February 10, 2015 at 3:16 pm #20148
I am wondering if anyone using these forums has tried sous vide in the Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker.
One of the reasons I bought the Instant Pot Smart was the possibility of some simple sous vide cooking.
I don’t have an IOS device that will run the app but I am thinking to try it with the keep warm which seems to keep water at 140 degrees in my IPS. I measured it about 10 times over two hours with two thermometers)
Sous vide circulators have come down in price, but I don’t want to invest in one unless I am sure I will use it at least once a month.
I’ve tried the beer cooler and slow cooker methods but was not impressed with the results.
I know the IPS will not do as good a job as a dedicated sous vide appliance, as there is no circulator, but I am hoping it will give me a reasonably close result especially when/if I get the app.
The IPS is my favourite cooking appliance even without the app, I have been happy with at least 95% of the results. The other 5% I can mostly blame on user error/understanding.
I have seen the duck breast recipe from maomao but that is all I have been able to come across.
I would be very happy to hear of experiences, good or bad with any electric pressure cooker. Or advice.
HelenFebruary 10, 2015 at 4:35 pm #20149
Hi Helen. I don’t have an electric PC. But I do have two sous vide machines. Based on my experience with them I would say that an IP should work quite well for sous vide cooking. While much is made of the precision needed, I find you really only need to get within a degree or so. But you do need to be able to set the temperature so you can control the results. For example I cook salmon steaks at 50°C but beef steak at 54°C. Your 140°F is about 60°C so I would find both Overcooked at that temperature. Eggs are about the only thing I have found is very particular about temperature. Half a degree can make a huge difference. ChefSteps have some excellent charts for times/temperatures.
I too started with the beer cooler method but found that hit or miss and very clumsy. I still use the beer cooler, but now heat it with an Anova immersion heater. I use mine about once a week. Whereas I use my PC several times a week. Yesterday I used both for the same meal. Salmon in the SV. Veg in the PC. And a modified bechamel in an open pot.
A word on bagging. Zip lock bags do work, but are prone to failure. If I am using zip locks I always double bag. These days I mostly use one of the food saver type vacuum systems. I have neither the money nor space for a chamber vacuum system. Sometimes I simply ask my butcher to vac seal the meat when I buy it. But I can’t do that if I am adding seasonings. Actually I may be able to. I haven’t asked.
The big problem with sous vide is that you can only cook at one temperature so if you are doing steaks all round and some like it rare and some “well done” you have a problem. You can get around it with careful planning: cook well done first then lower the temperature with some ice and cook rare. Leave the well done steak in and it will Keep warm safely while the rare is cooking. It will not overcook with the extra time. Alternately get a second machine as I did. Planning ahead is not my strong suit. Sigh.
The great joy of sous vide is the repeatability and forgiveness. Salmon steak goes from underdone to ruined in a few seconds in a frypan. For years I avoided it as I just couldn’t get it right consistently. A salmon steak is cooked perfectly SV in 15 minutes @50°C. It is still more than acceptable an hour later. Last night we had visitors dropping in after a funeral. The salmon went in about 15 minutes before their ETA. It was still fine 45 minutes later when they finally arrived.February 10, 2015 at 6:11 pm #20150
I agree about the beef temperature, no such thing as a too rare steak IMO. I like them blue but can deal with anything less than medium.
I was thinking pork or lamb at 140.
It is pretty hard to cook lamb that I won’t enjoy.
I have good luck with pan fried salmon, and I don’t like overcooked fish.
I used to have good luck with steaks, but these days they are often tough and chewy, which could be me or could be the meat.
So I am thinking to start with pork as I have a lot in my freezer due to being a super deal.
If that is satisfactory, I will try lamb or beef. If the beef is too done I can use it in a small stroganoff maybe.
I do have the Food Saver which seems to work good enough:)
I have looked at Chefsteps and they do have good instructions as does Serious Eats and Codlo is interesting. Plus I have had the Under Pressure cookbook by Thomas Keller from the library a couple of times.
I guess I should just stop reading and start doing:)
One question. Have you done sous vide pork and how was it?
HelenFebruary 10, 2015 at 7:27 pm #20151
I have never tried pork, but a 3/4″ thick chop should come out nicely medium rare after an hour or so at 140ºF. According to my cheat sheet, 136º is Rare. 144º is Medium Rare. As with pressure cooking, the thickness is very important for the timing. If you double the thickness to 1.5″ the time will go up to about 4 hours.
Don’t forget it receives no browning, so while cooked it looks less than appetizing straight out of the water bath. A quick flash in a super hot frypan or under a grill (broiler???) will solve that, and add some nice Maillard flavours. My personal preference is to hit it with the MAPP blowtorch from my plumbing kit. It uses less fuel as I am not heating anything but the surface of the meat. And, frankly, I love the theatre. So when you are ready to serve, take it out of the bath, remove it from the plastic bag, pat it dry, brown it quickly – You are just adding surface colour not cooking it, so this should just take a few seconds – Then put it on a warmed plate and serve. No need to rest. The warmed plate is important though as this is low temperature cooking, and the food cools very quickly.
Now I think on it, the reason I have not tried Pork chops is because they always seem to come out dry when I cook them conventionally. SV should solve that. I must try.February 11, 2015 at 11:20 am #20165
I almost bought a torch at a great sale price, but didn’t:(
The first tried with the beer cooler or crockpot (can’t remember which) was boneless loin chops.
I had bought a big package because they looked excellent. But no matter what I tried, even with mushroom soup (not my preferred cooking method) they were dry. DIY sous vide was the best though but not good enough.
I think maybe pork is pre-brined too much theses days by the packager. But it does not seem as juicy as it used to be.
I recently bought a giant pork roast which I butchered myself into roasts and steaks. So far it seems much more tender and flavourful. I pressure cooked a roast (because I love to experiment in my IP) and while it was a smidge more done than I would have liked it, it was very good. And not even a little bit dry. I love a cold pork sandwich, or a hot one with gravy, and this roast sliced just like chicken breast. Thin even slices that didn’t fall apart. Pretty sure this could be even better sous vide.
Do you find the torch flavour as good as or better than other methods?
HelenFebruary 11, 2015 at 3:08 pm #20168
I tried my first sous vide pork chops last night. Juicy and flavorful. A little tough, but that could be the animal. By no means unacceptably so.
I cooked for an hour @62°C. Thinking about it, I could probably have halved e time, but pork meat is reputed to have a higher than usual risk of nasties so it is better to be safe.
As for the browning, I don’t really detect a difference in flavour using the different methods. However, on any one spot, the torch is quicker so you don’t cook the meat further. the flame is quite localized though so the overall time turns out much the same.
Propane is reputed to add a “chemical” taste, but I have never noticed it. Still I use MAPPro gas (yellow bottle) now to be safe. After you use one of the industrial burners you will never go back to the little toys sold in kitchenware shops.
I took a couple of photos before and after searing, but it will be a day or so before I can put them up.February 11, 2015 at 6:51 pm #20171
This was the torch I think.
It was on sale for 9.99 instead od $39.99 but I did not make it to the store.
I had not thought about getting a small welding torch, but it makes sense. And many are cheaper than culinary torches.
But today I made a sous vide piece of beef. It was a piece of trim from a strip loin roast that only a very nice person could call a streak. About 3 x 2 x 1.5 inches.
I finally noticed the less function of the keep warm function and it was 133 degrees give or take 1 degree. While not perfect this is much better than 140 degrees.
I vacuum packed beef and cooked for 133 minutes.
Seared it in pan for about 30 seconds to a minute per side. It actually looked like a steak by then:) and barely cooked any more inside the edges.
Was not really rare but rarer than I expected, with some pretty red stuff seeping from the center.
I have had steaks in good restaurants cooked to this stage and not sent them back.
It was delicious. I am pretty pleased.
Glad the pork was good. A lot of good sous vide sites recommend 135 degrees F or 57-58 C but the results look a tad underdone to me.
Next perhaps a burger.
HelenFebruary 13, 2015 at 6:28 am #20493
Here are some photos. I haven’t worked out how the upload process orders them so I have named them meaningfully.
I was using both machines as I was cooking some Creme Brulees (80ºC) as well as the pork chops so I took a shot showing both machines. I have modified the little Esky by cutting a hole in the lid, but I still use the big one as a cooler so I use some balls as an insulating blanket. I used to use bubble wrap, but the balls are more convenient. Ping pong balls also work but don’t last real long in this environment.
The other three shots show the Pork Chop before and after Sous Vide. The cooked piece looks less than appetising but is fully and evenly cooked. The final shot is part way through the searing process. I decided it needed a little more so I hit it with the blow torch again after taking the photo. Even this is a vast improvement to the look of the piece.February 13, 2015 at 7:55 am #20506
Thanks for the photos.
I made a pork ‘chop’ today but it was too thin.
I had just labeled it pork but it was actually three thinly sliced pork slices intended for stir fry. Must label better.
I decided to put it in anyway and it was, of course, very overdone by the time I seared it. But the flavour was good. Was at least edible, which is more than I can say for the chop I did last year in the beer cooler.
So far I am happy with my two experiments. I will, no doubt, buy an Anova or similar one of these days, but for now the IPS is good enough to play with.
For anyone who cares, the temperatures for keep warm in my Instant Pot Smart are:
more 157 degrees +/-1
normal 140 degrees +/-1
less 133 degrees +/-1
I tested these for 2-4 hours with a TruTemp digital thermometer.
I was surprised by the more setting as the manual gives a range of 133 to 167 degrees. 10 degrees less than the top range seems a bit odd. I let it on for 4 hours with the alarm set for 158 and it did not go that high.
HelenFebruary 13, 2015 at 3:30 pm #20513
It’s a shame they didn’t utilise the +\/— keys to adjust the temperature in one degree increments. Something for the IPS suggestion box perhaps @Laura. I can’t think of any time I would use 157°. Perhaps for 13 minute poached eggs.
One tip you may not have discovered yet: it is fine to cook direct from frozen. It is actually safer than defrosting then cooking as the food goes through the danger zone very quickly. Just add an extra 15—30 minutes to the cooking time. You just need to package the food in serving sizes when you freeze. Since getting the sous vide I always freeze individual portions and just pull out the number of packs I need.February 13, 2015 at 4:45 pm #20515
It is a shame.
They have several modes that the only difference between them are the times. The pressure is identical. And I would have to adjust the times anyway in most cases.
One could be a shift key to switch between adjusting time/temperature.
Still sous vide in the pressure cooker is not of interest to many it seems. I will be most happy if the android app comes out as promised in March.
I appreciate you having the time and patience to share your experiences/tips with me. Your first reply in this thread actually got me brave enough to try the beef. I was pretty put off by the beer cooler experience overall, but now I am quite excited about sous vide again.
Thanks so much
Another question. Have you tried sous vide with sauce/oil in the bag.
HelenFebruary 13, 2015 at 7:46 pm #20518
I wish I had seen that recipe before I vac sealed my Pork Chops. I just put them in bare.
I have seen the pre sear option but have never played with it. Frankly, I am not that organised. I am quite happy with the post sear. And if I am doing a sauce or gravy I sometimes don’t bother with that.
As for the oil in the bag, I do that all the time with salmon.
I add about a tablespoon of a good EVOO to the bag with a raw salmon steak before I seal it. I then Cook @50ºC for 15 minutes. 30 min if from frozen. Longer is OK. I am not a fan of the skin, so I peel that off after cooking. The result is luscious and silky. I don’t sear the salmon, but use my mustard mix sauce so it is hardly needed.
With beef, I usually make up a witches brew containing soy, Worcestershire, Nuoc Nam (fish Sauce), EVOO, Black Pepper, vinegar (either mirin or balsamic). And probably some other stuff. That one is still evolving so it varies each time I do it.
EVOO: Extra Virgin Olive Oil. At these temperatures it doesn’t break down, so good quality is worth it.
Mustard mix. To a standard bechamel (flour/butter/milk) I add cooking salt (I think you call it Kosher), freshly ground white pepper, Wholegrain mustard, Dijon mustard & baby capers, and if I have any on hand, some fresh dill. I only use the capers for salmon. Without them the same sauce works brilliantly for chicken too.February 13, 2015 at 10:06 pm #20520
I have read pre sear is not that great anyway.
I’ll try a sauce one of these days. Pretty sure I can keep it in there without it getting sucked into the foodsaver.
I have EVO on hand but don’t know what quality. Did buy it in an Italian grocer, but I don’t recall it being pricey. Big green bottle is still more than 1/2 full, but will research brands next time. Not sure I could actually tell the difference though.
HelenFebruary 14, 2015 at 3:02 am #20524
I usually succeed, but if you have problems one tip is to freeze the sauce in an ice cube tray. Toss a couple of ice cubes in just before your seal.
Italian is no guarantee of quality for EVOO. DONT BITE MY HEAD OFF @laura.
While it may be very good when it leaves the factory it has a limited shelf life and by the time it gets to your continent it may be less than perfect. Also some of the big brands have been known to ship their substandard batches overseas so they don’t get the flack locally. There was a Spanish brand that was caught selling pomace as EVOO here. Do you have a local industry? If so, their oil may be better than the imported stuff if only because it will be fresher.February 18, 2015 at 2:56 am #20588Laura PazzagliaKeymaster
Don’t worry, Greg. I agree about recognizing good Extra Virgin Olive Oil. When I lived in America I bought fresh California Olive Oil (the un-filtered kind with floaty bits of olive still in it). I think it was called Briani- made by Italian immigrants.
What really matters in olive oil is the freshness and the cold press -not the fancy bottle, name or origin.
It’s really touch-and-go to guarantee the quality and freshness of an Italian Oil that has traveled in a non-temperature-controlled container on a ship, been through several distributors and then sat on a store shelf for who-knows-how-long.
The WORST olive oil I’ve ever had was “Whole Foods 100% Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil.” I never waste food but that was so bad it was inedible I poured it down the drain cursing how much I paid for that junk – and tell anyone who will listen (especially cooking demos) not to buy it.
Thankfully, now I don’t have that problem anymore. My husband’s family in Southern Italy keeps us supplied with freshly pressed oil. It comes in “glamorous” empty plastic water bottles but tastes divine. Some years it’s “buttery” some years it’s “tart” – it just depends on when they picked the olives.
We never get tired of it!
LFebruary 19, 2015 at 7:24 pm #20617
The only problem I see using the IPS as a sous vide machine is that you can’t use it as a PC at the same time. I often run both for the one meal. And when you consider some SV techniques cook for three (or more!) DAYS… Sigh.
I came across this review of dedicated SV units overnight. From my experience it seems to be pretty spot on. The Anova iPhone app has now been released but leaves a lot to be desired. I may get the 3rd party iPhone App they mention in the review.
Based on my experience, I would like a blend of the features of the Anova One and the Precision Cooker. I really like the clamping system and the revised controls on the new model. Using the touch controls on the old One with wet hands can be problematic. But the extra power of the One makes for a more stable environment. I particularly notice this when cooking from frozen as I often do. It can also be set more precisely. 0.1ºC on the One. 0.5ºC on the APC. Oddly the One can only be set by 1ºF increments when in imperial mode. This is about 0.5ºC
I could give you a scrambled egg recipe to die for, but you need better control than you have at the moment. Maybe you could join the Android Beta testing group.February 19, 2015 at 8:48 pm #20618
I actually bought a stovetop pressure cooker last week, a Fagor Futuro last week, and have been using it since Monday. Yesterday I used both at the same time.
Thanks to this site, I had a very quick learning curve with the Futuro and my induction cooktop.
I had cut pork into approximately 1×1 inch strips for a stew and decided to sous vide 4 of them before cutting them across.
Two I dredged in cornstarch and soy sauce, two I left plain.
I froze them in food saver bags. Yesterday I cooked both sous vide at 140-141 degrees for 2 hours. Then I pan seared them on all 4 sides. Both were very tender, and just a bit juicy.
I preferred the dredged ones in that they browned much better (I did all 4 pieces at the same time, same pan) and the dredged ones had a slightly nicer flavour IMO. But they were all excellent. Was pork butt roast which was pretty well marbled, but not overly fatty. Just right for my tastes, and actually looked very nice, although I was again too hungry and tired to take a picture. Would be a great way to do souvlaki.
I would be pleased to have the scrambled egg recipe anyway, as eventually I will have the app with far greater temperature control. Chances are I will buy a sous vide circulator within the year, because the promise of some sous vide cooking, plus blue tooth control was why I decided on the Instant Pot. I was looking at pressure cookers but only vaguely, and I have been very interested in sous vide for at least a year. The Anova is still pretty pricey in Canada as are the sous vide Supreme, etc. The IPS was half the price, and the Futuro 6L was an incredible $79 CAD – $5 coupon which Jonilyn kindly posted.
Currently I am happy with what I have got, but there is definitely a dedicated sous vide device in my future.
HelenFebruary 22, 2015 at 2:04 am #20643
Sorry it’s taken me a while to get back with this Helen. The recipe is based on one in Heston Blumenthal At Home
6 Large Eggs
45g Heavy Cream (35%). Heston uses 25g milk and 20g double cream (51%) but I know that can be hard to get in NorAm.
Unsalted butter, melted.
Preheat Water bath to 75ºC
Whisk the first three ingredients together then stir in melted butter.
Divide into two Ziplock bags and use the water displacement method
Put into the water bath and cook 15 minutes, taking them out and massaging them every few minutes. If you don’t have asbestos fingers you might want to use oven gloves or a tea towel for this.
Serve with finely chopped parsley sprinkled on top. Heston uses brown butter.
Normally I just make scrambled eggs on the stove top but for a special occasion breakfast this takes some beating.February 22, 2015 at 7:07 pm #20675
I suspect you are right about the cream.
I usually scramble eggs with ice water because they are light and fluffy but I might like creamy eggs better.
Eggs are often overcooked in restaurants here. Many restaurant cooks cook the eggs, sometimes without whisking or beating first, till they are brown and very firm and then chop them with the edge of a spatula. Strangely enough, most people eat them, and some say they are really good. Makes me shudder to look at them.
HelenMarch 14, 2015 at 2:06 pm #21127
I bit the bullet and ordered the Anova Precision Sous Vide Controller. (they had a coupon).
Not that I am unhappy with Instant Pot sous Vide (I made a pork tenderloin roast last week that was as perfect as I could possibly wish for, 2 1/2 hours at 142 degrees), but am wanting to try veg, fish and the perfectly done rare steak.
@Greg I really appreciate your help and the advice/information you have given me.
HelenMarch 14, 2015 at 10:34 pm #21132
But I should warn you…
They are almost as addictive as Pressure Cookers. And it is very difficult to make a whole meal with a single SV. Veges need 85ºC (185ºF) while protein generally needs 50 -60ºC (122 – 140Fº)
Being able to cook beautifully tender MEDIUM RARE chuck steak is a revelation. The PC always does well done.March 15, 2015 at 2:43 am #21139
Hopefully I will not want two, but I am a total kitchen equipment junkie.
I live in the Yukon in the summer in a little green log cabin with no running water, and only a pathetic hotplate and microwave and toaster oven. This year I will take my PC and Anova with me.
I am so excited.
HelenMarch 15, 2015 at 8:25 pm #21204
As we have discussed before, I am a kitchen junkie too. Though I prefer the term “gear freak” and it pervades most other aspects of my life too. Sigh. Except cars for some reason. I am quite happy with my 20 year old beat up Land Rover.
The Yukon for summer? I am jealous. Is it a job that takes you there or a lifestyle choice? Or both? I can understand why you don’t winter there. It would be COLD. Even by Canadian standards. I would love to get there some day. But somehow I don’t think I ever will. Sigh. The best I can hope for is watching reruns of Northern Exposure. And yes I know that was set in Alaska and filmed just outside Seattle.March 17, 2015 at 9:01 am #21249
Started as an adventure/vacation from which I didn’t return to the real world for 8 years. Lived /worked in all 3 territories and for the most part liked it. Now it is a lifestyle choice in that I have many friends there and it keeps me active. Plus the money is very good with nowhere to spend it if I don’t buy a lot of electronic ‘gear’ online.
Not much like Northern Exposure, a bit like North of 60. I could tell you some stories, but not the proper place.
On Northern cooking of steaks. In Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk the Inuit want their steaks very well done. This is because they often cook caribou for days over an open fire.
I cooked PC sous vide steaks, accompanied by PC roast potatoes today for a friend who is a line cook. He was most impressed even though they were closer to medium than we both prefer. Juicy, tender, and oh so tasty. Even though I am pretty new to pressure cooking, I find it, and my limited sous vide method, far less stressful when entertaining.
HelenMarch 19, 2015 at 1:58 pm #21331
Got my Anova Precision Circulator yesterday and was very impressed with its appearance and solid feel.
I cooked halibut, carrots and asparagus last night, halibut per your salmon method above and veg by chefsteps video method.
For the halibut I added a sprig of fresh rosemary as well and pan seared it. Can’t say I have ever had better halibut and I have had halibut fresh off the boat. The halibut I used was frozen, and I defrosted it to put it flatter in the bag.
Asparagus was good as were the carrots, but carrots were still pretty hard so I pan fried them for 5 minutes. Overall they were not appreciably better than some other methods of cooking, so I will probably not do that many sous vide vegetables. I will try other veg, but for me sous vide is more interesting for meat and now fish. The halibut is just as good cold the next day and the olive oil sauce didn’t congeal.
I am very happy so far although I have had a couple of what’s up moments with the timer. Luckily I have other timers as Anovas is annoyingly insufficient at best. Maybe the unofficial, but recommended by Anova android app will solve that.
Still it is a lovely thing. Very happy.
The inevitable questions:
What size cooler do you recommend for cooking for 1-6 persons. I used my Futuro Pressure cooker last night and have stockpots, but I think a cooler would be better insulated and more efficient?
Do you do a lot of longer term (48-72 hour) projects and if so is the end result worth it? I will try a brisket or possibly ribs just out of curiosity, but cooking for 72 hours when it will be eaten in less than 30 minutes, the results must be spectacular IMO.March 20, 2015 at 3:05 am #21339
I mostly use a 10L (2.5 Gallon) cooler for 1 – 3 people. I have modified this one by cutting a hole in the lid for the machine. When I cook for more, I use a 26L (7G) cooler. I don’t particularly recommend these sizes. They are just what I had on hand. Be sure to check the depth of the cooler. Too deep can be a problem as you will need to fill more than necessary to immerse the heater unit. Ideally the base of the unit should be near the bottom of the tank. I always use the big Anova One with the big cooler, but even though the tank is larger than recommended I don’t think it would be a problem for the Precision because it is insulated. If you prefill with hot water, then it will have even less of a problem. My hot water is free (solar!) so I save even more money by prefilling with hot. The insulation really makes a difference both to the electricity used and the evenness of the temperature. Bigger helps when you drop in cold food too.
These days I use polypropylene balls on top of the big cooler to improve the insulation. Before I got them I tried some ping pong balls I had lying about in the shed. They worked but collapsed fairly quickly. Then I switched to bubble wrap. That works really well but gets soggy after a few uses. It is also difficult to fit around the machine and makes it a little awkward to put things in. It really helps electriicty consumption to use something though. The balls are by far the best, but it can be challenging to find things. I usually scoop most of the balls out with a colander then go looking. I am not sure they are worth the money I paid though. Like most people I get a lot of bubble wrap through the post.
I can’t comment on the Android App, but both the Anova and Third Party App on iOS leave a lot to be desired. THe Anova one is basically a recipe book ( some interesting ones there!) but the core “Set the machine” functionality seems like an afterthought. Not well thought out at all. It’s worth more than I paid for it (free), but not much. Sous Vide Celsius has more important “cook 20mm thick steak for 40 minutes @ 52ºC” and can set the machine going, but cannot tell you what temperature it is right now. Polyscience has one too that is very good for working out timings but doesn’t talk to the Anova.
Sorry. I need to go cook dinner now. I will get back to this trilogy. Maybe tommorrow.March 20, 2015 at 10:20 pm #21440
Thanks for all the info. I have read this thread quite a few times just to see what I have forgotten.
Generally I am cooking for one or two, and will probably sous vide mostly meat/fish. The only cooler I have is the little beer cooler which might be okay when I locate it. (somewhere in my storage locker).
After reading your post I taped bubble wrap around my stockpot and put some over the top of the water. I have some very sturdy bubble wrap from which I could probably make a reusable lid that shouldn’t get soggy.
Also thinking of the cereal container idea but looks a little tippy.
I am eying various coolers like the Igloo Elite, but will perhaps wait for a sale or chose not to get one due to storage limitations.
I got the Anova Remote apk from Palagraph but will not run on my Android devices or an emulator. Oh well, will borrow something tomorrow to hopefully try it out.
I bought the Instant Pot because of the Bluetooth app promised which may materialise someday but I am fine without it. Possibly better off without it in fact. Same with the Anova, although I would like to at least try it out.
I like to try new recipes/methods but anything spectacularly successful I have in a flat file. I have yet to find a recipe manager that isn’t a PITA.
Unlike the PC there is a wealth of conflicting information on sous vide times and temperatures and a lot of misinformation. I would be amazed if any Hip Pressure Cooking recipe did not turn out great but not so with sous vide even from the most reputable sources. And many forums seem to be a lot of arguing and insult trading. Citizen Sous Vide is interesting in that it gives several times/temp linked to the source.
My big problem with sous vide is the cost of the bags. Don’t mind it for meat, the results are worth it, but for veg, because they must be packed flattened, it seems to cost far more for the bags then the vegetables themselves and so far I haven’t been overawed by the results. Still I have lots of vegetables to try yet and no doubt will.March 21, 2015 at 1:42 am #21445
That 10l cooler is a beer cooler. It was designed to hold a six pack of 375ml (13 fl oz.) bottles or cans. We call them stubbies here. (Not to be confused with a Darwin Stubby which is about half a gallon – they like their booze up there.) The beer cooler is perfect cooking for two with the APC. It was given to me and not being a beer drinker it has sat in the cupboard for years waiting for Sous Vide to come to town.
It is not only the cost of the bags in $$$ that bothers me. It is also the environmental cost. That is an awful lot of plastic going to landfill. If I ever stop using Sous Vide, this will be the reason. Since I got the FoodSaver system, I have taken to cutting the bags extra big. That way I just cut off the top, wash it and reuse. Eventually it gets too small, but I get quite a few uses before the inevitable happens. I initially thought Ziplocks would be the way to go as they would be reuseable forever. But the seams have a nasty habit of letting go. I managed to get one to three uses, but most only just survive the first use. And a few haven’t even managed that. I still use ziplocks, but only for liquids like scrambled eggs. And I always double bag.
My thoughts on the timer: It is useless. And unnecessary. It is easier to use with the app. But it is still a pain. I originally started using one of my many kitchen timers. I particularly like my Timestick as it fits neatly in my pocket and is very easy to set. It is my go to timer for the PC. However, I rapidly realised that a timer is pretty meaningless with Sous Vide. Unless you are doing one of the very few time critical things like the 75ºC egg (Excellent BTW) then I just start the cook so that it will be ready about 10 minutes before I plan to eat. It is safe to assume it will still be fine even an hour later (well maybe half an hour for fish). It just sits in the water bath until I am ready.
I think the confusing information out there is precisely because SV is so forgiving.
If you put your Short Ribs in for a 2 day cook @57º and have unexpected guests turn up and so leave them for an extra day, they will still be fine. A little more fall apart, but still medium rare. (The guests get Laura’s Tuna Pasta. And yes it has happened.) Someone experimented with one setting and were happy with the result. So that became their published recipe. Heston in the meantime got carried away (as he does) and came up with something completely different, and totally unnecessarily fiddly! But still delicious. I hadn’t come across Citizen Sous Vide before. Thank you for that. The information looks a little old, but worthwhile.
Mostly I use ChefSteps processes and timings. I have found them to be consistent and usually good without the fuss of some of the others. I have done both their SV courses (I am part way through the paid one.) Both are excellent, but wait for the paid one to go on sale, which it will. The Creme Brulee in the paid one is worth the admission price on its own. Their chart that I have linked to before is excellent, and their map is priceless! It gives a real sense of the whole range of acceptable time/temp combinations.
I have tried the short rib 72 hour cook a couple of times, and the results are excellent. But I am not likely to repeat the experiment any time soon. I don’t think they are that much better than pressure cooked for half an hour or so. Different because they are medium rare not “well done”, but not better. And having to check the long range weather forecast to plan a cook is a real pain. Where we live we are about 80% likely to lose power in a thunderstorm.
Funny you should mention Laura’s no fail recipes. I have converted a few to SV.
Her chicken roulades works particularly well. Make as described (I put the prosciutto on the outside) but roll in a few layers of cling film instead of securing with a toothpick. If you can tie off the ends you can even get away with just dropping it straight in the bath. I generally bag it as well though. SV for about an hour @ 60ºC (140ºF) Then sear it quickly before serving. It lends itself to changing the filling. Some of my favourites are fig jam and baby spinach; feta and pine nuts (keep the prosciutto as well), and hoisin and lemongrass. (You need to shred the lemongrass really really fine)March 22, 2015 at 8:01 am #21464
I have used the roll in saran wrap and tie with a bacon wrapped pork tenderloin in my IP, but did not get it firm enough so I bagged it. Does make for a nice presentation.
The chicken with lemon grass sounds nice and I have a tube of lemon grass paste which should work. Or chicken Kiev might even be doable.
Borrowed an android tablet but no luck there either.
My big environmental concern is Styrofoam as they don’t recycle that where I live or many plasticy things.
One trick for reusing food saver bags when freezing is to first portion bag in a light small non zip bag, like Ziploc perfect portions, give it about 6 twists and fold it over, put several in food saver bag. The food saver removes the air from the inner bags as well. Of course you are using an extra bag, but much lighter weight and keeps the heavier, much more expensive, bag clean. I buy them in boxes from a canning store and they are supposed to be BPA free and around 2 cents a bag. Very convenient and the food keeps much better, plus it is really hard to avoid plastic bags/trays etc. Even the newer compostable ones are just as hard on the environment the recycling people say. Oh well, I do reuse/recycle as much as I possibly can and the PC has helped a lot as I buy very little convenience food these days.
Not sure what my problem with sous vide sites is. Maybe it is that there are so many I have trouble processing the information. The misinformation that irritates me is food safety and freezing which seem sadly out of date even on the better sites. Even the USDA has significantly updated their information, but no one seems to have noticed.
I don’t forsee my Anova being used as much as my pressure cookers, although it seems to be at the moment, but it is definitely worth the price, for meat and fish alone.
On an up note, I put a small brisket in yesterday morning and 36 hours later I took it out and cut off a piece. Very tender, and cooked med rare at 131 degrees F. I am serving it for lunch tomorrow so I put it back in for the generally recommended 48 hours, and to see if there is a difference. I am happy enough with it now, great texture and mouth feel. It is not shred-able, but I am not big on shredded meat. I am going to try caramelized sous vide onions in my Instant Pot for both the sandwiches and some French onion soup.
Lessons learned today.
The cover(s) you suggested are very important. Cooking onions 4 hours evaporated 2 litres of water. I didn’t cover because I have a thermometer suspended over pot attached to a wooden spoon.
My digital thermometer reads 4 degrees F too high. The Anova and my instant read agree, while my moderately expensive, but older trutemp, is consistently 4 degrees higher.March 22, 2015 at 5:47 pm #21496
One of the problems with the internet is that it is permanent. Stuff from years ago looks to be just as authoritative as stuff published yesterday. Unless the page has a date stamp somewhere it can be very difficult to tell. For example, that Citizen Sous Vide site looks quite old. but the only clue is that their recommended system is an old model Polyscience circulator. And the fact that they don’t mention the 75ºC Egg.
Even very active sites have trouble updating old pages in a timely manner. As I am sure @Laura can attest. Even Education (.edu) sites are not immune.
Another issue is that anyone can publish whatever they like. Even if it is accidental or deliberate misinformation. You need to cross reference carefully until you work out what sites are trustworthy.
Yes Styrofoam is a problem. Our local council won’t take it either. Or plastic bags. We used to use it in the backyard as planters, lifting things off the ground to stop them rotting, and so on. Then we got chooks. They LOVE the stuff. WE had to get rid of every trace. The other thing we do with it is put it in the roof space as added insulation. I don’t mind if the rats eat it. It may be good crumbled as an insulation layer on the SV box too. But I am not sure how it will survive the heat. Also I am sure it will leach all sorts of nasties. Though that shouldn’t matter as the food is kept separate from the water.March 22, 2015 at 6:10 pm #21498
My A-One agrees with my NIST calibrated Thermapen to within 0.1ºC. The APC is about 0.3ºC off but that seems to be a circulation issue due to its less powerful motor There are small fluctuations throughout the pot that are simply not there when I use the A-One. Have you tried calibrating the trutemp using the icebath method?
I like that bag in bag trick. Will try the lightweight bags I get at the green grocers.
Can you post a link to the updated USDA info relevant to this area? I find tracking down specific details there difficult.
I nearly always cook from frozen I just add 15 minutes or so to the timing.March 23, 2015 at 1:31 am #21504
Does the ice bath method actually calibrate the thermometer? Never heard of it but might be worth a shot. Not a big deal as I will be buying a thermapen one of these days or something equivalent but they are pretty pricey. Melted my digital stick thermometer in the oven about a month ago so no new thermometers for me till I get over the horror of it all.
I am pretty sure my Anova is calibrated close enough as it agrees with my analog thermometer, and my brisket came out exactly as and looked exactly like the pictures at 24/48 hour stages from a fairly scientific article Douglas Baldwin I stumbled upon yesterday. Will post link for that although you have probably seen it.
I actually cooked two steaks sous vide in my IPS with the bag in bag method. Was all going good until I tried to take the second steak from the bag. I stupidly placed one upside down when packaging, and when I tried taking out the second hot bag, it opened. This method was from one of those DIY cowboy type videos I saw about a year ago.
This method is particularly good for ground meat, preventing drying and freezer burn almost completely for me. If I buy 5 lb. bag I put it in 1 lb. bags. Put them all in a big Ziploc or foodsaver or other freezer bag and put the label with date/price type in the bag so it is very visible.
I don’t mind old information being inaccurate, and I do check the dates. It is the constant repetition of an outdated belief by many people who repeat it multiple times in the same thread. Even if the information is factual, which it seems to me it rarely is, why post multiple times in the same forum? And what are they doing in a sous vide etc. forum if they are hostile to the concept. Makes my head hurt. Of course the regulations/information could change again and then they would be able to say I told you so I guess.
I will post links separately.March 23, 2015 at 1:34 am #21505
USDA(“is frozen food safe link”)
Douglas Baldwin link with pictures of beef texture etc.
Basic Foodsaver idea but I buy the better bags and pack several inside one foodsaver bag, don’t twist as much and fold top over once before packing.March 24, 2015 at 2:59 am #21523
Actually Anova say if there is a discrepancy between your analog thermometer and their machine, it will be the thermometer that is wrong. The machines are NIST calibrated (but not certified) in the factory. There does remain a remote chance they are knocked out of calibration in transit though.
I’m not sure there is an equivalent to the Thermapen. Between the NIST certification and rapid response, there is not much that comes close. I just wish they made a left handed model. But I understand why they don’t They would need different moulds for the case AND a different design of the PCB and LCD.
As for calibration. You need to have the facility in your thermometer. The manual that came with the thermometer (you kept that right? :D ) will tell you if it can be done and how. The ice water bath just provides the reference point. A properly constructed ice water bath will be at 0C (32ºF) anywhere on the planet. The other potential reference point accessible to the amateur (boiling water) varies with altitude and the weather. It can be used, but you need an accurate barometer and a lookup table so you know what your boiling point will be on that particular day and location.
Calibration using a simple 1 point reference assumes that the scale (algorithm in a digital) is accurate to the sensor, and that you are just moving the zero point on the scale so that it aligns with the known temperature. Every other temperature on the scale will then be accurate. Of course if the scale does not map to the sensor then all bets are off. Then you need multiple references and a laboratory to do the work. Cheaper to just get a new thermometer.March 24, 2015 at 3:41 am #21524
I would like to see the USDA link referencing SousVide directly. I freeze my meat in single serves and drop them still frozen straight into the SV at temperature. The reasoning I have seen and agree with is that the food will go through the danger zone very quickly so it will be no more dangerous than defrosting in the fridge then cooking as a separate step. It will still have to make that transition through the danger zone. Add fifteen to twenty minutes to the cooking time to allow for defrosting. Defrosting in water is much more efficient in water than it is in air. This all makes sense to me, but I would like to see some independent and reliable testing of the concept by a trustworthy entity.
I see a few potential problems with that packaging method for SV use.
1. I pack single serves so I can drop them straight into the water bath. If I am cooking for three, I drop three bags in.
2. Ziplock bags have problems with seams. I imagine these cheap bags will too.
3. I pack flat to minimise cooking time. It is the thickness that determines cooking more than any other factor.
4. Are those bags food safe at temperature? Yes they are fine at 20ºC and for that matter at -18ºC (0ºF). Are they still fine at 60ºC?
5. Will that knot be sufficiently air tight to cope with submerging?March 24, 2015 at 8:28 am #21525
I keep all my manuals, and have developed the habit of downloading the manual as well when I buy a new item that comes with one. Keep them in and ebook cataloguing program.
No calibration for my thermometer. Thermapen is about $150 CAD which is a little steep for me at the moment.
My Instant Read agrees with the Anova and my digital is at least consistently 4 degrees high. Pretty sure my Anova is very accurately calibrated although I will measure the bath and/or the food though fairly often because that is just the way I am.March 24, 2015 at 5:22 pm #21526
I am almost certain the USDA has not come out with definite guidelines for sous vide or sushi for that matter. I do know that many NA municipalities/states have repealed bans on sous vide in restaurants.
I don’t think the USDA is always correct, they have not only many areas to cover there are also strong indications of influence from outside sources. They still have not decided BPA is harmful.
And some of their guidelines haven’t been revisited for close to 100 years. Still it is a good place to start and I wouldn’t encourage anyone to go against them, but I still eat rare steak, and raw oysters among other things.
I may have misled you when I mentioned cooking in the lighter bags. The time I did it I had placed two steaks in individual bags and sealed them in a food saver bag and froze them. I cooked them sous vide still in the food saver bag. These were not the produce bags shown in the video. Most ‘free’ produce bags are extremely light weight and do not hold the vacuum. I speak from experience here. I was making coffee pods and looking for a way to keep them reasonably fresh at the time. 3 out of 4 produce bags failed within hours. No holes or rips visible.
I do this when freezing to keep the food saver bags clean, but for many years, before I had a food saver, I bagged my meat in usable portions, especially ground, in Ziploc light weight bags and placed them in a large freezer bag. Never had freezer burn, and easier to keep organised and kept the big bags clean.
You have me thinking now, often a bad idea. I may try bagging some vegetables, which will not suffer too much from getting a bit wet in double inexpensive bags, or fish which is cooked at a lower temperature. Sometimes I will do weird things just to see what will happen.
I am 99% certain I will stick with food saver or Ziploc freezer for meat/poultry/fish and do my veg non sous vide.
1. I pack single serves so I can drop them straight into the water bath. If I am cooking for three, I drop three bags in.
I pack in several sizes. For chicken legs/thighs/drumsicks I pack ½ in single portion, ½ in double portion. Ground meat in ½ or 1 lb. portions.
2. Ziploc bags have problems with seams. I imagine these cheap bags will too.
I am sure you are right (see above) but no problems when freezing and I am not going to clean and reuse a 2 cent bag.
3. I pack flat to minimize cooking time. It is the thickness that determines cooking more than any other factor.
I flat pack many things already because it stacks better and defrosts easier. But, as I have mentioned, I resent having to use individual bags for each portion of vegetables.
Imagine cooking dinner for 6 or more with meat, potatoes, carrots and asparagus all sous vide. That is a lot of packages to open and plate.
4. Are those bags food safe at temperature? Yes they are fine at 20ºC and for that matter at -18ºC (0ºF). Are they still fine at 60ºC?
No idea. No plastic or food for that matter is guaranteed safe. Water is not that safe even in the first world countries. Lot of arsenic in the Yukon water for example.
5. Will that knot be sufficiently air tight to cope with submerging?
Depends on your knot tying skills. Can always put a plastic clamp on after the knot. Or use a couple instead of the knot.
Now they are making a device called Cinder (available for preorder) which does sous vide type cooking without the bag. Pretty cool but pricey. We live in amazing times.
http://cindercooks.com/April 14, 2015 at 12:17 pm #21987
I have been cooking sous vide quite a bit.
An interesting experience with the quick dry aging of beef using fish sauce.
I marinated the steak for three days in the fridge with a tablespoon of fish sauce in each bag. Sous vide at 132 degrees for 90 minutes.
Was amazingly tasty. Much better than another steak cut from the same strip loin. No fishy/salty taste. I may have been guilty of licking the plate.
Now I am brining a chunk of beef (again strip loin as that is what I have) using chefsteps method.
Doubt it will work as well as brisket, but brisket is far more expensive and should be tasty enoughApril 14, 2015 at 6:47 pm #21989
I’m glad the SV is working out for you. I have settled on a mix of fish sauce, soy and Worcester sauce in the bag with the steak. Sometimes a little salt and EVOO as well. I can’t give you quantities as I just slurp a little in. Probably less than a teaspoon of each though. Then I freeze it until needed. I am the only steak eater in the house so it can be up to a month or two before it gets cooked, but it is stored at -18°C (0°F) so the actual marinating time will effectively only be the time it takes to freeze.
I use that temp too but I only cook for about an hour from frozen. 90 minutes seems a little long but as we both know now, No harm is done in the extra time.
I had a look at that corned beef recipe too but pink salt is difficult to come by here. I would basically have to buy several kilograms from a butchers supply shop to get the few grams I actually need. Here silverside and topside are traditional cuts for Corning. They are from the back leg just above the shin. I think brisket is from the ribs. Names of meat cuts are one thing that still gives me grief. They vary enormously from region to region. Much less country to country.April 14, 2015 at 10:21 pm #21992
Eek! I bought about a kilo I think which is far too much. I could probably cure several fields of cows with that. I would be happy to mail you some no charge if you could send an address through Laura?
Mostly I do experimental sous vide cooking and try to type up the results. I have not reached the stage where I feel I have found perfection so it is still too early for organized prebagging. That would be my goal though.
My current nemeses is the soft boiled/poached sous vide egg. Whites are too underdone for me. Unfortunately I am not supposed to eat too many eggs so the process goes slowly.
Fish might be my biggest success which is fortunate as I am leaving for the still frozen north in 13 days, and I get lots of free fish as well as moose and caribou.April 20, 2015 at 3:38 pm #22103
I have declared my corned beef officially done.
Sort of qualified success
• At 24 hours far too salty.
• Drained liquid and added plain water for one hour.
• At 40 hours still too salty.
• Drained liquid and added plain water for four hours.
• At 44 hours not quite salty enough but continued to cook for recommended 48 hours.
• Colour: Pink
• Texture: Tender
• Taste: Not quite salty enough but tasty before chilling. After chilling pretty perfect.
Not 100% sure whether I had too much salt in the brine mixture by error or if the recipe is too salty for my taste.
Next time I will use less kosher salt and a bit more pickling spice and Prague powder.
I have reserved the cooking liquid and will sous vide cabbage wedges in it. (Cabbage is the only veg so far actually improved a lot by sous vide for me although sous vide caramelized onions are nice as well)
Being curious, I found several sources for Prague powder or sodium nitrite in Australia in small quantities.
This one seems pretty cheap.
This one is cheap but shipping higher?
http://www.greenlivingaustralia.com.au/curing-salts.htmlApril 21, 2015 at 3:24 am #22113
Congratulations Helen. It looks good.
I would be wary of adding more Prague powder. I have been reading up on this whole corning thing, and it seems that in large quantities (a few grams were mentioned), consuming Sodium Nitrite can be fatal. That is why curing salt is usually dyed pink. So it is not accidentally used in place of normal salt. And also why curing salt is only 7% NaNO2 with the balance being plain old NaCl.
“Too salty” reminds me of the first dinner party I ever gave. I made my very first (and only – scarred for life!) pot roast, but didn’t realise that I was using a piece of corned topside rather than fresh. Salty was not the word. Inedible was closer to the mark. Luckily I had made plenty of veggies. Even better, it was for my ex’s family so I am no longer reminded of it. Unlike the rabbit stew I made for my kids once. I will never live that one down.
Normally for a shop bought piece of corned beef, I would rinse it a few times, then “boil” it in plenty of water in the PC. This all helps remove the corning salt. None of this happens if you SV it. Perhaps ChefSteps simply forgot to write down the rinsing step. It may be worthwhile raising it over there. They are not as good as Laura at replying, but they are pretty good. They even took down a recipe the other day because us mug punters were unable to replicate it consistently.
This makes interesting reading though it is more geared towards sausage/salami than corning/ham/pastrami
Thanks for the links. I had found the greenliving site the other day too, but baulked at paying four times the price of the item for shipping. Silly I know. I wouldn’t blink at the same shipping on a $200 item.
I hadn’t discovered the country brewers though and as it happens, there is a B&M store only an hour or so drive away. And it will only be a 5 minute detour on the drive I have to make tomorrow anyway. So I will swing by there and pick some up. Now to negotiate room in the fridge for 10 days…April 21, 2015 at 9:45 am #22115
Yes I have read the warnings myself and take them seriously. I would just be going with a slightly different recipe, perhaps Rhulmans. I kind of chose the Chefsteps one because it had less prague powder per litre than most.
My next curing experiment will likely be this one
It has much more Prague powder and much less regular salt per liter water. Still well under USDA maximums as far as I can determine.
Fridge space was not a problem as I did a small 800 gram roast. I made 4 liters of brine which was far too much. I put approximately 2 litres brine and roast in non Ziploc freezer bag, placed in bowl in vegetable drawer and turned it once or twice a day for 5 or 6 days. Should have been 7-10 but even after 5 days it has a very distinctive almost smoky flavour. Better than the corned beef or pastrami I have been buying I think.
I had 543 grams after cooking which I thought was good as I sawed of a few small chunks along the way to test for flavour and texture. Then again my roast was lean and low collagen. Next time I will close my eyes and buy some brisket.May 10, 2015 at 9:33 pm #22363
One day left before I get to try my corned beef. I am really looking forward to it.
As luck would have it, it had only been cooking for about an hour when we copped a four hour blackout. I monitored the temperature of the bath as it slowly dropped. I decided to remove the meat When it reached 50°C and I was actually in the process of removing the meat to chill it so it wouldn’t spoil when the power came back on.
After your experience, I rinsed mine to remove excess salt before sealing it. I haven’t been tempted to open and test.May 11, 2015 at 8:53 pm #22371
Hope it is wonderful. I suspect it will be.
I am in the Yukon now with very sporadic internet access, which hopefully I can fix this week.
I brought my sous vide circulator and Instant Pot but having to carry water in buckets to cook with has severely cramped my style. The Annova is great for heating a bucket of water to wash dishes though. Life in the slow lane.May 12, 2015 at 12:08 am #22372
Now that’s a use I bet they didn’t think of! What temperature do you recommend? :D
The 48 hour cook is now up, but I have decided to serve it hot for dinner today so I am leaving it run for a few more hours
On a somewhat less happy note, my A-One died the other day while heating milk for ricotta. Luckily I was able to just swap in my APC. I asked Anova about it and they volunteered to replace the A-One but wanted video evidence of the problem. When I set up the camera to do a video of turning it on and watching it not work, the unit decided to behave properly. Sigh. They said they would send a new one anyway which they have. It is in transit right now. I don’t even have to return the old one. Shipping the old one back from here would probably cost more than a new one would cost them. Two thumbs up for their service. That is one company I would recommend without any hesitation.
I am actually using the A-One for the corned beef and apart from the blackout, it hasn’t missed a beat. I do have an independent thermometer on it with alarms set if it goes over 61ºC or under 59º. The A-One is set to 60º. The uncalibrated alarm thermometer hasn’t budged off 59.6º in two days. My calibrated thermapen reads 60º.
Guy has actually bought a cook’s knife. We may turn him into a chef yet.May 12, 2015 at 7:35 am #22381
The verdict is in but with mixed results.
Flavour is brilliant though just a tad sharp. I think that will mellow over the next few days. Not too salty. I think the rinsing I gave it before sealing it for SV helped. Certainly different from and superior to any corned beef I have had before. Served with mash and cauliflower. Both done in the PC of course. Served with a traditional (here) parsley sauce.
The down side is that the corning did not penetrate all the way to the centre of the beef. The centre was grey rather than pink. There was a darker pink ring at the limit of the corned area almost as if something was pushing back. It looked odd, but didn’t appear to affect the flavour at all. I took a photo which I will post over on ChefSteps to ask about it in the next few days. I may post the photo here too.
Tomorrow I intend to try my very first Reuben. I will have to work out how to make Russian Dressing though.May 18, 2015 at 8:10 pm #22500
I have Internet today:)
I found the flavour mellowed quickly. My colour went all the way through but was a bit purplish almost. Still the taste and texture was better than conventional store/deli bought and that was my first attempt.
I am suffering from experimental cooking withdrawal. MY facilities probably make Guys look like a TV show kitchen in comparison.
Oh wellMay 18, 2015 at 8:38 pm #22501
Mine is delicious. It takes a little while to get used to it, but take one bite and you get excellent corned beef. The next bite yields rare roast beef flavours. Weird. But in a nice way.
Not a fan of sauerkraut though.
I now have three SV circulators. I tested the new one when it came to make sure it works, then put it on the shelf in its box. The old one hasn’t failed again, but I always monitor it closely now. And won’t use it for long cooks anymore.
I have found Laura’s chicken roll ups work better in the SV than the PC. The only change I make is to put the prosciutto on the outside so it looks seared. Actually I do muck about with the flavours. Fig jam works a treat. I make a bunch of them at a time and pop them in the freezer. No fuss
dinner. I have also tried her beef roll ups from the book and they are better SV too.
Guy posted some photos of his kitchen It actually looks better than how he described it.May 27, 2015 at 12:05 pm #22705
i had to do a good 3/4 days work to get it looking that way @greg!
and very glad to see you posting @helen! glad you found an internet connection even if temporary. been missing you!
hey greg, i’ve been monitoring you guys talk about sous vide and this ad arrived in my inbox this morning and thought i’d bounce it off you as to it’s suitability for that purpose. not that i’m at all interested right now, but i can’t resist a bargain even if i don’t plan to use the item right away. this one is onsale for $129 although the site says $179.
here’s a re-run of one of the kitchen pictures:
/guyMay 27, 2015 at 6:06 pm #22712
Both Helen and I have that model.
I also have the A-1. The a1 tracks temperature a little better, but overall the usability features of the APC make it a very worthwhile device. Being able to use any size pot is awesome. So is using the wheel to set temperature. They blew the design on setting the timer. What were they thinking! But I have lots of other timers so I don’t care. I think the BT connectivity is a bit ho hum. And like the IP, I dont think it allows firmware upgrades. But it is still a very worthwhile device. Especially at that price.
PS. You enter a code stated at the bottom of the page to get the $50 discount.May 27, 2015 at 6:15 pm #22713
tks @greg! just the fact that both you and helen have this device pushes me in the direction of getting it even though i won’t be ready for it for awhile i don’t think.
i don’t usually admit ignorance of any subject with cooking (obviously!) being an exception. i always say i’m an inch deep and a mile wide. but i have to admit complete ignorance about sous vide. matter of fact, here’s the only two things i think i’ve heard or read about it:
* food goes into a bag
* temperature is strictly controlled.
does this mean a pressure cooker is capable of holding a temperature with the tolerance needed? i used to develop color slide film and that process needed a temperature within +/- 1/4º. that is not easy to do in a home darkroom, as you can imagine!
oh, nearly forgot, espresso wants to see 194º at the brew head before it flashes through the grounds, but very few consumer-priced machines are capable of that. for that reason i got a machine which an individual modifies with a commercial temperature control device. i’d love to be using it, but i’m not about to see my water kill it. maybe if i ever get some filtration (or the city moves the city limits to encompass me) and offers city water i can try to find it buried in the packing boxes.
/guyMay 27, 2015 at 6:24 pm #22715
reading back through your previous posts, is this what this device does? keeps the temperature stable within a closed container inside the pc?
(just watched a video at anova and that honker is huge! as soon as i saw it i knew it wouldn’t fit into a pressure cooker. so you use your 6qt stainless pot as the liquid holder then? and that answers the temperature questions then–for the life of me i couldn’t understand how it was going to control temperature when the pc was at pressure!)
i’m shutting up now until i can make sense … inputting data into wetware … [g]
/guyMay 27, 2015 at 6:36 pm #22716
well, impressed with the friendliness already. is this company based in australia or their help desk there? i was on the site reading the faqs and a chat window popped up and they were very helpful even though i didn’t really have any questions for them.
oh, the coupon is good until father’s day 21 june. it is indeed a $50 savings over amazon.f
(later note: no wonder they’re so friendly! they’re in texas!)
/guyMay 27, 2015 at 7:53 pm #22718
They make good gear. So I’ll forgive them for living where they do. They clearly don’t get everything right. :P
Sous vide is literally French for “under vacuum” but it has come the mean cooking in a water bath at a precisely controlled temperature. Ideally, the food is vacuum packed though.
In addition to the heater unit , you need a pot big enough to hold the unit and the food. And a means to remove the air from the bagged food. The simplest is to just lower the bag into the water slowly and carefully so the air is pushed out by displacement. Just drape the side of the bag over the side of the pot and fix it with a peg. The next step up is to use zip lock bags. You still use the water displacement method to remove the air, but you can seal it closed with the zipper mechanism. I had lots of trouble with the seams bursting when I was using this method. I still use it now and again but I always double bag. The next step is to use a food saver type vacuum set up. This works very well, but the bags are expensive and it is tricky to seal liquids using them. This is the system I mostly use. The fourth and final step up is to use a chamber vacuum. These are both very bulky and very expensive. Both of those factors stop me from pursuing that method. I do occasionally ask my butcher to seal something for me. So far he has been quite obliging.
As for the size, it is a LOT smaller than the integrated water bath systems on the market for similar money. It also does a better job. When not in use mine lies in the corner of the saucepan cupboard. It slides neatly under the handles of the pans.
You cannot use it and pressure cook at the same time. Think about it. The APC sets the temperature at something below boiling point. The whole idea of a pressure cooker is that it raises the temperature above boiling point.
You can however use the pressure Cooker as your sous vide pot. Or pretty much any other pot. I actually mostly use an old beer cooler. One designed for a six pack of beer. It helps to insulate it to reduce running costs. Hence the beer cooler. It also helps to cover the top to reduce evaporation. Not too important for a 13 minute egg. But very important for 72 hour short ribs. You can get plastic balls designed for the purpose, but bubble wrap works pretty well too. I cut a hole in the lid of my cooler so I could put it on with the circulator in place.May 27, 2015 at 8:08 pm #22719
the guy at the chat at the anova site said they used this one for their calibration:
i’m pretty sure he told me my 4qt pot (or even the 6qt one i’ll be getting eventually) wouldn’t work even though it seemed to be exactly what they showed in their own video.
when i expressed surprise that this thing could hold a temperature without a lid or insulation he said most people just drape a towel over the top. i’m skeptical given my experience with developing film. of course developing film works better if you have a lid–that whole ‘unwanted light’ thing and all. [g]
you can buy cheap lids for that container and i was thinking that just cutting a hole for the device might work better than a towel.
i’d have to go with ziploc as the vacuum seal units look expensive for the limited use i’d make of it.
/guyMay 27, 2015 at 8:46 pm #22720
I see you have lured Guy into the sous vide arena.
I bought the Instant Pot because of its promise of sous vide capabilities. I wanted a pressure cooker as well but the sous vide possibility was the selling point.
Over a year since they first promised the Android app and still not happening.
Still even without an app I have successfully cooked sous vide in the Instant pot. I tried the beer cooler approach and it was too cumbersome, but had very good results my first try with the Instant Pot. Probably any electric pressure cooker would be adequate.
You have the IOS device and the app so you should be able to cook virtually anything sous vide with very predictable results.
I bought a dedicated sous vide (Anova) because I wanted one. Myself and Greg are kitchen gadget junkies and experimenters with food.
And we are both kind of thrifty in that we want to produce excellent food at budget prices with consistent results.
I still consider the Instant Pot one of my best cooking appliance purchase ever but I think I would have been pretty happy with your electric PC as well.
You seem to enjoy cooking far more than you did since you got it which makes it a star in my books.
BTW your kitchen is the epitome of design, spaciousness and elegance compared to my summer one which every year I have assemble from milk crates and abandoned signs every year because they dismantle it in the fall. Generally I start with my desk, then my clothes closet, then the kitchen. Urban living it is not.May 27, 2015 at 9:23 pm #22721
@helen: you seem to be saying that all you needed to do sous vide was the instapot. is that correct? can they maintain a temperature lower than boiling then?
i’ve been reading reviews and the forums on the anova site. why do you have to clip the ziploc bag to the side of the bowl? if it’s waterproof (which it would have to be to sustain a vacuum) why can’t it just float around in the bowl?
i also notice there are some very reasonable priced handheld sealing units for sale. not the best reviews but they seem easy to use. not sure i’d trust a cheap bag to stay intact in the heat though–@greg even said he doesn’t trust the very heavy duty ziploc freezer bags.
/guyMay 27, 2015 at 10:24 pm #22723
Yes they can hold pretty well any temperature if you have the app.
Without the app there are a few reasonable temperatures they can hold.
A food saver bag is reasonably impregnable. Ziplocs are a bit harder to seal reliably. Can be done but clipping it to the side of the pot means the seal is above water and it is more accessible. Food saver is better but Ziploc is cheaper and often less bother. I fluctuate.
I believe, perhaps mistakenly, that Greg has had failures with reused bags. I am in favour of reuse and often do it, but at 10 cents or les a Ziploc I decided not to reuse as mostly I am cooking for myself and what do I care about 10 cents in real life. Plus the effort of getting out and setting up the food saver. I do use it as Greg does for freezing portions that I can just take out and cook at a moments notice. Mostly for bulk purchases.
I have a hand held as well but the bags are even more expensive and don’t reuse well. Better to hold off and get a reasonably priced good one.
Some things actually are more practically cooked in a Ziploc. Websites like chefsteps give you full video instructions.
As I said I fluctuate as does Chefsteps:)
My recommendation is try a nice MR steak in the Instant Pot with the Ziploc. 1-2 hours. See what happens. I was truly impressed.
But… I wanted to try brisket at 72 hours and I corned my own beef which took a week in the fridge and 72 hours cooking sous vide. Might seem excessive but the actual prep time was less than 1/2 hour and both were food to swoon over at the first attempt.
So my big reason for getting the Anova was I didn’t want to tie up my instant pot for 72 hours. Plus I don’t have the app so added functionality.
Sous vide isn’t for everyone, and all sous vide food doesn’t suit my tastes, but if you want that fine dining experience without the fine dining price at your fingertips and enjoy a little experimentation it is just lovely.
I am going on. Get the double seal Ziplocs, insert steak (1/2 inch or wider)remove air and clip bag to the side of the pot. Cook for 1 hour at 140 degrees, remove from bag, dry with paper towel and quickly sear. You will be a happy steak eater.May 27, 2015 at 10:42 pm #22724
Yes the Instantpot Smart can be used as a Sous Vide machine. But also remember it has been recalled because of safety issues. It may be a long time before you actually get to play with one. The other models do not have the capability.
To get full use out of it, you need to program it with the App, but Helen who is on Android does not have access to the App which (so far) is just on on Apple. She did discover that a couple of temperatures accessible from the front panel are useful for Sous Vide. Enough to whet her appetite so she sprang for the Anova.
From a conversation between Helen and Laura a while ago, it would appear that the InstantPot has a consistent, precise but not accurate temperature control. That means you need to work out how much you unit is off by and use that as an offset when judging cooking temperatures. That was the “calibration” process you complained about.
The Anova machines OTOH are calibrated in the factory. And certainly the three samples I have had my hands on are all spot on when compared to my NIST certified thermometer.
The Anova circulators are three devices in one.
1. A heater. This is fairly powerful – about the size of one in a small electric kettle. The A1 is 1200kW the APC is 800kW in the 240V versions anyway. I think the 115 version may have a slightly lower power unit in the A1.
2. A fan. This actively stirs the water and ensures there are no hot or cold spots. This is what you don’t get with the IPS
3. An accurate and precise thermometer. This controls the heater and switches it back on as soon as it detects the temperature dropping.
Because of this, yes the Anova circulators can control the water temperature quite well. Insulating just reduces heat loss and means that the heater does not have to work so hard, saving you money. The cover also reduces evaporation so you don’t have to top up during a long cook. And they can be VERY long.
I do notice that my APC does not control temperature quite as well as my A1. But only when I leave it uncovered. I put that down to the lower power not being able to keep up with the heat loss through evaporation.
The main reason you need to clip the bag to the side of the bowl is that the water is agitated quite vigorously. If you let it float around, it can drift up against the water inlet and block the flow.
Make sure those cheap sealers are vacuum sealers. There are also sealers on the market that just seal. They don’t pull the air out. Also I have talked to a few people who have bought cheap vacuum sealers. Most of them broke fairly quickly. And they ended up getting a more expensive unit anyway. This is one way to make a foodsaver unit cost as much as a chamber vacuum, I see it all the time in photography. People buy a cheap tripod. Then when it doesn’t do the job, they go out and buy a slightly more expensive unit. Finally they buy the one they should have bought in the first place. At an overall price considerably higher than they needed to.
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