To sous vide or not to sous vide, that is the question

To sous vide or not to sous vide, well for those in a hurry and don’t want to read this great story, the answer is YES.

To understand what sous-vide is just type in sous-vide in any Google search and prepare to read about the swarm of new experts that will try to make the Wikipedia article sound originally theirs.

In a nut shell, it is low temperature cooking in a water bath with the food sealed in a vacuum pouch for extended periods of time.

Now I’m no expert, my brother, Skip asked me about it a year ago and I didn’t have a clue but when I read up on it I wasn’t impressed. I know how to cook a steak. Then my son, Trevor, a sous chef told me he just bought one, I read up more and after a bad experience with a Tri-Tip, I purchased one.

The sous-vide method cooks the food at its optimum finished temperature and without fear of continual cooking after the food has been removed from the heat. 129° is just that 129°. It also means that the food can sit in the water bath for a while after the perfect cooking has taken place.

A note of caution here, the long periods of time help the meat fibers break down so your steak is more tender than if just cooked over a flame. But you can break down too much fiber and end up with a steak you can cut with the back of a spoon, yuck.

My son purchased the Anova and loves it, My brother and I purchased the Joule from ChefSteps. The joule has more power, 1100 watts compared to the Anova’s 900 watts of power. But both do the same job in the same amount of time once the water temperature has been reached. The Anova is available bluetooth or wifi for using the app to control cooking. The Joule is wifi only, and has probably the best app available. The latest upgrade includes not only the recipes but what to expect if left in the water too long.

The Joules’ greatest weakness is that you need the app to use it, where the Anova can be turned on by a temperature set via buttons.

 

The T-Bone steak pictured here has been pre-seasoned with a small coating of ghee between the meat and spices (salt and pepper with a little savory). The ghee could be any oil or butter, very sparsely used only to hold the salt off the meat until cooking starts.

If you follow the picture story I have here, you will see that the great steak (a 1 1/2 inch T-Bone) looks pretty sad after it has been removed from the bath. I used a propane torch to sear the fat and Lodge’s Panni pan set. Lodge makes some of the best cast iron cookery available and their enameled coating is as good as any other I have seen.

On the subject of enameled cast iron, this stuff, if taken care of, will serve you, your children and then your grandchildren. The two middle sized dutch ovens I use are made by DescoWare of Belgium. At the end of it’s life the DescoWare trademark dropped and the rights and formulas for the patented enamels were sold to Le Creuset. Mine were handed down from my grandmother to mother to me.

Put pan and lid directly over the highest flame or temperature setting. When they start to smoke turn the heat off, put your steak in the pan and set the lid on top. Finally, get a small fan to clear the smoke detectors. When the sizzling ends or after 2 maybe 3 minutes remove the steak and be wonder struck.

You now have a steak as good and probably better then you will find in a high end steak house. Cooked perfect top to bottom with a beautiful sear on the surface. We served it with roasted Brussels sprouts.

Cooking the steak as I have outlined here shows what can be done with a sous-vide. The turning point in my deciding to buy the sous-vide was a six pack of Tri-tip I purchased from Smart Foodservice.

The Tri-Tip was my first cooking experience with the sous-vide, and it was just wonderful. Tri-tip is oddly shaped and varies in thickness, I have cooked more that I can remember and the best were usually seared then baked to TRY to get an even cooking to no avail, Tri-tip also isn’t known for it’s buttery tenderness. The sous-vide version was wonderful, perfectly pink on both ends, seared on the BBQ over a flame for a minute on each side.

I then tried to cook a couple of whole artichokes and after the recommended time the heat sealed bag had unsealed and the artichoke wasn’t even close to being cooked (185° water bath), and I had to put it in the pressure cooker to finish. So where the sous-vide may have its place; it won’t replace everything in the kitchen.

Just wait till I tell you about the 1 1/2 inch pork chops finished with a drunken hazelnut crust.

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bjones

I love to read and cook, and I am at the age I am not afraid to share my opinion. There is the right way, the wrong way and Bill's way. 🙂
bjones
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