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  1. Phaz: I would say short ribs are the one meat that when SV cooked properly, you get a result that is very difficult to replicate with SV. The meat is tender, juicy, more "beefy" in flavor, while not having the consistency of pot roast or chuck roast, which is tender but comes apart in strings. The texture is much more like a great steak. Brisket is also quite different but not as significantly different as short ribs. R0Y
  2. e_monster: How aggressively do you trim away the fat on the the brisket and the short ribs? As I said in the post above, I have these USDA Prime brisket that I'm going to try at 134F for 24 hours. I'm wondering if I should experiment with the fat cap on, or should I aggressively trim away the fat like I did the first one. Also, now that I've experimented with shorts ribs quite a bit, I have to say that its a huge letdown eating short ribs at a restaurant that are braised vs. sous vide. The braised version tastes like pot roast, while SV short ribs properly, tastes like incredible steak. What I mean, is that the meat comes apart in strings for the "pot roast" style, while cooking it SV, you can slice it and the meat melts in your mouth. Anybody else have comments? What about the new freezer gallon ziplocks that I mentioned with the liner bag that seem really difficult to remove the air? Thanks R0Y
  3. dougal Very good point. Just out of laziness. Now, a safety question. Let's assume you screw up like me and put it in the fridge or even leave it outside for a while. 2 potential situations: 1. Cooked for more than 4 hours (or the minimum based on temp and size of meat) following Doug Baldwin's tables and believe to be fully cooked. My understanding after reading Doug Baldwin's guide and this thread is that safety issues at that point are no different than safety issues with any other fully cooked food. So, there's no increased danger than if you serve chicken and leave it out on the table for 2 hours and then throw it in ziplock and into the fridge as leftovers. 2. Cooked less than the minimum. Now you have raw (or not fully cooked) product. Like me, you don't chill it and you just put it straight into the frig. If you finish this at 300F for sufficent cooking time to bring chicken to 150F using a meat thermometer, is this piece of meat safe to eat? Obviously, this does not work with red meat unless you like eating red meat at 150F, but I typically cook chicken to 150F or higher when cooking conventionally. Thanks R0Y
  4. OK, been experimenting quite a bit with some successes and some failures. Experimenting on temps, amount of product in the 35 cup Rice Cooker with SV Magic ("Water Oven") and struggling with new ziplock bags and learning to use foodsaver. Cooked short ribs, prime brisket, spare rib cuttings, and chicken breast. First of all, has anybody else noticed that the ziplock double zip freezer bags have changed? Now, not only is the zip portion double, but there is a liner bag inside of the bag. This makes removing air really really difficult. Has anybody figured out how to get the air out of these new bags? This forced me to take out my foodsaver (does not have the "pulse" button) and really making the SV process much harder than before. I need to score some of the "old" ziplock gallon freezer bags. 1. Short Ribs. After trying short ribs at Providence and then Cache here in Los Angeles, I can proudly say that neither of them are as good as the SV short ribs. Both efforts tasted more like pot roast then the wonderful steak-like texture from SV short ribs. Let alone, I have found that if you go to the Costco Business Center (different than the regular Costco -- targeted to restaurants, delis, etc.), you can buy 10 to 15 pound choice boneless short ribs for $2.69 per lb. These ribs are double to triple the size of the short ribs I get from the regular Costco and I can trim them the way I like. They're also $0.80 to $1.30 per lb. cheaper than at the regular Costco. If you can use the entire case (75 lbs), then it drops to $2.49 per lb. Nothing special in the prep -- granulated garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, fresh thyme, marjoram and rosemary and a nice slab of salted butter. 131F for 48 hours. On 1 effort, I tried it without the butter as suggested by Kenji Alt in the Serious Eats blog but for my taste, I do like the extra fat from the butter in there assuming you are aggressive in trimming the fat from the meat. The other effort had the extra butter and I decided I like it better that way. 2. Brisket (prime). Another "find" at Costco Business Center -- $3.19 per pound for USDA Prime brisket. This effort followed Kenji Alt's advice and so, it was trimmed aggressively, granulated garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and no butter. I bought some mixed herb plants at Costco a couple weeks ago and went a little heavy handed on the herbs on the brisket. Cooked at 135F for 48 hours. I typically cook brisket, pork shoulder, and tri-tip at 131F. The purpose of cooking it at 135F instead of my typical 131F was to see how different 4F degrees would make on the finished product as well as to see if there would be additional collagen breakdown. When I pulled it, there was lots of liquid in the foodsaver bag -- 1/2 way up the bag. I cut the bag, drained the liquid into a sauce pan and boiled/strained the liquid and saved for later. The meat came out much too herby. Lesson learned -- do not use too much fresh herbs in SV. I know that this topic has been written about before but I learned first hand this time. Also, I learned that there is significant difference in perceived "juiciness" between 131F and 135F. The brisket was incredibly flavorful (too much herbs though) but next time will be done at 131F and for 36 hours. My alternative preparation on SV Short Ribs is to do my version of kalbi marinade with less salt, honey instead of sugar, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, ginger, scallions, and a touch of sesame oil. I also do this with flap meat which seems to have jumped in price over 30% in the last 3 weeks. 3. Spare Rib cuttings. Typically, when I do ribs, I take a whole spare rib slab and cut it into St Louis Style ribs and then save the cuttings. They're great for stews, chili, nachos, or anything you might want pork shoulder/carnita like meat. Salt, pepper, gran garlic, onion powder, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary. Cooked it at 135F for 36 hours. Came out GREAT!!!. Just gnawed on the soft cartiledge and the meat was super flavorful and juicy. The meat came out like I wanted my brisket to come out. So, lesson learned -- higher temp on the fattier pork cuts (so not for pork chops or pork loin) results in better break down of the collagen without losing any juiciness. 4. Chicken Breast. Brined whole chicken breast, bone in, skin on, for 4 hours. Rinse, drained, added thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and foodsavered it. Cooked it for 2 hours at 135F with the Spare Rib cuttings. Took it out at the 2.5 hour mark and threw it immediately into the fridge for dinner the next night. I had previously done chicken breast at 140F for 3 hours and it came out fine. This time, I throw the chicken bag in to the Water Oven (with the spare rib cuttings that are still cooking) for 20 minutes to warm up. Take it out and make preliminary cut and totally raw on the inside. Not a little pink -- totally raw. Oh well, spare rib cuttings look good so I crank up the oven at 300F, and throw in the chicken breasts for 25 minutes. Came out great. Lessons learned: 1. Temperature really matters. Certain cuts of meat, like fattier pork cuts, benefit from higher temperature. Other cuts of meat, even though it might be USDA Prime, like this brisket, prefer the lower temperature. 5F for cooking chicken is the difference between perfect and raw. 2. Need to learn how to use foodsaver or better yet, find old stock of ziplock freezer bags. 3. Amount of food cooking at one time matters. Stacking of food in Water Oven needs to be done carefully. One of the reasons why I believe the chicken was so raw was that I had the spare rib cuttings and the chicken cooking at the same time. I'm going to need a water bath and circulator before I can successfully SV larger amounts of food at the same time. 4. Less is better when using fresh herbs. R0Y
  5. Hi all: I've been cooking SV for about 2 months and have tried Short Ribs (48 and 72 hours), Pork shoulder (smoked before and no smoke), Tri-tip (48 hours), Brisket (72 hours), pork chops, pork tenderloin, beef tenderloin, chicken, lobster and scallops. Like most people, I've had some great successes as well as some failures. I've experimented on what seems to work in terms of marinade and definitely less is better. One marinade that was a big success was a hybrid korean kalbi and American BBQ flavored marinade that was put on spare ribs and cooked for 48 hours at 135f. To date, I've found that lower and longer, within reason, has led to more successes. One of the issues I keep struggling with is the rendering of fat into a jelly, smooth mouthfeel consistency. This is especially apparent in short ribs, brisket and pork butt. I have found that fat does not render well at temps of 135f. My last short rib at 135f for 48 hours, was tender, but the inner layers of fat had not rendered fully. Meanwhile, my 72 hour brisket at 135f, rendered the fat wonderfully. Any suggestions? Do I need to bump up the temperatures? If so, other than med rare to medium, what other effects does this have on juiciness? Also, as a comment on the pork chops that ended up dry, I highly recommend brining and then adding a pat (or 2 or 3) of butter before sealing. Makes a huge difference in juiciness as well as mouthfeel of the meat. Best regards, Roy
  6. I tried the "poor man's" sous vide and made boneless loin pork chops in a dijon mustard maple syrup sauce. I had brined for 2 hours and frozen 3 pork chops which were about 1" to 1.5" thick. I thawed them out half way and added 3 tablespoons dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons maple syrup and 3 pats of butter. The recipe I had found on the web said to do cook the chops individually but I wanted to experiment and cook them together. I filled my dutch oven with water and using my remote BBQ thermometer, got the water to a steady 140F. I inserted the half thawed bag of seasoned pork chops and watched the temperature drop to 129F. I heated the water back up to 140F and got it steady again. At that point, while I was continuing to surf the web, I came across the Sous Vide Supreme recipe for pork chops which recommended 150F and so I bumped up the heat and brought it up to 150F. In retrospect, I believe that this is one of the problems as I like my pork chops more medium rare than medium. I cooked the chops for 2 hours and tried one of them. Juicy, perfect medium, but the texture was not as tender as I had hoped. One of the reasons is clearly the cut of the meat. Boneless loin pork chops are not that tender -- not enough fat. Adding the butter added a silkiness but did not replace real fat. I did notice that the band of fat that usually gets tough and constricts the chop was definitely tender and silky. I believe I read a recipe on Cooks Illustrated that talked about slitting the fat so it doesn't bunch up the chop. I put back the chop and cooked for 1 more hour at 140F for a total of 3 hours. Again I tried and the meat was no different. Still a perfect medium, juicy but still too chewy. Again, I'm not blaming the technique. I was just hoping that sous vide might make my lean pork chops really tender but clearly that is more alchemy and hope than realistic. The result -- a good pork chop but not the best I've had. My first impression of sous vide is that it is not that different, if you brine, than cooking at a steady 250F oven. My next try will be to brine longer, maybe 6 hours, in hopes that it might break down more of the protein and cook longer at 140F and not bump it up to 150F. The night before, I took chicken breasts on the bone with skin, that had been brined for 3 hours, and after rinsing, I added salt and pepper and some EVOO and put in oven at 250F. I cooked for about 1:45. They came out wonderful. Juicy, flavorful and perfectly cooked 150F. If I was to nitpick, there was a bit of red at the bone, but no pink anywhere else. Does using a jacard, make boneless loin pork chops any more tender? I know I won't get falling apart off the bone (there is no bone), but that getting super tender and lean pork chops would be great as I alternate between chicken and pork chops quite a bit. Also, what difference, if any, is there between cooking 3 chops together or cooking them separately? I could see that if cooking conventionally, one chop might be thinner or smaller so cooking together might overcook the smaller piece of meat. But in sous vide, doesn't this not apply as you're cooking to a temperature and not over that temperature? Thanks Roy
  7. Vacuum Sealers -- somewhere between Foodsaver and Minipack So, I'm diving into sous vide and one of the attractions is doing leg of lamb, pork butt and other larger cuts. One of the larger stumbling blocks will be the vacuum sealer. I'm guessing the seal will be the problem especially for the 2+ day cooking times for the larger cuts of meat. I've done a little research and found the Weston Pro 2300 which appears to be much sturdier than the high end Foodsaver. I've looked at the Minipack but the problem I see is that at the low end which is still (US) $2,000, the chamber is too small. To get a large chamber requires much more investment -- like $5,000+. What vacuum sealers have you used that you actually like, other than foodsaver and ziplock? Thanks in advance Roy
  8. My wife and I will be spending 1 day touring Eperany and Reims in February 2006 and would like a recommendation on a restaurant for dinner that has a great but reasonable champagne list. Our plans are to visit a couple champagne houses during the day and then to have an early dinner and catch the train back to Paris. Thank you in advance for your suggestions. Cheers, Roy
  9. My wife and I are going to Paris at the end of this month, January 2006, for a brief 5 day honeymoon. I've been there a number of times but this will be my wife's first visit. My personal preference is for good food and reasonable wine lists. Given the large selection of dining options, I'd like to avoid places where the food is great, but the wine list is overpriced. Also, I'd like to go to 1 great place for lunch. We're somewhat on a budget and so I've cashed in miles and points to get us there as well as for lodgings at the Renaissance Paris Vendome in the 1st arrondisement. Based on the wonderful recommendations on the board, I've tentatively decided on the following strategy. 1. Go to 1 all out lunch at a 2 or 3 star restaurant. I'm deciding between Bristol, Le Cinq, Hotel Meurice, and Taillevant. I'm definitely open to other suggestions as well. 2. Go to wine bars such as Fish, Wadja, La Muse Vin, L'Enoteca and Willi's Wine Bar for dinners. 3. Go to 1 nice dinner at one of the following: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon L'Atelier Maitre Albert Le Petit Colombier Aux Lyonnais L‘ANGLE DU FAUBOURG Ze Kitchen Gallery Cosi Le Pre Verre Spoon Vin de Zinc (Le) 404 Metro Arts et Metiers Le mechoui du Prince La Plancha Cafe marly metro charonnne Le Bouchons de Francois Clerc Bistrot du Sommelier Au Bourguignon-du-Marais 4. Go to ethnic restaurants/food stands in the Marais, etc. for cheap lunches. 5. Spend 1 day in Epernay/Reims. I used to be in the wine business and have some great friends that have set us up with some private tours. All suggestions, criticism and advice are very welcome. Cheers, Roy
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