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Everything posted by Phaz

  1. I don't have a great camera, or photography/plating skills, but the food is usually delicious. I rarely eat breakfast but thought this was worth sharing. It's a bacon, Italian sausage and spinach risotto topped with a 64.5 degree egg. It was delicious.
  2. In my experience (I'm from Alabama so my experience with bacon fat is extensive), you don't need to use 100% bacon fat to get the desired effect. I usually just add a half cup or so to 4-5 cups of either peanut oil or lard and use that to deep fry. Even though you specify you're going to need a lot of bacon, I bet you're underestimating how much it would take to get enough for 100% bacon fat deep frying. I keep a quart mason jar to collect my bacon fat and it takes forever to fill it (we easily eat 2 lbs/ week in my family). Edited: for clarity Thanks for the tips. I thought of mixing some duck fat in with the bacon fat to get the quantity we needed. We were looking at probably 10 pounds of bacon to get the fat we needed. Using less than that and having the same effect seems like a much smarter plan. I wonder how mixing oil flavors works. I'm curious if mixing peanut oil, duck fat and bacon grease will let you taste all three flavors or if they will just mix together into a random mess or if one will just overpower the others. Sounds like we have some testing to do.
  3. Has anyone fried in bacon fat? I've heard good things about cooking burgers sous vide and then deep frying them to sear. A friend and I thought bacon fat would be a good choice to deep fry with. We are thinking we can just cook a LOT of bacon at a lower temp to render all the fat out, then pour it into a container with water in it, let that cool and scoop more purified bacon fat off the top. We weren't able to find any info on the smoke or flash point of bacon fat but we are guessing it would be close to that of Lard. Another option is to mix it with some duck fat and fry in that. From my experience duck fat makes everything taste better.
  4. Has anyone done any Copper River Salmon? I know the stuff grills well but with how expensive it is I don't want to waste the money if it's not noticeably different than other salmon. I have plenty of cedar planks anyway.
  5. This comment always baffles me...don't you still have to preheat a gas grill for 15-20 minutes? I have a Weber performer (and a WSM I use for competition as well) and from the time I put a chimney of lump over the burner to the time I can cook it isn't much more than 20 mins (ok maybe 25 tops). I have a Weber genesis (E-320) gas grill. It's amazing. You don't need to heat it for 15-20 minutes at all. I can go from deciding I want a burger to having one cooked and on a toasted bun in just under 15 minutes. Same for a steak. I can also just shut the grill off after that one burger without wasting any fuel or having much cleanup. It also takes me 10 seconds to start the grill. The time it takes for the thing to warm up is just a little longer than it takes to take the hamburger out of the fridge and get them ready for the grill. I'll admit I haven't had a lot of food grilled over charcoal, so I can't comment on taste. But for convenience I love gas. I've done everything from a single burger to slaving over it for almost 5 hours straight for a large BBQ party. The food is absolutely delicious and the consistency of the heat source lets me cook things perfect every time without a lot of fuss.
  6. I just did the chocolate chip cookies and loved them. Very easy to make (assuming you can find the right chocolate) and simply delicious. One interesting factor was that it didn't hit me until the last moment before starting them that being at a high altitude (5200+ feet) might effect things. Every other baking recipe I've seen has adjustments for altitude, this one didn't. I just followed the recipe as it was written, and the cookies came out amazing. I've not had them at sea level so I'm not sure if the consistency was perfect, but they were really really really good.
  7. Another thing to mention with thermocouples is that the resolution of the device reading the voltage matters a lot. A 12 bit analog to digital converter is going to give much less accuracy than a 16 or 21 bit converter. Another issue with thermocouples is that the relationship between voltage and temp isn't constant, it's a very non-linear curve. That introduces some error as well since the curve is estimated using a series of polynomials (sometimes up to 8 or 9 degrees). Because of this, they can also be more accurate at a given temperature than another. You can still get really good accuracy, but you have to know what you are working with. The place I work basically makes the devices that read in the temps from thermocouples (and a number of other devices). I'm currently working on a fancy temp reader for my own experiments that I plan on testing in the SVS. Think of it like a probe that takes readings along the length of the probe instead of just the tip, so you read out a gradient of temperature rather than just the point where the probe happens to be stuck into (and if wanted log that data over time).
  8. Thanks for the advice. I think I'm leaning dutch oven. One thing I'm curious about is the material. From what I gather, most dutch ovens are cast iron. According to Alton Brown's episode on frying, when using poly-unsaturated fats (like peanut oil) the cast iron just wrecks the oil much much faster than other materials or other oils. Also, what are other good chicken recipes to try out of this book? I want to do an all chicken night. It seems like the roasted chicken and chicken pot pie recipes come out good. Has anyone done the chicken and dumpling soup?
  9. I just ordered my copy of this and can't wait to try it. I have a question for those that did the fried chicken. From what I've heard, it's really amazing. However, I've never done fried chicken, or for that matter, never really fried and don't typically do chicken. For someone such as myself, what is the best frying method? I know the recipe recommends using a pot (dutch oven?). How hard is it to control the temp? Would it make much difference doing it in a deep fryer where you just set the temp? I don't have a deep fryer or a dutch oven, so would need to get one (and am still doing research).
  10. Thanks! That makes a lot of sense. It didn't even cross my mind that breasts would be that much different from legs (I'm quite inexperienced in poultry). I suppose that's one of the first things to learn with SV cooking. Tender meats -> short time just to reach the temp you want, tougher meats -> long time to make them tender. It seems obvious but somehow I missed it. I suppose the second thing to learn is which cuts are tender and which aren't. I'm going to see if I can find a nice orange sauce and try the other breast at a lower temp for a shorter period of time. This forum is such a great resource.
  11. I need some help. I've never been able to do poultry. I can do beef, fish, pork, everything else. I tried duck confit today using a Hudson Valley moulard breast cut in 1/2s. I followed Douglas' method and brined it for just over 3 hours in a 7% solution that also had some herbs and a little bit of orange juice (no orange slices but I figured that would work). I forgot to wash the breasts after (that might be my mistake). I put them in a bag with a couple slabs of duck fat and threw it in at 80c for 10 hours. At first the bag looked fine, lots of fat and duck. After a few hours I began to see red juice in it. I took them out, let them rest 5 minutes or so, and seared them and had them with some mushroom risotto (first time doing that as well, and it turned out amazing. I was worried since I've never even had risotto before but according to my friend that tried it the texture was almost dead on). They were pretty darn tasty, but dry. A few bites took some trouble to swallow properly. What did I do wrong? The same thing happened when I tried chicken. I feel like poultry should be the easy thing to cook but I can never get it moist, even when the juices are sealed in the bag with the meat. Is there a solution to prevent the moisture from leaking out or to put it back into the meat when it spills over into the bag?
  12. Does anyone here follow Kenji Lopez-Alt's posts on Serious Eats (The Food Lab)? He's done some SV related stuff in the past. Today he has how to do a perfect rack of lamb (Link to article). He goes through a few methods, but finishes with an interesting one. He decides that cooking SV for about an hour is his goal, however his methods are quite different. Rather than using his SVS he takes a more simple approach. He removes the air from the bag by simply dipping it into a water bath and squeezing out the bubbles. Not a perfect method but he says good enough to get the bubbles out so it will stay under water and cook evenly. Then, instead of a fancy setup, he places 130f tap water into a Thermos cooler. He checks back an hour later and the water has only dropped to 127.4f and the lamb was a perfect 125f. Even after 3 hours the water was still 124f. That method obviously won't work for short ribs and things that take a long time, and it's certainly not as accurate as the big setups, but I can see it as being a nice, simple, cheap alternative for people for 'good enough' results when the cooking time is on the lower end, which I find is the case for most of what I cook (Steaks, burgers, fish, etc). What do you guys think?
  13. Well I'm sold on the short ribs. 72 hrs at 141 was perfect. Someone actually made a comment about getting up to get a knife then realizing they didn't need one at all. A couple interesting notes, I did them 3 different ways. One bag had a teriyaki sauce, another had a sweet bbq sauce and the third was just salt and pepper. The teriyaki and bbq sauce obviously had very different tastes, and I could certainly smell the difference in the bag. However, once I got them out of the bag and seared them they were hard to tell apart. The plate got turned around and I forgot which was which. Both tasted sweet but neither had a strong bbq or teriyaki flavor. It was quite good. The only thing I'd do differently next time is get some leaner short ribs and trim them really well before hand. They were just slightly too greasy (but the meat was incredibly easy to separate from the fat).
  14. I decided to finally try some short ribs, I did a lot of research and cooking them and settled on going with just salt and pepper in the bag then cooking at 141f(60.5c) for 72 hours. I know then to take them out and sear them on the sides with a little bit of oil. What I'm unsure of is what kind of sauce to serve with them. From what I can gather people use the juice in the bag to create a sauce, but I haven't yet found any recipes or what to mix it with (other than some amount of red wine). Does anyone any relatively simple recipes/tricks for a sauce?
  15. Has anyone tried to SV Wagyu strip steaks? Allen brothers has a special going on now and I'm tempted to try it. From what I know about Wagyu the goal is to have a low temperature (Wagyu fat renders at a lower temp, or so I've heard) and then sear the outside with a ridiculous amount of heat. I've tried them before on the grill with a pizza stone and found it was very difficult, only about 15% of the pieces I did had that taste that you go for. I'm thinking it might work doing a whole steak and searing with the torch to get that perfect cut. Maybe doing them at 117 or 120. I've seen posts of larger cuts of Wagyu here, but is curious if anyone has ever done steaks or bite sized pieces?
  16. This thread has a lot of great info for a noobie like myself. Now that this stuff seems to be more mainstream, are there any good kits or suppliers (for the US preferably) that make it easier to get started? I'm particularly interested in doing things that involve alcohol (and from what I've read, thus reverse spherification is the way to go). A friend of mine has his 21st coming up and I'm doing a fancy dinner for him.
  17. Do you do much with it other than just cook it? i.e. a marinade or something? For instance how did you do the tilapia? (whole foods had some local tilapia on sale this week)
  18. I've had a chance now to try a few things and am starting to get the hang of SV. It seems like it takes a bit of trial/error to really get things right. Here's a question I have for people, so far, I've been converting recipes I use (mostly on the grill) to SV, using the same kinds of rubs/marinades. They are either as good (like a steak with a dry rub that is better cooked but not quite as flavorful on the outside) or slightly worse (Like a couple salmon recipes I did SV that I normally do cedar plank, soy sauce/brown sugar & a hone/lime/mustard or some scrambled eggs I did). What is the one kind of meat or recipe that I should try that will really show me the advantages of SV? Short ribs? Brisket? etc?
  19. When you seared, did you make sure to sear the fat nicely? It can be browned nicely with a torch and has a delicious flavor. Yeah, I got as much of the fat as I could around the edges. The main issue was the fat on the inside of the steak which I could only get the top and bottoms of.
  20. Thanks again for all the tips. I did some more expiramenting and learned that time is a big factor with SV cooking. I did some salmon for lunch today at 120 for 20 minutes which was amazing. It was almost a creamy texture, simply awesome. Then for dinner I tried the steaks again. This time it was a 1.2 pound ribeye just a hair over an inch thick. I put it in at 125 for an hour and 20 minutes. I seared it briefly with the torch before putting it in. There was only a tiny bit of juice in the bag after it was done. I took the torch to it after and was quite impressed with the results. I'd say just about perfect: Again my crappy iphone picture, but you get the idea. It looks smaller in the picture than it was, but that's right at about an inch thick. You can see the juice and the pink from end to end. Delicious. One interesting tidbit though was on this ribeye I did trim the fat on the plate. I normally don't do that at all. The fat was very white in color and mushy, it just didn't look done or appetizing. When I grill these I usually eat them fat and all. What I found, was that the fat was actually really delicious, it was just a mental thing preventing me from eating it. I do steaks all the time but almost always ribeyes or fillets. I think this might give me an excuse to try out some NY strips or some of the leaner cuts. I also want to try some different seasonings. I used my normal stuff on this one and it was good, but not quite as good as when grilled, the meat itself was better quality, but the overall taste just didn't fit the seasoning.
  21. Thanks for the help! That lobster recipe looks delicious. So it sounds like my main problem was just cooking a tender piece of meat too long. I almost always do fillets or ribeyes so it sounds like for ribeyes (about an inch thick) I should shoot for about an hour at 125 and see how that goes, then for the fillets (2inchs or so usually) at least 3 but no more than 4 hours. I'll give that a shot this weekend. I like the flavor the bacon adds to the fillet but it sounds like doing it completely separate is the way to go. Is it common to have significant liquid (enough that you can feel it's weight and pour it out into a cup) from the meat inside the bag? Do you do anything with that (other than sauce), such as is there a way to put it back into the meat? Is it safe to use? Like can I use the butter/liquid left after the lobster is done to saute some mushrooms or something?
  22. I recently purchased an SVS and entered the world of sous vide and have a few questions. So far I've done some chicken and steaks. The chicken I did at 147F for 2 hours. It was most for the most part but the very center was a little dry. I did it with just some salt and pepper and butter and the taste wasn't anything amazing. I realized that chicken isn't like steak or salmon where the taste of the meat itself is great. Chicken tastes like...well... chicken. I think if I brine the chicken next time and add some flavor to it and lower the temp by a few degrees it will turn out well. The steak I was disappointed in. I got a nice fillet about 14oz, wrapped in bacon and seasoned. I did one like this 2 weeks ago that was the exact same size and prepared the same but cooked in the oven. I cooked it at 200 degrees till the temp hit about 117, then seared it in a 550 degree oven in cast iron pan for 3 minutes on each side. It was amazing. So juicy and flavorful it blew my mind. So today I did one in my SVS figuring it'd be even more amazing. I threw it in at 131F before I went to work. It spent about 11 hours in there till I was ready to cook it. When I opened the bag and pulled it out there was a fair amount of liquid in the bag, that red, blood looking liquid that's common with steak. I then put it in the oven at 550 and seared it in the same way. The bacon wasn't quite cooked (I expected that) so I took my torch to it (first time using). It really wasn't that impressive, the one in the oven was a sure winner. The best way to describe it was that this one was very moist and tender, but the other was juicy. With the other after the sear resting on the plate under foil a fair amount of juice collected on the plate, but plenty was left inside. This one there was no liquid on the plate, which first had me very excited since I figured it was all on the inside. However, I was dismayed when not a single drop of juice was left in the steak. It wasn't dry by any means, just not juicy. I feel like that bag full of juice I threw out before searing took a lot of my flavor with it. I always assumed cooking in the bag would keep the juices in the meat and you'd end up with a more juicy steak. Instead, even the steaks I cook on the grill that are constantly dripping juice to be destroyed by the flames are more juicy than this steak was. The bacon didn't turn out well either. The torch kind of blistered the outside a bit but it was thick bacon and the inside part of it was still not quite cooked. I'm not giving up complete hope. I'm going to maybe try cooking at 123F or 125F for only 4 hours, and cooking the bacon a little in the oven first before wrapping it and searing. Does anyone have any tips for this rather sad SV noobie? I'm going to try some scallops (50c, then browned) and Lobster (with beurre monte) tomorrow to see if I can get some better results. However, steak is my specialty and I am a bit dejected that it didn't turn out better than what I can do in the oven or on the grill. I suck at taking photos (just have my iphone), but here is the one from the oven: Here is the one from today: I've already learned a lot from this site and hope to learn lots more.
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