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Everything posted by e_monster

  1. Bob, Pasteurization only kills the living bacteria, it does not kill spores. So, pasteurizing the meat and then holding the meat at 120F sounds iffy to me. I think you would need to sterilize (rather than pasteurize) the outer surface. Killing the spores requires high temperature--so you would need to do that with a torch and be confident that you don't have spores in the bag, etc. If you search the old thread (it is probably in the index), you will find an extensive discussion in which Nathan and Douglas discuss the various methods by which meat becomes tender. As mentioned above, the enyzmatic process by which meat becomes tender is a completely different process than the breakdown of the collagen. They discuss the various temperatures at which these things happen and how temperature comes into play. My understanding is that the length of time needed to pasteurize the meat is probably long enough to denature the enzymes. The time that it takes collagen to break down at 120F may be many times what it takes at 131F. That's my take anyway. Best, Edward
  2. Who was this aimed at? If this was directed towards my suggestion, my suggestion was for the case where you have little cubes of meat and want to sear several (or all sides). If the meat starts out at temp when doing such cubes, you get more heat penetration than when searing a full-sized steak on just two sides. With a steak of reasonable thickness, the relative penetration using a searing hot pan or a torch is minimal compared to the size of the meat. But when you start doing smaller cubes of meat, the relative penetration is higher because the the time to sear one side remains constant regardless of the size but you are now searing more sides. So, you get heat penetration from several directions instead of just two.
  3. At Alinea, when they are doing cubed meat sous-vide, they chill the meat after cooking and then torch/salamander it from either cold or room temperature (I don't recall) so that the process of browning brings the meat up to temp without cooking it more. I haven't done that with beef but I have done it with pork belly and it works quite well. It takes practice to get perfect (I haven't perfected it, btw). --E
  4. For what its worth, if the decision were to be based solely on the impact on the flavor I think that you will find in a blind tasting that browning after has a far greater beneficial impact than browning before. Quite a few people have done blind or double-blind taste tests and the results that I've heard of are consistent. I think part of it is that there is a mouth-feel that plays into our experience of the food that is missing if the browning happens before the meat goes in the bag. But there may also be flavor components that are lost, too. As a sidenote, browning before and after seems to fare no better than items browned only afterwards in blind tasting. It might also be worth noting that in non-blind tastings, the reports seem to be far more varied. --E
  5. I'd be concerned with whatever the metal is that is used for the heat pipe. If it wasn't intended for being used for food preparation, the metal could be some sort of alloy that leaches metal into the food. Best, E
  6. You will get much better searing with either a torch or a superhot pan (i.e. a pan that has been on high for 10 minutes before putting the meat in. It will take just 30 to 45 to get a nice crust and it won't cook the interior). It is hard to get develop a crust evenly and very quickly over coals. At least that has been my experience.
  7. I consider sirloin steak to be a relatively tender cut - nowhere near as tender as a rib eye but nothing I would ever consider braising either. Perhaps in the end sirloin and S-V are not a good match. Thanks. It depends on which part of the sirloin. Tri-tip used to be called bottom sirloin. And, in my opinion, 7 to 9 hours at 133 to 135F gives you a very flavorful and non-chewy steak. Whenever I cook one up, I cook 2 because it is so popular. I have tried various other sirloin cuts and I am just not a big fan of the texture. When cooked long enough to be truly tender, the mouth-feel is just not as pleasing to me as truly tender cuts like rib-eye. I have tried everything from a few hours to 24 and eventually gave up because the result were not tempting enough to find the magic combination. But that is just my personal preference.
  8. When you made the ribeye whose fat you were unhappy with, did you sear it so that the outer surface of the fat was crispy? For me the perfect ribeye is almost red in the interior and has a nice browned crust. I find that I can achieve this much more consistently via sous-vide than via traditional techniques. For me this is at around 128F (53.3C) with the crust created by a hot torch or a VERY hot pan with no oil for about 30 seconds per side. And when I say very hot, I mean a pan that has been on a high flame for about 10 minutes before the steak goes in. The result should be a nice browned exterior with somewhat crispy fat. The interior fat will be soft but won't have rendered out. I prefer very thick ribeyes with good marbling but trimmed of huge chunks of fat. Anyway, that's my take
  9. Tri-tip is not a tender cut, but it is nowhere near as tough as short ribs or brisket. I personally find 7 to 12 hours at 133F to be just about perfect. At 24 hours, I find it a too tender -- a bit mushy in the mouth. But there are people that do it for 24 hours. Best, Edward
  10. I have never experienced this and have done a lot of 48 to 72 hour cooks at 132F -- however -- a few people have mentioned it in the past. I don't know if the culprit was definitively identified by I seem to recall that there is a non-toxic organism that can produce this sort of off-taste -- and even if it is killed by cooking eventually, it may thrive as the meat gets up to pasteurization temp. It could be that the place where they butcher the meat has that organism (was it a malo-lactic sort of bacteria?) Or, it could be on your cutting board. If it happens with meat from multiple purveyors, it is probably in your kitchen. In any case, you can take care of it by either dunking the bag briefly in boiling water OR pre-searing the meat to sterilize the outside. Do a search for 'lactic' in the old Sous-Vide thread and you will find out more about this. Perhaps it is covered in the index.
  11. No. Should I? Yes. If you order it mail order from them, you will be guaranteed that it is fresh. I roast my own coffee (which if you haven't tried -- I recommend -- you will be amazed at how much better home roasted beans are than most of what one buys) and occasionally buy some already-roasted coffee. Intelligentsia Black Cat is one of the few roasts that I have had in the last few years that impresses me. I must admit that I also find Illy's whole bean coffee quite good -- which surprises me. Fyi, I am still roasting with hot air popcorn poppers since it is so easy and the results so good that I haven't been tempted to get anything fancier. --E
  12. The big issue with big pieces like this is whether the center gets up to temperature fast enough. If the inside doesn't get up to temperature fast enough, it turns into an incubator.
  13. Blowtorches are not very effective for crisping/browning poultry skin -- I continue to try every once in a while but have never found it to be very satisfactory. (Blowtorching works great for beef, though). For crisping the skin, a broiler is better than a blowtorch although it is not ideal. Pour-over frying (which I haven't used) is often mentioned as ideal for this by people who have tried every possible method -- it is a bit messy and you have to be careful not to splatter oil all over yourself.
  14. I agree AND you need to make sure that you use good-quality meat. Boneless short-ribs and skirt steak have been my go-to meats for impressing people that don't know about sous-vide BUT recently I got some short-ribs from a butcher that I hadn't used before and the results were quite mediocre. The meat was tender but not flavorful.
  15. In my opinion, if you cook beef until it is falling apart, it has been in the bath too long -- brisket and short ribs after 48 hours -- for example -- will be fork tender but not falling apart and hold up to a nice sear. For me, if the brisket gets to the point of falling apart, the texture is less than optimal. Pork belly is a bit different and seems to require chilling before cutting into the pieces that go into the frying pan for searing. That's my preference anyway.
  16. If you are cooking to pasteurization, the pre-sear isn't important for short ribs. I have done quite a few blind tastings and pre-searing does not seem to impact flavor. Others have reported the same results. The only people that I know of that prefer pre-searing have done non-blind tastings. Best, Edward
  17. Many people like the texture of dark meat cooked at 175F. There is a confit-like texture.
  18. Hi, You don't provide enough information about how you prepared the dishes. Details are critical. For any dish: time and temperature and also information about what went into the bag and how it was treated afterwards. Keep in mind that the quality of ingredients is critical. If you share the time and temps, etc. I can give you my .02
  19. Is that 73C minuse 15C to adjust for the bad sensor or is that actually 73C? 73C (163.4F) seems pretty far from medium let alone medium rare (to me 56C is already moving from medium rare towards medium).
  20. Has anyone cooked beef shanks? I am wondering if I should treat them like short ribs (56C for 48 hours). Ideas? [Moderator note: The original Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment topic became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it up; the preceding part of this discussion is here: Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 7)]
  21. For the record 20 hours at 80C is too long! How do you treat the belly after removing from the cooker? I made the mistake of trying to serve it straight out of the cooker after a brief rest rather than chilling, cutting, heating/browning. The meat fell apart in the pan. It was super yummy but we ended up with finely shredded pork rather than the browned cubes I was aiming for.
  22. How long do you cook the pork belly at 80C? Would 20 hours be too long? Thanks, Edward
  23. I haven't yet found an effective way to use a torch on poultry skin, and I have tried a lot. Of course, I may simply not have figured out the right technique. I have tried chicken, turkey and duck and tried various techniques and never succeeded in getting it right -- and it seems like others have consistently reported the same difficulty. The two techniques that I have found effective have been a quick trip under the broiler and (even better but more work) is a brief frying in a skillet with peanut oil. I have read of people that are very happy with the results of pour-over frying but haven't tried it myself. It makes sense that it would work. The hot oil would only be in contact with the skin for a brief time. That would be enough to crisp the skin but not long enough transfer heat to the meat underneath it.
  24. My previous posting was based on the assumption that you would be putting the food in a vacuum bag and that you were hoping to use the dehydrator in place of a water bath. Health issues aside, if the food isn't in a bag, you are going to be dehydrating the food and won't get any of the sous-vide benefits. Air of any sort is a terrible thermal conductor compared to water. That's why we use temperature-controlled water baths rather than PID-controlled toaster or roaster ovens. I was using a thermoworks thermometer, which according to the manufacturer is accurate within .4f. And according to that thermometer, my dehydrator was holding a temp to +/- 2f over the course of 3 hrs. So temp control doesn't seem to be an issue, although I haven't checked it in different spots within the unit to see if it's consistent across the area of whatever I'd be cooking. What I'm not certain about are any potential health issues even if I maintain a temp above 130f since there's no plastic protecting the food. If there aren't any issues, I'm gonna try it out on dry rub style ribs - kalbi or "traditional" american bbq - since one of the downsides of sous vide is that it always stays wet in the bag.
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