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Sous Vide anyone?

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  • Sous Vide anyone?

    Anyone here familiar with Sous Vide cooking?

    I saw a reference to that in a grill review. I am looking for a small grill to put beside my smoker to "sear" the meat. Smoking meat slow and at low temps make for very tender meats, but I miss the sear flavor on the outside. In one review, one guy mentioned this very thing and then referred to using a high temp small grill for searing sous vide cooked steaks.

    (For reference, low temp to me has been cooking/smoking below 200, searing occurs at 400 or higher and hard to achieve both in the same grill/smoker - unless you get a double grill with one short and one long grill attached together, which I am not partial too. I prefer ones that I can control the temp fairly precisely. )

    I started a quick research on "sous vide" and was surprised at the information available and the actual lower temps at which things are actually done/cooked. It did explain somewhat why my low temp chicken breasts and pork were so tasty and tender.

    I am very interested in this and my question to you is
    1. Have you use this method you do this?,
    2. which sous vide cook books you use?,
    3. any special tips in getting started or things to avoid?

    Last edited by leehljp; 09-09-2018, 10:21 AM.
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

  • #2
    The first I ever heard of Sous Vide was in a technology article on this device which, being me, I immediately pre-ordered. I love eating and hate cooking so anything that makes it faster / easier I'm all for. I'll be interested to see what answers you get on this thread becaue I haven't found alot in the cookbook or recipies online, but haven't had alot of time to spend researching yet.
    An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
    A moral man does it.


    • #3
      Okay, got you covered (a little bit anyway).

      My wife Patty is the best cook that I know of and so obviously I just take such questions to her and she immediately responded with, "the art of slowly cooking food sealed in plastic, in water". So we went up to here cookbook room (Yeah, she has her own library room of just cookbooks) and she grabbed the Richard Blais book, "Try this At Home" (Top Chef winner). On page 19 is a Sous Vide 101 cooking chart that is as follows:

      Beef short ribs 179 degree for 5 hours

      Boneless skinless chicken breast 144 degrees for 1 hour

      Duck leg 167 degrees for 6 hours

      Lamb chop 138 degrees for 45 minutes

      Lobster 126 degrees for 13-15 minutes

      Pork belly 140 degrees for 48 hours

      Pork chops (thick cut) 138 degrees for 1 hour

      Rib-eye strip or steak 136 degrees for 1-1/4 hours

      Root vegetables 194 degrees for 25 minutes

      The book mentioned has several other recipes and styles of cooking, but has particulars about certain items that are Sous Vide. There is a Sous Vide machine and you need special Sous Vide bags to seal the food item properly. (You can't just use a zip lok bag.

      Basically (remembering what she told me), you prepare the food with seasoning, etc. and then seal it in the bag before placing it in the correct temperature water.

      Hope this helps,


      Think it Through Before You Do!


      • #4
        1. I've had one for about six years.

        2. I don't use cookbooks. I learned the process and make it up as I go along. I'll google for ideas and go from there, or talk to friends who also use sous vide for their ideas.

        3. Get the $60 unit at Walmart and don't fall for the BS on $200 units. Get a nice tub and cover. If you don't have a vacuum sealer, you will really want one. Get a rack for your tub to keep things off the bottom, and some kind of weights for doing things that float, like corn.


        • #5
          Being an independent mind, I like your answer. I have a smoker and while it is charcoal, I learned a long time ago how to control the temp within a 10 degree shift inside the smoker and I have 2 dual thermometers to keep up with the temp on what ever is inside. I also have 2 pans/shields to further even out direct heat and increase smoking. Having said that, it usually takes my chicken about 40 minutes to get to temp (145) when the inside of the smoker is at 180 at the grill level. This makes for a soft tender juicy chicken, that is also soft tender and juicy as a left over and re-warmed. (BTW, I do the same for pork loins DELICIOUS) While this is not sous vide, it is close and the chicken (and pork loin) is smokey but not seared. This is what I want, but I was unaware of sous vide as a science. My methods were close to sous vide, and I am going to do as you do, just stay close to the principle of sous vide as I can.

          I have a vacuum sealer and have used one for 3 or 4 years. Love it. I have done vacuum sealing on vegetables and then placed them in hot water if they were cooked, or cooked them in the bags if they were not. I just did not know the science behind it.

          It was in a search for a small grill that I saw the notation of "searing" a sous vide steak.

          I need to get me a good book on sous vide and go from there. I did see several on Amazon and am interested in sauces/puddings and vegetables. Plus, I do want to "try" sous vide on meats just to see how much flavor IS there.

          I will start with a book or two.

          Thanks guys for your input.
          Last edited by leehljp; 09-09-2018, 02:37 PM.
          Hank Lee

          Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!


          • #6
            I do a "reverse sear" with my smoker and grill. I set the smoker to 225 and bring the meat to rare. I then sear it on the grill and bring it to serving temperature.
            Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. - Thomas Edison


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tom Slick View Post
              I do a "reverse sear" with my smoker and grill. I set the smoker to 225 and bring the meat to rare. I then sear it on the grill and bring it to serving temperature.
              That is what I intend to do. Smoke first, then sear.

              But I am curious after reading about the sous vide and how they all report such good flavor - sous vide then sear on the grill - what should the flavor difference be?
              Hank Lee

              Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!


              • #8
                My friends and I always sear after cooking. In blind testing, this is usually preferred. Check out the "Sous vide everything" Youtube channel where they test lots of myths about sous vide--nearly all false. Lots of things become more intense in sous vide, so use less salt, less savory/strong herbs, etc. Adding fats to meats is a loser. There's a myth that it adds flavor; nope, it dissolves and draws out flavor. So can salt.

                Sous vide will change your life. You have no idea how many flavors are being lost when you grill or even smoke. I'm not saying it replaces smoking, but it's a different thing. And it 100% replacing grilling other than putting on a char. Oh, and searing on a hot cast iron is also good. If you have a gas grill that gets super hot, that's a huge benefit. Mine will hit 900+ degrees. I eat very little meat but you can make all sorts of things better with sous vide.


                • #9
                  Given that, to prevent getting one sick, the Mayo clinic recommends the following cooking temperatures:
                  For whole cuts of meat other than poultry and wild game to cook them to an internal temperature of 145 F throughout, and for poultry, 165 F
                  ...aren't those lower cooking temperatures putting one at risk?
                  One may respond that the food is cooked for a long period of time. The FDA recommends for "warming" food:
                  Hot foods should be kept at an internal temperature of 140 F or warmer."
                  Some of the temperatures listed in the post for cooking are lower than the temperature recommendations for warming already cooked food to eliminate bacteria!
                  What am I missing?


                  • cwsmith
                    cwsmith commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I think you make a good point. Although my wife knew what "sous vide" was, we've never tried cooking anything that way. While she's developed many of her own recipes over our 51 years together (today is our 51st wedding anniversary), she is pretty much a traditional cook. However, I do all the grill work as the kitchen remains HER domain.

                    The sous vide temperatures given, I took from one of the cookbooks, but your point is well taken... I'll have to ask her about that, as certainly the chicken temp would be of great concern, thanks. My take would be that the time doesn't matter, IF you're not reaching the proper temp to kill any bacteria, then all you're doing is promoting a bacteria culture!

                    Last edited by cwsmith; 09-09-2018, 07:54 PM.

                • #10
                  Beef and lamb are certainly safe at much lower temps. Pork is probably safe; I can't find any evidence otherwise. We eliminated the need to fully cook pork a couple decades ago. Poultry is still dangerous at lower temps, and I simply don't bother using sous vide for it.

                  Fresh garlic must be used very carefully at low temps, because it still has a botulism risk.

                  A rack of lamb in the sous vide with fresh savory garden herbs done at 130 then seared is an amazing treat.


                  • #11
                    Slightly OT: I don't doubt what you guys said about poultry at all, but I had to laugh! Not all "sushi" (o'sashimi) in Japan is fish. Some is horse meat, some is poultry. I never was offered poultry (raw) in my sushi but my friend was presented with it. The head of the family offering it to my friend was a medical doctor too! I have had horse meat and some fugu (poisonous puffer fish) only I was totally unaware that it was fugu when I ate it.

                    Back to reality. Thanks fellow for the information. Carlos, you have peaked my curiosity. Until I was a teen, I was dead set on foods on Mississippi, and fried everything. After eating my first oyster on the half shell, my mind did an about face. I am not fond of most sushi but I do eat it. I have always enjoyed "trying" new foods around the world and new flavors.
                    There is a book that I want to get that deals with food almost from a chemistry/physics point of view. Why does a few degrees in temp change things? Why does two more teaspoons of flour and one less teaspoon of water change the texture? What is the difference in cooking at 300 for 30 minutes or 275 for 40 minutes, and how does that change the texture or taste? I have always been curious about things like this in cooking. I am not sure if the book goes into that detail but it does deal with it from a chemistry type of mindset.

                    I am not going to jump whole hog into sous vide immediately, but I am going to sneak up on it.
                    Last edited by leehljp; 09-09-2018, 09:15 PM.
                    Hank Lee

                    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!


                    • #12
                      I was talking about the very dirty American commercial poultry industry. I wouldn't hesitate to eat a raw chicken from my yard or sushi grade.

                      I've spent a lot of time looking at the chemistry of cooking and exactly what interests you also. Yesterday I made something that includes arugula for people who hate it. I marinated it and killed the part of the flavor they object to, and they loved it. That's the kind of experimentation I like to do. Same with the heat thing you talked about. This may seem silly, but my wife loves mini corn dogs. She wants crunchy on the outside and medium soft inside. So we run 350 in convection bake mode for 8 minutes and finish with 480 air fry mode for 2-3.

                      I do a lot of air frying. I use almost zero grease or salt, which has eliminated all of my chronic joint pain.

                      Anyway, yeah, I love experimenting with chemistry and make a lot of "weird" stuff for my friends that they all seem to love. Day to day I eat no meat, oil, or salt. Chemistry lets me make stuff fun without any of that.