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adey73

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 3)

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Hello, Everyone!

Finally, after many months, if not years of  waiting I was able to put my hands on a "real deal" immersion circulator, as well as - call me crazy! - "Sous-vide" book by Joan Roca and Salvador Brugués.

Let me share a few observations, and also give you a review of the said book.

Well, let's talk cooking first.

This Christmas I had a chance to make a few things  for a festive dinner, including an original recipe we called "Steak and Potatoes":

Akaushi Heritage Beef (see http:www.heartbrandbeef.com) cooked “sous-vide”, Fresh Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, Périgueux Sauce

You can see it on Flickr: http://flickr.com/photos/22220907@N08/2139716390/,

and I'll try to attach a picture here:

gallery_57905_2_170605.jpg

gallery_57905_2_1115044.jpg

Akaushi beef itself deserves a discussion, for now here how it was cooked:

original vacuum packaging ( just the way it came form the meat cutter) - 145F poach for 90+ minutes - seasoned after poaching with Long Balinese Pepper and Grains of Paradise - quick sear in clarified butter - Périgueux Sauce - presentation and serving.

Steak was cooked to perfect medium rare and surprisingly well seasoned, texture was somewhat similar to that of cooked veal tongue, but softer and jucier, so overall this dish was a success.

Few observations:

- I will not rely on meat cutter's vacuum packaging ever again - it's unadequate ( one of the bags was leaking from the get go - I ended up eating that steak myself).

- seasoning after poaching gives you - surprisingly! - more control, and doesn't overpower the original beef flavor, but rather compliments it very well.

- searing is mandatory! (well ... for North American taste, anyway) Clarified butter is the way to go, in my opinion.

- Temperature: why cook at higher temps? I don't see one good reason ... Cook and HOLD  it at the temperature you want - you won't overcook your meat, which one of the reasons for "sous-vide" anyway, and you don't have to watch the clock.

Finally, if your vacuum packaging is not good enough - double bag it! I still prefer and industrial strength Cryovac/Multivac, but who has those at home? I ended up going to a local Mom&Pap butcher - for $1 per bag ... ohhh-hhh what a bargain!

Next time I'll cook foie, as per the Sous Vide Bible. You'll be the first to hear the results - it's a promise!

This thread is the BOMB! First time poster here.

Question what cut of beef did you use? Akaushi is really expensive and how does it compare to american kobe?

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Here we have the makings of a simple check valve fitting. We have a Nylon bolt and nut, a Check Valve , some Tygon tubing , a drill bit and a small cutoff wheel.

gallery_35591_5593_5301.jpg

I drilled through the bolt

gallery_35591_5593_12869.jpg

I used the cutoff wheel to cut grooves in the head of the bolt (not showing that well in the photo) and smooth off some of the threads on the end.

gallery_35591_5593_51746.jpg

I used a hole punch

gallery_35591_5593_43998.jpg

gallery_35591_5593_3513.jpg

I put the bolt through the hold (bolt head inside bag) and threaded the nut on tight. I then attached a piece of Tygon tubing and inserted the check valve making sure that the flow was _from_ the bag.

gallery_35591_5593_21926.jpg

I added some very rare and hard to find items along with 16 ounces of (South) New Jersey tap water.

gallery_35591_5593_18659.jpg

I closed the bag with an impulse sealer, but you could use your FoodSaver by hitting the instant close button that cuts the vacuum.

gallery_35591_5593_39135.jpg

*imagine a photo here of a person sucking the air out of the bag through the check valve*

I then sealed the bag again just behind the check valve.

gallery_35591_5593_1029.jpg

I then cut the check valve off the bag.

gallery_35591_5593_17950.jpg

Rather than removing the air using my head I could have put the bag in a FoodSaver jar and then vacuumed the jar. This does work. In fact I tested the vacuum on my hand held WineSaver unit and it pulls better than 27hg. Not bad. What you want to do if you use the jar method is to restrict the space as much as possible to give something for the bag to push up against as it expands to force the air out. When you open the jar the bag will shrink and your liquid will be pulled up into the tube going to the check valve and probably into the check valve. Because the valves I am using are inexpensive and designed for liquids I'm not worried about them.

Do I think this is the best method to achieve putting liquid in a bag with a FoodSaver? It works :) Do I think you can do the same thing without a check valve? Yes, I can think of a few more ways to do it.

Anyway, I hope that gives everyone some ideas.


Edited by pounce (log)

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Since I was doing photos and everyone has been showing off the setups I thought I would share mine.

This is a Julabo head that I have mounted on a custom lexan deck/lid covering a counter food warmer/steam table.

The Julabo head comes off with a few screws. I've run this same setup replacing the Julabo head with a swamp cooler pump with heating provided by the unit and an Auber PID. Works great either way.

It's only in the living room for the fashion shots. :cool:

gallery_35591_5593_101384.jpg

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Pounce – that’s just great. I’ve tried all kinds of Heath Robinson methods to seal in liquids with my FoodSaver and the bags never seal properly if there’s even the slightest kink. For most jobs, I’ve taken to putting a second seal to stop leakage.

PS I love the idea of having a chaise longue next to the water bath. Something to rest upon whilst waiting for the 24hr wing rib to cook!

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This thread is the BOMB! First time poster here.

Question what cut of beef did you use? Akaushi is really expensive and how does it compare to american kobe?

I used two 8 oz. Flat Iron steaks, cut in two 4 oz pc. just before plating. Akaushi beef is outrageously expensive, indeed. The steaks were very well marbled, meat was somewhat darker in color, but very tender, with almost a touch of game taste to it. I still prefer American Wagyu/Kobe - that buttery fat flavor .... ahhh-hhhh , how can you beat that?

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This is a Julabo head that I have mounted on a custom lexan deck/lid covering a counter food warmer/steam table.

Pounce,

At the resolution of the posted image I can't read the brand name on your warmer. It looks like a nice size for a countertop unit. Who's is it?

Doc

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Its a Julabo - doubles as a swimming pool in the winter months.

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Mike do you have a good source for american kobe that would ship? It's so hard to find good kobe in minneapolis.

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This is a Julabo head that I have mounted on a custom lexan deck/lid covering a counter food warmer/steam table.

Pounce,

At the resolution of the posted image I can't read the brand name on your warmer. It looks like a nice size for a countertop unit. Who's is it?

Doc

It's an Omcan TS-9000. This unit is frequently rebranded as someting else. I got it on ebay new for just over 100. It's a very nice unit, worth every penny.

http://www.instawares.com/omcan-food-warme...-ts9000.0.7.htm


Edited by pounce (log)

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I just recently bought a poly probath for $329. It's about as affordable as a new waterbath can get, and I think it's great so far. Think of it as buying 1.5 Le Cruset pots. :) I was a bit alarmed at 1st, as it was made out of cheap plastic and relatively light. But the thing words great, and the light weight makes it easier for me to pour out the water. It's very quite, and there's no doubt it was meant to be on for as long as you want it to be on. It's lab equipment after all. And the size is perfect for home use as well, a big plus over the ebay ones that sport huge machines with small volume capacity. There are just so many things you can do with it; I think it's a great investment.

One of the other reasons why I wanted a new one rather than an old ebay one (which would still be great I assume) was that I wanted something I could put food directly in if I wanted to. The technique of pre-cooking potatoes at 70C is really great, and I wanted to be able to just toss the potatoes in the water bath instead of some rusty metal thing.

Also, I've been SVing chicken breast at 160F, but I noticed people doing it as low as 140F on these boards. Is that safe? Ideally, I'd like to go as low as I can of course, but there's a big difference betwee 160F and 140F, and 160-ish is the bacteria threshold... Sorry if this has been talked about before, but this is a damn long post!


Edited by phan1 (log)

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Also, I've been SVing chicken breast at 160F, but I noticed people doing it as low as 140F on these boards.  Is that safe?  Ideally, I'd like to go as low as I can of course, but there's a big difference betwee 160F and 140F, and 160-ish is the bacteria threshold...  Sorry if this has been talked about before, but this is a damn long post!

140F is safe IF you make sure that the chicken is at 140F for a long enough time. Nathan has posted tables for calculating how long you need to cook a particular thickness of meat at a particular temperature to attain the target temperature. There is also a link on the list to the FDA tables that describe how long poultry needs to spend at a particular temperature to be sterile.

You add the sterilization time to the time it takes the meat to get completely to temp. An hour or so for most of the chicken breasts that I have cooked has been more than enough time for them to be safe to eat -- but get the tables to be sure. The time goes up dramatically the thicker the meat is.

I have cooked chicken breasts as low as 132 (they need to spend a lot longer at 132 to become sterile than they do at 140 by the way) but prefer the texture when cooked at 140 or so. At 140, I find the result tender and plump. At 132 I find the texture a little mushy -- but some prefer the texture at 132.

If you do a search in this topic for "tables" you should find them.

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It's an Omcan TS-9000. This unit is frequently rebranded as someting else. I got it on ebay new for just over 100. It's a very nice unit, worth every penny.

http://www.instawares.com/omcan-food-warme...-ts9000.0.7.htm

Pounce,

Thanks. Just scaling from the spec height of 10" and the location of the drain, would I be close if I guessed that the net tank depth is about 7"?

Doc

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Also, I've been SVing chicken breast at 160F, but I noticed people doing it as low as 140F on these boards.  Is that safe? 

I have found that chicken breasts work best for my family at 153F for 2 hrs (wrapped individually), but you can certainly go down to 140F if you want to.

As for safety, I found a research paper by some folks in Ireland where they showed that at 60C (140F), the decimation time (the time required to reduce the viable bacteria population by a factor of 10) for the most virulent thermotolerant bacteria is about 17 min (I think they were modeling pepperoni production). Since you want to take the bacterial count down to less than 1/cc, this means you want to run with the food at a core temp of 140F for 7 decimation times. So, adding 40 min to get the core up to 140F and 7x17min at temp, you should plan for at least 3 hr. Above 60C, the decimation times come down very quickly. On the other hand, if the food is for immediate consumption and it was whole muscle meat and it has been well kept and is clean and is salted when you start, you can use a shorter time, but that is your call.

Doc

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Also, I've been SVing chicken breast at 160F, but I noticed people doing it as low as 140F on these boards.  Is that safe?

I have found that chicken breasts work best for my family at 153F for 2 hrs (wrapped individually), but you can certainly go down to 140F if you want to.

67C for chicken breast? That's too high for me. I mean, it's good at that temperature compared to the usual dried-out cottony whole chicken breast cooked by conventional means (which is why I only do scallopini if cooking chicken breast conventionally), but I vastly prefer 60C. I just follow the timetables and cook to sterilization.

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I just recently bought a poly probath for $329.  It's about as affordable as a new waterbath can get, and I think it's great so far.  Think of it as buying 1.5 Le Cruset pots.  :)  I was a bit alarmed at 1st, as it was made out of cheap plastic and relatively light.  But the thing words great, and the light weight makes it easier for me to pour out the water.  It's very quite, and there's no doubt it was meant to be on for as long as you want it to be on.  It's lab equipment after all.  And the size is perfect for home use as well, a big plus over the ebay ones that sport huge machines with small volume capacity.  There are just so many things you can do with it; I think it's a great investment.

Phan1, can you tell me more about this unit. It looks like the PERFECT home unit. How much can you fit in the chamber? Could you get four steaks or chicken breasts in there with enough room for the water to move around? Have you tested the temps for accuracy. Does the chamber come out for cleaning - if so could it be used as a crock pot (much like Alton I am generally opposed to uni-taskers)?

I assume there is no circulation in it other than convection, maybe some of the others here can comment on the need for it.

NOTE: I have emailed Revolutionary Science for more details as well.


Edited by syoung68 (log)

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. . . I wanted something I could put food directly in if I wanted to.  The technique of pre-cooking potatoes at 70C is really great, and I wanted to be able to just toss the potatoes in the water bath instead of some rusty metal thing.

I've thought about this a bit with my setup, and decided against putting food directly into the waterbath. Ultimately I was swayed by two factors:

1. I didn't want to get potato starch (or any other bits of organic material) on my circulator. This seems like asking for trouble and a maintenance hassle.

2. It's perfectly easy to dump a bunch of sliced potatoes (or whatever) and water into an open bag or a rigid container, and then clip the bag or container to the side of the water bath. There is no need to seal the bag or the container in this context.

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I recently got the Auber Instruments PID controller and have used it for a couple of days with a 6 qt Presto multi-cooker (which can be had for about $25 or so). The controller is working as advertised. I am about to experiment with brisket sous-vide (I may need to use a larger vessel with a cheap immersion heater as TheSwede as done since even a small brisket would be pretty large compared to the water volum).

I have looked through the archives to see if there is a consensus on the best settings for brisket. But there aren't many data points. I see that Nathan has recommended 130F for 36 hours and that someone else recently did one at a higher temp for 48 hours.

If anyone has a 'killer' time/temp combo for brisket, please post it.

As an aside, I see that Hamilon Beach makes a multicooker that is really an immersion heater and goes for about $40. If the el-cheapo 300 watt immersion heater doesn't work, I may hack the Hamilton Beach thingie and use it in a large stockpot.

More notes on my setup (for others looking to do sous vide on the cheap). The temps have been quite stable with very little initial oveshoot (I am starting with water that is close to the target temperature) and the temps have been pretty uniform inside the cooker. If the bag is too large there can be temperature gradients of a few degrees but using a cheap aquarium pump and airstone solves that. I happened to have an old aquarium pump in the garage but they can be had new for about $10.

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As an aside, I see that Hamilon Beach makes a multicooker that is really an immersion heater and goes for about $40. If the el-cheapo 300 watt immersion heater doesn't work, I may hack the Hamilton Beach thingie and use it in a large stockpot.

Yea, these look pretty good. I saw one the other day and thought they would work well. Let us know how it goes. It looked to me like it wouldn't be too difficult to design a mount that could be fixed to a pot or whatever to accept the heating element from the multicooker.

On of these and a PID plus the fish pump or swamp pump for a larger tank and you have a pretty cheap solution.


Edited by pounce (log)

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Seems like Hamilton Beach might have the makings of an affordable consumer-level sous vide setup if they subbed a PID for the thermostat on their units ...

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If anyone has a 'killer' time/temp combo for brisket, please post it.
FWIW, Thomas Keller at FL uses 147° for 48 hours.

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If anyone has a 'killer' time/temp combo for brisket, please post it.
FWIW, Thomas Keller at FL uses 147° for 48 hours.

I am about 20 hrs into the cooking of a 4 lb brisket at 147F. I was originally planning to cook it for 48 hours but due to a schedule change, it would be better if I finished cooking tonight which would put the cook time at about 26 or 27 hours.

Can anyone with brisket experience tell me if it will be a disaster to eat the brisket at only 27 hours? (I.e. will it still be tough or will 27 hours have been enough time to make it tender).

Thanks!

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To answer my own question, this 4 lb brisket cooked for 27 hours at 147F came out nicely. It was on the firm side of tender. It was not tough and was very tasty. Next cook will be for 48 hrs with the identical prep (rubbed with my favorite dry rub) so that I can compare. (I also want to try a cook at 135F for 48 hrs)

The setup that I used was an 8 qt le creuset pot setup with a 300 watt el-cheapo immersion heater (the $10 variety used to heat water in a mug) contolled by an Auber Instruments PID controller. The pot was put on a burner of my gas stove. The flame was set very very low (low enough that the temperature of the pot would drop slowly without the assistance of the immersion heater). The immersion heater's job was basically just to assist the gas.

(For anyone wondering why I didn't just the stove without the immersion heater, the reason is that with the flame turned up even slightly more the temperature slowly kept rising in my earlier tests so that after a few hours the temperature had risen a few degrees).

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Thanks for the update. We brisket lovers will look forward to future experiments. It's all in the interest of science!

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Unfortunately, souse vide chicken breast doesn't taste special to me like the way SV salmon does. I find chicken breast to be the unappealing, dry, crappy part of the chicken that no one wants to eat. I was hoping SV would change that, but it doesn't. SV seafood is absolutely fantastic though. :)

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I just recently bought a poly probath for $329.  It's about as affordable as a new waterbath can get, and I think it's great so far.  Think of it as buying 1.5 Le Cruset pots.  :)  I was a bit alarmed at 1st, as it was made out of cheap plastic and relatively light.  But the thing words great, and the light weight makes it easier for me to pour out the water.  It's very quite, and there's no doubt it was meant to be on for as long as you want it to be on.  It's lab equipment after all.  And the size is perfect for home use as well, a big plus over the ebay ones that sport huge machines with small volume capacity.  There are just so many things you can do with it; I think it's a great investment.

Phan1, can you tell me more about this unit. It looks like the PERFECT home unit. How much can you fit in the chamber? Could you get four steaks or chicken breasts in there with enough room for the water to move around? Have you tested the temps for accuracy. Does the chamber come out for cleaning - if so could it be used as a crock pot (much like Alton I am generally opposed to uni-taskers)?

I assume there is no circulation in it other than convection, maybe some of the others here can comment on the need for it.

NOTE: I have emailed Revolutionary Science for more details as well.

Yup, 4 steaks would fit in there just fine. Just make sure you vaccum seal it so it doesn't float on top of the water. Size-wise, it's really perfect. The only downside is that the temperature raises slowly. I'd say it takes about 2 hours for it to come from room temperature to 70C. But SV is about setting it and forgetting it, so it's not a big deal to me.

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      Jose Andres recipes from Tapas in RecipeGullet:
      Potatoes Rioja-Style with Chorizo (Patatas a la Riojana)
      Moorish-Style Chickpea and Spinach Stew
      Squid with Caramelized Onions
    • By gibbs
      With Modernist Cuisine I waited a couple of years and ended up with a copy from the 6th printing run the advantage of this was that all errors picked up in the erratta had been corrected in the print copy.  I am looking to get modernist bread soon and wondered if someone had purchased it recently to check or if someone knew of hand if they have printed any additional corrected runs 
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