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Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment, 2012


rotuts
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I'm planning on using a charcoal chimney to emulate a salamander for some burgers coming from an SV bath.

To what degree should I allow the beef to cool before starting to sear? Should I go for uniformity of cooling or do I want just the outside cooled down? Will I get faster browning if I spritz on a glucose solution a la Baldwin? Does it really matter with the heat from the chimney?

Modernist Cuisine suggests submerging the already low temperature cooked burgers in liquid nitrogen then deep frying in very hot oil. The technique freezes the outer layer of the meat, but not the inner. As the burger cooks at a high heat the frozen portion defrosts and browns while the inner portion is insulated from the heat. From all reports, the result is a rare, but extremely crisp burger.

If I were in your situation (assuming you don't have access to liquid nitrogen), I would probably get dry ice, wrap it in cheese cloth and set it on both sides of the burger for 30 seconds to a minute, then grill. This should mimic liquid nitrogen closely. I would also probably skip the glucose. To be honest, I've never found it necessary. I get great maillard reactions without any additional additives, just a smoking hot pan and some high temp oil.

So I seared the burgers three ways: on a NG grill, with a blowtorch, and with a charcoal chimney, in order of worst to best. The grill took way too long to develop a good sear, and while the blowtorch could certainly deliver the BTUs, the heat was disproportionately transferred to the asperities of the meat, leading to blackened spotting before the whole of the surface developed good color. The charcoal chimney gave a nice, progressive, uniform sear, which was both fast and easily moderated.

For anybody else interested in searing atop a charcoal chimney, I would recommend filling the chimney at least 3/4 full otherwise the heat output will be lacking.

Appending a note to this post as it's too late to edit it: you know when the chimney is hot enough when you can only hold your hand above the fire for 2-3 seconds at 3 FEET above the chimney.

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I have some sirloin steak tips. Baldwin suggests 6 - 8 hrs 130 for medium-rare. As I recall there is very good flavor with this cut, but some connective tissue that precludes that 'melt in your mouth' tenderness.

Id like to try one at 125, for rare. I understand that at this temp. its not pasteurized. If I try this for a few hours at 125 are there any health risks? Would 125 break down any of the connective tissue? Id do a sear just before inhaling them.

Thanks

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125F will not appreciably hydrolyze any collagen, no, but usually when it's served, it's sliced very thinly against the grain.

JK Lopez-Alt recommends cooking sirloin tip (flap meat) to at least medium-rare to avoid mushiness.

Edited by HowardLi (log)
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I tried it. I cant say it was in any way more tender than the hot pan sear, on each side, then finished in the oven to the desired doneness. That's the usual indoor method I use for steak. But like 125 more than 130. As there are no pasteurization benefits at 125

and 4 hours is along time to wait for a steak, Ill stick with the 'pan-roast.'

Ill do one tomorrow at 131 to see if that's good enough.

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I have been trying out long (2-3 days) cooking times for the first time and have mixed feelings about the results so far.

I have tried Chuck steaks at 55C for 48 hours and short ribs at 57 for 72 hours and in both case the texture has been great but the flavour is very strange... almost like corned beef (silverside). As for seasoning, I only used salt and pepper on the chuck, whereas I used a decent beef stock (but no additional seasoning) on the short ribs. In both cases the flavour was lacking.

In the case of the ribs I wanted to use the bag juices (with the stock inside) to make a sauce but it was very fatty and to be honest not particularly enticing. Is there any way to turn this scrappy bright red liquid into something resembling a dark rich beef jus?

I'm using a sous vide magic with a very well insulated Tefal Rice Cooker and have found it to be very stable and evaporation to be almost nil with a little glad wrap around the steam valve, this is also where my probe sits beautifully.

Any thoughts?

Edited by guysmiley54 (log)
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I have been trying out long (2-3 days) cooking times for the first time and have mixed feelings about the results so far.

I have tried Chuck steaks at 55C for 48 hours and short ribs at 57 for 72 hours and in both case the texture has been great but the flavour is very strange... almost like corned beef (silverside). As for seasoning, I only used salt and pepper on the chuck, whereas I used a decent beef stock (but no additional seasoning) on the short ribs. In both cases the flavour was lacking.

In the case of the ribs I wanted to use the bag juices (with the stock inside) to make a sauce but it was very fatty and to be honest not particularly enticing. Is there any way to turn this scrappy bright red liquid into something resembling a dark rich beef jus?

I'm using a sous vide magic with a very well insulated Tefal Rice Cooker and have found it to be very stable and evaporation to be almost nil with a little glad wrap around the steam valve, this is also where my probe sits beautifully.

Any thoughts?

There have been quite a few posts in the past dealing with bag juices. You can separate the liquid from fat, then bring to a boil (I usually use the microwave), then strain out the proteins that coagulate. Member Nickrey came up with an interesting method to pan fry the coagulated proteins until they become the typicaly brown bits that accumulate on teh bottom of a normal roasting pan - you can deglaze with the bag liquid and any other flavorful liquids to get your jus. Works very well.

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I like the idea of reducing to simulate pan fond. What's the best way to keep the meat warm in the mean time?

There have been quite a few posts in the past dealing with bag juices. You can separate the liquid from fat, then bring to a boil (I usually use the microwave), then strain out the proteins that coagulate. Member Nickrey came up with an interesting method to pan fry the coagulated proteins until they become the typicaly brown bits that accumulate on teh bottom of a normal roasting pan - you can deglaze with the bag liquid and any other flavorful liquids to get your jus. Works very well.

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I put the meat back into its bag, fold over the cut edge several times and staple closed. I put it back into the hot SV bath with the Gizzmo off. If you staple securely no water will get back into the bag as the water is still.

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I have been trying out long (2-3 days) cooking times for the first time and have mixed feelings about the results so far.

I have tried Chuck steaks at 55C for 48 hours and short ribs at 57 for 72 hours and in both case the texture has been great but the flavour is very strange... almost like corned beef (silverside). As for seasoning, I only used salt and pepper on the chuck, whereas I used a decent beef stock (but no additional seasoning) on the short ribs. In both cases the flavour was lacking.

....

Any thoughts?

If the flavor is suspect then it sounds like your meat is not of very good quality. I also would not put stock or anything like that into the bag with short ribs. I have done a lot of shortribs and the only times they were anything short of amazing was when the quality of the meat was not very good. I wouldn't put stock in the back. A little bit of salt is all you need -- I have sometimes put a small amount of liquid smoke. Cooked like this and seared, you should get something that is as tender as a filet and more flavorful than a great prime rib.

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On long cook times, pre-salting can lead to a "cured" flavor in the meat. The solution is to post-salt instead. As for keeping the meat warm, well, sous vide. If it's at the same temp, no more juice is going to be extruded. This is trivial if you have a ziplock, slightly harder for vacuum bags.

PS: I am a guy.

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In the case of the chuck steak it was cheap supermarket stuff but the ribs was top notch from the best butcher in town. Both shared a similar cured typed of flavour.

If the flavor is suspect then it sounds like your meat is not of very good quality. I also would not put stock or anything like that into the bag with short ribs. I have done a lot of shortribs and the only times they were anything short of amazing was when the quality of the meat was not very good. I wouldn't put stock in the back. A little bit of salt is all you need -- I have sometimes put a small amount of liquid smoke. Cooked like this and seared, you should get something that is as tender as a filet and more flavorful than a great prime rib.

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I suspect you might be right here. The chuck was salted and the ribs were in a salted stock.

I guess I wanted to check if these flavours are normal... it sounds like they are not! I will try some more experiments, keeping the meat high in quality and leaving salt out until the end sear.

On long cook times, pre-salting can lead to a "cured" flavor in the meat. The solution is to post-salt instead. As for keeping the meat warm, well, sous vide. If it's at the same temp, no more juice is going to be extruded. This is trivial if you have a ziplock, slightly harder for vacuum bags.

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I did another sirloin steak tip today. 6 hours at 130.1. I used the same Prime Rib rub as before. Quick sear at the end. This was one of the best steaks i've had. It was as tender as filet mignon, but with some structure. It was rare as i like it.

I made pin-wheels by seasoning the meat, rolling the steak up and tying it before it went into the SV bag. I nice bonus to the pin-wheel shape is that you can add meat to a steak that's smaller than average - in the middle (beginning of the roll) so that each steak is about the same size.

This is going to be a keeper for me when sirloin steak tips go on sale.

Im going to try to deconstruct the seasoning to get rid of the salt so that I can use it for short ribs and not get that 'cured' flavor.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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I have tried Chuck steaks at 55C for 48 hours and short ribs at 57 for 72 hours and in both case the texture has been great but the flavour is very strange... almost like corned beef (silverside). As for seasoning, I only used salt and pepper on the chuck, whereas I used a decent beef stock (but no additional seasoning) on the short ribs. In both cases the flavour was lacking.

"Beefyness" can decrease somewhat with long cooking. This is a good reason to chill LT/LT beef after it's cooked, then give it a good sear in a hot pan to develop a crust and Maillard flavors, then rethermalize and serve.

Also, if you are getting a "corned beef" like flavor and texture, this is because you have salt in the bag and the salt is effectively "curing" the meat in the bag as it cooks over 48-72 hours. It's no different from brining the meat for 48-72 hours, which we would expect to result in a corned-like flavor and texture. You should only salt the meat once it is finished cooking and out of the bag, and this will avoid curing the meat.

--

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Thanks for the info. The salt issue makes sense to me but most sous vide guides and recipes I have read recommend the use of salt in the bag before a 72 hour cook... Maybe I'm more sensitive to this flavor or maybe I'm reading the wrong blogs! I'm not going crazy with the salt but I'll be sure to skip it next time to see the difference.

I have tried Chuck steaks at 55C for 48 hours and short ribs at 57 for 72 hours and in both case the texture has been great but the flavour is very strange... almost like corned beef (silverside). As for seasoning, I only used salt and pepper on the chuck, whereas I used a decent beef stock (but no additional seasoning) on the short ribs. In both cases the flavour was lacking.

"Beefyness" can decrease somewhat with long cooking. This is a good reason to chill LT/LT beef after it's cooked, then give it a good sear in a hot pan to develop a crust and Maillard flavors, then rethermalize and serve.

Also, if you are getting a "corned beef" like flavor and texture, this is because you have salt in the bag and the salt is effectively "curing" the meat in the bag as it cooks over 48-72 hours. It's no different from brining the meat for 48-72 hours, which we would expect to result in a corned-like flavor and texture. You should only salt the meat once it is finished cooking and out of the bag, and this will avoid curing the meat.

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Check out the most recent (pretty old though) blog post in cookingissues.com They go into a whole tasting comparison of pre/post salting. I haven't pre salted since, except for fish which cooks for 20 min.

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Thought I'd mention that I am still alive after re-heating and eating some pork ribs that have been sitting in my fridge for almost 6 months.

I bought a rack of marinated pork ribs in January, and split them into two bags. I cooked them for 3 days (about 72h) at 58C, ate one bag immediately and popped the other in the fridge where I thought they'd make a quick meal at some point. While sous-vide is perfect for the cook now, reheat later approach there's not a clear indication of how long cooked food should last, in the bag. For one reason or another the bag just ended up sitting there for month after month.. Because I'd cooked the ribs for 3 days - and the bag was still airtight - I was sure the meat had been fully pasteurised and should be safe to eat. I heated the ribs up at 60C for a couple of hours, opened it and it smelt fine. Ate it and it was great - as if it had been cooked yesterday.

I would've been more cautious if I hadn't cooked the meat for so long, but I'm curious to know what the guidelines are regarding the shelf-life of cooked sous-vide meat...

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Thought I'd mention that I am still alive after re-heating and eating some pork ribs that have been sitting in my fridge for almost 6 months.

I bought a rack of marinated pork ribs in January, and split them into two bags. I cooked them for 3 days (about 72h) at 58C, ate one bag immediately and popped the other in the fridge where I thought they'd make a quick meal at some point. While sous-vide is perfect for the cook now, reheat later approach there's not a clear indication of how long cooked food should last, in the bag. For one reason or another the bag just ended up sitting there for month after month.. Because I'd cooked the ribs for 3 days - and the bag was still airtight - I was sure the meat had been fully pasteurised and should be safe to eat. I heated the ribs up at 60C for a couple of hours, opened it and it smelt fine. Ate it and it was great - as if it had been cooked yesterday.

I would've been more cautious if I hadn't cooked the meat for so long, but I'm curious to know what the guidelines are regarding the shelf-life of cooked sous-vide meat...

Chris,

As an fyi, smelling meat won't tell you if it is safe to eat. Spoilage bacteria (which cause the bad smells) are different from the deadly pathogens. You can have "spoiled" meat (i.e. smells bad) but won't make you will -- and meat laced with pathogens that will kill but has no off-odor.

So, don't use your nose to determine safety.

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A newbie here, but what about a Zip-loc bag

I like the idea of reducing to simulate pan fond. What's the best way to keep the meat warm in the mean time?

There have been quite a few posts in the past dealing with bag juices. You can separate the liquid from fat, then bring to a boil (I usually use the microwave), then strain out the proteins that coagulate. Member Nickrey came up with an interesting method to pan fry the coagulated proteins until they become the typicaly brown bits that accumulate on teh bottom of a normal roasting pan - you can deglaze with the bag liquid and any other flavorful liquids to get your jus. Works very well.

Never tried it, but what about putting the meat back in the immersion bath in a Zip-loc?

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I did not read back through all the threads to see if this was posted, but if anyone is interested I saw the Sous Vide Supreme (big one) on sale for 299 at Bloomingdale's in Manhattan. I wonder if there is a new model coming out and they are liquidating these.

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Hey all,

I recently tried the Sous vide Earl Grey Gin/Earl Grey MarTEAni recipe at the SVS blog:

http://blog.sousvidesupreme.com/2011/01/sous-vide-infused-alcohols-syrups/

And the process of making the Earl Grey-infused gin intrigued me. I started thinking thinking about other things that I could do with the process, and the next thing to come to mind after the tea was coffee.

What I have in mind is some sort of coffee infused tequila or whiskey (sort of a riff on Patron Cafe or Irish Coffee). The problem is that my knowledge of coffees and teas is sorely lacking and I don't know what a reasonable starting point might be for the "brew" time and temperature for coffee (or other types of teas for that matter) since I assume there are some differences between brewing in water vs alcohol.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

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This is a little bizarre. First off, the Earl Grey MarTEAni is an Audrey Saunders recipe, not something from Tavern Law in Seattle. Second, there is no reason to infuse the tea into the gin using a sous-vide bag and heat. It infuses just fine at room temperature. Third, there is absolutely no reason to make 1:1 simple syrup in a sous vide bag. Weird.

The only reason to use heat would be because you wanted to speed up the infusion process.

--

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