Posted 20 March 2008 - 02:20 PM
I'm new here, although I've been following this thread from beginning to end, including the side threads on equipment and meals. It has been informative and inspirational to me as a home cook, and I've started to jump in. A big thank you to all of the contributors, and to the various tables and end results posted.
I did my first SV with some nice bacon-wrapped angus fillets that my cousin had gifted me ; these came frozen and vacuum sealed, so I used them as is, with no seasoning other than the bacon. I cooked one for 4 hrs., and the other for 1.5
hrs. I aimed for 130 F, but they were 122 F when I took them out. I seared them on the top and sides for just a few seconds in a very hot cast iron pan to give color, crust, and a bit of flavor. (I had planned to sear them with the blowtorch, but I forgot as crunch time came.)
Not having (yet) any dedicated equipment, I ended up using a pot of water sitting in an electric skillet. The skillet was filled with water, and the pot sat on some skewers so it did not have direct contact to the skillet. I was able to keep the water between 126 F and 133 F; a wider range than I wanted, but still not a disaster.
The meat was very uniformly cooked, and very tender, much more so than others of the same batch I had grilled. The 4 hr. one was slightly more tender, but just barely. The strong bacon taste I'd feared was not present; it was well balanced, and nicely beefy. It was comparable to sous-vide beef I've had at several good restaurants.
I served them with a shallot and Merlot reduction; I emptied the juices from the bag into the reduction and reduced it slightly further. We also had a cauliflower & leek purée, garden asparagus sautéed with garlic and raisins, and a salad of garden greens. Photos of the whole thing are here (and the purple plate really does not show it off well):
I have an Auber controller on order, and several options for baths on hand.
I have a few questions:
- In general, talk about contamination is for surface germs. If a Jaccard is used, does it move surface contamination into the bulk, and is this a problem?
- I do lots of BBQing, and have followed the BBQ/SV mentions with great interest. I, for example, rub a brisket and then smoke it at 180-210 F for about 18 hrs. I'd like to transition this to SV (and plan to report once I do). For those who have done BBQ/SV hybrids:
- does the tendency of a little flavoring going a long way also carry over here? For example, is a little smoking (before SV) adequate or even overpowering? Is a little spice rub too much? (I like things pretty spicy, so I do a rather heavy rub/crust.)
- after the SV, is there a visible smoke ring?
- Any recommendations for pulled pork? From reading some comments way upstream, it seems like it might be closer to a confit than a lower-temperature SV.
And to lump things all into one post, there was some discussion upstream about smoked salt. I make it in my smoker. I simply dissolve sel gris into a small bowl, and then smoke until dry and crusty, usually when I'm doing other stuff. I like making it with cherry wood, but have also gotten good salt with fig wood. The salt itself tends to crawl up the bowl as it crystallizes, and usually fully envelops the container, inside and out.