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francois

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 2)

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Interesting. Maybe the people at Reynolds are establishing marketshare as SV goes mainstream!

Personally, I'm finding the ziploc and a straw technique is very effective. I can remove more air this way than I can with my (low end) electric sealer. But then again, I really suck.

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I picked up some inexpensive items to further experiment with at home using the "low and slow vacuum bag" approach. Our store cuts price in half on stuff they say should be eaten or frozen within 48 hours, and since I rarely plan meals that far in advance it all works out.

So we have a dozen chicken drumsticks and a big tray of (unseasoned, despite label) pork side ribs:

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Some drumsticks go into a re-used milk bag (with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, brown sugar) get sucked and sealed:

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Its an old hand-me-down vacuum sealer but it does a pretty good job getting air out and sealing stuff in:

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I gave them around 3 hours at 75 C. On the left is chicken only, the right is the "teriyaki" described above:

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Close-up of chicken only:

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It really sets up after cooling:

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Both chickens had great flavour, but I do think it is worth adding some seasoning beforehand. After all is said and done, I think I prefer crispy oven-baked drumsticks because of the crunchy skin. Duck legs, however, are perfect sv candidates.

For the pork, I used a single large ziploc bag which leaked a lot. I only have a before shot but I can say it still tasted great once the sauce was added and it was crisped up in the broiler. Remarkably, almost all the bones squirted right out of the meat during the sv step, also 3 hours at 75 C. I considered filling the holes with asparagus or something to make a strange presentation, but the savages got too hungry.

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I know many have done sv ribs overnight or for 24+ hours. I'll try again, but it'll be hard to beat my current fave technique of steaming the ribs until tender, then barBQing in a sauce featuring the steaming juice.

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Peter the eater

I love the idea of using the milk bag and Ziploc, your giving me courage.

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How can you vac bag a piece of watermelon with a foodsaver???If there is any liquid near the seal it does not seal...(at least mine will not)

Just make the bag extra-long, put the watermelon in the bottom of the bag and put a pleated paper towel around 2/3 of the way up.

Or, freeze the watermelon first, then use the Foodsaver to vacuum pack it while still frozen. Then let it thaw. This will introduce some texture changes due to the freezing or course.

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This is clearly going to be one hell of an in-depth book.  :smile:  Just out of curiosity, can we expect much about how much sous vide really affects penetration of marinades? Hoping to read more about your experiments using sous vide in conjunction with the Jaccard, too, both in the way it alters retention of natural juices when cooking, and whether it makes any difference when infusing.

Yes, it will be in depth, and that is why it is taking a while to put together.

I will discuss vacuum marination in the book.

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I think I read on Chadzilla's blog that they are about ban Sous-vide in American restaurants because they can't guarentee that the process kills aerobic bacteria.

Is this true?

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Has anyone seen these: Reynolds Handi-Vac?

So I tried this for dinner tonight: I did chicken breasts since that's what I had in the fridge. I was concerned about the non-food-safety of heating a freezer bag up to 160 F so I "double-bagged" the chicken: I cut up a slow-cooker bag and put the chicken between two pieces of it, along with schmaltz, salt, pepper, and some fresh herbs (chives, thyme and parsley). I vacuumed it up and put it in a water bath at 160 degrees (I just used my stove top here). I gave it about 30 minutes, as a totally arbitrary time amount that I knew would be long enough to heat the chicken through: the result: success!! :smile: The chicken was great, the bag seal held, and the vacuum was strong enough to keep the bag firmly pressed into the chicken holding the "marinade" there during the whole cooking process. I am happy to report that at least simple sous vide cooking can be accomplished by the really cheap (grad student salary!) cook. I also got a new gadget out of the deal - the vacuum bags for the thing are quite clever. :cool:

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I bought some of the Reynolds bags today at Walmart. I wanted to see how they are doing the seal. There was a pallet of the $10 Handi-Vac's in the isle, but no pallet of bags. I located the shelf for the bags and there was only one box of quart size.

After playing with the bags I'd say they are a good cheap alternative to a Foodsaver if you like to get into the bag a lot and re-seal. The bags are Polyethylene so they should be as safe as the FoodSaver bags, but they are not nylon on the outside so they are not intended for boiling. You will find that nowhere on the Reynolds Handi-Vac site do they mention heating the bag except that you can defrost in the open bags at 30% power in the microwave. I doubt these bags are as good as the Food Saver like bags as an oxygen barrier.

I did a test on the zipper and it holds pretty good. Not sure I would trust it for 12 hours under heat though. This will probably be a great choice for doing seafood and other delicate items.


Edited by pounce (log)

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I did a test on the zipper and it holds pretty good. Not sure I would trust it for 12 hours under heat though. This will probably be a great choice for doing seafood and other delicate items.

How did you test it? I was considering sacrificing my last bag in the name of science and trying some kind of test to see how long and/or how hot it could go.

I should also point out that not all polyethylene's are created equal: there are dozens of different kinds, all with different properties, so just because the foodsaver bags are PE and are safe for heat doesn't mean that the Reynold's bags are. Hence the caution I took with the (polyethylene!) slow-cooker liner.

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How did you test it?

I filled it with water and blue food coloring and put it in a pot for a while. The water in the pot came out clear. The first test was filling it with water and sqeezing it until ..well..I was wiping water off the wall. :biggrin:

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:laugh: I like it - except food coloring will never come off my painted matte-white kitchen walls (whose dumb idea was it to use matte white in the kitchen?!?). So maybe my strategy will be something like that: bring the water to a boil (the highest temp we would ever want to "sous vide" at), add the bag, and periodically check the water for traces of food coloring. Every 15 minutes, maybe? Maybe I will do it on the weekend when I am "watching" football all day.

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heh..there was just water and no food coloring in the bag when I did the squeeze test. Matte walls in the kitchen would never work for me. Lots of things explode on a regular basis.

I worked out an easy way to use the Reynolds bags without buying the Reynolds device (if you already have a vac machine). Even though they are only $10 I resisted buying one since I have way too many gadgets. For those that have Food Savers and at least one Wine Saver stopper you can easly simulate the Reynolds device. I'll post again with some pictures. What you do is disassemble the Wine Saver stopper by peeling the rubber off the hard plastic. Be careful not to lose the spring that may or may not have made it in there during manufacturing. There is also a metal ball bearing in there. Now, take the rubber end and place the fat end down on the Reynolds bag and take the accessory tube from your Food Saver and insert it into the small end of the rubber fitting. If there is a loose fit you can wrap some tape around the plastic fitting. Now hit the vacuum on the Food Saver and hold the rubber stopper down tight on the bag. The air will be sucked out of the bag. If you have one of the hand held Wine Saver vacuum machines it works even better. You can just insert the business end of the Wine Saver vac into the small end of the rubber stopper and hit the vacuum. Works great. If you were really crazy you could probably use a vacuum cleaner on the bag ...sort of like those space saver bags :)


Edited by pounce (log)

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Peter, those "easy zip" bags with the pull top are your problem, I used a double zip freezer bag and had no problems. However, like others have said about the Reynolds bags, I would not use them any any long cooking. Nathan probably has more knowledge about the stability of zip locks vs, foodsaver bags.

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Here is how I use the Reynolds Handi-Vac bags without the Handi-Vac tool. In this case I am using a Wine Saver hand held vac and a disassembled Wine Saver stopper. You can use a Food Saver tube attachment instead of the Wine Saver vac. I just don't have it in the picture.

gallery_35591_5336_155321.jpg

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Here is how I use the Reynolds Handi-Vac bags without the Handi-Vac tool. In this case I am using a Wine Saver hand held vac and a disassembled Wine Saver stopper. You can use a Food Saver tube attachment instead of the Wine Saver vac. I just don't have it in the picture.

Does the Wine Saver vacuum have a mechanism to prevent liquids from getting into the vacuum mechanism? That is one of the things that impressed my about the design on the Reynold's vac. I'm not familiar with the Wine Saver vac.

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Peter, those "easy zip" bags with the pull top are your problem, I used a double zip freezer bag and had no problems. However, like others have said about the Reynolds bags, I would not use them any any long cooking. Nathan probably has more knowledge about the stability of zip locks vs, foodsaver bags.

syoung68, yes I think you are right - I won't buy resealable bags with a zipper again for any purpose. I figure its like the disposable razor market . . . two blades is enough, no more marketing hype.

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Does the Wine Saver vacuum have a mechanism to prevent liquids from getting into the vacuum mechanism?

Yes, it does. In addition there is a fair amount of room in the rubber stopper cup.

I'm only suggesting that people with a Food Saver or Wine Saver can use the Reynolds bags without having to purchase yet another device.

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I'm only suggesting that people with a Food Saver or Wine Saver can use the Reynolds bags without having to purchase yet another device.

Makes sense to me... like I really needed another gadget :hmmm: . Your post got me thinking though: I don't have an electric wine saver, I have the hand-pumped "Vacu-Vin" system, but it works on the same principle, so I gave it a shot. It uses simple rubber stoppers, so I didn't even have to modify anything: I pressed the stopper against the vacuum port in my last bag and used the hand pump and it actually worked fine. A little more awkward than using the custom-built pump, but it doesn't require batteries, and is dishwasher safe :smile: .

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Looks great, Chris. I'm sure your Sous Vide lime turned out better than my Sous Vide racquetball. ;) I like your non electric version better. Those Vacu-Vin's are only $10 as well. Call me crazy, but I'd rather have something non electric that can also keep my wine fresh :)

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Question about confit: I recently did some duck leg confit sous-vide. Individual duck legs with salt, etc. and a tablespoon or so in each bag. 80C for around 7 hours.

So... how long is this safe to keep in the refrigerator? When prepared the traditional way, one hears of confit kept cold for months and months.

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NathanM,

After just re-reading through this thread yet again, I just bought a Jaccard 48 Blade tenderizer through ebay from the US. When you recommended this as a technique to retain moisture did you brine then spike the meat concerned or spike then brine?

And finally I'm going to braise oxtail sous-vide, to be then picked and used in a Lasagna/cannoloni dish, do you recommend the temperatures you do for making confits?

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NathanM,

            After just re-reading through this thread yet again, I just bought a Jaccard 48 Blade tenderizer through ebay from the US. When you recommended this as a technique to retain moisture did you brine then spike the meat concerned or spike then brine?

And finally I'm going to braise oxtail sous-vide, to be then picked and used in a Lasagna/cannoloni dish, do you recommend the temperatures you do for making confits?

For most beef I use the Jaccard first, and then do not brine, because brine does not benefit beef that much. For meat that you want to brine - say pork, for example - Jaccard it first because it will increase the penetration of the brine - just be careful about brining it too long because the improved penetration can make it too salty.

As BrianZ said, 70C/ to 80C for confit style meat.

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I'm a newbie here and ready to try my hand at Sous Vide- I'm pretty lucky that I live near a major university that sells off unneeded items at a surplus store very cheaply, so I was able to pick up a used Immersion Circulator for $5- and yes, I cleaned it well...and they have a strict policy for sale of lab equipment that was used for anything toxic or anything like that. I was going to use a large stock pot, but reading through this thread got me to thinking about using something insulated. I tried the university surplus store again, but no luck (though they did have a very small cold immersion circulating bath for $35 yesterday), so I headed to a couple resale shops last night and found the perfect cooler for $1.50 (half off night). I'll have to take pictures to really explain it, but it was one of those you can plug into a cig lighter to cool/heat, so I took the working part off, leaving about a 6" opening across one short end along the top to insert the immersion circ through, keeping the rest covered to cut down on evaporation & heat loss. The interior dimension are 11"x16"x8"deep- sound okay?

I already had a FoodSaver & wireless digital thermometer, so my total cost so far have been $5 for the immersion circ, $1.50 for the cooler, 50 cents for a small, flat drainage pan to bend into a protective shield to keep the bags from hitting the heating coil. Add a couple bucks for a disposable catering pan to line the cooler, and I think I have a pretty good set up for under $10...now I just have to get my courage up to actually try cooking some of the Certified Angus Beef steaks I have in the freezer. Any suggestions?

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.now I just have to get my courage up to actually try cooking some of the Certified Angus Beef steaks I have in the freezer. Any suggestions?

Season them and vacuum. Depending on how you like your steaks, set your circulator to 50-55°C (50 for rare and 55 for medium). Depending upon thickness they should take about an hour and a half to reach temperature, but you can leave them longer as they cannot overcook.

Just before you want to serve them sear over very high heat, preferably in a pre-heated cast iron pan, until caramelized (or if you use a ridged pan until you have good grill marks. You should not need more than 90 seconds per side.

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