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


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I just got some beef cheeks from niman ranch, has anyone tried them sous-vide or is the connective tissue a little much.....as is I'm going to braise them in a reduction of wine and stock.

If your beef cheeks aren't already history, I picked up a recipe for cooking them at a recent Slow Food demo here in Melbourne - http://cookingdownunder.com/articles/2006/slowfood.htm

Fergus Henderson's roast suckling pig is on the same page, for anyone who's interested.

Thanks, I'll be ordering more to play around with as I get comfortable with them....I've always wanted to do the whole suckling pig as well, and Niman also carries that at their central distribution center. Something tells me that the whole pig won't be fitting into my water bath.

On another note: Has anyone tried doing a full "Dessert in a Bag" with Sous Vide?

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Hope this hasn't been posted before, but Techne seems to have some good links to other info sources, as follows:

Vendor home page:Techne Sous Vide cooking

Photos from recent NYC demo/course:G. Pralus at Bouley Test Kitchens

Legal/Regulatory Environment in NYC:as of May 2006

"Everything You Need to Know": Commercial Backgrounder


Philadelphia, PA, USA and Sandwich, Kent, UK

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  • 3 weeks later...

I’m jumping into this thread kind of late as I was just directed to this thread recently from another EG member (Thanks, Pielle of Montreal).

Regarding the loss of water during high temp (for a simple water bath) Sous Vide cooking: If your water bath is deep enough, dump in some plastic, non-wiffle type, golf balls to a mono-golf ball thickness. These floating balls reduce the surface area, thus reducing evaporation loss of the water while maintaining accessibility to water bath (e.g., temperature probe wires). I actually use plastic balls made specifically for limiting evaporative loss from hot water processing tanks. I've also used a sheet of Lexan™ that was cut to fit the opening of my laboratory water baths. My experiences with auto-fill (constant level) devices ate they always seem to fail when I’m not around. The Lexan™ cover work very well. I performed a 20 day, constant temperature exposure study at 200°F in a water bath only having to top-off the bath every other day or so (like over the weekend). Another option if evaporation is a concern is to use an oil as a working fluid. No evaporation concerns; just really messy. Using oil will allow for cooking temperatures >100°C (not that anyone would do that as the bags might fail).

Those with laboratory water baths: If temperature of the working fluid is important, check the water temperature with an independent measuring device (T/C or thermometer). I’ve worked with some water baths that were off by ~5°C.


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Regarding the loss of water during high temp (for a simple water bath) Sous Vide cooking: If your water bath is deep enough, dump in some plastic, non-wiffle type, golf balls to a mono-golf ball thickness.

In my experience, ping pong balls float, and golf balls sink (which is why golf courses have water traps). So, ping pong balls are much better for this application.

This method works reasonably well, but I think that a cover works even better


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There are three main issues with using a water bath medium other than water to get higher temperature.

The first is that you need bags that will take the heat. Most heat-sealable vacuum bags will NOT take that kind of heat, and tend to get soft around 100C.

There are vacuum bags available that will take typical autoclave temperatures (121C / 250F). I am not aware of any vacuum sealing bags that go above that.

However, as soon as you go above the boiling point of water, you have a second problem, which is that the bags explode!

The reason is that water in the bag (water is the largest ingredient of meat, vegetables and so forth) will boil and the steam pressure will inflate, then burst, the bag.

This can be fixed two ways. One is to use a pressure cooker (PC), in which case you don't need a special fluid - just use water. The water does NOT need to cover the bag - steam in the PC will be enough. Best approach is to put some water in the bottom of the PC, then put in the bags. Often a PC will come with a rack for stacking things internally.

Note that this does not use a water bath. However, a PC with an accurate spring mechanism or weight will tend to keep reasonably accurate temperature. There are laboratory autoclaves that could be used this way to get a very accurate PC, but that is probably overkill for all but the most specialized application. Once you are this high temperature the precision is less important anyway.

If you REALLY want to use glycol or oil in your water bath you could hang food in bags that are open at the top rather than sealing them. This requires a way to hang the bags and keep them from falling over.

All of that said, it is unclear why you need to go above 90C for sous vide. There are things that a PC is good for, but you can just use a PC directly, rather than with sous vide bags.

The main thrust of sous vide is doing two things:

- Precision cooking where you cook at low temperature (at or close to the final core temperature)

- Convienence of having the material bagged for easy handling, clean up, and storage prior to reheating.

High temperature baths defeat the low temp precision cooking aspect. I guess if you really wanted the convienence factor then pressure cooking sous vide would be worthwhile.... but after trying it I tend to just use the PC directly without the bags.


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I'm not sure anyone suggested high temp sous vide, but if you raise the boiling point of your medium you have less evaporation. I tend to just use a lid on my bath.

I use glass canning jars sometimes in my waterbath. These can take a little pressure and will allow gas to escape. If I wanted to use high temps I'd probably use jars. Obviously they wont come up to temp as fast as a bag, but thats not a real issue in longer times.

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yes, of course you are right..... high boiling point means it would evaporate less. The only issue is wehther the mess is a problem - anything which doesn't evaporate also won't dry. Cooking oil is another option.

I'd rather just keep a lid on my water bath and just use water.

Incidentally, make sure that you drain and replace the water regularly. It can get funky from bits of food that dissolve in the water - often from the outside of the bag, or from the top of the bag above the seal.


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I have probably missed something in this long thread, but what about "sous vide" leftovers...

I cooked short ribs at 60 Degrees C for 36 hours. I have some leftovers, is it safe to eat them the following day?

After the bath, I seared the meat. Taste was good, but obviously, it is my first try at cooking and tasting and it was different. The meat was not visually pleasant, but after the searing it looked good. Nevertheless, taste is the most important thing.

Anyway, what about leftovers, would they be ok?



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You don't mention if the leftovers are still in the bag or not. If they're out of the bag, it's like any other cooked meat product. Still in the bag, somewhat different.

Either way, if they were chilled soon after cooking you'll probably be fine. I've not yet died.

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60 degrees for 36 hours is definatly enough to obtain pasterisation. When you get to that point, you can definatly, as BryanZ said, treat them as any other cooked meat.

I do however, wonder about food that would be cooked below the pasterisation levels. I sometimes cook seefood, or fish in those zones. How much time could those be kept (outside the bag) without much danger, a few hours? a day? two days?

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Surely the same rules would apply. If you would cook a piece of fish or meat by traditional methods to let's say 110°F or 120° how long would you feel comfortable keeping it after cooking? I would treat protein cooked sous vide in the same way.


Ruth Friedman

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Once out of the bag, sous vide food is similar to food cooked any other way. It will go bad (of course!) and how it takes depends on the food, how cold it is kept etc.

Storage in the bag is under anaerobic conditions, so in that case you must keep very cold, and only for a few days.


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Hello all!

Rookie here... My wife cooks the day to day, I like to experiment and cook on special ocasions.

What's the difference between chicken sous-vide internal temperature vs regular cooked internal temperature?

This weekend I attempted my first sous-vide dish, cornish hens in a Jamaican Jerk spicy sauce.

I cooked them covered for 2:30 hours at 168-171 F, so the water didn't boil. Although eventually enough steam built up to raise the temperature to 175-176, at which time I released the steam, and the temperature dropped down to my sous-vide range.

After 2:30 hours I removed the chicken, it was very juicy, but the internal temperature was 151 F.

Is there a safe sous-vide internal temperature for chicken? Or it doesn't matter what the internal temperature is, as long as it's throughly cooked?

At 151 F the chicken was still a bit red inside, so I put it in the oven to finish it off... and it lost most of the moisture... :-(

Is there a temperature/time table to know how long to cook sous-vide?

I saw a posting where chicken breasts were cooked at 141 F for 40 minutes. How do you compare this with the general 180-190 F safe internal temperature for chicken?

From my first experience I would guess that at 168-171 F the chicken would have been nicely cooked in 3:30 hours.

Sorry if I'm too rookie for the group, but I'm sure that other beginers will have similar questions, and will eventually find this forum.

Thanks in advance.


(from Puerto Rico, where we BBQ chicken 365 days of the year)

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Firstly..chicken is safe to eat at 158 deg. F. not 180-190 as you say.

Also, search above for the poultry tables listed and detailed by NathanM.

How are you keeping your cooking vessel at temperature?

the safe temperature for chicken is a combination of time and tempertaure, not just temperature alone.

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I saw a posting where chicken breasts were cooked at 141 F for 40 minutes. How do you compare this with the general 180-190 F safe internal temperature for chicken?

There is a BIG problem with publicly available meat temperature recomendation. There are mostly what I would call hypocretical lies and disinformation. My guess is that meat temperature recomendations are made by Lawyers, not by cooks. Like they take the given recomendation and add 20 degrees in order to never get sued over food safety issues.

General recomendation for BLOODY red meat that comes with thermometers is 140 F. This is pure BS. 140 gives you gray meat, maybe with a hint of redness, but nothing near rare or bloody.

I have seen recomendations for cooking pork pink at 160 F, again a straight lie.

Same with chicken. 180-190 is your a good recomendation if you want dry chicken, but is nothing near a minimal safety requerement.

Lets kick the lawers out of the kitchen and reestablish the truth!

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Thank you for , once again, setting the record straight. I think that it is the cook-book publishers

who are shaking in their boots, afraid of lawsuits. I have complained to several chef/authors of great recipes ruined because following their temperature guidelines leads to overcooked food. They blame the editors. A few brave recipe authors cover themselves by giving the temperature to which they think the protein should be cooked and then adding the USDA recommended temperatures in parentheses. That is fine.

Ruth Friedman

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The misinformation about food saftey is enormous. One direction is exaggerating the requiments, yielding dried out food.

However, in some cases the commonly used guidelines are dangerously wrong in the other direction becaues they don't emphasize time-at-temperature.

I am writing a lot about this in the cookbook I am working on.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Any experiences on Duck Confit done Sous Vide? I just recieved 20 pounds of legs and fat from Liberty Ducks and I'm going to do most traditionally, but I wanted to do a little experiment to see how it holds up this way......my only concern is that the liquid left in the leg won't have a chance to escape and evaporate, but the sous-vide batch would also be only for immediate consumption, and I won't be storing them in the back of my fridge for a few months.

I'm thinking a time/temp of 165-180/12hrs.

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