actually you do, you just don't know it :)

I'm a pretty avid fisherman and I probably clean and freeze 500-600 fish per year, so 1,000-ish fillets. I have a vacuum sealer but I don't use it for that because I don't want to take the time to dry all the fillets.

All you need to do is grab yourself a ziploc, fill your sink with water, and immerse the bag (with the food in it) just up to the opening in the bag. the water pressure will drive all the air out and you're good to go. A few air bubbles won't hurt anything for sous vide.

When I'm freezing fish, I dunk the whole bag under water, push most of the water out with my hands, and zip the bag up. Zero air bubbles and zero freezer burn. I lay the bags flat on a baking sheet in the freezer, and once they're solid they stack up nicely like books on a shelf. As long as no air touches it you're good to go indefinitely. I had some bluegill the other night that were caught in January of 2018 (fell between some other stuff and I didn't see them), and they tasted like they just came out of the lake.
 
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MattinColumbus

Well-Known Member
Can’t remember which chef I was watching (I love to cook/bake/bbq) - think it was Thomas Keller - who really emphasized getting a pro sealer to do sous vide well. He had a couple reasons:

1. If you want to marinate in addition to just cook, getting a good seal is important b/c the vacuum pushes the marinade into the meat of fish better
2. You don’t want the food to float as it cooks, so no air bubbles

He said what hawkdrummer said on the food thread: get a pro model sealer.

Now, I’m just repeating what he said, ‘cause I have no real life experience. But it made me think about whether I wanted to spend the hundred for the sous vide unit plus another three hundred for the sealer just to do sous vide. I’m not sure what big benefit it gives me.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
Can’t remember which chef I was watching (I love to cook/bake/bbq) - think it was Thomas Keller - who really emphasized getting a pro sealer to do sous vide well. He had a couple reasons:

1. If you want to marinate in addition to just cook, getting a good seal is important b/c the vacuum pushes the marinade into the meat of fish better
2. You don’t want the food to float as it cooks, so no air bubbles

He said what hawkdrummer said on the food thread: get a pro model sealer.

Now, I’m just repeating what he said, ‘cause I have no real life experience. But it made me think about whether I wanted to spend the hundred for the sous vide unit plus another three hundred for the sealer just to do sous vide. I’m not sure what big benefit it gives me.
If you're set on a sealer, Foodsaver's mid range is way more than adequate and they're only $180 ish dollars.

The GameSaver model from them is great. I have one and most of my buddies who fish and hunt do as well, and we aren't easy on our gear for the most part. It's a little more well-built, and I like it because you can do consecutive seals instead of waiting in between for the strip to cool down. I can line up 10 or 12 bags of fish and knock 'em all out in a row.

After that you're just paying for features you don't need like automatic bag feed, etc.

The next step up after that is a chamber vac and then you're talking a grand for a good one.
 

Chickenlounge

Well-Known Member
I have the Foodsaver 300, which I think was their most basic model, and have had it for nearly 20 years. It works fine and does everything I need it to do.

Looks like the FM2000 is now the base model? The V1100 is only for smaller bags.
 

Chickenlounge

Well-Known Member
So I made a version of the 'chuckie' recipe above, but with a 3lbs arm roast instead. I guess it's an armie (pretty sure army is already used)? I'll have Marketing work on that.

Anyhoo, I put it in the sous vide at 175 for about 28 hours, and when I took it out, it just fell apart in my pan. I smothered a bunch of BBQ sauce on it, added diced peppers & onions, covered it and threw it in the oven at 170 for a couple hours. Pulled it out and you couldn't even tell it was a cheap arm roast. Whole family loved it. Perfect for a quick dinner or a tailgate/potluck.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
So I made a version of the 'chuckie' recipe above, but with a 3lbs arm roast instead. I guess it's an armie (pretty sure army is already used)? I'll have Marketing work on that.

Anyhoo, I put it in the sous vide at 175 for about 28 hours, and when I took it out, it just fell apart in my pan. I smothered a bunch of BBQ sauce on it, added diced peppers & onions, covered it and threw it in the oven at 170 for a couple hours. Pulled it out and you couldn't even tell it was a cheap arm roast. Whole family loved it. Perfect for a quick dinner or a tailgate/potluck.
Interesting...
Does it smell funky when it comes out of the bag after being in there so long?
 

hawkdrummer1

Well-Known Member
Can’t remember which chef I was watching (I love to cook/bake/bbq) - think it was Thomas Keller - who really emphasized getting a pro sealer to do sous vide well. He had a couple reasons:

1. If you want to marinate in addition to just cook, getting a good seal is important b/c the vacuum pushes the marinade into the meat of fish better
2. You don’t want the food to float as it cooks, so no air bubbles

He said what hawkdrummer said on the food thread: get a pro model sealer.

Now, I’m just repeating what he said, ‘cause I have no real life experience. But it made me think about whether I wanted to spend the hundred for the sous vide unit plus another three hundred for the sealer just to do sous vide. I’m not sure what big benefit it gives me.

Indeed, that vacuum sealer is a must, primarily for storage but also for marinading.

As for the sous vide, I got one for a gift a few years ago and have never really used it. I should give it a go to be fair, but I don't get it. I can get a perfect cook on darn near anything and fall apart tender with a slow smoke/cook, crock pot or Instant pot.

Who has 2 hours (or more) to cook a steak?

This thread serves as a nudge, I'm gonna get it out and see what I can do.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
Who has 2 hours (or more) to cook a steak?
That's actually the appeal for me. My kid is in sports pretty much year round and I don't usually pick him up till 6 pm, I can put a couple steaks in the water when I leave for work in the morning, and then when we get home it'd take maybe 10 minutes start to finish to sear 'em on cast iron with some butter and garlic. And that's including heating the pan and cleaning up.

I've eaten sous vide steaks and some tri tip, and with thicker cuts I really like how evenly cooked it is. You could have a 2" thick sirloin and when it comes out it's perfectly medium rare all the way through. No overdone edges.
 

hawkdrummer1

Well-Known Member
That's actually the appeal for me. My kid is in sports pretty much year round and I don't usually pick him up till 6 pm, I can put a couple steaks in the water when I leave for work in the morning, and then when we get home it'd take maybe 10 minutes start to finish to sear 'em on cast iron with some butter and garlic. And that's including heating the pan and cleaning up.

I've eaten sous vide steaks and some tri tip, and with thicker cuts I really like how evenly cooked it is. You could have a 2" thick sirloin and when it comes out it's perfectly medium rare all the way through. No overdone edges.

I'll have to give it a go
 

Chickenlounge

Well-Known Member
That's actually the appeal for me. My kid is in sports pretty much year round and I don't usually pick him up till 6 pm, I can put a couple steaks in the water when I leave for work in the morning, and then when we get home it'd take maybe 10 minutes start to finish to sear 'em on cast iron with some butter and garlic. And that's including heating the pan and cleaning up.

I've eaten sous vide steaks and some tri tip, and with thicker cuts I really like how evenly cooked it is. You could have a 2" thick sirloin and when it comes out it's perfectly medium rare all the way through. No overdone edges.
This is exactly the reason to use it. You put it at whatever temp you want, and you can't overcook it. If it's in the bath for 2 hours or 4 hours, it'll still come out how you want it.

Also, lots of steak houses use sous vide and just have a ton of steaks sitting in various temp baths, and when they need one, they pull it out, sear it up, and toss is on a plate with your baked potato and send it out.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
This is exactly the reason to use it. You put it at whatever temp you want, and you can't overcook it. If it's in the bath for 2 hours or 4 hours, it'll still come out how you want it.

Also, lots of steak houses use sous vide and just have a ton of steaks sitting in various temp baths, and when they need one, they pull it out, sear it up, and toss is on a plate with your baked potato and send it out.
Yep, in my first post I mentioned my boss' brother does that at his restaurant. He says it was a total game changer because of time, and the added bonus that all medium rare steaks are exactly the same, medium are exactly the same, etc.
 

MattinColumbus

Well-Known Member
It might be a go for me during the winter. In the summer, steaks go on the pellet grill at 250 for about 45 minutes and then on the gas grill to sear. Nice wood smoke taste and same doneness all the way through.

I’m still undecided.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
It might be a go for me during the winter. In the summer, steaks go on the pellet grill at 250 for about 45 minutes and then on the gas grill to sear. Nice wood smoke taste and same doneness all the way through.

I’m still undecided.
I'm an outdoor griller/smoker through and through, but the first time I had a steak cooked and seared on cast iron in butter/garlic/thyme was the last time I ever grilled a steak. The crust is unbeatable and can't be done over open flame.

I take the steak off to rest when it's done, kill the heat, and there's still plenty of heat left in the pan to sautee some mushrooms and onions. By the time those are done the steak is ready to eat.

Now I'm hungry.
 

Chickenlounge

Well-Known Member
Just picked up 4 NY Strips and 4 thin-cut Ribeyes from Thoma's in Iowa City. Vacuum-sealed and ready for the bath. It's my son's 17th birthday today, so we're having the strips for dinner, and then I'm going to chop the ribeyes for philly cheesesteaks tomorrow. Damn he's spoiled.


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