Sous Vide on the super cheap

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Sous Vide on the super cheap

Post by OnTheBayou on Mon Feb 05 2018, 17:11

Next time I do this, I'll take photos. It didn't occur to me to share until the (perfectly cooked) steaks were eaten!

As I understand it, in a real sous vide you set your desired final internal meat temperature...............and then wait a long time because it is hard to attain thermal equality when the difference is little. The last few degrees will take the longest. Laws of physics. My method will take perhaps a half hour.

In my system the temperature of the water cannot be easily regulated since it's stove top. It takes monitoring. If you have a typical digital meat thermometer with remote probe, this process is free. Otherwise, $10-20. You will also need a pot. More water in the pot equals more thermal inertia.

I have done this twice, container method differed each time. Same end results. The first time I put the meat in a large ziplock with the probe in the meat and the "lock" "zipped" as tight as possible. Well, forget it. Water got in, plenty of it. Turns out no big deal. I guess you could use a different type of plastic bag and use a nylon tie around the probe wire to keep the water out.

The second time I put the meat in a Tupperware type container. It floated on the water and the probe wire just went out under the pot lid.

To start with, heat the water to medium-high "one hundreds", like 169-170 degrees. Turn off your stove, or put on a very low, warm setting. You can measure this with a candy thermometer or use the meat thermometer which you will later insert into the meat. Or, just watch it and keep it well below boiling.

After the famous "awhile,", put the probe into the meat. The temperature will climb, of course, and the water temp will drop if turned off. If your #2 thermometer shows too much cooling, add heat. If it stays really hot, monitor the meat temp closely. Don't forget, there will be thermal inertia, meaning if you remove the meat at the target temp, whatever it is, it will continue to rise as the hotter outer meat transfers heat into the middle. Yes, Virginia, this IS harder than a $300 machine.

Here's a guide for target temperatures: https://cookinghacks.com/sous-vide-temperature-chart/

BUT I find that, for instance, 134 degrees for medium rare steak is the END temperature. This I KNOW for fact. If you take the meat out at that temp, and then finish it off ("reverse sear") on a grill or grilling pan, it will go higher. DOH. Frankly, I don't get it. I suggest about 100-122 degrees for medium rare depending on how much hotter the water is than the target temp.

If you have the talent to cook perfect steaks conventionally, please keep doing so. I never got the knack. This system works great for me.

I need to check the grill for my apple wood smoking brisket cut..............

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Re: Sous Vide on the super cheap

Post by ONTARIO on Mon Feb 05 2018, 17:19

We love the sous vide around our house. We actually use it a lot. Your method works but we love the 'set it and forget it' advantage of the actual sous vide.

I agree with you that it makes awesome steaks. Last night we sous vide a prime rib. It was delicious!

The "$300" sous vide does have its advantages. We like to entertain and we can shrink wrap a bunch of steaks and leave them to do their thing and then just sear them before dinner is served. This allows an easy entertaining experience.

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Re: Sous Vide on the super cheap

Post by OnTheBayou on Mon Feb 05 2018, 17:26

No argument there. No way can I sink a bunch of money into a luxury appliance. For the paupers out there among us. I only cook for myself and a few times a week, my fiance', too.

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Re: Sous Vide on the super cheap

Post by ONTARIO on Mon Feb 05 2018, 18:47

They're not all expensive. Anova is a good brand and they start at $129. We have an Anova (different model, it's older) and it works really well.

https://us.anovaculinary.com

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Re: Sous Vide on the super cheap

Post by OnTheBayou on Mon Feb 05 2018, 18:56

I was peripherally aware that most were a few hundred dollars, assumed there would be less expensive ones.

Still out of my budget! Retired, fixed income and all that.

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Re: Sous Vide on the super cheap

Post by Annieh on Mon Feb 05 2018, 19:22

Not only does that sound complicated, but I am not too keen on the idea of cooking food in plastic. This doesn't bother you people?
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Re: Sous Vide on the super cheap

Post by OnTheBayou on Mon Feb 05 2018, 19:53

Doesn't bother me a whit. Especially at those temperatures. Standard sous vide is "cooked" in plastic, just like so much restaurant fare.

Maybe I'm just too old to care about heating in plastic, even in the microwave. Not a battle I want to waste time and mental energy on.

This is just a suggestion, especially if a real sous vide can't be justified. Don't like it, don't do it.

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Re: Sous Vide on the super cheap

Post by ONTARIO on Mon Feb 05 2018, 20:17

Annieh wrote:Not only does that sound complicated, but I am not too keen on the idea of cooking food in plastic.  This doesn't bother you people?

I live in a new house that is probably going to off-gas chemicals for the next 5  years.

I drive nearly a total of an hour a day in traffic inhaling exhaust.

I sit all day in an office that is 50  years old and, I am sure, somewhere has asbestos or at the very least mold spores that I am exposed to every day.

I wear a winter coat that has been spray with flame retardant.

Every drop of city water that I drink, make coffee with or brush my teeth with is chalked full of fluoride.

Every bite of food that I ingest that is not made in my own home is chalked full of chemicals, colourings, etc.

So, am I worried about my meat floating around in sealed plastic in its fluoride bath? Nope!

I do get what you're saying though......


Last edited by ONTARIO on Mon Feb 05 2018, 21:19; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Sous Vide on the super cheap

Post by OnTheBayou on Mon Feb 05 2018, 21:01

Funny, Ontario, but that's my point, too. One can drive oneself nuts worrying about all the many bad but small dose things in our life, or worry about the big ones. I've spent years on these forums trying educate people to the first law of toxicology: The dose makes the poison. Toxicity is decided by amount, not just what it is.

I probably have plutonium and cesium in my bones from above ground testing when I was young. It's not killing me. If you were alive and downwind of Chernobyl, similar things.

Bu the good news for YOU is that you don't need to worry about asbestos. After spending billions of dollars actually stirring up stable asbestos during the "asbestos remediation" frenzy in the 1980's, someone finally realized that leaving the asbestos in place is far safer. Remove it before the building is razed, if ever.

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Re: Sous Vide on the super cheap

Post by Narrowminded on Tue Feb 06 2018, 00:36

Annie I’m with you about cooking in plastic. Do I store things in it. Yes but less than before. Got glass containers for Christmas. However, I think it was wellness mama has a post on her site of doing sous vide with the items in canning jars vs plastic.

All that said, I don’t have the time to babysit a pot and don’t need another appliance.

I do ok with my steaks the traditional way
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Re: Sous Vide on the super cheap

Post by ONTARIO on Tue Feb 06 2018, 23:16

Narrowminded wrote:
I do ok with my steaks the traditional way

Have you ever had a sous vide steak? It's a beautiful thing!

We discovered Sous Vide when we were eating at Thomas Keller's restaurant, Fleur-De-Lis, in Las Vegas. That was the best meal I have ever eaten. We were talking the waiter up and at the end he gave us a tour of the kitchen. It was then that we learned of the sous vide. Apparently all the top end professional kitchens use it. And the kitchen tour was really cool.

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Re: Sous Vide on the super cheap

Post by Narrowminded on Wed Feb 07 2018, 00:39

Ontario, not sure I’ve had sous vide. However, with DH and being on call, it’s hard to do any cooking that needs watched. I’ve started and stopped sautéed more times than I can count because when he calls me it could be 30sec or 15 min. It may be incrediable but not right now.
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Re: Sous Vide on the super cheap

Post by ekba on Mon Feb 12 2018, 01:24

For steak, and for nice thick pork chops, the reverse sear method approximates sous vide. Warm the meat in a very low oven (say 200F) until the internal temperature is 10F below where you want the finished temperature. Then sear in a pan or on the grill.

In sous vide or reverse sear, the slow heat up helps tenderize the meat.
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