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Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 8)


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For some reason, I'm not happy with the cooking of my tender cuts of beef anymore. Since I got interested in cooking, I've become very sensitive to overcooked meat. When I started doing sous vide, it was such an improvement, since I really sucked at cooking meat before that.

Recently I've been on vacation and eaten a lot of steak in good resturants (non sous-vide I think). I usually order it medium rare. And yes there's a temperature gradient, but I still like the meat a bit better. The center looks raw and almost not denatured, but in fact isn't. When I cook a piece of beef tenderloin at, say 130F, it feels almost a bit dry and pappy in comparision. Could it be that my pieces of beef are too thick, thus spending too much time in th waterbath? Or should I go lower with the temperature? Or use a higher water-temperature and use a probe? I've tried around 126-127F too but I still don't absolutely love it.

Same thing goes for pork. When I cook a loin to, say, 135F in the oven, it's way more pink/juicy/tender than the sous vide version, which feels overcooked.

Edited by cookalong (log)
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I bought some suckling pig belly w/ the loin still attached. It was a small piece with the bones still intact. I gave it 12 hours at 82C. After starting the cooking process (based on a Quay recipe I'd used before) I saw an interesting recipe that involved flaked suckling pig meat wrapped in crisp skin. That recipe cooked the pork for 70C/24 hours. Pork cooked at 82C flakes nicely, tho'. The skin didn't crisp up as evenly as I hoped: I guess this was because I cooked the meat at a higher temperature. Still, the meat itself is nice.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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For some reason, I'm not happy with the cooking of my tender cuts of beef anymore. Since I got interested in cooking, I've become very sensitive to overcooked meat. When I started doing sous vide, it was such an improvement, since I really sucked at cooking meat before that.

Recently I've been on vacation and eaten a lot of steak in good resturants (non sous-vide I think). I usually order it medium rare. And yes there's a temperature gradient, but I still like the meat a bit better. The center looks raw and almost not denatured, but in fact isn't. When I cook a piece of beef tenderloin at, say 130F, it feels almost a bit dry and pappy in comparision. Could it be that my pieces of beef are too thick, thus spending too much time in th waterbath? Or should I go lower with the temperature? Or use a higher water-temperature and use a probe? I've tried around 126-127F too but I still don't absolutely love it.

Same thing goes for pork. When I cook a loin to, say, 135F in the oven, it's way more pink/juicy/tender than the sous vide version, which feels overcooked.

I would definitely suggest that you calibrate your circulator. I don't know what you mean by "pappy" but if your circulator is properly calibrated then at those temps (assuming you are using good meat and you are cooking it for the appropriate amount of time) you should be getting a good product that is evenly cooked and delicious. On the other hand, sous vide cooking really shines best on the less tender cuts of meat, IMHO. Short ribs cooked for 48-72 hours can be sublime. Pork shoulder with lots of fat is some of the most tasty meat around. Perhaps, if you are eating high quality tender cuts you will be better off just searing and serving and forgetting the SV method. SV is not for everything.

Edited by Merridith (log)

I've got one body and one life, I'm going to take care of them.

I'm blogging as the Fabulous Food Fanatic here.

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For some reason, I'm not happy with the cooking of my tender cuts of beef anymore. Since I got interested in cooking, I've become very sensitive to overcooked meat. When I started doing sous vide, it was such an improvement, since I really sucked at cooking meat before that.

Recently I've been on vacation and eaten a lot of steak in good resturants (non sous-vide I think). I usually order it medium rare. And yes there's a temperature gradient, but I still like the meat a bit better. The center looks raw and almost not denatured, but in fact isn't. When I cook a piece of beef tenderloin at, say 130F, it feels almost a bit dry and pappy in comparision. Could it be that my pieces of beef are too thick, thus spending too much time in th waterbath? Or should I go lower with the temperature? Or use a higher water-temperature and use a probe? I've tried around 126-127F too but I still don't absolutely love it.

Same thing goes for pork. When I cook a loin to, say, 135F in the oven, it's way more pink/juicy/tender than the sous vide version, which feels overcooked.

I would definitely suggest that you calibrate your circulator. I don't know what you mean by "pappy" but if your circulator is properly calibrated then at those temps (assuming you are using good meat and you are cooking it for the appropriate amount of time) you should be getting a good product that is evenly cooked and delicious. On the other hand, sous vide cooking really shines best on the less tender cuts of meat, IMHO. Short ribs cooked for 48-72 hours can be sublime. Pork shoulder with lots of fat is some of the most tasty meat around. Perhaps, if you are eating high quality tender cuts you will be better off just searing and serving and forgetting the SV method. SV is not for everything.

I guess I have to check the calibration. Don't get me wrong, the meat is good, but I find it a bit overcooked sometimes. I know some meats do suffer when it takes too long to bring them up to temperature, due to enzyme activity. A beef fillet might almost be 3 inches thick, so the center will linger at 47-49 for a fairly long time I guess. But I'll check the calibration.

I do love less tender cuts, and I'm very happy with the results with those. And while I'm perfectly fine with searing/oven roasting tender cuts, I really want to nail them sous vide too.

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In my opinion i think a thick filet only benifits SV when you are looking for a steak that is extremely tender and finished off with with a torch just to add some color not a crust. Then served in with a wine reduction sauce.

If you want a filet done like in a steak house its best done on a searing grill for a few minutes then finished off on low or with indirect heat till it reaches 130F then wrapped in foil and rested for 5 minutes. During those 5 minutes the juices will surface and you will have a perfectly medium rare done steak with no grey outer ring. The filet will have a more meaty taste and texture this way aswell.

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For some reason, I'm not happy with the cooking of my tender cuts of beef anymore. Since I got interested in cooking, I've become very sensitive to overcooked meat. When I started doing sous vide, it was such an improvement, since I really sucked at cooking meat before that.

Recently I've been on vacation and eaten a lot of steak in good resturants (non sous-vide I think). I usually order it medium rare. And yes there's a temperature gradient, but I still like the meat a bit better. The center looks raw and almost not denatured, but in fact isn't. When I cook a piece of beef tenderloin at, say 130F, it feels almost a bit dry and pappy in comparision. Could it be that my pieces of beef are too thick, thus spending too much time in th waterbath? Or should I go lower with the temperature? Or use a higher water-temperature and use a probe? I've tried around 126-127F too but I still don't absolutely love it.

Same thing goes for pork. When I cook a loin to, say, 135F in the oven, it's way more pink/juicy/tender than the sous vide version, which feels overcooked.

How long are you cooking the tender cuts? Truly tender cuts shouldn't spend too long in the cooker -- even at 130F there will be changes that happen over time. Tender cuts are best not left too long in the cooker -- for example, a nice thick filet or thick ribeye that is great after 30 minutes or an hour will have a noticeably changed texture after 3 hours. I don't know exactly what the safe time period is, but I do know that the one time that I left a ribeye in the bath for close to 4 hours that it was not nearly as good as when I pull it after 30 or 40 minutes (which is what I normally do).

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For some reason, I'm not happy with the cooking of my tender cuts of beef anymore. Since I got interested in cooking, I've become very sensitive to overcooked meat. When I started doing sous vide, it was such an improvement, since I really sucked at cooking meat before that.

Recently I've been on vacation and eaten a lot of steak in good resturants (non sous-vide I think). I usually order it medium rare. And yes there's a temperature gradient, but I still like the meat a bit better. The center looks raw and almost not denatured, but in fact isn't. When I cook a piece of beef tenderloin at, say 130F, it feels almost a bit dry and pappy in comparision. Could it be that my pieces of beef are too thick, thus spending too much time in th waterbath? Or should I go lower with the temperature? Or use a higher water-temperature and use a probe? I've tried around 126-127F too but I still don't absolutely love it.

Same thing goes for pork. When I cook a loin to, say, 135F in the oven, it's way more pink/juicy/tender than the sous vide version, which feels overcooked.

How long are you cooking the tender cuts? Truly tender cuts shouldn't spend too long in the cooker -- even at 130F there will be changes that happen over time. Tender cuts are best not left too long in the cooker -- for example, a nice thick filet or thick ribeye that is great after 30 minutes or an hour will have a noticeably changed texture after 3 hours. I don't know exactly what the safe time period is, but I do know that the one time that I left a ribeye in the bath for close to 4 hours that it was not nearly as good as when I pull it after 30 or 40 minutes (which is what I normally do).

I usually cook beef tenderloin as a loin (not cut into medallions), which is at least 2.5 inches thick. I'm using Baldwin's tables, so the fillet might very well be in the water for 2.5 hours. The reason for not cutting the loin into pieces is that the vacuum sealer deforms the shape of the meat, even if I roll the fillet in clingfilm, cut it up, and keep the clingfilm on the medallions.

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I usually cook beef tenderloin as a loin (not cut into medallions), which is at least 2.5 inches thick. I'm using Baldwin's tables, so the fillet might very well be in the water for 2.5 hours. The reason for not cutting the loin into pieces is that the vacuum sealer deforms the shape of the meat, even if I roll the fillet in clingfilm, cut it up, and keep the clingfilm on the medallions.

Use ziplock bags. Dollar tree sells a brand that works very well. I have not had one leak yet and comes 16 in a box for a dollar.

Edited by FeChef (log)
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Latest experiment reports....

Chicken: I've been doing a lot of playing with ersatz variants on traditional dishes. My wife doesn't eat red meat, so we eat a lot of chicken. I've been replicating traditional Italian dishes that are conventionally prepared with coated/breaded breast fillets, replacing the fillet with a breast that has been seasoned with S&P, cooked sous vide at 140F, and either seared or quickly grilled.

This method has worked particularly well with chicken piccata. I've used Giada De Laurentiis' recipe for the sauce twice, and gotten raves both times. I think that the secret is compensating for the fact that you're using a clean pan, rather than one that was used to cook the chicken, by including a little more fat. Fortunately, the sauce recipe already calls for chicken stock, which also helps compensate.

I've also done ersatz chicken parmigiana, using Marcella Hazan's eggplant parm recipe (basically, simmer tomatoes, olive oil, and salt until reduced by half, about 45+ min, and top with basil and mozzarella), and I'm playing with marsala.

Tri-tip: When my wife isn't joining us, or I'm serving multiple proteins, grilled tri-tip is always a winner, and sous vide has taken my efforts even higher. I've settled on the Bobby Flay rub -- 6 parts granulated garlic, 3 parts salt, 1 part pepper -- letting that rest on the meat for at least a half hour before bagging, and then either dropping it straight in a 130F bath or refrigerating overnight before doing so. You only need a few hours to get it cooked fully, but it benefits from up to 12 hours in the bath. (I haven't gone beyond that, but I expect it wouldn't hurt.) Then I finish on a hot grill -- either my Charbroil Infrared or the Cook-Air, sometimes assisted by a torch. Flay's sides are an excellent accompaniment, although I usually add celery to the tomato relish and use raw tomatoes.

Hangar steak: I hadn't ever cooked this cut before last night. I tried a chipotle rub from Serious Eats -- salt the meat, then equal parts chipotle powder, cumin, and paprika -- bagged and refrigerated overnight, then sous vide for 8 hours or so at 130F, then finished on the grill. Sauced it with a roasted poblano & lime vinagrette: roasted two poblanos with the torch, peeled skin off, cored and seeded them; put them in at blender with the zest and juice of four limes, salt, and white pepper; added avocado oil; then added a touch of harisa chili oil for a little more heat. I should've drizzled the oil in to thicken it, and I made twice as much as I needed for 3.5lb of steak and 1.8lb of halibut (more on that below), and it was a bit too lime-y, but a success overall. That said, the kids agreed that my tri-tip is better, due to its smoother texture. But we'll see how this recipe refines in the future.

Halibut: Also something I hadn't cooked before. Cut into portions (3-4 oz ea), seasoned with salt and white pepper, bagged with olive oil, cooked 25 minutes at 130F (i.e., dropped it into the bath a half hour before I planned to serve the steak), and seared the top with the torch. Texture was perfect, and the flavor of the lime vinagrette worked very well, but it wouldn't have had much flavor otherwise.

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I'm giving a free American Chemistry Society (ACS) Webinar entitled Sous Vide Cooking and Chemistry on 9 May 2013 at 2 p.m. EST. Registration is limited, so sign up now if you want to participate!

(Coincidentally, I'm missing my doctoral hooding ceremony to give my webinar. But I can go to commencement the next day, so my friends and family still get to watch me graduate.)

My Guide: A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking, which Harold McGee described as "a wonderful contribution."

My Book: Sous Vide for the Home Cook US EU/UK

My YouTube channel — a new work in progress.

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Inspired by a local cooking competition show, My Kitchen Rules, I decided to try and make Vietnamese caramel pork belly, sous vide style.

The original recipe http://au.tv.yahoo.com/my-kitchen-rules/recipes/recipe/-/16683428/pork-belly-with-caramel-sauce-chinese-steamed-buns-and-asian-salad/ and http://svkitchen.com/?p=3694 gave me a good head start, and I ended up with the following recipe.

1Kg pork belly, cut into two pieces

80ml Cheong Chan caramel sauce

60ml kecap manis

100ml fish sauce

1 star anise, broken

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1 stalk lemongrass, sliced finely

1 Thai red chili, descended and sliced finely

4 eschalotts, sliced finely

Put each piece of pork belly into a vacuum bag and lay the sliced ingredients on both skin and flesh sides of the pork belly. Crumble half of the star anise into each bag. Mix the sauces and pepper and taste for balance of sweet, salty and bitter then add half to each bag. Vacuum seal hard (>99%) and refrigerate for 24 hours to marinate.

Cook sous vide at 80 degrees C for 10 hours.

Serve with steamed asian greens and rice garnished with coriander leaves and vietnamese mint. The second bag was pressed flat in the fridge and I made some Banh Mi for lunch today http://forums.egullet.org/topic/143083-cook-off-60-banh-mi/?p=1916693

image.jpg

image.jpg

Edited by Simon Lewinson (log)
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(Coincidentally, I'm missing my doctoral hooding ceremony to give my webinar. But I can go to commencement the next day, so my friends and family still get to watch me graduate.)

Congratulations!!!!

~Martin

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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I've decided to buy a thermometer with a thin needle to use for, among other things, sous vide. I'd like to try to cook meat with a slightly higher-than-target temperature.

I've settled for the basic ThermoWorks MTC Mini Handheld. What probe do you recommend? Should I buy the Fast Response Meat Needle Probe, which is 3.35", or should I go for the Miniature Needle Probe, which comes in 2" or 3.35"? Both have a thickness of 0.06 inches.

I will use it with foam tape to measure the temperature of the meat while in the water bath.

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I've decided to buy a thermometer with a thin needle to use for, among other things, sous vide. I'd like to try to cook meat with a slightly higher-than-target temperature.

I've settled for the basic ThermoWorks MTC Mini Handheld. What probe do you recommend? Should I buy the Fast Response Meat Needle Probe, which is 3.35", or should I go for the Miniature Needle Probe, which comes in 2" or 3.35"? Both have a thickness of 0.06 inches.

I will use it with foam tape to measure the temperature of the meat while in the water bath.

http://www.thermoworks.com/products/handheld/mtc.html#ProbeTab says: The Miniature Needle Probe is a Great choice for Sous Vide cooking,as the PTFE cable and sealed junction allow you to immerse the cable and probe. The Fast Response Meat Needle Probe which attaches directly to the thermometer without cable would be difficult to use in the water bath.

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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I've decided to buy a thermometer with a thin needle to use for, among other things, sous vide. I'd like to try to cook meat with a slightly higher-than-target temperature.

I've settled for the basic ThermoWorks MTC Mini Handheld. What probe do you recommend? Should I buy the Fast Response Meat Needle Probe, which is 3.35", or should I go for the Miniature Needle Probe, which comes in 2" or 3.35"? Both have a thickness of 0.06 inches.

I will use it with foam tape to measure the temperature of the meat while in the water bath.

In addition to PedroG's comment, call them! I've done so several times, and gotten useful information. They know their stuff, and they are very customer oriented.

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I've decided to buy a thermometer with a thin needle to use for, among other things, sous vide. I'd like to try to cook meat with a slightly higher-than-target temperature.

I've settled for the basic ThermoWorks MTC Mini Handheld. What probe do you recommend? Should I buy the Fast Response Meat Needle Probe, which is 3.35", or should I go for the Miniature Needle Probe, which comes in 2" or 3.35"? Both have a thickness of 0.06 inches.

I will use it with foam tape to measure the temperature of the meat while in the water bath.

http://www.thermoworks.com/products/handheld/mtc.html#ProbeTab says: The Miniature Needle Probe is a Great choice for Sous Vide cooking,as the PTFE cable and sealed junction allow you to immerse the cable and probe. The Fast Response Meat Needle Probe which attaches directly to the thermometer without cable would be difficult to use in the water bath.

Thank you very much! I'll go with the Miniature Needle, 3.5 inches.

Edited by cookalong (log)
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To late to edit my last reply, but regarding the length of the probe, do you think 2 inches would suffice? Do I need to insert the probe at an angle? I don't want to end up with a probe that's too short for cylindrical shaped fillets.

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Has anyone tried cook & chill with tender vegetables? I'd like to prepare some asparagus a day before and then just gently heat it up to 70 °C or so. Will that work or am I better of doing it completely fresh? I have done c & c with root vegetables before (with excellent results), but never something tender like asparagus.

My main concern is not the actual cooking time, but the preperation/bagging of the asparagus. I'm cooking dinner for three other foodbloggers on Thursday and I'll only have about an hour between coming home from work and the time the guests are expected to arrive.

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I would steam them to the desired texture then shock in ice water, then put them in a ziplock bag and use a straw to suck out the air before re-therming in the sous vide. But why 70c (158F) ? If everything else is cooked a day ahead you could just retherm everything to 125F for an hour and plate all at the same time.

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Has anyone tried cook & chill with tender vegetables? I'd like to prepare some asparagus a day before and then just gently heat it up to 70 °C or so. Will that work or am I better of doing it completely fresh? I have done c & c with root vegetables before (with excellent results), but never something tender like asparagus.

My main concern is not the actual cooking time, but the preperation/bagging of the asparagus. I'm cooking dinner for three other foodbloggers on Thursday and I'll only have about an hour between coming home from work and the time the guests are expected to arrive.

I have sous vide cooked asparagus for 150 people well ahead of time. I usually allow 6 - 8 spears per person, depending upon the menu. Bag a pound of asparagus (after you snapped off the tough end) with some salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook them at 83C for 30 minutes then quick chill in a large ice bath. Reheat the next day at 52C for at least 30 minutes. Serve straight from the bag with a squeeze of lemon juice. Can't be beat.

Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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I've been trying to make the Egg Blossom from MC book but am really struggling to get the air out when wrapping/trying the plastic wrap - then of course they won't sink in the SV - anyone with suggestions of how to get round this? I am doing a sci-fi dinner in a few weeks and was planning on separating the white and staining with blue food colour and then re-assembling - I want my guests to feel slightly 'uncomfortable' with what they are eating :)

Planning to do some Racht (http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Racht) so might try making some spaghetti and squid ink.


Daniel

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To late to edit my last reply, but regarding the length of the probe, do you think 2 inches would suffice? Do I need to insert the probe at an angle? I don't want to end up with a probe that's too short for cylindrical shaped fillets.

The longer the better.

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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To late to edit my last reply, but regarding the length of the probe, do you think 2 inches would suffice? Do I need to insert the probe at an angle? I don't want to end up with a probe that's too short for cylindrical shaped fillets.

The longer the better.

Thanks you! Even if I use a 3.35" needle for a 1" piece of meet, will the needle still stay attached to the bag? Even though only 25-30% of the needle is inside the meat?

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To late to edit my last reply, but regarding the length of the probe, do you think 2 inches would suffice? Do I need to insert the probe at an angle? I don't want to end up with a probe that's too short for cylindrical shaped fillets.

The longer the better.

Thanks you! Even if I use a 3.35" needle for a 1" piece of meet, will the needle still stay attached to the bag? Even though only 25-30% of the needle is inside the meat?

I have both probes. Both will do the job, but I find myself using the shorter one more often, as I normally don't sous-vide very thick pieces, and for thinner pieces the large one may have a too big portion outside of the bag. On the other hand, if you have the short one and you happen to want to measure a really thick piece you can do nothing...

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To late to edit my last reply, but regarding the length of the probe, do you think 2 inches would suffice? Do I need to insert the probe at an angle? I don't want to end up with a probe that's too short for cylindrical shaped fillets.

The longer the better.

Thanks you! Even if I use a 3.35" needle for a 1" piece of meet, will the needle still stay attached to the bag? Even though only 25-30% of the needle is inside the meat?

I have both probes. Both will do the job, but I find myself using the shorter one more often, as I normally don't sous-vide very thick pieces, and for thinner pieces the large one may have a too big portion outside of the bag. On the other hand, if you have the short one and you happen to want to measure a really thick piece you can do nothing...

I suppose a lot of my pieces are about 1-1.5 inches thick. Is it very difficult to keep the probe in place in those cases? I suppose the foam tape will add a bit of thickness (polyscience sous vide foam tape), plus you could also insert the probe at an angle.

Edited by cookalong (log)
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