I’ve heard about Sous Vide for a while now and it seems more and more affordable options have come to market of late so I decided to do some research and see what the pros are saying.
One chef says that the only reason to cook via sous vide at home is if you have “more money than sense.” He says that in his restaurant they only cook wild salmon via sous vide because it’s a costly mistake to over cook such a delicate and expensive piece of meat.
Another drawback mentioned is the fact that you have to have a vacuum sealer and lots of vacuum bags.
The taste aspect can also leave something to be desired. A steak that is perfect off the grill with the char marks and the smoky flavor lacks those elements when cooked in water and have to be artificially added after the cook either through a blowtorch or a pan sear.
What I take from the responses I’ve seen is that unless you’re inept in the kitchen or love wasting money for something you don’t need, a pan is still the way to go.
Just because HE only does that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing that can be done. He’s pretty much wrong in all directions. You don’t need a vacuum sealer unless you want to put the foods away more easily; plain old ziploc bags work fine. You just push out as much of the air as you can, then lower it into the water to let the water push out the rest. There are other options as well; I have a set of silicone bags that can be washed and reused.
It’s not ‘artificial’ to sear the meat after it’s cooked; the Maillard reaction doesn’t care whether it’s done first or last. True, you don’t get ‘smoky grill flavor’… but you don’t get that in a pan cooking from raw, either. What you get is perfectly cooked food and convenience. I’ve done a dozen chicken breasts at once, all cooked to perfection and pre-sealed, tossed them in the fridge and had a week’s worth of ‘take it out of the bag and nuke it, then add some cauliflower rice’ meals. Or shred it for pulled chicken, or anything else I wanted chicken for.
Two inch thick steaks cooked to a perfect medium all the way through, with no tough outsides because of the time it takes to push heat in far enough to cook the center when you’re using a hot pan on one side of it. Then get a pan as hot as you can and toss the steaks in for a minute or so on each side, and the edges, to get a perfect sear.
It’s probably a common case of dyslexia. I think he meant to say, “more sense than money”. This thing is pretty cheap if you are trying to not over cook A5 Wagyu at $100/lb. It’s a kitchen tool and paying for this is probably cheaper and makes more financial sense then going to a fancy restaurant that would utilize one because that will cost at least double.
There are no drawbacks. It accomplishes the job it’s meant to do. A drawback of using a frying pan is you have to wash the pan when you are done. Then you need to think about storage for the pan which gets really expensive if you don’t get the right interest rate on your mortgage. What kind of pan is it? The non stick pans lose their PFAS coating, destroy the environment and it’s not healthy to use at that point. That’s why I stick to the trusty galvanized trash can lids in the alley. No cleaning, no mortgage, good enough for a farm animal. It’s free real estate.
Well, for this price, I thought I would give it a try the last time woot had these (a few weeks). I have a kamado grill and many other ways to cook a steak so this was mainly an experiment… I mean why not, right? The purists can be all haughty if they want to…
On that note, it works rather well. I have a chamber vacuum for the sealing which is nice. I have tried filet and top sirloin. The final result is very good. I have settled on 137 degrees for a good medium. So far I have only cooked in Sous Vide then finished with a sear in cast iron. Tastes great! I have thought about finishing on the kamado, but that is a lot of effort for a two minute sear. If I do that, I will just “reverse” sear it on the grill without Sous Vide.
So, IMO it is just another method to get a great tasting steak. Not superior, not inferior. Just different.
This is triggering. From top to bottom, yours is a pretty bad take.
- Heat isn’t artificial so I don’t know what “artificially added” means.
- Wild salmon is not an “expensive piece of meat”.
- If pure meat flavor leaves “something to be desired”, keep saucing up your meats to make them palatable.
Most folks would much rather have the flexibility of not worrying about overcooking a steak because another dinner side is running behind.
Although, it is only “vide partiel” cooking then.
For those who are interested, this unit works great. I also bought this The last time woot listed it (a few weeks ago). The first one I got didn’t heat but woot very quickly replaced it. I’ve used the new one a few times an I love it. I don’t have a vacuum sealer so I use ziplock bags and submerge them in water to make a vacuum seal. I’m sure it’s not as good as a vacuum sealer but it absolutely gets the job done. I love that I can essentially set it and forget it without risk of overcooking the meat. It’s an awesome way for me to cook a really nice meal if I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to cooking (which is pretty common with a one year old).
- Inexpensive (less than half of an annova unit)
- Works great, I have never cooked a juicier steak
- first unit didn’t work (quickly remidied by woot)
- while cooking there is no way to display the timer (not a huge deal but slightly annoying to not know how much time is left
Overall this is a great appliance for anyone who wants perfectly cooked meat with minimal effort
All the responses you got hit everything on the head regarding a sous vide. The only thing I can add is that if your are marinating the steak (or whatever meat), the sous vide helps the marinade go through the meat better (in my opinion). Then after a quick sear- and you have a perfect steak. Funny thing is that my daughter that is in 8th grade had to do a business model for school, and she created a steakhouse which used sous vide to prepare the steaks. You can have the steaks in the sous vide for hours maintaining a particular wellness and temperature (they won’t over cook). So the point of her business model was that the steaks would literally just need a quick sear before being served- kind of making it like a fast-food steak system
Bought this last time it was on Woot, and I have really enjoyed it (although the “start” button seems to be a bit of a pain to use). I have used it on sirloin, venison steak, and used it on salmon last night. All have turned out perfect. I also do not use vacuum sealed bags and only use a freezer ziplock bag that I suck all the air out before I close it up.
Watching the comments pile up like
Contrary to Woot’s description, I’ve always had a problem with the phrase : Sous Vide
For me it’s a name that reminds me of calling in the hogs. Meh! I guess that makes it food related.
I thought I would weigh in here since I’ve been cooking sous vide since before consumer priced circulators were available (yes, I’m a nerd and built my own…). I’ll agree with everyone here in that sous vide makes every day cooking simpler, with less hands on time, and usually better results. Chicken, fish, steak? Excellent. Beyond that, things like smoked pulled pork saves so much effort. Plop a pork shoulder with some rub in it in a bag, cook it at 165F for 24 hours (completely hands off). Pull it out and smoke it for a few hours to build a bark. It’s crazy good, and keeps me from having to spend 8-10 hours checking on the smoker. Tender/crisp carrots with amazing depth of flavor? Yes.
The real magic is when you can turn tough cuts into great things that you can’t really achieve otherwise: cook pork shoulder at 140F for 24 hrs., slice into 1.5" slabs, and you have pork steaks that are better than any pork chop I’ve ever had. Similar treatment for a chuck roast will give you a “Prime Rib” at 1/4 the cost of an actual rib roast. Carnitas without a bucket of lard? Yes. Brisket that isn’t bone dry and takes 12 hours to smoke? Yes.
Is it the only way to cook? No. Does it have its drawbacks? Yes. Is it worth having one at home? I think so, enough to have given one as a wedding present at least 3 times.
I don’t know anything about this particular cooker, but as long as it keeps accurate temps, it should be fine.
I will echo others’ responses but add that I find my Joule has the most value-add when cooking relatively cheap cuts. My mother can do a good chicken breast her way but mine always come out a bit dry or worse. Not so with my Joule, which consistently delivers the best chicken breasts (which, as someone else said, you can do en masse to prep meals for the week).
I once got a top round on sale for like $0.25/lb and threw it in with my joule for a few hours. When I served it my guests asked if it was tenderloin (which, by the way, I would no longer do sous vide, but in part because the meat is already cooked to my ideal done-ness, so it’s just a matter of adding the sear to begin with). Also, sous vide yields the perfectly “boiled” egg everytime, which is great if you have trouble hitting that perfect point where the yolk is just starting to firm up at the edges but still runny in the middle and golden (not yellow) throughout.
Ironically, salmon is one thing I don’t think joule does better than my tried and true cast-iron method, but it could take some of the guesswork and hassle out of the cook, I suppose.
If I didn’t already have a joule, I would probably pick this up since others seem to report it works at least reasonably well.
I bought one of these from Woot in October. Turned me into a firm believer. Unfortunately, it quit working two weeks ago after I used it 6-7 times.
I’ll get another sous vide for sure, just not this one again.
Joule and Anove are both known for their excellent customer service even after the warranty period has expired, I have both and have never had any problems with either.
Thanks. I’ll look into them.
How long does it take to boil eggs in that thing? I crammed a dozen in my Aroma rice cooker (compliments of Woot) and they came out perfect. I think it took just under 20mins from me putting them in and them ready to be peeled.
Also, since when are boiled eggs runny in the middle? You must mean “soft boiled”. The most pretentious and inefficient way to eat a single egg…in an egg cup.
When they’re the oh-so-trendy-and-hip “jammy” eggs!