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Anyone with experience eating/preparing Sous Vide foods?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

In the past the idea of sous vide cooking has intrigued me. I first saw it done, and for the most part have only ever seen it done on "Iron Chef". I am sure there are some higher end restaurants that employ it but I have not been lucky enough to try any food prepared this way.

 

The main reason I am asking is because I stumbled upon a DIY project that looks like a lot of fun and would allow me to create a near commercial quality sous vide cooker for between $75 and $100 USD. This is the original project, but there is a modularized version that I would like to use so that the temp control unit could then be re-used for a DIY electric smoker.

 

Before I venture down this path, has anyone had proteins cooked sous vide, and is there a noticeable difference in moisture, texture, etc? In my reading on of the very practical uses for say a ribeye steak is that you can put it in the water bath set at exactly 130 F and after two hours you can hold that temp up to another 6 hours, and whenever you are ready just pull it out, slap it on a super hot pan/grill to sear it for just a minute, and presto - perfectly cooked medium ribeye steak.

 

Another application that seems very interesting would be combining fresh herbs with full contact for the length of the cooking. I know Phatch has cautioned that with the anaerobic environment at lower temps running potentially for many hours that there could be possible risks of botulism, so I'd have to research that aspect of it in detail.

 

Anyway, if you've had experience consuming, preparing, etc. sous vide foods please let me know what your thoughts are!

post #2 of 3

I recently got a immersion circulator and am still experimenting with it...my area of focus is the ribeye you mentioned.

It really depends on what your goal is...they are moist, the texture is a little different (but no one but me has noticed yet)

I can replicate these ribeyes with the oven then sear method...I like this way (sous vide) for a dinner party of 5-7...perfect doneness, all ready at the same time, and as you mentioned time isn't as critical as with other methods (ie, if somebody is late, or we're all talking, it's fine to hold them at 130 for another 30 min...)

does this help?

post #3 of 3

we have an immersion circulator that was given to us by a science teacher... Its pretty sweet.. havent used it a whole lot during service, but we  have done eggs in it, and pork belly... several different ways... we would probably use it more, alas we dont currently have an economical/practical way of vacuum sealing large quantities of food items... as far as the threat of botulism goes, I wouldnt worry about it too much considering you probably wont be holding foods through multiple services... for whole muscle proteins such as steaks it is nearly impossible for botulism producing spores to enter into the muscle fiber, the only bacteria present are those on the surface of the muscle wich will be easily dispatched through quick searing or grilling... ground meats are another story hence the use of nitrites and lactobacteria in sausage curing... and also why eating a rare burger is much more risky than a steak... on the lower end of the temps, I wouldnt hold things for much longer than the duration of a dinner service... if your slow cooking things at 165 and above often times you will leave things in there for 24 hours or longer... It takes quite a while for things to come up to temp... a couple things about holding proteins at temperatures 145 and below, as for a steak rare to medium... there are specific times for all this stuff which you can research but I know that holding certain proteins at certain temperatures for extended periods of time dictates a window... after that window there is a cutoff point when cellular components of that protein begin to break down affecting flavor constituents and texture.... Im not sure what those cutoff points are but after several hours your medium rare steak is at some point going to be shit... But for the short time of holding required for a dinner service or something, I would think it would be fine... One more thing is that because of the exact temperature, and the lack of prolonged exposure to high heat, your ingrained visual interpretation of steak doneness goes out the window... With sous vide there is no graduation of color, no browning from the outside in... in a traditionally prepared steak...say medium rare for instance... the majority of the steak beginning in the center will be medium rare and then radiating outward from that it will be medium, medium well, and well on the outside... with sousvide the whole steak is at the desired temp, and then if you choose to quickly sear it over high heat only the outside will be well, with no graduation of temps... this can be weird for a customer who has never had a sousvide steak, because a medium steak prepared in this manner can pretty much look completely rare... anyway hope some of this tower of babble helped out smile.gif

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