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

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For the turkey confit, I cured it for 5 hours or so in salt, pepper and brine, then washed off most of the cure and packed it away with a stick or two of thyme and a couple tablespoons of duck fat and cooked it at 176 degrees for 12 hours. Then I chilled it in an ice bath, removed the bags and removed some of the cartilage and then put it in the fridge until service. At which point I threw it into a 420 degree oven and then the broiler to crisp up the skin. It was fine, but almost dry, if you can believe that.

I sure can: if it spent more than couple of minutes in that oven/broiler, it probably got well above the 176F at which you cooked it -- at which point you lost the benefits of the SV.

I'd urge you to try it again, crisp the skin off the meat itself, and serve it out of the bag, or perhaps brought to 160-70F after chilling. SV is a technique that requires a different set of tolerances and approaches than other methods, and with practice I'll bet you'll find a few things that for you are unmatched.

You might be right, though I don't believe a few minutes under a broiler would raise the entire thigh from 35 degrees to over 170. But I tasted it before it went in the oven - right after I SV'd it. It is hard to resist eating some when you're picking through it as I transferred it from the bag to another container. The bag itself had tons of juices/fat in it. Maybe all of it rendered out? or maybe the heritage bird just isn't marbled like the old butterball.

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Merridith hit the nail on the head:

I think that when we all start to experiment with SV cooking we think we are going to use it for everything and that it will/should be a miracle maker in the kitchen. But really, when you think about it, food cooked in this manner is only as good as the cook creating it and the ingredients they use.

If you read back through this topic, you'll see that most people prepare things that fit somewhere within their existing skill set. Many here do proteins SV and prepare variations of traditional French sauces -- an excellent approach for them. I tend to use it for applications in which I want greater braising precision for LTLT, cheaper cuts, a la Merridith's advice above; the chili, carnitas, and turkey confit I've made are fantastic and suit my style. I don't think it's any accident that the SV method gave us greater precision to perfect items we already knew how to prepare well.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Am I doing something wrong or is it just my tastes?

I picked up a sous vide magic and found an old big rice cooker and have made a handful of dishes using it including salmon, halibut, 48 hour short ribs, 24 hour hanger steak and this last week, 12 hour turkey confit with duck fat. Some of these dishes are considered on this board as transcendent experiences perfectly made for sous vide and yet other than the salmon (my personal favorite) and to a lesser extent, the halibut, I just haven't had a similar experience. The short ribs were good but I think I would have just preferred them braised. The hanger steak was perfectly medium rare and yet again, I think I would have preferred just using a very hot pan. The turkey confit was completely blah.

So am I doing something wrong? or is this just a matter of tastes?

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

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... LTLT ...
Having a brain cramp. LTLT???? Long time, low temp????
Edited by cbread (log)

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To me, the greatest benefit of SV cooking is seen with tougher, "cheaper" cuts of meat. But that having been said, it is still very important (and makes a HUGE difference) to use high quality product. Perhaps the word "cheaper" should be abandoned for "well exercised" or just say tougher and leave it at that. I only use grass-fed, pastured, all natural meats and poultry which I buy direct from the farmer.

I couldn't agree more with Merridith on this one. I bought a cut yesterday from a supplier whose meat I have used before. 24 hours sous vide at 55C and it was mush with a silver coating. Seemed they'd slipped some silverside into what was labelled a Boston roast; it should have been chuck, which is a high collagen cut. Anyway, the dog (as pictured) is benefiting from the rest of the meat. It's really the first piece of meat that I've said was bland and insipid from sous vide cooking. Mind you, I made a lovely sauce out of the bag juices that I have frozen in serving portions so all is not lost.

Get good quality, well exercised pieces of meat and the world of sous vide will open up for you.


Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I had a sous vide go bad. I created a 2” roulade using a top of the rib pounded 1/4" thick with a mushroom filling. It was placed in the foodsaver pouch with some tomato paste and sealed. It was stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator. The next day, I placed it in a 133F bath. The next morning, over 12 hours later, everything looked fine. I went away for a day and upon my return, the bag was inflated and the contents had obviously gone off (one sniff told me the rest of the story). I know what happened, but don’t know how. Twelve hours at 133F should have pasteurized the contents. It didn’t. Does anyone have any ideas?

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I had a sous vide go bad. I created a 2” roulade using a top of the rib pounded 1/4" thick with a mushroom filling. It was placed in the foodsaver pouch with some tomato paste and sealed. It was stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator. The next day, I placed it in a 133F bath. The next morning, over 12 hours later, everything looked fine. I went away for a day and upon my return, the bag was inflated and the contents had obviously gone off (one sniff told me the rest of the story). I know what happened, but don’t know how. Twelve hours at 133F should have pasteurized the contents. It didn’t. Does anyone have any ideas?

What setup are you using? Is it possible that it's a couple degrees off and 133F was actually under 130F?

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I had a sous vide go bad. I created a 2” roulade using a top of the rib pounded 1/4" thick with a mushroom filling. It was placed in the foodsaver pouch with some tomato paste and sealed. It was stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator. The next day, I placed it in a 133F bath. The next morning, over 12 hours later, everything looked fine. I went away for a day and upon my return, the bag was inflated and the contents had obviously gone off (one sniff told me the rest of the story). I know what happened, but don’t know how. Twelve hours at 133F should have pasteurized the contents. It didn’t. Does anyone have any ideas?

What setup are you using? Is it possible that it's a couple degrees off and 133F was actually under 130F?

I am using an Auber PID controller with a tabletop roaster. I have been using this setup for the last year and never had a problem. I usually use it at 131F-132F.

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I had a sous vide go bad. I created a 2” roulade using a top of the rib pounded 1/4" thick with a mushroom filling. It was placed in the foodsaver pouch with some tomato paste and sealed. It was stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator. The next day, I placed it in a 133F bath. The next morning, over 12 hours later, everything looked fine. I went away for a day and upon my return, the bag was inflated and the contents had obviously gone off (one sniff told me the rest of the story). I know what happened, but don’t know how. Twelve hours at 133F should have pasteurized the contents. It didn’t. Does anyone have any ideas?

What setup are you using? Is it possible that it's a couple degrees off and 133F was actually under 130F?

I am using an Auber PID controller with a tabletop roaster. I have been using this setup for the last year and never had a problem. I usually use it at 131F-132F.

There are posts further up the list that talk about a 30 second dunk in 180F to kill any pathogens before a long cook. I found it when I recently had some short ribs that smelled a bit off. Essentially, there can be pathogens that while they are eventually handled by the long cook, can create lactic acid in the initial couple of hours that will cause the odor. The dunk takes care of them.

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Since it was a roulade, I don't thing the quick dunk g would work since the meat at the center would remain untouched. I may try a quick sear to kill the surface bacteria. I was wondering if the pounded meat is something like hamburger. We usually treat the center of the meat as sterile. Since the meat was pounded to a 1/4", the bacteria are spread throughout the meat. Or, is only the surface a problem?

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Since it was a roulade, I don't thing the quick dunk g would work since the meat at the center would remain untouched. I may try a quick sear to kill the surface bacteria. I was wondering if the pounded meat is something like hamburger. We usually treat the center of the meat as sterile. Since the meat was pounded to a 1/4", the bacteria are spread throughout the meat. Or, is only the surface a problem?

Generally only the outer surfaces of whole muscle cuts are contaminated, but when you roll a roulade, part of that outer surface area ends up in the inside of the roll; you can't just blanch the whole roll, you'd have to blanch and chill the meat before rolling. That should work fine, unless your meat is pounded very very thin, in which case blanching might make the meat tear when you contort it and would probably overcook it before it ever hit the water bath. Of course, your FILLING could be contaminated as well, so make sure you have considered that as well.

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For the turkey confit, I cured it for 5 hours or so in salt, pepper and brine, then washed off most of the cure and packed it away with a stick or two of thyme and a couple tablespoons of duck fat and cooked it at 176 degrees for 12 hours. Then I chilled it in an ice bath, removed the bags and removed some of the cartilage and then put it in the fridge until service. At which point I threw it into a 420 degree oven and then the broiler to crisp up the skin. It was fine, but almost dry, if you can believe that.

I sure can: if it spent more than couple of minutes in that oven/broiler, it probably got well above the 176F at which you cooked it -- at which point you lost the benefits of the SV.

I'd urge you to try it again, crisp the skin off the meat itself, and serve it out of the bag, or perhaps brought to 160-70F after chilling. SV is a technique that requires a different set of tolerances and approaches than other methods, and with practice I'll bet you'll find a few things that for you are unmatched.

You might be right, though I don't believe a few minutes under a broiler would raise the entire thigh from 35 degrees to over 170. But I tasted it before it went in the oven - right after I SV'd it. It is hard to resist eating some when you're picking through it as I transferred it from the bag to another container. The bag itself had tons of juices/fat in it. Maybe all of it rendered out? or maybe the heritage bird just isn't marbled like the old butterball.

For the turkey, I would suggest you try what I've seen produce the best results at my work: remove any unwanted cartilage, bones, fat, blood vessels, and whatever else BEFORE you bag the meat (definitely possible, people bone out whole chickens without breaking the skin), then bag, cook, and chill in the bag. For service, rewarm the meat IN THE BAG in your circulator. You don't need to rewarm it to 175 degrees; 144.5 should do you just fine, but a turkey leg will probably take at least 20 minutes to a half an hour to warm through. Then cut it out of the bag, dry thoroughly, season, and crisp the skin however you want to. The meat is already hot, so don't slam it in the oven and forget about it, just focus on getting the skin how you like it. I probably wouldn't even bother resting it, but if you do you just need to flash it in a hot oven for a minute right before you serve it. Of course, you can't make a sauce out of the anything inside the bag this way...

As to all the juices in the bag after you cook the meat, I think you're right to be worried about them. It's rare for us to get to look so directly at how much we've dried out a piece of meat, but that is in fact lost water that you're never getting back inside the turkey. Perhaps 176 was too high? I imagine you got that number from someone else who has had good results, but what are other people cooking turkey legs at?

Then again, I've never cooked a turkey leg SV, so I may be full of it...

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Why are you cooking to 175F with sv? That'll dry your meat! Even USDA says 165 for oven roasting. I don't have the tables in front of me but the right SV temp has to be like 60 or 65 deg C for a few hours.

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Why are you cooking to 175F with sv? That'll dry your meat! Even USDA says 165 for oven roasting. I don't have the tables in front of me but the right SV temp has to be like 60 or 65 deg C for a few hours.

Many people like the texture of dark meat cooked at 175F. There is a confit-like texture.

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Indeed. I just did 4 turkey legs and 4 turkey thighs, 12 hrs @ 80C (cured 48hrs before). A cooler + sous vide magic can do a good amount of meat in a go :). Very very nice texture. I found it was not quite as silky as my previous turkey leg confit tries (done in duck fat), but this may be the meat selection or other factor (time?), and still was very very close. It is a little drier then duck confit, but still very moist and silky over all and is wonderful in salad, etc.

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There are posts further up the list that talk about a 30 second dunk in 180F to kill any pathogens before a long cook. I found it when I recently had some short ribs that smelled a bit off. Essentially, there can be pathogens that while they are eventually handled by the long cook, can create lactic acid in the initial couple of hours that will cause the odor. The dunk takes care of them.

I'm trying short ribs for the first time this week and am thinking about the anti-pathogen dunk -- but would it also work to give the short ribs a quick sear with a blowtorch prior to bagging?

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There are posts further up the list that talk about a 30 second dunk in 180F to kill any pathogens before a long cook. I found it when I recently had some short ribs that smelled a bit off. Essentially, there can be pathogens that while they are eventually handled by the long cook, can create lactic acid in the initial couple of hours that will cause the odor. The dunk takes care of them.

I'm trying short ribs for the first time this week and am thinking about the anti-pathogen dunk -- but would it also work to give the short ribs a quick sear with a blowtorch prior to bagging?

...might want to do both unless you are incredibly thorough blowtorching the surface. Cooking Issues recommends searing meat before and after sv'ing, and I can certainly taste the difference.

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There are posts further up the list that talk about a 30 second dunk in 180F to kill any pathogens before a long cook. I found it when I recently had some short ribs that smelled a bit off. Essentially, there can be pathogens that while they are eventually handled by the long cook, can create lactic acid in the initial couple of hours that will cause the odor. The dunk takes care of them.

I'm trying short ribs for the first time this week and am thinking about the anti-pathogen dunk -- but would it also work to give the short ribs a quick sear with a blowtorch prior to bagging?

...might want to do both unless you are incredibly thorough blowtorching the surface. Cooking Issues recommends searing meat before and after sv'ing, and I can certainly taste the difference.

Below is a quote from an email I recently sent to one of my readers about this:

So, there are three types of microorganisms in food: beneficial, spoilage, and pathogenic. Some microorganisms are both beneficial and spoilage, but pathogenic microorganisms are neither beneficial nor spoilage --- which is why you can't taste or smell pathogenic microorganisms. The most heat resistant pathogenic microorganism (C. perfringens) can grow at temperatures up to 126.1°F (52.3°C). A few beneficial and spoilage microorganisms, however, are thermophiles that thrive between about 110°F and 175°F; so the theory behind dunking the raw meet in boiling water before cooking it sous vide is that it'll kill any of the thermophilic microorganisms on the surface of the meat.

That said, so long as your meat doesn't smell going into the bag, it's very unlikely that it'll develop a funk while cooking sous vide --- even when cooking at 130°F for 1--3 days. I've never had a problem with any of my meat smelling off when I've removed it from its pouch. (This may be because I have a very sensitive nose and I always smell my food before I vacuum seal it.)


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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Thanks Doug! Just what I wanted to hear -- will do a smell test and a quick sear using a butane torch before bagging. Vadouvan Short Ribs here I come! :o)

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For the last few years I’ve pretended I’m in 19th century England and cooked a goose for Christmas. A little absurd for a Jewish guy, but, what the heck, in for a dime, in for a dollar! Since I didn’t have Scrooge to chip in, I’ve ordered my goose – and, given the cost of a nice plump goose, I can see why old Ebeneezer was slow to pull the trigger.

On Fannie’s Last Supper (a documentary put together by the America’s Test Kitchen folks) they explained that a goose is like a turkey in that the breasts and legs have very different cooking requirements - only 10 times worse than a turkey. My experiences bear that out – it’s been a real mixed bag of good portions and bad from different parts of the bird in different years. After having excellent results with turkey parts sous vide, I thought I’d try the goose sous vide this year.

Turkey legs with a little goose fat at 180F for 10-12 hours were exceptional, so I figured goose leg quarters would get the same treatment. The goose breast would be treated like duck breast; sealed with a little goose fat at 130F for 4 hours. The skin would be removed from both, fat scraped off wherever possible and the skin placed between silpat sheets on baking trays, pressed with weights and put in the oven at 350F for 45 minutes or so.

Concerns include – but are not limited to – the fact that the goose breast is different than duck breast, goose leg quarters are different from turkey legs, and that the skin will take a much longer time to render because of the thickness of the fat layer (scraping might not work so well). In fact, there might be so much fat that it will overflow the tray!

My sous vide bible – Douglas’ book - doesn’t even mention goose. Since this is for a holiday dinner (with guests – one of whom is a chef) and purchasing a “test goose” will set the price of this dinner into the range of a down payment on Nathan’s book, any suggestions regarding any of this will be appreciated.

TIA.

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It sounds like a good plan to me. When I made SV turkey legs & thighs at Thanksgiving, I found that I had to do a bit of scraping of the skin about half-way through the Silpat squeeze n bake; the skin was firm enough to withstand a bit of abuse. Probably could do that with the goose skin, and pour off some rendered fat as well.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Are goose legs/thighs more similar to duck than turkey? If so, you can do a duck leg style confit. It renders the fat nicely and the meat is still moist... I used to do 185F for duck confit, then 176, but I think the last time I did it at 155 for 24 hours and it came out best... I'm sure others can chime in as well since there is lots of duck confit experience here...

If the goose breast is similar to duck, you can remove the skin/fat layer prior to cooking, then cook the meat at 131 or 132 for medium-rare (do you eat goose this way?). Or, if the meat is not as red, and leaner than duck (more similar to turkey), maybe the more chicken/turkey approach of 140F would be better. You can prick the fat layer/skin with a jaccard or dog brush, then bag and cook SV at like 185 for a few hours to render the fat and break down the connective tissue... then you can crisp on the sheetpans between a silpat and it'll get really crispy.

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I am going to do a whole beef tenderloin for a Christmas party this weekend. Traditionally, I have marinated my tenderloin in a combination of soy, oil, sherry, oj and lots of raw garlic, then roasted it at 425 for 25 minutes. My question is how the raw garlic will affect cooking the tenderloin sous vide. While normally I would cut slits in the tenderloin and insert the garlic, I know that using raw garlic in sous vide cooking is a problem. However, if I just marinate the beef in the mixture with raw garlic and then remove it before cooking, will that work, or will the garlicky marinade be enough to destroy the beef in the sous vide cooking process?

Thanks.

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