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adey73

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

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Sorry, my bad. The image was attached to Nathan's reply to your message. It was hard to tell. Sorry, Jack.

I'm not sure I understand the difference between cooking time and safe hold times if we are talking the same temps. If we are in what the FDA calls the danger zone is there a difference between safe hold times and safe cooks times?


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

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Cooking time is the time/temperature you need to ensure a reasonable proportion of the nasties have been killed.

Hold time is the time and temperature you can hold the food at without them regrowing too much (10 generations/doubling)

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It's probably safe, but I wouldn't do it. Just a few more degrees and you are fine.

Err, that graph was one of mine, and shows the safe holding time for food once cooked, with temperature, NOT the safe cooking time.  The safe cooking times based on the FDA guidelines is here . . .

Thanks for the replies. I guess I'll stick to the amazingly delicious 24 hour/131F (55C) flat iron steaks, and not tempt getting sick from c. perfringens (or bacillus cereus or staphylococcus aureus, whose growth ranges apparently both go up to 122F {50C}).

Just to be clear, the opinion is that Blumenthal's steak recipe is questionable from a safety stand point and not that doing it SV is inherently more dangerous.


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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He relies on the interior of the meat being nearly sterile, and he sears the outside to sterilise it, and cooks the meat again subsequently.

You might get away with it if you know what you are doing, have very high general hygine levels for the whole food chain, and are not feeding immuno compromised people, the old or the young.

However it can go easily wrong: for example contamination introduced on the thermometer probe, or by a careless knife cut or fork or anything that pierces the sterile surface while handling, or the outside not being completely seared.

Getting it by a health inspector would be difficult, since its outside the guidelines,


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Hi guys - great thread!  I was just wondering, would it be acceptable in cooking meats sous vide to use a blowtorch for browning afterward and not using a pan on the stove at all?

Its perfectly fine and quite common practice.

I agree, although searing in a pan would be my preference -it allows to caramelize a larger surface than a blowtorch, and it get's done at once. The temp should be very high, so searing is quick. My lipid of choice for after SV poaching would be clarified butter, BTW.

I agree with Mike, caramelizing with a hot pan and clarified butter. I also started using cacao butter powder (like Mycryo from Cacao-Barry). Mycryo has a very high smoke point and allows a very uniform sear (caramelization) in a very short time. It is also perfect for searing non-SV products like fish, meats, vegetables and especially foie gras.

Z


Edited by ChefZ (log)

Chef Zouhbi

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All right, Lady B is sleeping, so I have a few minutes...

I made the St. Valentine's dinner last night - on an occasion like that how can you do without SV? :cool:

Artichoke Puree, Crispy Artichoke Hearts, Seared Scallop (Roca's recipe idea):

gallery_57905_5712_122856.jpg

I SV artichokes with EVOO for 45-50 minutes @ 88C - pureed about half with Long Balinese Peppper, Grains of Paradise and Shichimi Togarashi , and reserved the rest for clarified butter fry.

The texture and taste were great. I would, however shoot for a slighty lighter color on the puree next time - any suggestions, anyone? Hearts were nice golden brown color after a quick sear.

I would absolutely use Shichimi Togarashi in artichoke puree again - great flavor, implied spicy background and a hint of citrus undertone work very well. Also, Grains of Paradise add a slightly cooling, almost minty accent. If anyone makes that same dish - I would love to hear your feedback, please.

Poached Asparagus, Milk Tullie with Milk Foam, Cold Asparagus Soup, Citrus-Ginger vinaigrette , accented by Elephant Garlic and Sage Broth, Chive Oil ( inspired by Michel Bras):

gallery_57905_5712_157252.jpg

I SV asparagus with salt and sugar for about 15 minutes - color remained perfect bright green ( that's the power of vacuum - in your face, Pounce! JK :biggrin: ). Generally, I prefer vegies @ crispy al dente - it wasn't the case last night: asparagus stalks were very nice, softer "creamy" texture. I liked it, but was it overcooked? Not sure... Again, as always - suggestions and opinions, please!

This dish will remain the work-in-progress project - I liked the flavors, textures, freshness and lightness, but it needs a lot of work in the presentation dept. For a minute, I did doubt myself as a cook... Will try again, though.

Foie Gras, Honey-Citrus Cake, Strawberry Chutney, Strawberry Salad, Vanilla and Saffron Milk Foam

gallery_57905_5712_92032.jpg

This is another dish inspired by Bras and Roca (mostly the latter). Good flavors, but do prefer Heston Blumenthal's foie with cherry and almond sauces.


Edited by MikeTMD (log)

"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

***************************************

My flickr collection

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I agree with Mike, caramelizing with a hot pan and clarified butter. I also started using cacao butter powder (like Mycro from Cacao-Barry). Mycro has a very high smoke point and allows a very uniform sear (caramelization) in a very short time. It is also perfect for searing non-SV products like fish, meats, vegetables and especially foie gras.

Z

I was just watching the Cacao-Barry video. The Mycro sounds like a fascinating product. Is it possible to buy it in a small quantity? I am reluctant to buy a kilo of the stuff without trying it first. Where can one find a sample?


Ruth Friedman

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I would just call Callebaut USA and ask for a sample. Following numbers are on their web page

Barry Callebaut USA

600 West Chicago Avenue, suite 860

Chicago IL 60610 USA

Tel: +1 312 496 7300

General Info

E-mail address: gourmetusa@barry-callebaut.com

Direct phone: +1 312 496 7300

I never asked for a sample myself, I just ordered a whole tub and have been using it ever since. On the other hand I do recall they used to send out samples.

The shelf life is 1 year. Well never really tried it, we go through 2-3 tubs a week, though the first tub we had for longer than 3 months. The only caution you need to take is not to keep it too close to a heat source or store it above room temperature. Mycryo is freeze dried cacao butter and just regular body temp is enough to start "melting" the fat. One tends to go through much more product if sprinkled with ones hands.

Other than that I can only recommend it.

Z


Chef Zouhbi

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I have a question about cooking steaks/roasts at temperatures lower than 131F (55C) for long times. 

I am thinking about Heston Blumenthal steak recipe, where he sears the outside of a roast and then heats it too 122F (50C) and holds it there for 18 hours.  (Is this to allow the cathepsins enzymes plenty of time to tenderize the meat?) 

No, that occurs at lower temperture - around 100F. To get that effect you hold the meat at that temp for a few hours. By 122F the enzymes are mostly denatured.

Anyway, I would like to try this sous-vide (with a single steak), but don't want to get food poisoning either. 

If I understand correctly, the main concern with steaks and roasts is surface pathogens.  Since I always sear after cooking, I have been very careful to make sure I either cook the steak for less than 4 hours or at 131F for longer times (e.g., 12-24 hours for flat iron steaks {as per nathanm's suggestion in posts #203 & #675}).  I am very leery however of cooking a steak in a 122F (50C) water bath for 18 hours, since that is well within the growth range of clostridium perfringens (which grows between 59F-127.5F {15C-52.3C}).  In post #897, nathanm said even after searing it (officially) shouldn't be held at 125F for more than 4 hours (and then said unoffically that searing first and doing 8 hours at 125F would probably be fine). 

First off, there is no single correct answer to this question.

The interior of intact muscle meats are almost always sterile. Contamination is on the surface - unless somebody poked a knife through the surface and thereby brought some contamination inside. Also, you should know that virtually all of the meat bought in a Europe or the US is not contaminated.

So, most likely, nobody would get sick if you did this. Is there some risk? That is complicated. It might be possible for a couple of pathogens to grow inside the meat under these conditions - it is theoretically within the range that they could propagate. Clostridium perfringens is one example. However, to know for sure one would have to do scientific tests, in beef, under these circumstances.

C. perfringens is not normally found in beef, and would be an external contaminant. The closest thing in food safety literature is that pork hams infused with a brine contaminated with C. perfringens can run into trouble in these tempertaures. However, that is only with slow cooling through the temperture range - not holding constant, and that is pork not beef.

Since meat interior is sterile in almost all cases those pathogens are probably not going to be there.

At a certain point one has to realize that obsessing about risk in one area is odd if you don't do it elsewhere. Will you ride in a car to buy the meat involved? Your risk of death or injury in a car accident is actually pretty high - tens of thousands of people die that way every year, a figure that dwarfs all food borne illness deaths.

A separate question is whether this is OK according to food rules.

Technically one could argue that the method described above is OK with the US FDA 2005 Food Code, since it specifies that in the case of beef steak if the exterior is brought to 145F, they do not care what you do to the interior temperture.

Or, one could argue that a blanket rule in another part of the food code says that no food should be in the "danger zone" between 40F and 140F for more than 4 hours. It is unclear which rule applies here, and it would wind up being a legalistic reading of the rules that tells you the answer.

Industrial food companies often get a specific process approved by doing tests or computer simulations. Heston does this also on occaision, and may have done that here.

Do you think it would be safe to: drop a frozen (vacuum sealed) steak into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, then put it into an ice water bath (for a minute or two), and then into the 122F (50C) water bath for 18 hours? 

That is, would dropping the frozen steak into boiling water for 30 seconds be sufficient to destroy the surface pathogens?  And, is 122F (50C) for 18 hours asking for trouble? 

There are sous vide techniques where you use a hot bath initally as you suggest to destroy pathogens, so the concept works. However, frozen meat in boiling water would likely need to be in for more than 30 seconds in order to get the exterior to the right temperture /time combination for sterilazition. You could do some experiments with a temperure probe to find out. Or look at the meat - you need to have the exterior visibly change color (and look like meat cooked to 145F to 150F).

However, it may be just as easy and more certain to sear the exterior, which you could do frozen or not frozen (but cold).


Nathan

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Just to be clear, the opinion is that Blumenthal's steak recipe is questionable from a safety stand point and not that doing it SV is inherently more dangerous.

Correct, there is no difference doing it sous vide, or conventionally. C. perfringens and certain other pathogens are anaerobic, but if they are inside the steak (and that is a big if) that is an aneorobic enough environment. Sous vide does not change this a bit.


Edited by nathanm (log)

Nathan

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I SV asparagus with salt and sugar for about 15 minutes - color remained perfect bright green ( that's the power of vacuum - in your face, Pounce! JK  :biggrin: ). Generally, I prefer vegies @ crispy al dente - it wasn't the case last night: asparagus stalks were very nice, softer "creamy" texture. I liked it, but was it overcooked? Not sure... Again, as always - suggestions and opinions, please!

Mike your dinner looks very impressive. I better not show the pictures my wife, she might expect something like that next v-day.

Regarding the asparagus, I have been playing around now for a while. I am with you regarding the crispy-al dente texture. I set up a test series with different temperatures. Added just some butter (plugra) and salt into each bag and cooked them in various temperatures. We used the rational ovens since i have 5 of them rather than the thermo-circulator since I am testing it for a high volume banquet application.

We started at 185F and worked down to 135F in 5 degree increments. The best results so far we achieved were at 150F for 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of the asparagus. After cooking I still recommend to shock it in ice water, to retain color of not served immediately.

Unfortunately I was called to a meeting and did not see the remainder of the test series and only have to trust my sous chef's opinion.

I do have a question though to the group.

As I mentioned i am testing this to find a way to prep the vegetables once or twice a week. My only concern is regarding anaerobe bacteria and if we take the proper precautions. I hope this group can review/comment our current process. In this case produce = asparagus

- produce delivered (between 41F and 45F), delivery temperatures are taken

- produce is stored immediately in cambro containers (not original boxes)

- produce is washed in ice water (should we consider a produce wash like Ecolab- Victory

- produce is trimmed, prepared and packed in a sanitized area

- SV cooked immediately after packaging to 150F 8 minutes

- packaged are chilled in chiller 150F to 41F in 45minutes

- packages are labeled, indicating type of food, need to store below 41F and use day/month/year (no longer than 6 days form day of production)

Thank you

Z


Chef Zouhbi

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Nathan, In your research of existing sous vide process in a commercial setting are you seeing anyone using methods other than heat to treat surface contamination? Is anyone using anything like ozone treated water or UVC etc before bagging or after bagging?


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

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Regarding the asparagus, I have been playing around now for a while. I am with you regarding the crispy-al dente texture. I set up a test series with different temperatures. Added just some butter (plugra) and salt into each bag and cooked them in various temperatures. We used the rational ovens since i have 5 of them rather than the thermo-circulator since I am testing it for a high volume banquet application.

Rationals are great - I have two at home and one in my lab. However, you should get them calibrated if you are going to use them for low temp SV.

You can check this with a good digital thermometer, or the Rational service guy can. You want to make sure that the temp is accurate, and constant across all of your ovens.

Even if calibrated there are larger temperture variations than with a water bath. The gas models can have 10F temp swings (when burner comes on). The electric models are more like 5F, but still, this can make a difference. Knowing the variation can help you plan the temp. So, if you are cooking fish at 113F/45C, and the actual temp is going from 110F to 116F, you need to know that.

For higher temperture work the variation is less important.

We started at 185F and worked down to 135F in 5 degree increments. The best results so far we achieved were at 150F for 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of the asparagus.

That sounds about right. Sweet corn and other vegetables seem to be best around that temp. Many other vegetables need cell walls broken down, which takes more time and temperture. Carrots at 150F will be almost as crisp as raw, for example.

I do have a question though to the group.

As I mentioned i am testing this to find a way to prep the vegetables once or twice a week. My only concern is regarding anaerobe bacteria and if we take the proper precautions. I hope this group can review/comment our current process. In this case produce = asparagus

- produce delivered (between 41F and 45F), delivery temperatures are taken

- produce is stored immediately in cambro containers (not original boxes)

- produce is washed in ice water (should we consider a produce wash like Ecolab- Victory

- produce is trimmed, prepared and packed in a sanitized area

- SV cooked immediately after packaging to 150F 8 minutes

- packaged are chilled in chiller 150F to 41F in 45minutes

- packages are labeled, indicating type of food, need to store below 41F and use day/month/year (no longer than 6 days form day of production)

Thank you

Z

This sounds fine, and is within FDA guidelines for SV. The key issue is keeping it cold and not holding too long due to botulism. 150F for 8 min is enough to kill everything except C. botulinum spores. 41F for 6 days is within guidelines for holding.


Nathan

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Nathan, In your research of existing sous vide process in a commercial setting are you seeing anyone using methods other than heat to treat surface contamination? Is anyone using anything like ozone treated water or UVC etc before bagging or after bagging?

There are lots of techniques for reducing surface pathogens.

Simple rinsing is one approach - that is what most people do. It is called "washing" but in most cases people only use water. This works by diluting the pathogens - which helps, but only so far. Generally speaking most people do not use chemical or other disinfectants on food itself - only on pots, pans, knives and other kitchen surfaces.

As Chef Z mentioned implictly there are various washing products from companies like Ecolab. Ozone in the water is an example; chlorine in the water is another. Exposing food to UVC, or putting the food under ultra high pressure are other approaches.

Many of these approaches work, and to one degree or another are used commercially. The large E. coli outbreak in the US in 2006 in fresh spinach is one inspriation - people want to eat spinach salads, so they want it eat it raw, and cooking is not going to be answer.

In the spinach case, cold water rinsing in the spinach plant is thought to be a big factor in the contamination - because once one small bit of contamination got into the washing tank, it spread to all of the spinach. Current thinking is that the problem was caused by feces of wild boar on the spinach. The boar went through fences to get into the spinach fields. The wild boar got the E. coli because they previously had broken into a nearby cattle ranch and ate infected cow manure. Sorry to be disgusting, but that is how these things work. E. coli H57:O157 is bad in humans but can occur in cows without symptoms.

Even so, it is likely that it was only a few spinach plants out of many huge fields but the wash water spread it to many states - enough to make about 200 people sick and kill a few of them.

Ironically, washing the spinach in the processing plant - in order to sell "ready to eat" spinach made things worse rather than better. If they had not washed the spinach there would have been many fewer cases. This incident has re-energized interest in the question about how to sterilize the washing water, or sterilize the spinach, without destroying it as a fresh raw food.

I am not aware of restaurant or home chefs using any of these advanced techniques for reducing pathogen count, but some of them may do this. It is certainly feasible.

One exception is that a few restaurant chefs who do their own meat aging use UVC lamps shining on the meat to reduce surface mold. This works well.

My blast chiller has a UVC sterilization cycle where it automatically sterilizes itself, but that is about steriziling the chiller not the food in it.


Nathan

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Thanks, Nathan. Funny you bring up the spinach example, I used to drive past the location of the contamination every day on my way to work for a few years. I believe the company was looking at getting approval for irradiation of bagged spinach after the incident.

I'd imagine that using UVC on bagged meat in sous vide and cryovac packs would be a simple way to esure safety. As long as the bag material isn't blocking UVC treatement would be pretty simple and have little or no effect on the processing or temp of the item.

A person has to be very careful with UVC as it's harmful to eyes and skin etc, but I wonder out loud if the addition of a UVC light in commercial sous vide equipment might be an interesting feature. If the tank being used was enclosed or the material blocked UVC from escaping I think it could help cut down on contamination in baths that run at low temps for things like seafood. It could help both the bath water/medium and the item in the bag closer to sterile. I'd imagine that in a restaurant cross contamination from bath water might be an issue.

I use an product to create ozonated water and use this for a number of things including food. I *think* it works, but haven't yet reached the point of doing lab testing

At a certain point one has to realize that obsessing about risk in one area is odd if you don't do it elsewhere. Will you ride in a car to buy the meat involved? Your risk of death or injury in a car accident is actually pretty high - tens of thousands of people die that way every year, a figure that dwarfs all food borne illness deaths.

I'm right there with you on this...except there is nothing more embarrassing or long lasting than making your dinner guests sick with food poisoning. I'll take a fender bender (or maybe even a car jacking or some contusions) over being responsible for making any guest even remotely sick.

Back to the example of the steak at 122 for 18 hours. I haven't tried this, but does anyone know for a fact there is a significant difference in outcome from 18 hours at 122 vs. 18 hours at something closer to 125 degrees where things are a little safer?


Edited by pounce (log)

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

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I hate to be a spoilsport, but if your surface sterilisation method is powerful enough to disrupt the pathogens, its not going to do the food much good. Searing has the advantage that the side effects are tasty, and its something that needs to be done for flavour anyway, but most other things, such as chemicals are not. UVc bleaches.

Radiation has its own debate, but to me irradiated meat tastes sort of burnt

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Spoilsport. You are funny :biggrin:

I don't know about irradiated meat. I don't think I have had any on a long time. I don't think I would chose an irradiated product over a non irradiated product if there was a choice to have.

I mostly agree with you on searing. It may not always be what you want though and you may want to do it at the end of cooking. If you do it at the end this might mean that you grew/bred a few things in the bag while it was in the bath and now you have some risk of cross contamination etc running around.

How much does UVC bleach red meat if used in a dose just above what is needed to kill all known pathogens that could be on the surface? If we do sear after cooking would we notice the bleach affect? I'm curious because I haven't tried it personally.


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

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Rationals are great - I have two at home and one in my lab.  However, you should get them calibrated if you are going to use them for low temp SV. 

You can check this with a good digital thermometer, or the Rational service guy can.  You want to make sure that the temp is accurate, and constant across all of your ovens.

Even if calibrated there are larger temperture variations than with a water bath.  The gas models can have 10F temp swings (when burner comes on).  The electric models are more like 5F, but still, this can make a difference.  Knowing the variation can help you plan the temp.  So, if you are cooking fish at 113F/45C, and the actual temp is going from 110F to 116F, you need to know that. 

For higher temperture work the variation is less important.

Nathan I figured you like the Rationals, reading your previous posts :-) . I am aware of the temperature variations. Actually during my test series I pulled the HACCP logs of the unit just to review them and noticed the variations. The best to prevent this in a low temp SV setting within a Rational is to put the packages into deep GN pans filled with water. At the highest fan setting, enough to agitate the water. Even if the combi itself fluctuates by up to 10 degrees the water barely does by more than 2-3 degrees. I have one of the waterproof onset data/temp loggers on order, just to see what is going on in the SV bag. During the testing I had the ovens probe in the "water bath", as well as an dual logger with one probe in the water bath again and a second hypodermic probe right in the product itself. After the process I compared the logs side by side.

I do have a few temo-circulators and use them quite a bit, just for a production kitchen I would have buy quite a few of them to get 1000 portions of salmon cooked in water baths. Therefore for volume production and much of my testing/usage is in the rationals.

That sounds about right.  Sweet corn and other vegetables seem to be best around that temp.  Many other vegetables need cell walls broken down, which takes more time and temperture.  Carrots at 150F will be almost as crisp as raw, for example.

Agree with the 150F setting I referred to the asparagus. Carrots we do at 165F. Though personally I like the crunch and color of bb carrots at 150F. Also for those who use the Rational SCC - BQT application we found it is enough to cook carrots at 150F and chill for the cold plating. After rethermalization the carrots come out perfect

This sounds fine, and is within FDA guidelines for SV.  The key issue is keeping it cold and not holding too long due to botulism.  150F for 8 min is enough to kill everything except C. botulinum spores.  41F for 6 days is within guidelines for holding.

Thank you Nathan for your feedback. I just needed another opinion before I call the local health department to review my process. I do not feel we are ready and/or have the capability of implementing a HACCP program yet. So I am trying to find ways to do SV while within FDA rules local health department codes as well as corp mandated specs while still making the third party auditors (EcoSure) happy.

Z


Chef Zouhbi

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Please let me know your opinion: Last night I cooked Berkshire bone-in pork chops (from Ottomanelli in NYC) and feel I overcooked them (both temp and time) partially due to a timing problem w/ our guests.

The chops were bone-in, hand-cut by the butcher to about 1.5" thick, resulting in about 3/4 lb each. Using a 30-qt rice cooker and an Auber PID, I planned to cook them for an hour at 144F. At an hour we were not ready to eat, so rather than pull/chill/re-heat for service, I chose to drop temp to 140F for the 30-40 minutes required before I could take them out and sear.

They were very good, still pink on the interior (though not as pink/rare as I'd have liked).

My questions: Was 144F for an hour too high and/or too long to begin with, and that's why they were overcooked? Secondly, is the technique of dropping temp for a period of time possibly helpful or just ill-advised? Does it accomplish anything (so long as healthy guidelines are maintained)? Thanks.

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I have cooked those very same chops at 135°F for two hours and was happy with the result although I think another hour would not have hurt. Recently I have been doing grass fed beef (both sirloin steaks and strip steaks 1" - 1/2") at 125° for four hours followed by a quick sear. So good it would be difficult to tell them apart from a prime aged steak. If you set the temperature for meat at the temperature at which you want to serve it an extra hour should do no harm


Ruth Friedman

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57C (135F) seems a bit low for tender pork, although I suppose it might do well depending on the quality of the pork. I've generally been very happy with 60C. Not sure there is any advantage to longer cooking times once the pork chops come up to temperature.


--

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OK, another Sunday night - another idea:

the basic plan is to make a SV replica of Braised Chinese Eggplant with Preserved Vegetables, Edamame and Garlic-Ginger oil (something I had at the "Spring Moon" in Hong Kong Penninsula Hotel).

In fact, the original dish is called -

Steamed Eggplant with Preserved Vegetables

and Green Soybeans

or

雪 裡 紅 枝 豆 蒸 茄 子

なすとザーサイの枝豆入り蒸し物

Also, similar approach would work for -

Braised Eggplant with Crabmeat and Dark Vinegar

or

蟹 肉 黑 醋 燒 茄 子

茄子と蟹肉の黒酢の煮

I am very interested in original recipes, as well as any time/temp suggestions, please.


Edited by MikeTMD (log)

"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

***************************************

My flickr collection

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Well I purchased a huge slow cooker, ordered my Auber Instruments plug n play sous vide cooking controller last week and got it this week - tomorrow I'm going to do some pork ribs... currently they are in the fridge covered in my personal version of the BRITU (http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/rib1.html).

My plan is to put them in a 160f bath for ~ 10 hours (start them in the morning, take them out when I get home), then brush with some smokey home made BBQ sauce and either blow-torch them or throw them on a hot cast iron grill.

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Please let me know your opinion:  Last night I cooked Berkshire bone-in pork chops (from Ottomanelli in NYC) and feel I overcooked them (both temp and time) partially due to a timing problem w/ our guests.

The chops were bone-in, hand-cut by the butcher to about 1.5" thick, resulting in about 3/4 lb each.  Using a 30-qt rice cooker and an Auber PID, I planned to cook them for an hour at 144F.  At an hour we were not ready to eat, so rather than pull/chill/re-heat for service, I chose to drop temp to 140F for the 30-40 minutes required before I could take them out and sear.

They were very good, still pink on the interior (though not as pink/rare as I'd have liked).

My questions:  Was 144F for an hour too high and/or too long to begin with, and that's why they were overcooked?  Secondly, is the technique of dropping temp for a period of time possibly helpful or just ill-advised?  Does it accomplish anything (so long as healthy guidelines are maintained)?  Thanks.

144F is definitely too high for my taste, so that may have been the problem. I don't think dropping the temp afterward helps, other than to make the collagen conversion go slower (which I don't think you would want). In your example, leaving them in at 144F wouldn't do any harm: certainly there's no risk of overcooking since your bath is the desired final temperature. Try 135F as per Ruth's suggestion and see if you like it better.

A question of my own: does anyone have experience with SV and wild game? Are there any special concerns beyond what you would do with 'regular' meat?


Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Fur or feather?

Wild game will almost certainly have been shot and then hung, so you cannot assume the inside of the meat is sterile.

This time of year is getting toward the end of the game season, so the birds will be getting tough. Thus recipes that are more like braises and confits may work better.

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