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


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One of the fundamental strengths of SV is to keep the flavors in what you are SV'ing, in that item, therefor out of the water that might surround it in some conventional cooking methods.

Soup is flavored water, usually.

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Flavoured water, indeed! I don't know what I was thinking.

I guess what I'm really asking is what is the lowest temperature that I can make soup with beef soup bones.

(Hence, sorry to be mucking up the sous vide thread :blush: )

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I quite often make sauces for casseroles or curries via conventional means and then add sous vide cooked meat to give a different perspective on the meal. To achieve flavour integration, after the sauce and meat are cooked separately they can be chilled and combined, much like marinating meat. You then reheat the dish gently and serve.

I can't see why you couldn't do the same thing with soup by creating a base through conventional means and then adding the cooked meat afterwards.

With regard to soup being flavoured water, typically bases for soups are stocks. In creating stocks, it is conventional and sensible to have maximum flavour extraction. This gives highly flavoured water and is why conventional cooking simmers the bones for long periods of time and why the "modernists" (I'm really staring to dislike that word, it conjures up images of people with flares, sideburns, and perms from the 70s); anyway, why the modernists use pressure cookers.

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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

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I make 'sous vide' soups all the time via a bain-marie.

Quart or half-gallon Mason jars work well because they can be sealed if your method will benefit form that.

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~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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Has anyone else found that the sear you get on meat cooked sous vide is completely different from conventional? With SV, the sear is like the meat has dehydrated and is leathery and almost jerky like. Especially prominent when you sear across an end grain but also apparent along the grain as well. It makes SV cooked meat not especially fun to eat.

PS: I am a guy.

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Yes and no. Searing after cooking, whether by SV or conventionally, is a bit different from searing before. Carnitas is a good example, to take one from conventional cooking. My SWAG is that this is because the meat has lost some moisture, so it browns more easily and more thoroughly. Whereas meat seared before cooking softens and gives much of its flavor to the braising liquid. But there's no reason searing after should be leathery, unless you're overdoing it. What method are you using?

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Taking pan-searing first, that's never worked well for me with SV, though it works fine with conventionally cooked meat (e.g., carnitas). The reason for the difference, I think, is that SV meat is firmer (one of the reasons we're doing it), so it doesn't get good surface contact, whereas conventionally cooked meat is softer and settles down into the pan. One of these days, I'm going to try shallow-frying, but expect the splattering will be more than I care to put up with.

As for a blowtorch, I assume you mean propane. That's a very hot flame. Map Pro (propylene) is even hotter. If my hunch is correct, you might want to try an Iwatani torch, which uses butane and is less hot than both, but still hot enough to be tricky to get right. My way of reducing scorching is to move the torch around a lot and use three passes, one to dry, a second for what I call a base tan and a third to brown. Even with this, I often get some scorching, producing what some call "torch taste" and tend not to use it these days. But, when I did, I didn't have a problem with the meat getting leathery. That you are suggests to me you're taking it to mahogany brown, which is tempting (since you can), but too much IMHO. You might want to try the three-pass method and see whether it works for you. I've used it successfully with Map Pro (though the torch taste problem was worse), so you could try this with your propane torch (assuming that's what you have) before deciding whether to invest in an Iwatani.

Or you can try a few other strategies. The one I prefer is a hot convection oven, 450ºF for ten minutes, flipping halfway through. This gives good color (though not mahogany brown), great flavor and doesn't overcook the interior. Another good option would be a hot infrared broiler, though a conventional one doesn't get hot enough (as it's slower, the interior will take too much heat). A third technique I've read about, but not tried as I don't have one, is a propane gas grill. Unlike a torch, the heat is more widely distributed. Reportedly, this works very well. Alternatively, you could use a charcoal grill, which I have tried and like, but that's a lot of work just to brown a batch of SV meat. Finally, for meat that's going to be reheated, an electric heat gun works very nicely and doesn't have the torch taste problem. I find it only works, though, if I dunk the SV pouch in cold water to bring the temp way down (doesn't have to be stone cold). Otherwise, because it's less hot than a torch, it takes much longer and overheats meat intended to serve right away.

BTW, for both the heat gun and torches, I like to put the pan in which I do the searing on a cooling rack (I use an inverted grill skillet) so at least some of the surface heat dissipates away. Not sure that's necessary, but it might be part of the reason I don't encounter the leathery surface problem.

Hope that helps. Feel free to comment and/or ask questions.

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A third technique I've read about, but not tried as I don't have one, is a propane gas grill. Unlike a torch, the heat is more widely distributed. Reportedly, this works very well.

Tends to be my preferred method for steaks. I have a reasonably priced Charbroil Infrared that gets well over 800F surface temps. I preheat for 10 minutes and get cross-hatched marks on both sides in 4-6 minutes.

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Right,

I decided to try this out again at 75dgc for 43hours (so slightly lower time/temp) - it came out the same. Inside is nice and tender but the outside is somewhat firm/drier and on the edges its rather stringy - obviously you have to cut it correctly against the grain to get nice slices but I've had better results previously doing it at the original 76dgc/45hr. It was however delicious as always but I'm trying to get it perfect texture too! But there is a noticeable difference between the last 2 I've done and the ones I've done before its somewhat more 'crumbly' is the only way I can describe it. It feels overcooked and in parts tough.

I'm starting to think its down to specific cuts of the beef as all have different fat/water contents so you get varied results, which is not what I want and I actually think its impossible to get the perfect result as it varies so much and theres always going to be wastage. There was ALOT of water/fat floating about in the bag and the brisket looked half the size after cooked - I had a feeling it wasnt going to be perfect and kept looking it at it like an obsessive complusive, my Wife was not happy! :blink:

Can anyone suggest a different timescale/temp - that they think would work better such as slightly lower. I dont think going below 70dgc is good as the collagen etc wont breakdown and I've achieved great results before at this temp. And as I've had proven results around this area I dont want to deviate too much. I was thinking of making another at say 71dgc for 40hours - would this make any difference?

Here are a couple pictures of the results, they are actually pretty good shots and do it too much justice as they make it look very juicy, and it is but only in parts and the outside (this is obviously shot when I'd taken the outer slice off) was very hard/dry/stringy/tough which is what I want to avoid.

Sorry to drive you all mad about bloody corned beef its become an obsession! :huh:

brisket1.jpg

brisket2.jpg

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take a look at what PedroG says here:

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/140591-technological-cooking/#entry1842109

note the possibility of a two-stage SV

Brisket and Corned Beef come out perfectly every time SV. fork tender and juicy and not stringy.

BTW if you have an outdoor area, a weber or something that will contain wood smoke try this:

after your SV, pat dry, and place in an enclosed outdoor 'cooker' at 130 for 1 - 2 hours with some hardwood smoke.

i did this in the corned beef thread re St. patricks day. best stuff i ever had.

look here:

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/144654-corned-beef-st-pats-and-sous-vide/page-3?hl=%2Bsmoked+%2Bcorned+%2Bbeef#entry1916475

Edited by rotuts (log)
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The 2 stage SV is a good idea but my problem is not thick tendons as there are none in my briskets. Possibly the moisture is being pulled out at such a high temp throughout which is why I'm left with a dry exterior.

The smoker, although I'd love to try it is not feasible for me atm and I really want to keep this as simple as poss.

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@gfweb If I do this at 65c for 36hrs - is this hot enough to break down conn tissue/collagen and turn into gelatin? Is this also hot enough/long enough to pasteurise? I too think 75c is too high which is why this keeps happening.

Also, what size of brisket are you doing, this is generally a big factor, mine are usually 2.5-2.8kg and are 2-2.5" thick. They have also been brined.

Thanks for all input thus far!

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It is hot enough to make a tender brisket and it is hot enough to kill the bad stuff esp since it has been cured with nitrate already.

Weight doesn't matter as much as thickness in SV. Thickness comes into consideration in shorter SVs, but at 36 hrs this meat will be at temp for a very long time....probably >35.5 hours.

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now youre talking. I do 61.5 !

CB and Brisket were invented for SV. If this were the only App for SV, it would still be a 100% winner

technique.

Ok now I see what you guys are getting at. That stringy corned beef is not what I'm looking for but the pics below with the sliceable corned beef is exactly what I want - its for sandwiches on rye or in bagels afterall. I achieved this at my previous temps/time but it seems somethings gone wrong so I have to try lower.

65c/36hr is the next experiment I guess. I will post results/pics

I'd love for dcarch to post in this thread :wink:

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As others here have stated, 76C is high. Like, way, way, way high. I'll go that high if I want to cook chicken thighs in a shorter amount of time, but for beef I think it's up there. I think the inconsistency you're experiencing is due to how much moisture beef loses at those temps, especially over 2 days.

I read somewhere years back that connective tissue starts to break down around 55C. In my experience that is true, though its mild, and only the softest tissues will melt, even over a couple days. 60C is a whole different story, and most tough cuts of beef I've cooked get very tender after 1-2 days at this temp. I use between 60-65C for ribs, both beef and pork, and the balance between moisture and tenderness can be varied quite a bit using those temps and variable timing. For example, 62C for 18 hours produces ribs that are juicy and tender, but closer to what a skilled BBQist could produce with a slow braise (still better and juicier IMO, but the texture is closer to conventional methods). Increase the time to 3 days and the rib bones can be slid out of the meat, which will be fork tender.

For brisket, I'd start at 65C, since you're already somewhat happy with 76C. Give it a shot, and then go lower. Then lower. Lower again until you find the lowest temp that gives you the texture you want. Many here have said 60ish, which I like, but some people like a drier brisket, so the extra 5 degrees should squeeze out a good bit of juice over 2 days.

Also, your "finishing" plans will change the temps. On big flat cuts like brisket, I'll lay it on a baking sheet (after seasoning) and slide it under the broiler (top rack, only as low as needed to ensure even heat) for a couple minutes on each side to get a nice reddish brown outside (maillard). But because this cooks it a bit more, I'll use a degree or two lower temp in the bath. If I'm planning to just shred it up and don't need a nice crust on it, I'll use a slightly higher temp.

I got into sous vide because it was a more scientific, precise way of cooking, but after 4 or so years, I've found there's no escaping art in cooking, even if the canvas looks a lot different. Good luck!

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One of these days, I'm going to try shallow-frying, but expect the splattering will be more than I care to put up with.

It's not worth it for a single steak IMO, but if you ever decide to try frying, jump right ahead to deep frying. 425F for 30 seconds. Never in my life have I seen a more beautiful piece of meat.

Credit goes to MCAH.

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