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Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 9)


Rahxephon1
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Hi All,

I've been playing around with my new Anova and decided to make some cochinita pibil (40 hours @ 60 degrees). I don't have a vacuum sealer so I use the water dispersal method to seal in the chinks of pork. The marinade is lime juice, orange juice, achiote and other spices.

It's been in there for about 16 hours. I'm a little worried because the water in the bath is now slightly orange and there's some weird sediment floating in the bags. Here's a couple of pictures (excuse the quality). Grateful for views on whether it looks fine, or whether there's something exotic growing in there..

I suspect that the orange in the bath is either from stuff that was on the outside of the bag, or a slight leak in the ziploc. I've never used a ziploc for more than a few hours.

I suspect that the sediment is not dangerous, but is analogous to the stuff that often ends up floating in the bag when I make steak (and is the reason why I always filter the juices before using them for gravy).

I also suspect that with that amount of acid, you may end up with a dish that is not dangerous, but is overpowered by citrus.

I wish I had more than suspicions.

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"" weird sediment floating in the bags '''

this is denatured protein + water. its the same stuff called 'scum' that float to the top of water when you start to simmer or boil meat.

Id take a bag out and see if there is water in the bags that might have come from an improper seal. this would be easy to see

what are the bags you used to seal w/o a vaccum seal ?

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Thanks for your responses - looks like one of the bags had ever so slightly split, which explains the colour. And I realised I accidentally used some cheap Giant Supermarket freezer bags, which might explain it.

Pork has been rebagged in double strength ziplocs. Fingers crossed...

Edited by Truffle Explosion (log)
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Hey I'm new here and excited to learn some new cooking techniques and hopefully share some things I know, I trained as a chef for a couple years at a college in London. My first post is actually to get some help so bear with me with the onslaught of questions!

I have been Sous Viding brisket. I generally get 2.5kg cuts of cured brisket (salt brined) from my butcher which I have been experimenting with cooking Sous Vide. Normally I would cook it conventionally in a stock pot to obtain a corned beef effect and I have been doing this for years with success. But recently I have began using my Vacstar circulator to cook it - because I find it much easier for me to eliminate some mess and not have to spend the best part of my day supervising. I have pretty much perfected a 2.5kg piece cooking it at 76dgc for 45hrs. It usually comes out great and my family and friends love it but recently I've noticed the shapes/sizes/cuts all deviate slightly and I do get different results because of this - should I just reduce the time if the briskets are smaller? I want consistency and my most recent feast was a little under par due to the beef being somewhat 10-20% drier than usual. Its normally super tender and I'm really happy with the results. Could it be the size/width/depth were different this time round even though its the same weight? Any tips on how I can achieve consistent results and maybe work out times for different sizes? I know alot of this is trial and error but I dont have too many opportunities to do this and it could get costly!

Secondly, once cooked as per above - can I 'hold' my brisket in the vacuum bag at a lower temperature so when it needs serving I just take it out the tank and serve it up? I was told if I keep it above 60dgc I should be fine as the texture is unlikley to change much due to it already being cooked for so long - but I did this the other day and maybe that caused it to dry out - even thought you can't 'over cook' via Sous Vide?! Sometimes I have a dinner party or cater my friends parties (which I'm doing more of) where I make 3-4 sides of brisket and want to keep these warm without jeopardizing the texture or peoples health ...... which brings me onto my next question!....

Health & Safety - is it safe to leave them 'holding' in the bags at a lower temp (I know bacteria thrive at below 60dgc so I purposely keep it 60-63dgc)? But I read recently something about the Botulinum toxin which scared the life outta me. The briskets I get are vacuum sealed by the butcher with useby dates on them and I unpackage them and reseal with my own ingredients, cook them and normally eat it immediately. But I'm hoping I can keep a couple in the tank at a constant temp especially for my parties? I am yet to try the cook/chill/regenerate method and am worried the texture will suffer but I could be fearful of it because I've never tried it, would this be easier? If I'm catering a party should I be doing this for large amounts of guests - is it easy/safe to do? Also because its cured beforehand and because I cook it for so long I assume its pasteurised so that eliminates some of the health and safety worries, but not this Botulinum toxin?! I'm so confused!

Anything else I should be aware of, I realise alot of bacteria stuff is mentioned in the stickied posts but I want something specific for my brisket and I onyl tend to find other info on regular sous vide techniques such as cooking steak that dont relate to my long process of tougher cuts like brisket. The 2 things I want to make sure are that a) its consistently tender and juicy and b) I dont poison anyone at my parties!

Thank so much and sorry for the wall of text! I will try to repay the favour with some of my own knowledge in other posts.

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Many of the answers to this are in the sous vide index http://forums.egullet.org/topic/136274-sous-vide-index/

You can overcook with sous vide, its just harder. Leave stuff in tooooo long and it'll get mushy or dried out depending on the temp and the meat.

I'd take it out and refrigerate till serving if more than a few hours are involved. SV units reheat food nicely.

Nitrate curing eliminates most if not all C. botulinum spores, so cured meat is safer than uncured in this respect, but why press your luck?

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Thx, tbh I've never had it come out mushy just a little dried out especially on the outside - deeper inside was more tender, but I got the whole crumbly texture, which I'm trying to avoid. The texture was different, normally when perfect it comes out with a nice kinda bounce in the meat this time it was more solid. Thats the only way to describe it. Do you think 76dgc is too high - considering I'm cooking for 45 hours? I just know anything much lower will be too low to breakdown the connective tissue etc?

I'm happy to know the nitrates kill off that C.b - as that had me in a panic and I assume further pasteurisation would eliminate the rest. I'll look through that thread to see if I can get some more answers.

If anyone else has any tips I'd sure appreciate it.

Thanks

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Check out this article by Douglas Baldwin for a good discussion of factors involved in sous vide cooking. The New South Wales Food Authority has a very good guide on food safety precautions for sous vide in restaurants. The golden rule for long time low temperature cooking is to reach 55C internal temperature within six hours (or four if you are more conservative).

Two points. First your temperature seems high compared to what others of us have used. Check the index link given by gfweb above to get some information on times and temperatures. Second, you can hold the meat for service as long as you keep the temperature above 55C. Chill and reheat works well but make sure you chill in an ice bath (ice and a bit of water, not water and a few bits of ice). You can then keep refrigerated or freeze. Reheat for service by immersing in a water bath 55C or above.

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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Hey I will check out those links thanks.

I always thought 76dgc is a little high, I'm not sure why I chose this except for a chef friend of mine suggested I go higher to break down the connective tissue and collagen. Do you think cooking the same size piece at lower say somewhere around 65-70dgc for the same amount of time would do a similar but better job then? I always thought 76 was over the top compared to what Ive read others cooking brisket too...

I know alot of this is trial and error but I can only get hold of so many briskets at a time so I want opinions that can help me completely eliminate some tests

If I get an informed opinion on the above cooking temp/time with a suggestion I should go with - I will go ahead and try it out on my 2.6kg brisket I have in the refrigerator & cook it this weekend and take some nice pics/trip report etc :biggrin:

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Also I read a post on here which got me thinking - it was a beef bourginon SV post, I tried to paste link but failed :)

Most people believe the collagen breaks down at around the temp my chef friend suggested (~76dgc), if thats not the case I could go lower but increase the length of time?

Bleh, sort of wish SV was abit easier to work out but maybe this is sposed to be part of the fun!

Edited by DanMLondon (log)
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Hey I will check out those links thanks.

I always thought 76dgc is a little high, I'm not sure why I chose this except for a chef friend of mine suggested I go higher to break down the connective tissue and collagen. Do you think cooking the same size piece at lower say somewhere around 65-70dgc for the same amount of time would do a similar but better job then? I always thought 76 was over the top compared to what Ive read others cooking brisket too...

I know alot of this is trial and error but I can only get hold of so many briskets at a time so I want opinions that can help me completely eliminate some tests

If I get an informed opinion on the above cooking temp/time with a suggestion I should go with - I will go ahead and try it out on my 2.6kg brisket I have in the refrigerator & cook it this weekend and take some nice pics/trip report etc :biggrin:

Try 57C for 48 up to 72 hours.

An example of the product is here.

Edited by nickrey (log)
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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Clostridium botulinum survives as a spore. Even prolonged pasteurization doesn't kill spores, as far as I know, & neither does boiling. You need pressure-cooker temps to do it reliably.

But the little bugger won't grow in frozen or properly refrigerated food.

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Hey I will check out those links thanks.

I always thought 76dgc is a little high, I'm not sure why I chose this except for a chef friend of mine suggested I go higher to break down the connective tissue and collagen. Do you think cooking the same size piece at lower say somewhere around 65-70dgc for the same amount of time would do a similar but better job then? I always thought 76 was over the top compared to what Ive read others cooking brisket too...

I know alot of this is trial and error but I can only get hold of so many briskets at a time so I want opinions that can help me completely eliminate some tests

If I get an informed opinion on the above cooking temp/time with a suggestion I should go with - I will go ahead and try it out on my 2.6kg brisket I have in the refrigerator & cook it this weekend and take some nice pics/trip report etc :biggrin:

Try 57C for up to 72 hours.

I just read this in the article you posted:-

"At lower temperatures (50 °C/120 °F to 65 °C/150 °F), Bouton and Harris (1981) found that tough cuts of beef (from animals 0–4 years old) were the most tender when cooked to between 55 °C/131 °F and 60 °C/140 °F. Cooking the beef for 24 h at these temperatures significantly increased its tenderness (with shear forces decreasing 26–72% compared to 1 h of cooking). This tenderizing is caused by weakening of connective tissue and proteolytic enzymes decreasing myofibrillar tensile strength. Indeed, collagen begins to dissolve into gelatin above about 55 °F/131 °F (This, 2006). Moreover, the sarcoplasmic protein enzyme collagenase remains active below 60 °C/140 °F and can significantly tenderize the meat if held for more than 6 h (Tornberg, 2005).

For example, tough cuts of meat, like beef chuck and pork shoulder, take 10–12 h at 80 °C/175 °F or 1–2 days at 55–60 °C/130–140 °F to become fork-tender. Intermediate cuts of meat, like beef sirloin, only need 6–8 h at 55–60 °C/130–140 °F to become fork-tender because the tenderization from the enzyme collagenase is sufficient."

I do want to get the best result regardless of how long it takes but it would be good, especially commercially for my parties to shorten it somewhat - so maybe meeting in the middle would be ideal say 63c for 48 hours would maybe be a good benchmark or am I completely missing the point lol? Its annoying because my 76c @ 45hrs has worked a treat up until the last try. I guess what I'm trying to say is I dont understand why I cant just decrease the temp to whatever 70c and keep the same cooking time to reduce the risk of drying it out.

Edited by DanMLondon (log)
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Clostridium botulinum survives as a spore. Even prolonged pasteurization doesn't kill spores, as far as I know, & neither does boiling. You need pressure-cooker temps to do it reliably.

But the little bugger won't grow in frozen or properly refrigerated food.

But what about cured (brined) cuts of beef like my brisket?

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Clostridium botulinum survives as a spore. Even prolonged pasteurization doesn't kill spores, as far as I know, & neither does boiling. You need pressure-cooker temps to do it reliably.

But the little bugger won't grow in frozen or properly refrigerated food.

But what about cured (brined) cuts of beef like my brisket?

Should be OK if it was a nitrate cure, not just salt. If its pinkish like corned beef nitrate was there.

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I've never used a ziploc for more than a few hours.

This raises a question I've had for a while now. From time to time, I see comments like this, wonder how many sous viders have had this issue and whether it matters what sort of sous vide rig they're using. Cuz, in more than four years doing this, I've never had ziplocs fail for long cooks (24 hours or more), but maybe it's relevant that I use noncircularing rigs (i.e,, a Sous Vide Supreme and an Auber-controlled 6 qt slow cooker). If so, this seems to be a good argument for noncirculators, to wit, that they work with ziplocs but circulators need better seals (either fiddly FoodSavers or expensive chamber vacuum sealers).

Any thoughts from the eG sous vide community would be appreciated. FWIW, I recently got a chamber vacuum sealer (the low end but still not-cheap VP112), so this isn't about me. It's about what sous vide rigs to recommend to friends.

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Dan, speaking of Douglas Baldwin, if you have not already done so, you'll want to get your hands on his Sous Vide for the Home Cook, an excellent resource.

Thanks for this have ordered and gone through his website pretty carefully although cant find specific answers that relate directly to me.

I was thinking for my parties I could cook them in advance, ice bath chill immediately after and refrigerate for when they are needed ( a day or so later) to be reheated. Do I have to buy a probe to check when they are to be reheated and roughly how long would something like this take and do I have to get it back up to the temp I cooked it at i.e 70c?

Also if my method is 76c for 45 hrs, should I maybe reduce temp to 70c and keep same time to avoid this dryness?

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Why take it to 70C when you reheat it? You're already taking the food well past the point of pasteurisation when cooking and will not have opened the package. Personally I wouldn't take the core temperature above 60C (use the cooking temperature time charts to see how long this will take when reheating in sous vide).

If you have an iPhone, buy the sous vide dash app and you will have all the cooking times to temperature on hand.

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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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What temperature and time would you recommend for sous vide soup?

I have a couple of beef joints with some meat on them (1") thick and am thinking of adding some beans, maybe some tomatoes. My experience with cooking tomatoes non-sous-vide is that the tomatoes will dissolve after about 2-3 hours.

Advice please?

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What temperature and time would you recommend for sous vide soup?

I have a couple of beef joints with some meat on them (1") thick and am thinking of adding some beans, maybe some tomatoes. My experience with cooking tomatoes non-sous-vide is that the tomatoes will dissolve after about 2-3 hours.

Advice please?

I've never thought to make soup sous vide. I don't think it would work terribly well. Soup thickens, at least in part, by evaporating water, a process that SV prevents.

I've not cooked tomatoes SV either. A post from 2010 suggests that 85C/185F will cook the tomatoes but leave them intact, which is consistent with my experience with vegetables and fruits. Of course, even that temperature will be far over what you'd want for beef.

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