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KaffirLime

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 4)

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I haven't been seasoning the shortribs before bagging. I just put them into the bags by themselves. When I take them out I season with salt and pepper before searing. It might be co-incidence but it seems like when there is salt in the bag on a long cook that the meat doesn't come out quite as juicy.

That would be my approach too. Salt in a SV bag will most certainly make meat (or anything else, for that matter) a lot less juicy, because of the osmosis.

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Salt in a SV bag will most certainly make meat (or anything else, for that matter) a lot less juicy, because of the osmosis.

This might not be an accurate statement. Taking brining for instance.

Brining makes cooked meat moister by hydrating the cells of its muscle tissue before cooking, via the process of osmosis, and by allowing the cells to hold on to the water while they are cooked, via the process of denaturation. The brine surrounding the cells has a higher concentration of salt than the fluid within the cells, but the cell fluid has a higher concentration of other solutes. This leads salt ions to enter the cell via diffusion. The increased salinity of the cell fluid causes the cell to absorb water from the brine via osmosis. The salt introduced into the cell also denatures its proteins. The proteins coagulate, forming a matrix which traps water molecules and holds them during cooking. This prevents the meat from drying out, or dehydrating.

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Salt in a SV bag will most certainly make meat (or anything else, for that matter) a lot less juicy, because of the osmosis.

This might not be an accurate statement. Taking brining for instance.

Both statements are "accurate" - it's the concentration of salt that makes the difference ( for those of you who are interested - hypo/iso/hyper-tonic solutions determine the direction of osmotic movement).

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Ok, so what amount of salt in the bag is going to dry out the meat (or anything else)? How much salt is too much for a given item for a given amount of time?


Edited by pounce (log)

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I've always seasoned proteins I've either cooked via sous-vide or braise.

I've never had a situation where my meat comes out dry due to seasoning. I would love more information about the threat of meat losing moisture do to seasoning.

Should we therefore never season proteins before vac'ing? This notion is new to me.

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What length cooks are you doing sous vide? My experience has been that seasoning is not at all problematic when cooking items that get cooked for a few hours. But on really long cooks (36 to 48 hours for example) that salt MAY (I am not certain yet) be influencing the texture of the final result in a way that it doesn't when cooking for a few hours.

I haven't had time to do a scientific experiment yet to compare (i.e. by splitting a brisket and cooking one with seasoning and one without) but my anecdotal experience with brisket has been that the dry-rubbed briskets did not come out as juicy as the briskets that I cooked without salt. (Note that I would never ever ever bbq or braise a brisket that I hadn't seasoned -- but sous-vide for 48 hours at low temperatures is a very different process).

I think that this is a great topic for discussion and experimentation. I will try to be a bit more scientific when I do my next brisket -- as the variations that I saw might have been due to variations in the pieces of meat rather than due to seasoning.

Just my .02

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I've done everything from cooking beef, chicken and fish to order for ~<1hr. to cooking shorties and pork shoulder for 48hours. I've never done brisket ...not a big fan.

I always season every protein I vacuum pack.

Never have I pulled anything out of cryo that I would consider to be dried out.

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I haven't had anything come out dried out when seasoning either. BUT, I have had some things come out much juicier than others. I think you have to cook both ways -- with similar pieces of meat -- and A/B them and see if there is a difference. My seasoned briskets didn't come out dry but the unseasoned briskets came out juicier.

As I said, it is possible that the difference wasn't due to the seasoning -- I haven't been scientific enough -- but the difference has been consistent so far for me.

I would be curious to know if anyone has experimented in this arena.

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I've done everything from cooking beef, chicken and fish to order for ~<1hr. to cooking shorties and pork shoulder for 48hours. I've never done brisket ...not a big fan.

I always season every protein I vacuum pack.

Never have I pulled anything out of cryo that I would consider to be dried out.

I haven't had anything come out dried out when seasoning either. BUT, I have had some things come out much juicier than others. I think you have to cook both ways -- with similar pieces of meat -- and A/B them and see if there is a difference. My seasoned briskets didn't come out dry but the unseasoned briskets came out juicier.

As I said, it is possible that the difference wasn't due to the seasoning -- I haven't been scientific enough -- but the difference has been consistent so far for me.

I would be curious to know if anyone has experimented in this arena.

The only experience I have had with meat that was heavily brined was to cook SV a corned brisket 135F for 48hrs. It was nothing like a brisket done the same way. But then, the pickling may have denatured the meat.

The flavor was something else, much more intense than boiling it. It was just a bit saltier, tho.

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I'm wondering about doing pasta sous vide. I know it sounds like a horrible idea but I was thinking about egg yolk filled ravioli and the weird cooking time involved (aldente pasta but not hard-boiled yolk).

If the center could be cooked at 147(?) and the pasta not overcooked, it would be pretty cool. All I could think of was weighing the cooked/uncooked pasta to find out the water absorption of a perfectly cooked piece, then adding that much water to the bag and sealing it. But given the chemistry of pasta is more complex than just water-in I'm not sure if thats the way to go.

Anyone played around with this? I really want to make an inside-out carbonara :rolleyes:


Edited by Werdna (log)

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If the goal is to get a runny yolk, perhaps freezing the yolk beforehand would be the better way to go. I think 147F will be too low to cook pasta well.

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I know it sounds like a horrible idea but I was thinking about egg yolk filled ravioli and the weird cooking time involved (aldente pasta but not hard-boiled yolk).

This has been done. I've done it, in fact.

Just roll the rough very thin;

put down a bit of filling (I like a mixture of ritotta and some kind of bitter green) as a "base";

leave an indentation in the filling to hold the yolk;

carefully put a whole, unbroken yolk into the intentation;

cover with another piece of dough and carefully seal;

leave plenty of dough around the outside when you cut out the shape (you don't want to eat more than one egg yolk-filled ravolo anyway);

cook it in not-quite-simmering water for 4 minutes;

plate immediately, sauce with brown butter and shaved truffles if you have 'em.

The dough will be cooked, and the yolk will run when you cut into the center of the raviolo.

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This has been done.  I've done it, in fact.

Hey, thanks, I'll give it a go.

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Actually cooking pasta sous vide would be a bad idea, because the pasta will continue to absorb water so long as there is water in the bag.

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Ya, thats why I want to measure the amount of water it absorbs when cooked right, then only put that much in the bag. Instead of the normal bloating of the bag from escaped juices, I imagine the pasta would swell to fill it. Probably have to lay the pasta flat to try and keep the water absorption even. If it works, it would mean I could cook pasta in more expensive liquids than I would otherwise (not wanting to turn a couple gallons of duck-stock or Sauternes into pasta water.)

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I wonder what would happen with the starch, though. When you cook pasta in boiling water a lot of starch from the pasta ends up in the water: doing sous vide would prevent that. I guess it would be like those macaroni and cheese things where you add just enough water to microwave the pasta to doneness, but you don't have to drain it. I can't recall what the sauce on those was like...

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hmm, probably weld them togeather like glue. I'll have to try it, I think it would be worth it to have some sake-infused cold buckwheat noodles.

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I just sous vide cooked some beef cheeks for a chef friend. He had vacuum sealed them in food safe plastic bags with some jus.

They were cooked for 30 hours at 70 degrees celsius (158 fahrenheit).

While cooking there was no leakage and the bags were definitely water tight.

The cooking water, although not coloured, smelt strongly of cloves (there were some used to flavour the jus).

My question is are the clove scent molecules so small that they can pass through the plastic bags? If so, does anything else do this?

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Actually cooking pasta sous vide would be a bad idea, because the pasta will continue to absorb water so long as there is water in the bag.

Ya, thats why I want to measure the amount of water it absorbs when cooked right, then only put that much in the bag. Instead of the normal bloating of the bag from escaped juices, I imagine the pasta would swell to fill it. Probably have to lay the pasta flat to try and keep the water absorption even. If it works, it would mean I could cook pasta in more expensive liquids than I would otherwise (not wanting to turn a couple gallons of duck-stock or Sauternes into pasta water.)

100% semoline dough absorbs about 80%-85% water to obtain an al-dente texture.

When you take into account the regular ratio of dough/filling in a raviolo, the absorption is about 35%-40% (YMMV).

However, you would have to check what the minimum temperature is for the semoline starch to gel, which I would guess is in the 60-70 C ballpark. Given that the temperature you're looking for the yolk is closer to the lower bound of this ballpark figure, I'm not sure this is the best approach for what you're trying to obtain.

You should also take into account that the pasta will stick together, that the yolk can break when you seal the bag, etc.

Freezing the yolk and then filling the raviolo might be a simpler low-tech solution with better results, IMHO.


Edited by Silly Disciple (log)

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Since I am from Montreal, and if you ask me Montreal has the best smoked meat, I have been searching for the best technique to smoke a whole brisket and not have it come out dry or too harsh in its smokiness.  I don't have the luxury of a commercial sized smoke house so I have had to make due with my Centro brand electric smoker and I find that the temperature control is too finicky and the resultant smoke too harsh.

Love Schwartz's You realize they sell their seasoning in bulk, right? They have little jars that are expensive, but if you ask, they'll sell it by the pound too...

Part of my love for their smoked meat is the texture. While I'm a big sous vide fan, I don't find it right for smoked meat. If you want to get close to their product, try a Big Green Egg. I've come darn close.

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On the salt issue, I've never encountered any problems salting before bagging either, but I do let the meat sit a good hour (or more depending on thickness) before bagging. I think the issue is that wait while the salt distributes through the meat. At first, some moisture may well get squeezed out, but with time, the salt will distribute through the meat, and reabsorb some of the moisture. That distribution of the salt into the meat more than makes up for any lost moisture.

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This has been done.  I've done it, in fact.

Hey, thanks, I'll give it a go.

I've done it too. I froze seasoned egg yolks and filled ravioli with them, then froze the ravioli. Cooked the ravioli straight from the freezer. The timing is a bit tricky, but it is very doable to get perfectly cooked ravioli and liquid yolks. Actually, in my very limited experience, the pasta cooks before the yolks thaw, but that obvioulsy depends on the amount of yolk.

Not my idea though, borrowed straight from the Ideas in Food blog.

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gallery_7620_135_69765.jpg

Cooked scallops last night for 2 hours at 55C. Texture good. Makes cooking shellfish and lobster easy.

Since this time is above the FDA guidelines, I wonder if the unsealed, rapidly cooled bag would have a longer shelf (fridge) life?

Any experts out there? What is the degradation mechanism for shellfish, other than biological? Oxidation? Enzymatic, in which case what temperature are the enzymes destroyed?

Made into a salad for supper with little gem lettuce, bacon, Arran Pilot new potatoes, and cherry tomatoes.

gallery_7620_135_44674.jpg

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there was a quick mention of candied fruit sous vide way back in the first few pages of this thread but nothing since. does anyone have any thoughts/recipes/experiments on this?

i know candying fruit normally requires a highish temperature of the sugar syrup, but LTLT magic may contribute something here.

if anyone can fill in some info it would be much appreciated. how about chestnuts? marrons glace SV? the only references i can find online is vacuum packed chestnuts.

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Cooked scallops last night  for 2 hours at 55C.

Jack, what was your thinking behind 2 hours? I would think that 15-20 minutes would have sufficed to bring the scallops up to 55C, and it's not clear that there is any culinary benefit to going longer than the minimum time for something like scallops.

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