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Thread: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for SousVide)

  1. #1
    Curt Nelson Guest

    Default My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for SousVide)

    To [email protected]:

    Thanks for asking my opinion on sous vide. I started out writing a quick
    blurb, but it soon turned into more of an actual subject, so I bumped it
    up to pole position.

    I figure I've been posting here off-and-on for about 14 years now and
    I'll post what I damn well please.

    Here are my thoughts on sous vide:



    On 11/8/2010 11:46 PM, isw wrote:
    > In article<ib9oli$c8l$[email protected]>,
    > Curt Nelson<[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > --snip--
    >
    >> Sous vide certainly isn't for everyone, but I enjoy it and it has
    >> completely transformed my cooking.

    >
    > I've just recently started with it, and so far, am pretty impressed.
    > Care to share some of you big "successes"? Hints and suggestions? Things
    > *not* to try?



    So far I don't have a big list of things *not* to try, although I
    learned this past weekend to always make sure your temperatures are
    accurate.

    I had a temperature probe die on me and was reading 25 too low. It
    didn't ruin the meal (even though I had guests that night) because we
    were doing ribeyes and I was able to just throw 'em on the grill and
    finish them off. It sure threw me for a loop, though. Always check your
    temperatures. I use a Thermapen that I calibrated myself using their
    instructions.

    So far for me, the biggest 'successes' are steak, chicken, and lobster,
    mainly because it becomes nearly impossible to overcook them.

    I've always prided myself on being somewhat of a grill master and have
    always been a food perfectionist, particularly with cooking and
    ingredients. Using the sous vide technique, cooking unbelievable steaks
    has become ridiculously easy. It's so easy to do freakishly perfect
    steaks that it sort of takes the fun and mystique out of it. (Of course
    I haven't told my friends and family this yet...)

    On the plus side, my favorite thing about sous vide is when you have
    friends over, you don't have to slave in the kitchen while everyone else
    is imbibing and having fun. You just let everything steep away in the
    water bath and hang with your friends and when everyone feels like
    eating, it's a ten minute job and dinner's on the table and it's
    freaking perfect every time.

    I dare anyone to attempt this with lobster. Sous vide lobster is perfect
    every time once you figure out what you're doing. There will always be
    the 'purists' (Sheldon?) who will claim I'm full of **** but will never
    try it. As a single man, let me tell you that when you have friends over
    for lobster and you can hang out on your deck with champagne and vodka,
    opening fresh Kusshi oysters on the half shell and, when the time is
    right, produce perfect lobster on command, you *will* get laid.

    Write it down.

    For weeknights, as a single guy, I'll take a frozen chicken breast and
    season it with whatever I feel like, vacuum it and throw it in the water
    bath. I might use the same seasoning on some rice and have a nice easy
    pilaf dinner.

    The possibilities are limited by only your imagination. 24-hour beef
    short ribs are incredible. I also like to braise fennel as a side dish.
    Artichokes turn out wonderful. Whatever you feel like, it's fun trying
    new things.

    __________________________________________________ _____________________


    The main key with sous vide is to not make anyone sick, which means you
    need to educate yourself on the physics and science of cooking.

    For general cooking knowledge, there is no higher authority than Harold
    McGee and his Magnum Opus, 'On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of
    the Kitchen.'

    Start there. For sous vide specific information, I recommend the current
    gold standard, Douglas Baldwin's, 'A Practical Guide to Sous Vide
    Cooking,' which you can find here:

    http://amath.colorado.edu/~baldwind/sous-vide.html

    The key point that Baldwin illustrates is educating yourself on the
    nature of bacteria propagation. Once you understand how various bacteria
    grow, which isn't a simple number like 165 but rather a function of
    time and temperature, then you can start experimenting with different
    foods without worrying about killing your guests.

    In closing, here's a link to my first two tries at sous vide protein.
    One's free-range chicken breast and the other's a New York strip I got
    at Costco. Crazy thing is these are both my first tries at sous vide and
    they turned out awesome. It was so easy that I didn't think any more
    pictures were warranted.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/11569375...eat=directlink


    Anyway, good luck! I hope you continue trying this technique and, most
    importantly, have fun eating your creations!


    Fire away Sheldon,
    Curt Nelson

    (Meanwhile, I'm eating goddamn well in Seattle, thank you...)

  2. #2
    Serene Vannoy Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker forSous Vide)

    On 11/09/2010 02:54 AM, Curt Nelson wrote:
    > To [email protected]:
    >
    > Thanks for asking my opinion on sous vide. I started out writing a quick
    > blurb, but it soon turned into more of an actual subject, so I bumped it
    > up to pole position.


    Thank you so much for doing so. My geek partner is starting to make
    noises about wiring up a sous vide rig, so I forwarded it to him.

    Serene

    --
    http://www.momfoodproject.com

  3. #3
    James Silverton Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide)

    Serene wrote on Tue, 09 Nov 2010 07:52:10 -0800:

    > On 11/09/2010 02:54 AM, Curt Nelson wrote:
    >> To [email protected]:
    >>
    >> Thanks for asking my opinion on sous vide. I started out
    >> writing a quick blurb, but it soon turned into more of an
    >> actual subject, so I bumped it up to pole position.


    > Thank you so much for doing so. My geek partner is starting to
    > make noises about wiring up a sous vide rig, so I forwarded it
    > to him.


    Would a crock pot with a very low setting and Food-Saver vacuum bags
    work for "sous-vide"?The combination would be a lot cheaper than the
    rigs I've seen advertised.



    --

    James Silverton
    Potomac, Maryland

    Email, with obvious alterations: not.jim.silverton.at.verizon.not


  4. #4
    [email protected] Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide)

    Curt, have you experimented with working searing of steaks, etc. into
    your sous vide cooking methodology? How do you address the problem of
    appearance?

    -- Larry

  5. #5
    Serene Vannoy Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker forSous Vide)

    On 11/09/2010 07:56 AM, James Silverton wrote:
    > Serene wrote on Tue, 09 Nov 2010 07:52:10 -0800:
    >
    >> On 11/09/2010 02:54 AM, Curt Nelson wrote:
    >>> To [email protected]:
    >>>
    >>> Thanks for asking my opinion on sous vide. I started out
    >>> writing a quick blurb, but it soon turned into more of an
    >>> actual subject, so I bumped it up to pole position.

    >
    >> Thank you so much for doing so. My geek partner is starting to
    >> make noises about wiring up a sous vide rig, so I forwarded it
    >> to him.

    >
    > Would a crock pot with a very low setting and Food-Saver vacuum bags
    > work for "sous-vide"?The combination would be a lot cheaper than the
    > rigs I've seen advertised.


    Yeah, this all started with a crockpot hack (see the thread called
    Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide), but you need to really
    precisely control the temperature, so you'd need to add in a thermostat
    thingy (the technical term).

    Serene

    --
    http://www.momfoodproject.com

  6. #6
    Sqwertz Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide)

    On Tue, 09 Nov 2010 02:54:38 -0800, Curt Nelson wrote:

    > There will always be the 'purists' (Sheldon?) who will claim...


    Purist - Sheldon? Sheldon is far from doing anything the proper
    and conventional way. Only his bull**** is in any way "pure".

    > time is right, produce perfect lobster on command, you *will* get laid.


    Memo to self: Do not cook lobster for family.

    Thanks for the brain dump (at 5:00am?). It was an inspiration.
    And since it works so well for meat, I may just have to try it (an
    most know that I'm the type that will when I suggest such).

    But first: The gefilte is calling me to come have breakfast.

    -sw

  7. #7
    Kent Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide)


    "Serene Vannoy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    > On 11/09/2010 07:56 AM, James Silverton wrote:
    >> Serene wrote on Tue, 09 Nov 2010 07:52:10 -0800:
    >>
    >>> On 11/09/2010 02:54 AM, Curt Nelson wrote:
    >>>> To [email protected]:
    >>>>
    >>>> Thanks for asking my opinion on sous vide. I started out
    >>>> writing a quick blurb, but it soon turned into more of an
    >>>> actual subject, so I bumped it up to pole position.

    >>
    >>> Thank you so much for doing so. My geek partner is starting to
    >>> make noises about wiring up a sous vide rig, so I forwarded it
    >>> to him.

    >>
    >> Would a crock pot with a very low setting and Food-Saver vacuum bags
    >> work for "sous-vide"?The combination would be a lot cheaper than the
    >> rigs I've seen advertised.

    >
    > Yeah, this all started with a crockpot hack (see the thread called Hacking
    > your slow cooker for Sous Vide), but you need to really precisely control
    > the temperature, so you'd need to add in a thermostat thingy (the
    > technical term).
    >
    > Serene
    >
    >

    And, if you wanted to do something medium rare, 125-130F from edgee to edge
    in a standing rib roast, you would have to hold the cooking liquid at
    exactly that temp. for quite a long time. That's what Curt is trying to do
    in a crockpot. It's fascinating, though a fair amount of work. I'd probably
    screw up setting up the hardware somewhere along the line.

    Kent.



    Kent



  8. #8
    Kent Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide)


    "Sqwertz" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    > On Tue, 09 Nov 2010 02:54:38 -0800, Curt Nelson wrote:
    >
    >> There will always be the 'purists' (Sheldon?) who will claim...

    >
    > Purist - Sheldon? Sheldon is far from doing anything the proper
    > and conventional way. Only his bull**** is in any way "pure".
    >
    >> time is right, produce perfect lobster on command, you *will* get laid.

    >
    > Memo to self: Do not cook lobster for family.
    >
    > Thanks for the brain dump (at 5:00am?). It was an inspiration.
    > And since it works so well for meat, I may just have to try it (an
    > most know that I'm the type that will when I suggest such).
    >
    > But first: The gefilte is calling me to come have breakfast.
    >
    > -sw
    >
    >

    Troll to Sheldon, by Squirt. Just a headsup.









  9. #9
    Dan Abel Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide)

    In article <ibbquh$sp8$[email protected]>,
    "James Silverton" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Serene wrote on Tue, 09 Nov 2010 07:52:10 -0800:
    >
    > > On 11/09/2010 02:54 AM, Curt Nelson wrote:
    > >> To [email protected]:
    > >>
    > >> Thanks for asking my opinion on sous vide. I started out
    > >> writing a quick blurb, but it soon turned into more of an
    > >> actual subject, so I bumped it up to pole position.

    >
    > > Thank you so much for doing so. My geek partner is starting to
    > > make noises about wiring up a sous vide rig, so I forwarded it
    > > to him.

    >
    > Would a crock pot with a very low setting and Food-Saver vacuum bags
    > work for "sous-vide"?The combination would be a lot cheaper than the
    > rigs I've seen advertised.


    Well, that's one of the disadvantages of starting a new topic to follow
    up on an existing active topic. The original topic was in fact about
    using a slow cooker.

    I would suggest searching for the other thread and reading it.

    --
    Dan Abel
    Petaluma, California USA
    [email protected]

  10. #10
    Dan Abel Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide)

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] wrote:

    > Curt, have you experimented with working searing of steaks, etc. into
    > your sous vide cooking methodology? How do you address the problem of
    > appearance?


    A picture is worth a thousand words. Two pictures, therefore, should be
    worth two thousand words? He supplied a URL to two beautiful pictures,
    with full sear marks, one of a steak and one of a chicken breast. Both
    were cut so you could see the inside.

    --
    Dan Abel
    Petaluma, California USA
    [email protected]

  11. #11
    Curt Nelson Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker forSous Vide)

    On 11/9/2010 7:56 AM, James Silverton wrote:
    > Serene wrote on Tue, 09 Nov 2010 07:52:10 -0800:
    >
    >> On 11/09/2010 02:54 AM, Curt Nelson wrote:
    >>> To [email protected]:
    >>>
    >>> Thanks for asking my opinion on sous vide. I started out
    >>> writing a quick blurb, but it soon turned into more of an
    >>> actual subject, so I bumped it up to pole position.

    >
    >> Thank you so much for doing so. My geek partner is starting to
    >> make noises about wiring up a sous vide rig, so I forwarded it
    >> to him.

    >
    > Would a crock pot with a very low setting and Food-Saver vacuum bags
    > work for "sous-vide"?The combination would be a lot cheaper than the
    > rigs I've seen advertised.



    Yes, you can use a Crock Pot, but you have to pay very close attention
    to the temperature, which can be a PITA.

    I use a Sous Vide Magic PID temperature controller with a rice cooker.
    If you go that route with a Crock Pot, because the heat comes from all
    around instead of just from the bottom like a rice cooker, the water
    won't convection flow as much as it should, so you would likely have to
    use an aquarium pump to circulate the water.

    That being said, I use a rice cooker and just this last weekend borrowed
    a fish tank pump from a friend and it kept the temperature unbelievably
    stable, like within 0.2.

    I'm sold on them now, so I picked one up on eBay for $18.

    Hasta,
    Curt Nelson

  12. #12
    Curt Nelson Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker forSous Vide)

    On 11/9/2010 8:01 AM, [email protected] wrote:
    > Curt, have you experimented with working searing of steaks, etc. into
    > your sous vide cooking methodology? How do you address the problem of
    > appearance?
    >
    > -- Larry


    Steaks have become so easy that I feel like I'm cheating somehow.

    When you do your first sous vide steaks, it sort of freaks you out how
    grey and nasty they look when they come out of the bag. I mean they
    *really* look gross...

    I'm fortunate enough to have a Weber gas grill on my deck with cast iron
    grates, so I sear them off for :45 seconds a side with three flips,
    which results in great color and crosshatched grill marks. The key is
    getting all the moisture off the surface of your meat before you try and
    brown it. I also like to coat the protein with a little oil before I
    brown it because I believe it helps displace moisture and conducts heat
    better to achieve a Maillard reaction. It feels like sacrelidge, but I
    simply shoot a little cooking spray on before I brown them.

    When the weather's crappy, I've also had great results with a cast iron
    pan.

    Until this weekend I hadn't figured out a good way to brown boneless
    skinless chicken breasts without screwing them up. I thought it was a
    stupid idea for the longest time, but I finally busted out a creme
    brulee torch and torched my chicken breasts after drying and oiling
    them. They turned out beautiful! It only took a few seconds and they
    looked like something from a glossy magazine shoot. I still feel stupid
    for using a torch on a chicken breast, though...

    Hasta,
    Curt Nelson


  13. #13
    Curt Nelson Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker forSous Vide)

    ;-)

  14. #14
    Bryan Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide)

    On Nov 9, 4:54*am, Curt Nelson <n...@of.your.damn.business> wrote:
    >
    >
    > Anyway, good luck! I hope you continue trying this technique and, most
    > importantly, have fun eating your creations!


    I much desire a sous vide cooker. I know a guy who is between school
    and job, who happens to have a degree in electronic engineering. With
    his skills and my money, we could put one together to share, or maybe
    two, so we'd each have one.
    >
    > Curt Nelson
    >

    --Bryan

  15. #15
    John Kuthe Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide)

    On Nov 9, 8:19*pm, Bryan <bryangsimm...@gmail.com> wrote:
    > On Nov 9, 4:54*am, Curt Nelson <n...@of.your.damn.business> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    > > Anyway, good luck! I hope you continue trying this technique and, most
    > > importantly, have fun eating your creations!

    >
    > I much desire a sous vide cooker. *I know a guy who is between school
    > and job, who happens to have a degree in electronic engineering. *With
    > his skills and my money, we could put one together to share, or maybe
    > two, so we'd each have one.
    >
    > > Curt Nelson

    >
    > --Bryan


    Yes you do, Bryan. And it would not be my Electrical Engineering
    degree that would allow me to efficate building a sous vide cooker
    with/for you, it would be the same basement building skills I have
    that helped me be a significant contributor to the Cheep Effects! ;-)

    I know how to plug stuff together! :-)

    John Kuthe...

  16. #16
    isw Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide)

    In article
    <[email protected]>,
    Bryan <[email protected]> wrote:

    > On Nov 9, 4:54*am, Curt Nelson <n...@of.your.damn.business> wrote:
    > >
    > >
    > > Anyway, good luck! I hope you continue trying this technique and, most
    > > importantly, have fun eating your creations!

    >
    > I much desire a sous vide cooker. I know a guy who is between school
    > and job, who happens to have a degree in electronic engineering. With
    > his skills and my money, we could put one together to share, or maybe
    > two, so we'd each have one.


    Ping me privately, and I'll send you the schematic for the simple
    controller I built for my slow cooker. (That goes for anybody else, too,
    but I disclaim all responsibility if you fry yourself instead of your
    dinner.)

    Isaac

  17. #17
    Bryan Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide)

    On Nov 9, 11:52*am, Dan Abel <da...@sonic.net> wrote:
    > In article <21sid6lvr5iohlo9cjen18mkuptfcai...@4ax.com>,
    >
    > *pltrg...@xhost.org wrote:
    > > Curt, have you experimented with working searing of steaks, etc. into
    > > your sous vide cooking methodology? How do you address the problem of
    > > appearance?

    >
    > A picture is worth a thousand words. *Two pictures, therefore, should be
    > worth two thousand words? *He supplied a URL to two beautiful pictures,
    > with full sear marks, one of a steak and one of a chicken breast. *Both
    > were cut so you could see the inside.


    The steak looked medium well. I'd like to see one medium rare.
    >
    > --
    > Dan Abel


    --Bryan

  18. #18
    isw Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide)

    In article
    <[email protected]>,
    Bryan <[email protected]> wrote:

    > On Nov 9, 11:52*am, Dan Abel <da...@sonic.net> wrote:
    > > In article <21sid6lvr5iohlo9cjen18mkuptfcai...@4ax.com>,
    > >
    > > *pltrg...@xhost.org wrote:
    > > > Curt, have you experimented with working searing of steaks, etc. into
    > > > your sous vide cooking methodology? How do you address the problem of
    > > > appearance?

    > >
    > > A picture is worth a thousand words. *Two pictures, therefore, should be
    > > worth two thousand words? *He supplied a URL to two beautiful pictures,
    > > with full sear marks, one of a steak and one of a chicken breast. *Both
    > > were cut so you could see the inside.

    >
    > The steak looked medium well. I'd like to see one medium rare.


    The beauty of sous vide is that you can have it cooked *exactly* as you
    like it, every time, time after time.

    Isaac

  19. #19
    [email protected] Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide)

    On Tue, 09 Nov 2010 09:52:29 -0800, Dan Abel <[email protected]> wrote:

    >A picture is worth a thousand words. Two pictures, therefore, should be
    >worth two thousand words? He supplied a URL to two beautiful pictures,
    >with full sear marks, one of a steak and one of a chicken breast. Both
    >were cut so you could see the inside.


    Yes, but they don't tell me when he seared them -- before or after
    sous vide, or whether he experimented with both possibilities.

    -- Larry

  20. #20
    zydecogary Guest

    Default Re: My Sous Vide Experiences. (WAS: Hacking your slow cooker for Sous Vide)

    I also posted this in the other Sous Vide thread that is currently on
    this Forum

    ================================================== =========




    I have one of those Quasar microwaves with a temperature control
    probe
    which I use for sous vide. If you have one, or a similar one, perhaps
    you can try your hand at an easy sous vide without an expensive water
    bath piece of equipment -- at least as an experiment.

    -Take a boneless chicken breast (season if you want)


    -Place it in a vacuum bag and remove all the air (I use the FoodSaver
    system)


    -Place a two quart Pyrex bowl or measuring container with sufficient
    water to cover your chicken package in the microwave and heat it to
    130 degrees using the temperature probe (do not have the chicken in
    the water at this time - you want the water to temperature - first)


    -When temperature is reached, THEN place the chicken package in the
    water container. Make sure it is submerged (you may have to put a
    non-
    metalic weight on top of the package to keep it under the water)


    -Continue to microwave at Medium with a temperature setting of 130
    degrees. Cycles will be mostly off as all it is doing is keeping the
    water at 130 degrees. There will be some microwaving of the chicken
    so
    that is why I select 130 degrees rather than the published 140
    degrees. [If you like your chicken 'more done' then use higher
    temperatures]


    -You can wrap the container with the water and chicken package with a
    towel to keep heat in and to cut down the microwaving


    -Leave the chicken in the hot water bath in the microwave for at
    least
    40 minutes


    -Result: great evenly cooked tender juicy chicken. You'de be
    surprised
    how good.


    PS: I also use my temperature probe microwave to make large batches
    of
    yogurt. Very easy to do. I've written about it before.


    Gary Hayman
    Greenbelt, Maryland




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