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Some questions about a sous vide Porchetta


Gary Burns
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Hello,

 

This is my first post here -- apologies if I'm making any mistakes on protocol -- I have spent some time checking prior posts but this seemed the best place to jump in.

 

I have a 13lb skin-on, loin attached pork belly I'm going to cook for Christmas dinner. Coincidentally I also have an Anova sous vide circulation heater and a new plastic tub with a lid.

 

The recipes I've saw mostly call for seasoning, a water bath for 36 hours and then a deep or pan fry to crisp. Now I have the setup, and look at the combination of the roast and the container I realize I have some questions about what I'm doing -- I've attached a picture below of what we're starting off with. 

 

Here are those questions:

 

  • The fit seems a little tight to me -- is the container size fine? I was planning on seasoning, tying and double bagging it in large ziploc bringing bags ( water displacement, no vacuum sealer ). I've convinced myself the ziplock method is fine, but is standing the meat vertically in a space close to it's dimension for a 36 hour cook ok?
  • After the 36 hours in water, it is Ok to refrigerate? The main recipe I've been using as a base calls for removing it, shocking it and then removing the liquids for sauce before deep frying -- would it be ok to shock, refrigerate for several hours, then bring to temperature in the bath again before proceeding with browning/bringing to temp? If this isn't a bad idea, how long would you keep in the water bath after refrigeration?
  • Deep frying vs. a quick hot oven? I'll rub baking soda on this, and I'll fry if need be -- but does anyone have experience or thoughts on whether you'd be defeating the purpose of using sous vide in the first place if you just used a suitably hot oven to crisp the skin after cooking sous vide and drying the skin beforehand? I'd prefer not to to do an inside stove top fry for something this large right before dinner if it wasn't sacrificing too much.  

 

Thanks for any help, would also be great to hear any other useful advice from anyone that's went through a similar process.

 

Gary

 

IMG_0556.JPG

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My only concern about it would be using the zip-lock (use the freezer bags; they are thicker/heavier than storage bags) and submerging the seal; I'd be real scared of a leak. I would go for a container in which it will fit horizontally, so you can keep the seal above water (chip clips around a piece of string/wire, or a wooden spoon handle, work nicely for this). Not having a lid is not a huge issue; you can simply add hot water as it evaporates away; you won't lose enough water overnight, say, to hurt things.

 

Depending on when you plan to finish your SV, you can either chill it quickly in an ice bath, then refrigerate, or even freeze. For a long cook, why not just change your timing so it's through cooking about the time you want to take it out and finish the outside?

 

As far as searing-crisping the exterior -- there are several options. I don't have a kitchen torch, but a lot of folks swear by them. I like, when I'm doing steaks, to SV, refrigerate, then throw them on a screaming hot grill to crisp/char the outside; doing that from chilled generally keeps me from getting the inside too done. I do things for which a rare or medium rare interior are not critical in a hot oven. If you don't mind the possibility of cooking your inside a little hotter than your SV temp target, then the oven is fine.

 

In short, there are options other than stovetop searing, if they're suitable for the cut.

 

And welcome to the forum. There are a lot of folks here that know a heck of a lot more than I do about SV, and I hope they'll chime in. Regardless, I hope your Christmas dinner is a rousing success! 

 

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Hi Gary.  Welcome to eGullet. You're going to have some fun here!

 

I've had good results with this recipe, which is similar to what you're looking at.  It also has suggestions about chilling and searing.

 

Regarding your container, the only concern I have is whether the water can circulate freely all around the meat.  It looks a little tight on the left of your photo, but I suspect the container is deeper (ie front to back) than is readily seen in the photo so you should be fine.  I'd try to raise the 'bottom' end of the meat a little to get a bit of circulation under there too, but I can't see that being critical.  But if you have something a little bigger it wouldn't hurt to use it.  Many of us have used beer coolers.

 

The container in the photo is probably higher than is ideal.  I'd like to see the Anova resting on the bottom, or at least near to it, but again I doubt that's critical, particularly for a long cook.

 

Let us know how you get on.

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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Thanks for the answers so far -- I had a concern about the container, less so about having a lid so I'm going ahead and ordering a coleman that would let it sit horizontally and also let me clip the bag to keep the seal out.

 

Right now I think i'm leaning to crisping the skin in the oven, on a rack -- frying sounds nice, but it's going to be a hectic room. I do have a torch, so could add to the finish that way.

 

 

 

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As far as a lid goes, plastic cling wrap should be fine.

 

I really want to do this same thing but don't have the guests for it.   I think the oven is the thing to finish it (a fryer would be crazy if you haven't done it before).  But if you could figure out some rotisserie action....

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I've had no trouble with zip-locs.

 

Re browning in the oven. That will undo some of the SV benefits. The oven isn't hot enough and air too poor a conductor to rapidly brown the surface. Instead it will be slow and thereby let a large portion of the meat to rise well past your target temp (which is well under the browning temp). It wouldn't ruin it, but...

 

So I'd try for a pan with hot oil or a torch to brown it if possible. If the oven is it, then I think I'd at least broil it quickly.

Edited by gfweb (log)
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My only thought here is to work cleaner than clean. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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Looks like you're off to good start.

 

I'm not a fan of zip locks for a long cook, but if that's what you have to work with then.....  2nd the part about clipping the edge to the top of the container so that the seal is not submerged.

 

Your container should be fine with a circulator though I would prefer a 12 qt Cambro for most SV.    For long cooks  I like a Coleman "stackable".  For either container (or yours) a 2 1/2" hole saw will cut an opening for the Anova bluetooth unit.  (2 3/4" for Anova 1)

If you still have concerns about doing it as a roll you can steak it and do it as pieces (my preferred method) or whole but not rolled per David Chang.

 

 The belly pictured was done at 140F.  (Pork likes 140F)  It was seared outside in a wok.  Your oven, cranked up and on broil will work fine but will take it out of commission for dinner rolls, warming, finishing sides etc.  Super hot grill, esp with cast iron skillet will work well.

 

Don't forget the liquids in the bag make a great addition to sauce.

 

SV Porchetta stuffed with chick food.

 

Pork Belly Roll Slicing (2).jpgPork Belly Roll Sliced.jpg

 

Duroc belly steaked:  (Note:  When steaked you can do as much or as little of the belly as you would like,  Freeze other pieces for another day.2015-02-19 13.56.33.jpg

 

What it should look like.jpg

Edited by daveb (log)
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  • 3 years later...

I have a porchetta roast that weighs 2.75 pounds.  I would like to cook it sous vide but everything I've looked at suggested that it be cooked for 36 hours.  These suggestions are made by people who seem to use a whole pork belly as a starting point in their recipes.  Since I am not cooking 12 to 15 pounds of meat, I am wondering how long to cook it for.  Is it still 36 hours?  The favoured temperature ito cook it s 140F.

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28 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

I have a porchetta roast that weighs 2.75 pounds.  I would like to cook it sous vide but everything I've looked at suggested that it be cooked for 36 hours.  These suggestions are made by people who seem to use a whole pork belly as a starting point in their recipes.  Since I am not cooking 12 to 15 pounds of meat, I am wondering how long to cook it for.  Is it still 36 hours?  The favoured temperature ito cook it s 140F.

The 36 hours is more for texture then the size of the belly. I guess if you can determine the time it takes to get to 140F by how thick, then you can subtract some of the time. For example, if it takes 4 hours for a 4 inch thick belly to reach 140F, and you have a 2 inch thick belly that only takes 2 hours, then instead of 36 hours, go 34 hours. This is just an example, not a real time.

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@ElsieD 

 

Im not sure what a

 

porchetta roast 

 

is

 

I did some Googling

 

It might be a pork loin w skin

 

if you like 140 for pork

 

fine

 

a little less 

 

135  for the Tender Time  might be a bir more intereasing

 

maybe just f9or me

 

pick your temp

 

if 140 works for you 

 

 if its loin :

 

6 hours might be fine

 

pics might be nice

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I’ve always understood porchetta to be a preparation rather than a cut of meat. Frequently it is boneless pork belly with its skin (crackling) or loin also with skin. It is stuffed and rolled. However, here’s a recipe for a sous vide pork belly about the size of yours. Perhaps you can adapt. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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@rotuts  below is a picture of the porchetta.  As @Anna N correctly noted, it is a pork belly, stuffed (in this case) with various spices.  I decided to do it at 170F for 14 hours as it is thicker than Kenji's pork belly.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  Thanks for your help.

20201216_170958.jpg

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As you can guess from the picture there was a LOT of fat on this guy.  The meat was extremely good, moist and tender, easily shredded.  But, next time I buy one of these I'll check the amount of fat on the thing.   For what it cost, there was not a lot of edible meat.

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@ElsieD 

 

you more or less did a SV Braise

 

OK

 

but if you can cross this cut

 

safely and affordable 

 

try it again , w the fat 

 

at a lower temp

 

135 F ?  no more then 140 F .

 

for te tine to get it tender

 

yu will love it a lot more !

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Maybe it was a mistake to cook it at 170 and cook away all that fat? I think cook it at 140. There's an Italian place here that does something similar, but then the cool it all the way slice it thin and crisp it on the flat top to make simple sandwiches on fresh ciabatta (bread is also baked to order). very very good.

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48 minutes ago, AAQuesada said:

Maybe it was a mistake to cook it at 170 and cook away all that fat? I think cook it at 140. There's an Italian place here that does something similar, but then the cool it all the way slice it thin and crisp it on the flat top to make simple sandwiches on fresh ciabatta (bread is also baked to order). very very good.

 

Yes, I wondered about frying it in a pan after I cooked it sous vide.  But the thing pretty much fell apart when I took it out of the bag.  I think some things are best done in an oven and this might be one of them.  BTW the fat was not cooked away.  It was there in all it's gelatinous glory.  Might have made great scrunchions.

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3 hours ago, ElsieD said:

As you can guess from the picture there was a LOT of fat on this guy.  The meat was extremely good, moist and tender, easily shredded.  But, next time I buy one of these I'll check the amount of fat on the thing.   For what it cost, there was not a lot of edible meat.

Reminds me very much of a pork loin that me and my husband and my bought some years ago. It was heritage pork (specially ordered) and cost us a fortune. I have never paid that much money for fat in my life before or since. And I am a great believer that fat equals flavour. There is a limit to how much I’m prepared to pay for it! 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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4 hours ago, ElsieD said:

As you can guess from the picture there was a LOT of fat on this guy.  The meat was extremely good, moist and tender, easily shredded.  But, next time I buy one of these I'll check the amount of fat on the thing.   For what it cost, there was not a lot of edible meat.

This way of cooking pork belly is an aquired taste. You really have to love gelatinous fat. My wife is one of those people, I am not.

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3 hours ago, Anna N said:

Reminds me very much of a pork loin that me and my husband and my bought some years ago. It was heritage pork (specially ordered) and cost us a fortune. I have never paid that much money for fat in my life before or since. And I am a great believer that fat equals flavour. There is a limit to how much I’m prepared to pay for it! 

 

I too believe that fat equals flavour.  But this was just too much fat for too much money.

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39 minutes ago, FeChef said:

This way of cooking pork belly is an aquired taste. You really have to love gelatinous fat. My wife is one of those people, I am not.

 

I guess I'm not in the gelatinous fat camp.  I love it well rendered, and crunchy.

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15 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

 

I guess I'm not in the gelatinous fat camp.  I love it well rendered, and crunchy.

Yeah, theres really no way to do that with a roll without turning the meat into crunch bacon, in this case crunchy pork since its not cured. What i would suggest is cutting portion size squares sous vide as usual, let rest on paper towels to bring down temp and dry out and deep fry in a shallow pan to crisp the skin, render the fat, but not cook the meat. Then maybe sandwich some of those herbs and seasoning between two squares.

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