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Thread: sous vide method of cooking

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    Question sous vide method of cooking

    Anyone have any experience cooking via sous vide? Any feedback?

    This type of cooking appears to be in its infancy, being invented only (something like) 40 years ago, while we've cooked via subjecting our food to burning heat practically forever.

    I've got a killer rack of lamb recipe that I haven't been able to improve for years now, but I think that converting it to sous vide might very well make it better.

    I'm thinking about getting into sous vide, but the price of admission seems to be 400 clams for a "SousVide Supreme" plus some needed accoutrements.... (torch, sous vide cookbook, etc...)

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    I see it all the time on Iron Chef, but I have never tried it my self or eaten any food cooked by this method.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

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    The sous-vide method was actually invented in 1799 by the same guy who invented the Rumford fireplace, but it couldn't safely be used until the 1960's because of the need for precise temperature control to achieve pasteurization. (The French incorrectly claim they invented it in 1974.) The method can be used without the expensive SousVide Supreme water oven, or the Addélice swid immersion circulator, or special controllers with thermocouple probes, but it would require constant tending and the temperature control would still not be precise enough to guarantee pasteurization.

    The method works great for red meat like beef, or root vegetables. It doesn't work nearly as well for poultry, fish, eggs, or soft vegetables. The main use of the sous-vide method is for catering, preparing hundreds of meals at once using industrial equipment, then very quickly cooling them down for safe storage. To my mind (and coarse palate), the results just aren't worth the effort or the expense for home use, but YMMV.

    The big risk of sous-vide is botulism, because low temperature pasteurization kills the botulinum bacteria but may not kill all the spores. This isn't much of a problem if you're going to eat the hot food right away, but it's a big risk if you're preserving the food, or storing leftovers, or immune compromised. Sous-vide usually takes place at lower temperatures, but IMHO I think it's safer not to use temperatures below 140*F.
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    Thumbs down Sous-vide . . .

    I've read Jacques Pepin (whom I think it the greatest cook out there), Julia Child, Anthony Bourdain, and many more and have never heard of sous-vide cooking so I Googled it.

    This was all I needed to know:


    3. But sous-vide cooking doesn't Impress [Pepin]: From his time at working at Howard Johnson’s in the sixties: "I was already doing sous-vide cooking. We called it cryogenically frozen. It’s nothing new.”

    There are lots of great chefs out there, and Pepin is one of them. But he's also a very, very great cook, which, in my mind is a horse of an entirely different color.

    Speaking of lamb, my wife and I had sort of a Damascus-Road experience with lamb. Neither of us had ever eaten it until, one evening in a restaurant in Bristol, England (we were on vacation), lamb was on the menu. Knowing the English quite fond of lamb, we decided to try it and ordered. It was cooked over an open-flame grill. To my mind, there isn't a piece of any kind of red meat that can compare with [Australian- or New Zealand-only] lamb properly cooked, which means "not overdone."



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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    To my mind, there isn't a piece of any kind of red meat that can compare with [Australian- or New Zealand-only] lamb properly cooked, which means "not overdone."
    Agreed. With the outside seared, and a rosemary/garlic/panko crust partially burnt on, yet medium rare to rare inside, dipped in jalapeno/mint jam. At first I copied what Bella Vista (in chugiak) did, then I improved on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    Anyone have any experience cooking via sous vide? Any feedback?

    This type of cooking appears to be in its infancy, being invented only (something like) 40 years ago, while we've cooked via subjecting our food to burning heat practically forever.

    I've got a killer rack of lamb recipe that I haven't been able to improve for years now, but I think that converting it to sous vide might very well make it better.

    I'm thinking about getting into sous vide, but the price of admission seems to be 400 clams for a "SousVide Supreme" plus some needed accoutrements.... (torch, sous vide cookbook, etc...)



    I do, it's amazing. Best food I've ever made. You can spend a lot if you want to, I just use a canning pot and a digital meat thermometer to keep the water temperature steady. The more water you put in the pot the more stable the temperature will remain once you get it where you want it. Gotta love specific heat. Anyways, the sky is the limit. Get a nice hot pan and sear it when it's done. I am injecting the meat now and cooking it that way. Just make sure you have a good vacuum packer and embrace the learning curve.

    My next project is going to be sous vide bratwurst with beer and onions already in the bag. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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    Thanks for the encouragement. I was considering getting a food grade (wide flame, butane) hand held blow torch to sear it with; do you have any experience with this? Do you have a favorite sous vide cookbook to guide you?

    It seems like a whole new world of cooking to me; new-everything to learn... am I overthinking it?

    P.S. I'd love to hear about the brat/onions/beer. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    Thanks for the encouragement. I was considering getting a food grade (wide flame, butane) hand held blow torch to sear it with; do you have any experience with this? Do you have a favorite sous vide cookbook to guide you?

    It seems like a whole new world of cooking to me; new-everything to learn... am I overthinking it?

    P.S. I'd love to hear about the brat/onions/beer. Thanks.



    I don't use a torch, I prefer a little olive oil in a hot pan. Plus, it gives you one last chance to add some seasoning if you want.

    You're probably overthinking it. Just get a good chart with internal temperatures for all different kinds of meat and get cooking. The best part is that it's really hard to mess up. Just make sure you keep checking the temperature of the water. Like I said, I do mine on the stove in a huge pot. I usually check the temperature every 15-20 minutes. All you need to worry about is flavoring. I'd imagine there are probably some good cookbooks out there, but I just prefer coming up with my own stuff. I use a lot of the same marinades/seasonings that I do when I grill or broil, with the occasional wild card. I think a lot of the fun is in the creativity. I threw asparagus in the bag with some moose backstrap and some seasoning. Turned out amazing. The sky is the limit, and the food is amazing. A good sear goes a long way, though. It gives it that edge.

    One thing I would suggest, though - when you start doing it, clean your meat up pretty well with a knife. Cut off any of that silver skin looking stuff. It gets outrageously tough after sitting in 140 degree water for 2-3 hours. Fat is good, everything else will be a pain. Good luck, keep us posted.

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