Oct 18, 2017


I've been so impressed with the texture and taste of food cooked with this technique, but I find the equipment I'm looking at kind of intimidating. Anyone have any advice?

One additional tip if you are preparing steaks via Sous Vide method. At the end of the cooking time, after you remove the meat from the water bath and take out of the plastic covering, take the steak(s) and BRIEFLY sear them.....you will then have the tender meet in the middle with a really nice, crisp layer outside and maintaining moist, tender center on the inside. Really is pretty amazing......and looks awesome if you are serving them to others.
I'm probably admitting to being a heathen for saying this, but even though I've got a vacuum sealer (which I use for cooking in bulk and storing), I don't really use it for sous vide. The immersion technique with a Ziploc works a treat.
I'm absolutely in love with my sous vide cooker. Even when I'm not using it as it's intended, it makes one of the easiest ways to defrost frozen ingredients. Set it to something under the breakdown temperature for proteins (80-90F works fine), toss in the frozens (in bags!) and let it go while you prep other ingredients.
Strictly commenting on devices, I have two different Anova models and a Joule from ChefSteps. Both are super easy to use and the Joule is wonderfully integrated with a smartphone app that guides you every step of the way with images/videos. I would recommend the Joule over an Anova due to its quicker heating ability and its seamless integration with the smartphone app. Note: the Joule must be run with an app from a smartphone. The Anova runs by itself and some are able to connect to an app.
Great news! You don't actually have to spend $100 on special hardware for sous vide, you can do it right in your crockpot at home (as long as your crockpot turns on when its plugged in). All you need is a temperature controller, which you can get on amazon for like $35! Plug your crockpot into the 'heat' outlet on the temperature controller, throw the thermometer in the water, and throw in your meat once the water gets to temperature and it comes out exactly the same for just a fraction of the price!
Here's a link to the controller I bought: https://www.amazon.com/Inkbird-Itc-308-Temperature-Controller-Thermostat/dp/B01MDSWXY4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1508421259&sr=8-3&keywords=temperature+controller
The equipment keeps the temperature steady so it's really set-it-and-forget-it. The rest of the process is to make sure the food stays in the bag and that the heat can transfer effectively (hence the vacuum). You don't really need a vacuum sealer; immersion technique is sufficient.
For your first try I would suggest using stuff around the house. Cut a salmon fillet no more than an inch thick and put it in a ziplock bag using the immersion technique (I suggest adding a lemon slice and some dill with it). If your home tap water comes out hot enough (125F/50C), then you're lucky. If not, fill an 8+qt pot with water on the stovetop and a use a thermometer to get it to 125F/50C. Put hot water in a bowl, then add the bag and leave it for 30 minutes. You may need to add new hot water once or twice. Pop the fillet out and it's ready.
You'll know then if it's something you want to invest in because exchanging water and monitoring temperature for just 30 minutes sucks and you can't imagine doing it for hours.
Great suggestion. Using a picnic cooler with a probe thermometer might also be a slightly less tedious way of testing this with beef or pork if you need to leave it for a longer cooking time.
It is not that hard so don't be intimidated. It's basically a water heater in a stick with a circulating pump. The idea is to gently heat the food in the water. If it is your first try, don't spend more then $70. If you find you start to use it a lot, I would look at the $150 range. .
thanks so much for the tips and calming vote of confidence.