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  1. I built my cold smoker based on a modified version of Alton Brown's hot smoker and a trash can - step by step here. the heat in my hot smoker comes from an electric hot plate which is more than sufficient to keep the ceramic pot at 250-300 (or lower). Im not sure that would work for a large proofing box - but a variation on that theme might. What about a series of heating elements of some kind, maybe a tandem hotplate or something similar? You might consider building it with its own heating element for hot smoking and with a conduit for off set smoking. I found that flexible dryer hose is nice because you can extend the length to control the smoke temp. for an external smoke source, the bradelys mentioned above are great... or build your own out of a clay pot Good luck and keep us posted!
  2. I like this idea : test more steaks! I have a gas stove with a high output burner and a good vent ... it sounds like a weekend project!
  3. I'll preface this by saying that I am a total novice at this technique, although I've sous vide'ed (as my wife says) just about everything in our house since getting my sous vide supreme last week.... I did a bison tenderloin over new years that I packed in duck fat. Using Kellher's suggestion for prime beef I cooked it at 134f. Rather than removing it at 45 mins as per his suggestion it was in for about 90 minutes, just due to where we were in the course of the evening. It came out perfectly cooked - so to your point e_monster there was no discernible harm from leaving it in. As for searing, I've been using my large lodge cast iron pan or griddle. Like you suggest, I put if over blazing heat for a good while and then drop in some butter and the protein. As has been said, it only takes seconds to get some color, but its never that dark satisfying crust of color you get, for instance, from a great steak house. Im not keen on cooking with a propane torch, I think you taste the gas...but I might have to try that method just to check. As for tender cuts, I did some 72 hour short ribs that we ate last night. It was the most unreal thing ever...perfectly medium rare ribs that were more tender than any I had ever braised! I was tempted to sear or fry them as I've seen others do. I opted instead to make a quick but very rich mushroom ragout and turn them in the sauce to heat and cover them.... it did the visual trick well enough.
  4. Wow, its a good thing that I did not see these images and menus before planning my dinner - we would have had 10 more courses! Everything looks stellar! We tried to limit the amount of time we would be in the kitchen and away from the table - although as a universal truth everyone ends up in the kitchen anyway. I also used NYE as an excuse to play with my new sous vide supreme - did almost everything in the cooker (the only regret: brussels sprouts sous vide -never again!).... and of course being NYE I got a little carried away with the descriptions on the menu (it was an attempt to poke fun at pretentious, overly flowery, menus) These came out as awesome one bit dishes - a "faux croque madame" - admittedly borrowed from both Rhulman and the French Laundry cook book... toasted brioche, home cured scotch & maple bacon, scant bit of aioli and water cress for color topped with fried quail egg
  5. Long time lurker/new member - been enjoying catching up on this thread. Like many of you, I am using an inexpensive wine cooler. While everything has eventually turned out ok, there have been some frustrations. Humidity and air flow are the two biggest challenges. I have had a difficult time regulating the humidity, it tends to run very high, even in the winter when the house itself is quite dry. I have tried to solve that with a bowl of brine, cracked doors and silica packets (a trick my butcher uses). The airflow could probably be easily solved with a small battery powered fan - truthfully its not that big of a deal. The other issue I have is mold control. Despite wash downs with bleach between curing sessions, I get mold blooms in the cooler. They are always white and probably of the type I am inoculating my sausages with...but it doesn't make me feel great about it. All that said, it is still a viable solution. Like I said, almost everything has turned out. Things often take 2x as long to lose the 1/3 moisture content due to the humidity.
  6. Hey folks, Im thrilled for my first post here to be in this thread! I've been lurking for years. This is where I come to track food trends. It's my first stop when I need a ratio for some kind of alginate caviar. In short, I have really enjoyed following many of you for quite some time. In a snap decision, I picked up my SVS a few days before New Years Eve. We decided to throw a last minute dinner party and it seemed like the perfect time to play with something new (because what could go wrong, right?). So far, we have been very happy campers. Some things - buffalo tenderloin, truffle infused potatoes, veal cheeks - came out as a testament to the technique. We have had less success with the duck breasts and chicken thighs but suspect that had more to do with me than the technique. Tonight tucked into some 72 hour short ribs which were amazing. I can see why they are often seen as poster child of sous vide cooking. Here are some of the results I have a tone of questions that I will try and space out over time The first that comes to mind is the right temp for a perfect poached egg, say for a salad frise et lardons - set white, warm liquid yoke? What about a perfect hard boiled egg? I usually do mine in a pan and get inconsistent results. Anyone have thoughts on either? Looking forward to picking the collective brain around here!
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