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Everything posted by e_monster

  1. Your experience is different than mine. Maintaining 113 degree water for 20 minutes was more challenging for me than for you. I think I hear the sounds of goal posts moving. First you said that 0.5C was necessary and that 1 degree C was not sufficient. Now, you have moved the target and seem to be conceding that 1 degree C is sufficient. Fish mi cuit may actually require 1 degree C. But the other items you mention are all doable with 1 to 2 degrees C of accuracy (and some of them with even more variability). Rare steak and just done chicken and turkey are all things that I have done on my setup that only maintains a few degrees of accuracy. While 1 degree or better of accuracy might ,make a discernible difference, for none of the items above is 0.5C of accuracy (your original claim) necessarry for succulent results. It is not as if a rare roast done with 1 degree C (or even 2) of accuracy is going to be a failure. I would say that for most people chicken cooked 'just done' or beef cooked rare with 1 or 2 degrees C of accuracy is going to be an awesome experience. And, while you may find maintaining things within a few degrees with a stockpot and thermometer to not require vigilance, I don't think most people will have that experience. (In fact, I ended up with a really disappointing turkey breast that needed to cook for a few hours because the temperature ran about 5 degrees too hot for a while because I wasn't being vigilant.) If I had cooked in a system that had one or two degrees of accuracy, I wouldn't have had that problem. I have cooked a number of the items above in a system with no better than 3 or 4 degrees of accuracy and my wife raves about how great it tastes. With 1 (even 2) degrees of accuracy I am sure it will be even better. So, I am curious to hear if the Auberin device delivers that one or two degree of accuracy. I suspect that others are in the same boat. --E
  2. While half of what is cool TO YOU may require 0.5C, it is a HUGE leap to assume that everyone shares your interests and priorities. Please list the things that require 0.5C control as opposed to 1 or 2 degrees of accuracy. There isn't anything on my top 10 list that would require 0.5C accuracy. Yes, there may be some REALLY COOL things that require the accuracy that you are talking about. But it is a huge leap to think that everyone else has your priorities. I totally disagree that 0.5C accuracy is required for half of what is interesting about sous vide. There is a huge difference between 1 degree of accuracy that was being discussed and the 3 or 4 degrees that you have thrown into the mix -- as if I was arguing that 3 to 4 degrees of accuracy is sufficient. I never implied any such thing. My whole interest in the PID concept is that it has been a lot of work to maintain 3 to 4 degrees of accuracy by hand AND with some things that I cook, I feel that the results would be better with smaller temperature swings. I will repeat what I have said before in this thread. There are a number of advantages of a system like we are talking about vs a stockpot and thermometer. It requires constant vigilance to maintain things within a few degrees with a stockpot. Many of us don't want to have to sit by the stove monitoring things constantly. This is especially true if one is trying to do salmon (for instance) at 113. And is not practical for anything long (like short ribs and tough cuts of meat) that needs to be cooked for a long time. If you disagree fine. But rather than repeat yourself, give us examples of what things one would be missing out on if the system were accurate to a degree (or even two degrees). Best, E
  3. What you say is true to an extent. While there are applications (and I have mentioned this in my previous posts) where the precision you mention may be required, there are a ton of sous vide applications where 1 degree (or even 2 degrees) is more than sufficient to get amazing results. Perhaps you don't mean to give this impression, but your posts give the impression that it is a waste of time to explore sous vide without the precision you mention. I don't think this is the case. Newbies may be getting the wrong impression from your posts since you seem generally discouraging. And while ultra-precise sous vide applications may be most interesting to you, they may not be the applications that other people care most about. The hardware that we are talking about (if it works as advertised) will do a lot of people a lot of good. There may be some preparations that they can't make, but there is an awful lot that they can make. We don't all need the equipment that would allow us to create every possible sous vide dish. Btw, I am mostly posting this perspective because I don't want newbies to get the impression that 0.5C is some magic amount of stability that is required for a system to be useful. Because it simply isn't the case. Best, Edward
  4. Obviously a crockpot is not going to be adequate for cooking for 8. Many of us are cooking for 2. I mentioned in my post that water volume might be an issue with regards to large pieces of meat. Why use a PID rather than a stockpot? Because with a stockpot (which I happen to use for sous vide) one has to be quite vigilant if one wants to keep the temperature stable at all. And keeping it stable within a degree or so is a big chore. I don't understand the nature of the conjecture that there being less than a gallon of water should prevent a PID from maintaining a stable temperature (assuming that the circulation issue is dealt with). Unless the crockpot behaves unpredictably, a PID -- IF CORRECTLY SET UP -- should be able to work fine as long as it isn't overloaded. A PID is a pretty sophisticated processor that takes into account the on/off latency (which is why they don't have the same overshoot/undershoot that simple on/off thermostats have). A PID does require that the heat source behave predictably. The requirement of 0.25C stability sounds quite arbitrary. For the vast majority of applications. Again, for cooking the perfect egg that might be required. I have not seen a posting by a scientist that indicates that 0.25C stability is a requirement for most sous vide applications. Hopefully, some of the people that have ordered the units will report back before too long. If the initial reports are good, I'll probably dive in (although I won't be using a crockpot but another type of electric pot since that is what I have). Best, E
  5. I have read the entire Sous-Vide thread and don't believe that the conjecture in that thread is worth treating as if it were THE TRUTH -- the issues raised are all worth thinking about but I wouldn't treat that consensus as being truth-defining -- the general consensus mentioned was based on next to 0 empirical data. The parameter space is so large that I think actual experience is needed in order to make a determination. Without actual testing, I don't give a lot of credence to some of the conjecture. The biggest issue with a PIDed crockpot would NOT be overshoot. A decently calibrated PID will keep things within a degree which for most sous vide applications is plenty stable. Once the crockpot is at temperature, I don't see any reason why it would be more likely to have overshoot than a hot plate (which one could also use with the Auberins set-up). It is a reasonable question to ask whether the temperature will be uniform enough without a circulator of some sort -- but, again, someone needs to actually test. A lot will depend on the volume of water AND the volume of the item being cooked. And, I'd be willing to bet that a cheap aquarium pump would provide more than enough circulation to keep things uniform enough for the vast majority of sous-vide applications. With ANY setup (even laboratory equipment), one does need to have an appropriate volume of water in relation to what is being heated. With an 'on-the cheap' setup like we are talking about, there is probably a smaller range of what the setup can handle than with expensive lab equipment, but for some of us that is a reasonable tradeoff. It will be interesting to see what range of sizes a crockpot will be able to handle. It isn't obvious that the 0.1 degree precision of laboratory circulators is required for good results for most applications. It might be the case that the perfect egg isn't attainable without 0.1 degree accuracy -- but I think 1 degree of accuracy is more than adequate for most cuts of meat. I would be curious to see how one of these units would work with an electric turkey fryer which might be a better fit for doing larger pieces of meat than a crockpot. Anyway that is my semi-educated opinion. --E
  6. It should be able to maintain a fairly constant temperature. I suppose there is a question as to whether the temperature will be uniform enough without a circulator for items that cook for a long time. (One could probably use a cheap aquarium bubbler to keep the water moving enough to keep the water temp fairly uniform). There are a fair number of positive mentions of his PID kit for espresso machines that lead me to believe his unit probably does what it says. The 'home' model would be underpowered for me. My electric cooker (which is only 6 qts) is 1300 watts.
  7. I have done shoulder chops but never anything as big as lamb shoulder since I don't have anything that holds the temperature stable enough long enough to do things that take more than an hour or two. My experience with the shoulder chops has been the same as with beef steak. The fat softened in the chops nicely (didn't render). I brown both sides post-sous vide for about 30 seconds per side in a pan that has been on a high flame for 10 minutes. --E
  8. Does pork fat soften at a higher temperature than beef fat? I have found that at 130 F that beef fat softens (though doesn't render/liquify) quite nicely which is one of the reasons that (to my mouth anyway) I like sous-vide of a thick ribeye more than just grilled. After an hour in the water bath and a 30 seconds per side trip to a VERY HOT pan, the marbling has a softer quality than if were to stick it on a hot grill to brown the outside and leave the steak rare in the middle. Do you not find this to be the case?
  9. I have been using "organic mild miso" from Kane Masa. It is a medium brown color (I am pretty ignorant about the varieties of miso). --E
  10. After a lot of experimentation trying to find a tasty seasoning/marinade for chicken and turkey sous-vide, I have found something that both my wife and I love and seems to work particularly well with sous-vide. Miso paste. It is working out a lot better than the more traditional methods that I've tried. Miso paste does a nice job of providing seasoning and penetrating without overpowering the flavor of the bird. Rubbing a nice chicken breast with Miso paste and putting some julienned sun-dried tomatoes was especially nice. And, just miso paste by itself worked great. --Edward
  11. To cook the quail, I think that you will need to cut them in half before bagging. You probably don't have to spatchcock if you cut the birds in half and vacuum pack it well. For poultry I prefer 60C (140F). I find that at 54C the texture can be a little mushy. --Edward
  12. I have done a lot of experimenting with steaks (mostly ribeye and a couple of filets) and would say that sous vide works great on very thick steaks (I'd say 1.25 inches or thicker) and results in a great texture and mouth feel -- especially if (like me) you want the steak medium rare but with a nicely crisped crust. With steaks that aren't thick even a short sear on both sides at really high heat results in a steak that is fine but not really preferable (in my opinion) to a grilled or sauteed steak. On the other hand a 1.5 inch thick ribeye cooked at 130 degreed Fahrenheit for an hour and then quickly browned in a VERY hot cast iron skillet is to die for. We've also tried it with really thick filets and they are great, too. I have found that with the ribeye, you get more rendering of the marbling than cooking by traditional methods which makes the mouth-feel especially sumptuous. I heat my cast iron skillet for about 10 minutes on high heat and when the steak comes out of the bag, it gets seared for about 30 to 45 seconds per side. This enough time -- if the pan is very hot -- to get a nice crust without burning the outside or heating up the middle of the steak. Just my .02, Edward
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