Anyone Tried "Sous Vide" Cooking?

by Simon 59 Replies latest social family

  • Simon

    I like a nice steak but cooking one can be a little intimidating and the results hit and miss especially when it comes to getting the right temperature so getting it wrong can be an expensive mistake. Can anyone do that "finger and thumb together to check the doneness" thing? I can't ...

    So I came across this cooking technique called "Sous Vide" which cooks food (in a sealed vacuum bag) in a warm water bath, even steak. Apparently, something that's been used in high-end restaurants and is now becoming more 'consumer'. The results looked impressive but it seemed a bit 'gimmicky' and I was debating whether to get one and then they just released a new cheaper model on offer for just $99 CAD so I decided to try it out.

    Here's the advertised results, the theory is that getting the perfect temperature is very hard with a grill or oven as the outside temperature is always way hotter (rising in an oven) than you want the middle to be which is where the timing comes in - stopping the cooking just as the middle is getting to the temp you want (at which point all the outer parts are coked more than is ideal). The Sous Vide method cooks the meat to the perfect temperature all the way through and there's no timing required - if you leave it cooking an hour extra, it won't become any more overdone.

    So (drum-roll) I cooked dinner with it for the first time yesterday - some steak, chicken breast and carrots.

    Preparation was pretty simple - just seasoned things with salt and pepper (and a little olive oil for the carrots) and put them into bags. Because I'm just starting, I didn't want to invest in any vacuum sealing device so I just used ZipLock bags which worked well. You just have to lower them into water to expel all the air (so it doesn't insulate the cooking or make the bag float) before sealing them. Easy peasy. I could see preparing a lot of meals all at once making sense - just have the bags in the fridge or freezer and use as needed.

    The cooking part was a doddle. Just put the device in the pan (it looks like a giant dildo, LOL) and sync it with your phone then control it from that. All the temperatures and timing came from the app they provide. I just put the bags in the pan and left it.

    Once everything was cooked and everyone was home (another plus to the flexible cooking timing) I just heated my cast-iron pan to add a quick sear to the meat and bam, dinner is served!

    Holy crap, it's possibly the best steak I've ever had and I cooked it myself!

    I didn't think to take pictures while I was doing it all and had eaten most of it but here is how the last bit of the steak looked, cooked "medium":

    It was strip-loin from Costco and came out incredibly tender, even the fat. The kids usually leave pieces but there were clean plates all round. The carrots were lovely - soft, but not mushy and very tasty. As you're not boiling them in water that is then thrown away, none of the flavours are lots.

    I also cooked some chicken and that came out deliciously juicy - unlike traditional cooking, you can use a lower temperature while having it safely cooked (pasteurized with all the dangerous bacteria killed) and the fats in the meat are not being lost so it doesn't become dry.

    I'm definitely impressed with how everything came out and how easy it was to do so will be using it regularly. I'm planning to get some tender-loin to try with asparagus next and apparently bacon is supposed to come out really nice - crispy and soft at the same time (and you can cook it straight in the package that you buy it in).

    Many examples show people using a clear rubbermaid food container to cook in so I might splash out on one of those which also frees up space on the stove top.

    Anyone else tried this? I'd definitely recommend it if you like to experiment with your cooking techniques.

  • carla

    I will try this and let you know! I have seen it done but never tasted it myself.

  • ShirleyW

    I remember a few weeks ago on Rachel Ray's show she had a guy demonstrate cooking a steak the sous vide way, the thing is after he took it out the bag, which he said cooked for an "hour" he then put the steak on the grill !!

    I put a steak in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness and it's done! Why wait more than an hour for one steak, to me makes no sense.

  • Angharad
    I put a steak in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness and it's done! Why wait more than an hour for one steak, to me makes no sense.

    Because it tasted so much better than a stake cooked on the grill or oven. It seriously was the best stake I've ever had.

  • days of future passed
    days of future passed

    I watched a Korean celebrity chef cooking show where they used a thinner slice of meat cooked in that manner. It had to be thinner because they only had 15 minutes to do a meal. Melted in the mouth.

    Only a zip lock bag was used.

  • dubstepped

    Sounds interesting. What make or model or whatever did you buy and try?

    I hate cooking. My wife hates cooking. We use the slow cooler for easy meals. This sounds easy and I'm intrigued. The pics look great!

  • Simon

    I got this Anova Nano one, new smaller model on offer for $99 CAD

    See, it's like cooking with a dildo!

  • Simon
    the thing is after he took it out the bag, which he said cooked for an "hour" he then put the steak on the grill !!

    That is just to do the sear for the traditional brown crust, not to actually cook it. So it's like 30 secs a side. You can also do it with a kitchen blow-torch (like creme-brule, which is on my TODO list)

    I put a steak in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness and it's done! Why wait more than an hour for one steak, to me makes no sense.

    Other than the prop time to season it and put it in the bag (2 mins max) and the searing (1-2 mins) it's hands-free the rest of the time and it comes out absolutely perfect all the way through. I don't think that's really possible with an oven and it's hard to get 'good', never mind 'perfect'. The outside will be overcooked in order to get the middle cooked to the right temperature (or else it's raw). You could easily have a rare or medium rare steak and it would be that all-the-way through plus it's way juicier and tender than either grilling or baking.

    It seriously was the best stake I've ever had.

    I didn't pay her or offer her any special sexy-time moves for that review :D

  • RubaDub

    Simon / Angharad

    Sounds very interesting.

    It actually sounds similar to how many restaurants cook prime rib ... season it, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil, about 30-45 minutes at high heat in the oven and then turning the oven off and letting it slowly cook in its own juices.

    We are not big meat eaters here but we do like a good steak now and then. Sounds like a great idea. Definitely going to investigate this further.


    Rub a Dub

  • Simon

    I'm not a huge meat eater, I really love vegetables (looking forward to trying brussels sprouts and then pan searing them) but I do like a good steak.

    The trouble is, it's pretty expensive to have it at a restaurant and there's no guarantee it's going to be great for what you're paying unless you're someplace that tends to be on the pricier side. Doing it yourself can work but it's a lot of effort and again, there's opportunity for messing up some expensive cuts of meat (even buying it from Costco which is good value). That's why our steak eating tended to be limited.

    This definitely seems pretty idiot proof going off the fact that this idiot managed to make a great steak on the very first attempt so we'll probably eat steak more often now.

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