Patterico's Pontifications


Taking the Plunge Into Sous Vide

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:31 pm

My Sous Vide Supreme promo package arrived tonight. It’s all I have been talking about for days. If you’re unfamiliar with sous vide, it is basically cooking food in a vacuum-packed plastic bag in a bath of hot water at a specified temperature, generally for a longer period of time than it would take to prepare the same food on the grill. Meats come out juicy and full of flavor, and are cooked evenly throughout — no more chicked that is burned on the outside and pink on the inside. You throw the finished product on a hot grill or in a pan with hot oil to get a quick sear, and voila! the perfect meal.

I have been considering the purchase for months, ever since I met the inventors of the machine. The package came with the water oven, a vacuum sealer, a cookbook, and a starter set of 20 pouches — all for under $400. This is less than I expected to pay for the water oven alone, so I was pretty pleased.

I’m still unpacking everything and it’s too late to make a meal tonight, but I’m excited to try it out. I have a tri-tip that is probably getting the treatment this weekend. Has anyone else tried this, and if so, what do you think?


  1. Ding.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/23/2014 @ 9:34 pm

  2. mr. newrouter is a HUGE fan of this sort of thing

    Comment by happyfeet (8ce051) — 1/23/2014 @ 9:41 pm

  3. You’re a bit late to the party. But better late than never. We’ve had one for about 1 1/2 years. We probably don’t use it as much as we did initially, but it’s pretty handy. You likely will find that you still pop items in a pan for a couple of minutes under high heat to put finish items and put some “color” on them.

    Comment by Charlie (1bf147) — 1/23/2014 @ 9:53 pm

  4. How much does the water cost?

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 1/23/2014 @ 10:19 pm

  5. I guess now would be a bad time to tell folks about my new FryDaddy…

    Comment by qdpsteve (7ed3c4) — 1/23/2014 @ 10:24 pm

  6. We often use boil in bag cooking on campouts. It comes in especially handy for eggs since people can customize their own ingredients in individual freezer strength (not regular) baggies.

    I will have to consider adopting a fancy french name for the process after reading this post.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 1/23/2014 @ 10:26 pm

  7. It’s a little different from “boil in the bag.”

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/23/2014 @ 10:48 pm

  8. With the water shortage in California, won’t moonbeam shut you down?

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/23/2014 @ 10:50 pm

  9. Can you bake a cake?

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/23/2014 @ 10:51 pm

  10. I can’t really justify a $400 purchase in my budget, so I’m planning to go the drink-cooler route. A good, well-insulated drink cooler should lose only 5-10 degrees over an hour or so. So check your drink cooler with a good thermometer, and if it loses 6 degrees over an hour, start your water at 146° to cook your steak to 140°.

    Also, instead of the vacuum sealer, you can use a sturdy zip-lock bag: leave a small opening in the top of the bag, then lower the bag SLOWLY into the water, and the water pressure will push the air out. Once the top of the zip-lock is just above the water and there’s pretty much no air in it, seal the zip-lock and drop it fully into the water. Total cost: less than $50, and people are saying they’re getting the same delicious results as with the commercial sous-vide machines.

    (Disclaimer: I have not yet tried this myself, just seen others report on this method.)

    Comment by Robin Munn (e59899) — 1/23/2014 @ 10:53 pm

  11. me make fire, cook meat, eat.

    me no boil water…

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 1/23/2014 @ 11:10 pm

  12. “It’s a little different from “boil in the bag.””

    Patterico – Scoff if you must just because of the pompous fwench name.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 1/23/2014 @ 11:32 pm

  13. Awaiting your further reports, which hopefully will include recipes and pix.

    Comment by Beldar (8ff56a) — 1/24/2014 @ 12:43 am

  14. I read that it takes an hour and a half to cook a rib-eye to medium rare. And then you have to sear it. That sounds nutty.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/24/2014 @ 1:10 am

  15. “I read that it takes an hour and a half to cook a rib-eye to medium rare. And then you have to sear it. That sounds nutty.”

    Not if that 90 minutes takes place while you’re at work and the minutes to sear it when you get home.

    Comment by ErisGuy (76f8a7) — 1/24/2014 @ 2:52 am

  16. 15-ErisGuy, I will live and die with wood coals. I need seared grill marks on a rib-eye.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/24/2014 @ 2:57 am

  17. I tried this about a year ago with 1″ thick boneless pork chops and lots of spices (sage, pepper, garlic, sherry, a few others I can’t remember now) marinated in a ziploc bag for a couple hours, then dipped into a big pot of cold water set on medium. The temp rose gradually up to about 160 ensuring the meat rose at the same temp as the water. After maybe half an hour at that temp, a quick sear in the frying pan made the most tender, juicy delicious pork chop I’ve ever had. In fact I’ll probably try it again this weekend. Best. pork. chop. ever.

    Comment by Chris (0ba377) — 1/24/2014 @ 3:02 am

  18. Before you dished out the $400.00, did you consider a stainless steel roasting pan and a roll of wide, heavy duty aluminum foil? Just cover the pan and crimp down the foil to seal around the edges. Steam at 375 degrees. Chicken with potatoes need about 35 minutes. Ribs too. The chicken will show white juice when you poke it with a fork. The ribs will have pulled away from the bone. Then remove the foil and let roast for another 20 minutes or so to give them color. Depending on your oven, you might want to raise the temperature or switch the flame to the top (broil). You can do it with ribeye, too, for a very tender, well-done. And, of course, lamb. It’s almost impossible to overcook lamb.

    Bon appetit, anyway.

    Comment by nk (9faaca) — 1/24/2014 @ 3:58 am

  19. Hey, if it makes you want to cook then go for it. I say that as a guy who bought a great drill press a few years back, then never used it. I should be manufacturing cars. But I can go weeks without exploring the garage. I go into the kitchen every day. It used to be the other way around when I was 17.

    Now I find myself contemplating the crock pot or whatever device in the kitchen as I drink my morning coffee while the dogs are out taking a leak thinking, “I have to do something with that.” Then I look up a recipe. And I use it.

    The drill press never enters my mind until duck season rolls around and I realize I have to get past that to get to the decoys.

    I think it’s no accident that my reloading equipment is set up in what should be the breakfast nook in the kitchen. (And no I don’t need some nervous Nellie complaining about safety issues as the powder and primers are stored in an entirely different location nor do I divide my time between cooking and producing ammunition.)

    If only my garage were heated and/or air conditioned I’d spend more time contemplating the stuff I ought to use what’s sitting in there. Right now it’s a toasty 70 degrees in my kitchen but about 30 in my garage. About the same as outside, which explains why one of my dogs is already pawing at the door to get back inside.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 4:27 am

  20. Leg of Lamb and Lamb chops well done?
    Your killing me nk.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/24/2014 @ 4:37 am

  21. Well, maybe not cars. But at least knives. Try that with the Sous Vide!

    What am I saying? I haven’t even tried that with the tools I have in the garage that actually could do it.

    I think there’s a New Year’s resolution in there somewhere. Speaking of “in there somewhere” I believe I own a Hobart MIG welder. I think my New Year’s resolution will be to find it and use it for something.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 4:38 am

  22. Anybody need anything welded?

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 4:41 am

  23. My recipe for lamb chops, mg.

    Comment by nk (9faaca) — 1/24/2014 @ 4:53 am

  24. One thing I can say for Harbor Freight is that they make nice welding carts. This one is for oxyacetyline welding.

    I have the one for MIG welding. And, boy, am I glad. It’s just the thing for pushing around a welder you never use once a year to get at something.

    I wish Harbor Freight made a cart for my Nordic Trak.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 4:58 am

  25. I found the welder. It wasn’t in the garage. It was in the dining room, behind the ’67 Yenko Camaro.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 5:09 am

  26. I know you’re going to take this the wrong way, but WTF. Every MIG welder should come with this warning:

    Comment by nk (9faaca) — 1/24/2014 @ 5:25 am

  27. It is not boil-in-a-bag. No boiling involved, although there is a bag. I suppose you could wrap in a different way than a plastic bag (which is my only real concern about the process, transfer of plastic or release agent from the bag to the food; if you were sufficiently worried about this you could wrap the whatever tightly in parchment paper, excluding air, and dip it in liquid carnauba or ouricury wax to seal the water out. Or paper inside the plastic bag, too!)

    I’ve played a little with it, using the cooler method; the fancy tool might been less hassle. Things tasted great, did not look so good coming from the bag. Searing would have helped. I’m curious.

    Comment by htom (412a17) — 1/24/2014 @ 5:46 am

  28. I’ve had the sous vide supreme for about a year now. It is without a doubt the best small appliance I have ever bought. I use it 2 to 3 times per week. Learned something new just this week. Pre-sear your steak, then put in the frig to cool. Seal and cook at 135 for med rare for about an hour; then do a very hot quick sear again. Fabulous meat. Also, try a pork shoulder at 178 for 24 hours. Amazingly tender and juicy, but doesn’t just fall apart. Pork loin for a couple of hours is something to die for.

    Comment by Bruce (a889cf) — 1/24/2014 @ 5:48 am

  29. One more thing, go by the guide for cooking times, especially max times. Overcooking can happen in that there is a texture change if cooked too long. The meat will get mushy, even though it is still medium rare. Alot of science has gone into this, so follow the guidelines.

    Comment by Bruce (a889cf) — 1/24/2014 @ 5:59 am

  30. Bruce ably demonstrates my contention that, if it were in the kitchen, I’d probably use it on a regular basis.

    But, because it’s in the garage, I don’t.

    But if I were to install the heating or air conditioning necessary to make my garage as inviting as my kitchen, could I get elected to be President.

    Me and Mitt Romney think not.

    Signed, cordially, your President and man of the people Barack Obama.

    Who wants you all to f*** off so he can eat his waffle. I know this because the Secret Service just stopped by to discuss those NSA intercepts.

    Does the Sous Vide do waffles?

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 6:32 am

  31. Bruce,

    Interesting. Can you tell me why you sear the meat before and after, as opposed to just after? What is the advantage of searing before placing the meat in the water oven?

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/24/2014 @ 6:34 am

  32. I imagine it’s because the meat is more apatitizing if it’s browned.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 6:43 am

  33. I was just kidding, by the way, about the ’67 Yenko. I might as well have said the welder was tucked away, hidden from view, behind the Lotto ticket.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 6:58 am

  34. Looks Good,nk.
    Lamb Chops with an herb de province rub, seared med.-rare is my favorite grilled meat.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:12 am

  35. The election of Barack Obama proves my theory that we live in a society that has nothing better to do than spend money on vanity items.

    Hence my book. To be shortly followed by the movie. Both of which I hope to have out just before the historic collapse our historic black Preezy proimises to bring.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:14 am

  36. Searing a porkchop in a hot cast iron pan then tossing the whole deal into a 350 deg oven for 10-15 minutes all depending on thickness, makes for one juicy delicious chop.

    Bruce: In the old school BBQ world if you want that pork-butt (shoulder) to pull properly, internal temp needs to be at least 195ish.

    Comment by MSL (5f601f) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:19 am

  37. 33. Looks Good,nk.
    Lamb Chops with an herb de province rub, seared med.-rare is my favorite grilled meat.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:12 am

    Yeah. Leg of lamb. Meant to say something about that but my attention was diverted by the flintlock rifle. Pennsylvania rifle? I especially liked the set trigger, but I figure they all came with that.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:25 am

  38. What’s in the herb de province rub?

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:29 am

  39. Get rid of the plastic bag and replace water bath with fat (duck fat) and you have confit, no?

    Comment by mer (fe4339) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:35 am

  40. Hmmm, never heard of this before. At the moment we do not have the cash flow, counter space, or time and mental energy to make this a priority.

    Would putting water into the crock pot and then putting meat in plastic (perhaps a “roasting bag” like for turkeys) accomplish something similar?

    I guess the concept is slow cooking with keeping all of the natural juices in, unlike slow cooking in a crock pot in a sauce of some sort.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:46 am

  41. MD in Philly, do I ruin the conversation?

    Cuz I follow nk’s links to leg of lamb, and I’m like, “nice rifle.”

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:49 am

  42. Mebbe if you followed the link and there was a leg of lamb hot out of the oven I’d be thinking, “leg of lamb.”

    But there isn’t. There’s a rifle. Which is pretty tasty, too.

    At least make the rifle crappier than the food. Is that too much to ask?

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:55 am

  43. Steve57, only if someone pays attention. ;-)

    I am not the one to pass judgment on other people’s OT comments.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:56 am

  44. Patterico, by pre-searing, you get that carmelized flavor permeating the steak. You quick sear it again after it is done to put the crispiness to the outside. And MSL< I don't want to pull the meat, I want to still be able to slice it. I'm not cooking it to make pulled pork. One other thing, the juices left in the bag, from whatever type of meat you make, is pure liquid gold. NEVER throw it away. Freeze it and use it as stock for gravies, sauces, whatever.

    Comment by Bruce (a889cf) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:56 am

  45. One more thing. I also have a Cookshack Smokette, a 22lb electric smoker. I’ve taken and cold smoked a bunch of baby back ribs for an hour or so, then sealed them and into the Sous Vide supreme for about 8 hours. Better Than Sex ribs were created. The meat stayed on the bone, as it’s supposed to, but the meat was incredibly tender.

    Comment by Bruce (a889cf) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:04 am

  46. Touche, doctor.

    But despite my other transgressions this morning, I submit it’s not O/T to actually look at someone’s links.

    And I did in nk’s case.

    Is there not a rifle?

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:04 am

  47. 43. News we can use, thanx.

    Comment by gary gulrud (05efc5) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:04 am

  48. Better Than Sex ribs were created.

    I am sufficiently juvenile to ask, tell me more?

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:11 am

  49. 37-herbs-de-provence- lavender, thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, and savory. all dried. for the rub add kosher salt, fresh ground pepper of your choice. I wonder what that would taste like in the Sous-Vide?

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:15 am

  50. Sous Vide Washington D.C.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:17 am

  51. 25. ??? Do we harbor a horder?

    Comment by gary gulrud (05efc5) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:27 am

  52. Thanks, mg.

    In reciprocation here’s my pork brine.

    6 cups water
    1/4 cup cider vinegar
    1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1 tsp. dried thyme
    1 tsp. juniper berries (optional)
    1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
    2 Tbs. kosher salt

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:27 am

  53. 50. Hoarder, Doh.

    Comment by gary gulrud (05efc5) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:28 am

  54. For some reason my computer kept me in all caps on the last one. I really, really hate my computer.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:28 am

  55. 50. 25. ??? Do we harbor a horder?

    Comment by gary gulrud (05efc5) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:27 am

    Yeah. You got me.

    I’m also guilty of whatever stalinist crimes you can think up.

    There I was, waving whatever voodoo I had at my disposal hoping Obamacare would fail in the historic first black Preezy’s general direction and low and behold…

    Well, you know how it turns out. Apparently I’m the most potent force on Earth. Ladies, the line forms here.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:35 am

  56. This is a wonderful technique. It is so delicate on fish and seafood, while allowing one to really control cooking temp on meats and poultry, producing big flavors.

    Comment by JD (6852ce) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:35 am

  57. I’m not even elected. I just wish for the Preezy’s wet dreams to unhappen. And guess what? They unhappen! Who knew I had this kind of power?

    Next week, I’ll teach you how to make Cuban potatoes.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:38 am

  58. I’m keeping the secret to making a sail for your canoe out of a shower curtain to my grave.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:46 am

  59. Bruce
    Cold smoking with the cookshack, Yeah buddy, you know what’s up then. Not often I run into someone who know’s what cold smoking is. I like cold smoking burgers, rib-eyes, chops and whatever else before grilling.

    I fancy fall off the bone animals parts that have a nice thick smokey bark.

    Comment by MSL (a70192) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:46 am

  60. Back at you Steve57. Should I do a loin or shoulder?

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/24/2014 @ 9:29 am

  61. for pulled pork, use shoulder… pork loin is too lean to really smoke properly.

    imho, of course.

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 1/24/2014 @ 9:59 am

  62. Seriously, should I sell my George Foreman stock??

    Comment by gramps, the original (64b8ca) — 1/24/2014 @ 10:03 am

  63. I agree redc1c4. I’m wondering about brining a loin, and grill it.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/24/2014 @ 10:16 am

  64. An unmodified crockpot will be too hot and too varying in temperature for successful Sous Vide. There are various schemes for bringing better temperature to crockpots, here’s one. Even with that, though, there are other problems. Patterico’s $400 unit is probably a good place to start.

    Comment by htom (412a17) — 1/24/2014 @ 11:27 am

  65. Anybody need anything welded?

    Can you weld a sword?


    No, wait…


    *Never Mind*… :-D

    Comment by Smock Puppet, Gadfly, Racist-Sexist Thug, and Bon Vivant All In One Package (225d0d) — 1/24/2014 @ 11:53 am

  66. Give it a couple decades.

    Then you’ll be able to PRINT a cooked steak… :-D

    Comment by Smock Puppet, Gadfly, Racist-Sexist Thug, and Bon Vivant All In One Package (225d0d) — 1/24/2014 @ 11:53 am

  67. Comment by htom (412a17) — 1/24/2014 @ 11:27 am

    thank you for the info.

    I’m wondering about brining a loin, and grill it.
    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/24/2014 @ 10:16 am

    When I first looked at that, I was thinking you wanted to brine a lion, and thought that was either weird or ambitious.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 1/24/2014 @ 12:15 pm

  68. After reading the above helpful comments I agree that “sous vide” (roughly, under vacuum) is not equivalent to boil in bag. It is more equivalent to warm water in bag for an extended period.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 1/24/2014 @ 1:07 pm

  69. 59. Back at you Steve57. Should I do a loin or shoulder?

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/24/2014 @ 9:29 am

    Trick question. I’d go with the pork shoulder blade steaks. You can cook them like you do chops.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 1:11 pm

  70. 64. Anybody need anything welded?

    Can you weld a sword?


    No, wait…


    *Never Mind*… :-D

    Comment by Smock Puppet, Gadfly, Racist-Sexist Thug, and Bon Vivant All In One Package (225d0d) — 1/24/2014 @ 11:53 am

    Can I weld you a sword? No. But can I sell you a sword? Yes.

    What do you need? A medieval falchion? An 1860 Cavalry saber? An 1845 French foot officer’s sword? A WWII kaigunto? A German two hander? I probably got it.

    And like herpes I…well I won’t finish that sentence.

    It’s a lot of work keeping that much carbon steel from rusting. Plus if you buy from me you don’t get mislead. I bought a 1907 Puerto Seguro off of e-bay that looked mint. You couldn’t really see it. But if you ran your fingers down the blade you could feel where someone ran it over with a streetcar or something. Put a kink in it.

    That’s for sale. Except for my Naval officer’s sword, the aforementioned kaigunto, and my 1871 Italian cavalry saber. But everything else is up for grabs.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 1:26 pm

  71. Most of the sous vide temperatures are what would normally be considered “hot”, not warm. Sourdough starters and bread in general is ideally grown and proofed at 85º-90ºF (much higher kills wild yeasts); sous vide seems to start at around 130º.

    Comment by htom (412a17) — 1/24/2014 @ 1:29 pm

  72. I didn’t buy it from this guy, but some pretty decent pics and all.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 1:40 pm

  73. I did find an 1854 Cuirassier which has a blade marked 1816 in a New York tack store.

    Which I thought was cool.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 2:23 pm

  74. So, have I talked sufficiently about swords to kill everybody’s interest in the subject?

    Smock Puppet, are you sorry now that you brought it up?

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 2:25 pm

  75. I think somebody owes me a falafel.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 2:26 pm

  76. “Most of the sous vide temperatures are what would normally be considered “hot”, not warm.”

    htom – A question of degree(s).

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 1/24/2014 @ 3:56 pm

  77. There are a bunch of people now preaching that home hot water should be no more than 110º-120ºF, that the old standard of 140ºF will produce scalds or burns in five or six seconds, and 130ºF in less than thirty seconds. On the other hand, 120º isn’t hot enough to kill a bunch of nasty bacteria like listeria.

    Choices, choices.

    Comment by htom (412a17) — 1/24/2014 @ 5:24 pm

  78. for Steve57, because i missed that we were talking about swords

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 1/24/2014 @ 5:30 pm

  79. at our house, we’ve gone with hot water & common sense.

    at least as long as we’re still allowed to use that. 8-)

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 1/24/2014 @ 5:46 pm

  80. 126 is what I remember from years ago as recommended for households with small children.

    Legionnaire’s is also noteworthy for needing higher than typical temperatures to kill, IIRC.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 1/24/2014 @ 5:52 pm

  81. I think I will try our crock pot with just water in it on low and high settings, and see what I get, just for interest sake.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 1/24/2014 @ 5:53 pm

  82. It’s very risky to eat any store-bought meat that has not reached an internal temperature of 165 Fahrenheit.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 1/24/2014 @ 5:58 pm

  83. nk:

    Apparently longer cooking times can pasteurize the meats even at lower temperatures. That being said, many meats are something I will throw on the grill or in a hot pan to finish it off.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:02 pm

  84. I have some chicken italian sausages going right now. Guide calls for a minimum of an hour at 147 degrees. Afterwards I will light up the grill and throw them on to get some grill marks and browning.

    These sausages are good grilled but tend to get fairly charred on the outside to cook through. We’ll see how this works.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:03 pm

  85. i’ve found that putting an inverted dome over sausages, etc, on the grill, improves cooking times, etc.

    in fact, back before the August Disaster, i would fire up the grill, get the grates good and hot, then put the meat on over one burner, which i would shut off, and leave the ones on either side lit to do the cooking, with the cover catching & concentrating the heat. i found it an effective way to cook, combining good grill marks with a greatly reduced chance of flare-ups or excessive charring.

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:07 pm

  86. That’s what I do when I grill them, red: I have three burners and I turn off the middle one, and put the sausages smack dab in the middle. It helps but there are still flareups and a decent amount of charring. Thing is, I kind of enjoy that. Remains to be seen how these turn out, but I’m going to want a little grill action on them. But the evenness of the cooking throughout is what I think this method will give me.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:10 pm

  87. Bruce, did you ever try grilling salmon after giving it the sous vide treatment? Is that a silly idea? Doing some sort of sear seems mandatory for steak, but what about fish like salmon?

    How about you, JD? Sounds like you’re familiar with this technique.

    I like grilled salmon, but man it’s tough to know when it’s done. The flakiness is excellent, though.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:13 pm

  88. 77. for Steve57, because i missed that we were talking about swords

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 1/24/2014 @ 5:30 pm

    Ok. Let’s clear this up right now. I did NOT buy the sword at the uniform shop. I did buy a machete at the package store along with, ahem, liquid fire starters. They just put “sword” on the receipt.

    I’m sitting in the back of the C130 saying, “hey, anybody got a hatchet? Charcoal lighter? Something? We might need a fire.” So I stop the plane. I tell the Air Farce guys I need to buy matches or sumpthing. Next thing I know I’m walking back from the with a ton of crap.

    I worked this all out with disbursing. Why do you keep bringing it up, red?

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:15 pm

  89. After you’ve cooked the sausages in the bag, stick them on a sword and finish them off over the grill. Then it’s like Brazilian, and you’ll have to translate the sous vide into Portuguese.

    Kind of round about, but it does bring the thread back together.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:21 pm

  90. I asked for an entrenching tool. They gave me a machete. I didn’t see what they wrote on the receipt until later. OK?

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:23 pm

  91. You need a sword for your grilling, doc? I’ve got like a dozen.

    Which I have NEVER brought on a deployment, no matter what red says.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:27 pm

  92. Or, I should say, I have like a brazillian of them. Which is more than a million but short of a gazillion.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:30 pm

  93. I didn’t bring up the subject of swords. Not on this comment thread. So I shouldn’t be held to account.

    Comment by Steve57 (663093) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:45 pm

  94. Patterico – fish is harder to do like that. You would have to undercook it and then try to finish it on high heat on the grill. Maybe worth a shot but I can’t see the upside to doing it with seafood.

    Comment by JD (5c1832) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:45 pm

  95. Here’s the sum total of what I know about sous vide:

    1. Nothing.

    2. Here’s my opinion anyway. The process apparently cooks meat very well by maintaining moisture and tenderness. However it lacks the maillard reaction. So it seems to me that a quick turn on the grill would be in order.

    3. See 1.

    Comment by Ag80 (eb6ffa) — 1/24/2014 @ 7:51 pm

  96. Here’s the report on the chicken italian sausages, which I am eating as I type:

    They are pretty ding dang good. I am used to them having this completely crusted outside so this is pretty different and takes a little getting used to. I did the water bath for about an hour and 20 minutes or so, and put them on a grill at about 400-450 for about a minute, flipped them and did another minute, and took them off. Total of two minutes on the grill, whereas I normally grill them about 12 minutes.

    If I do it this way again, I might do four minutes on the grill instead of two, just to experiment.

    I tried a bite before putting them on the grill. Appearance was not terribly appetizing but taste was very good. It helped to re-season them after taking them off the grill: pepper was essential.

    The chicken-ness of the sausages is more apparent when cooked this way, which I attribute to the food retaining more of its natural juices.

    This method is definitely better for the evenness of the cooking and the juiciness of the meat, and very slightly inferior in terms of the outer texture. But I think that could be fixed with a little extra time on the grill.

    Tomorrow comes the true test: the tri-tip. That’s eight hours in the oven, I’m led to understand. Should be interesting.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:11 pm

  97. JD, I am interested to hear you hold forth more on this topic, which is obviously currently of great interest to me.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/24/2014 @ 8:12 pm

  98. grilled salmon is done when you start to see the bits of white stuff show up on the top of the feesh.

    pro tip: if you want to cedar plank your gold feesh, and who wouldn’t, swing by the big box store and buy a cedar fence plank or two, for ~$2.50 each, and cut off pieces large enough for the fillets you’re preparing.

    left over pieces can either go in the closet with the wool clothes or into the kindling pail for the fire place. lots cheaper than buying dried out “gourmet planks” at BBQ’s Galore or what have you.

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 1/24/2014 @ 9:01 pm

  99. Is their any aroma to the food in the sous vide when in use?

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/24/2014 @ 10:03 pm

  100. Boss – I just don’t see a grill improving seafood cooked with this particular technique. It might be great, but IMVHO searing and crusting red meat makes much more sense. I guess if you are cooking it skin-on, you might be able to crisp up the skin as an additional textural element. As an experiment, it is worth a shot, but the risk of overcoming it is far greater, for a potential negligible improvement. With the sous vide for salmon, I would stick with the sous vide and fresh aromatic herbs and citrus.

    Comment by JD (5c1832) — 1/24/2014 @ 10:15 pm

  101. mr. daley has a great sammin recipe I improvised on once everybody loved it

    Comment by happyfeet (8ce051) — 1/24/2014 @ 10:21 pm

  102. basically i used mojo criollo marinade mixed with coconut cream – just let it marinate overnight – then someone baked it while I played bartender

    they probably set it at x temperature for n number of minutes

    Comment by happyfeet (8ce051) — 1/24/2014 @ 10:23 pm

  103. I’ve done both salmon and chilean sea bass in my sous vide machine. You want to make sure and not overcook the fish. What I have found that works best is to sear the fish after it’s cooked with a propane torch. Anytime you can have extreme cooking equipment it just becomes more fun. Please, Patterico, let me know how the tri-tip worked out for you. I do alot of them sous vide and love it. The tri-tip is one of the best pieces of meat, for the money, that’s on the market.

    Comment by Bruce (a889cf) — 1/25/2014 @ 3:43 am

  104. Is there another name for “tri-tip”?

    About your sausages…
    there are two ways to cook bratwurst.
    One way is to first cook them in boiling water-or beer, and then brown them on the grill or in the frying pan
    the other way is to cook them entirely on the grill, which takes longer and is more apt to get them burned on the outside, as you describe your chicken sausages directly on the grill
    also, especially if you cook them from raw on the grill or frying pan, you need to poke/jab holes in the skins every so often to let the fat ooze out rather than build up and split the sausage

    I guess this is the Midwest low-tech way of vous side (or whatever) for sausages

    of course, there is a time honored tradition if cooking directly on the grill, which you may have overlooked with your chicken sausages- always have in hand a can of beer to poor over the sausages if it flames too much. maybe in Cali you use wine, IDK (In the south and southeast, do not try with whiskey, probably not with tequila or rum either)

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 1/25/2014 @ 6:13 am

  105. Tri-tip.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 1/25/2014 @ 6:21 am

  106. My favorite way to do tri-tip is Santa Maria style. Except I don’t have red-oak so I use regular oak chunks mixed with some lump charcoal, the crisp slightly salty exterior with the juicy med-rare interior is just heaven on a paper plate.

    Smoked tri-tip is also great and pretty fast (4-6 hours) well fast when compared to a porkbutt (12-16 hours).

    Comment by MSL (5f601f) — 1/25/2014 @ 7:11 am

  107. Santa Maria style tri-tip is best accompanied by the meaty BBQ Pinquito beans traditional in the Lompoc and Santa Maria Valleys. A classic central California fiesta treat.

    BBQ Pinquito beans:

    1.5 to 2 lbs Pinquito Beans (some come with a seasoning packet or use Goya’s Sazonador)
    1 Lb. Bacon, cut into 1″ sections, partially cook to taste & drain fat, 3/4 done is about right
    2 Lb. 80/20 Hamburger, brown and drain fat
    1 Large onion, chopped
    1 Can (7 ounces) diced green chilies, or fresh to taste
    1 Can (28 ounces) diced or crushed tomatoes in puree, or 2 ea. 10oz Ro*Tel diced tomatoes
    Crushed red pepper or a combination of mild to moderate chili powders like Ancho, California, or New Mexico(add slowly to taste)
    1 Tablespoon cumin (add to taste)
    1 Tablespoon garlic powder (add to taste)
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Sort, wash, and soak beans for at least 16 hours, 24 is best. After soaking, rinse beans until water runs clear. In a large pot, cover beans to a depth of 1″ with a combination of water and beef (or chicken) stock. Add above ingredients, cover and bring to a boil.

    Reduce to active simmer and continue to cook beans until soft. Use 5 bean test. Depending on the freshness of the beans, it will take about 2 to 3 hours to cook.

    Serve with icy cold beer, hot sliced tri-tip, green salad, and crusty garlic bread.

    Comment by ropelight (816fdb) — 1/25/2014 @ 10:48 am

  108. Is their any aroma to the food in the sous vide when in use?

    Nope. It’s vacuum sealed. That’s one of the things people sometimes complain about.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/25/2014 @ 12:08 pm

  109. I’ve done both salmon and chilean sea bass in my sous vide machine. You want to make sure and not overcook the fish.


    I see varying cook temperatures and times for salmon. I’d be interested in you and JD both telling us what your preferred temperatures and cook times are, for salmon and sea bass. I see cook times ranging anywhere from 20 to 50 minutes for salmon, and it confuses me.

    For what it’s worth, I have a Trader Joe’s pre-marinated Santa Maria tri tip in the machine right now. It will be done around 7:30, at which point I plan to fire up the grill to about 600 degrees and do it about 2 minutes on each side. Recipes call for one minute, but based on my sausage experiment from last night, I’m thinking I prefer more texture. I’m doing it at 135 degrees (one degree above the recommended 134) for a minimum of 8 hours. I am bumping it up because I notice that while the machine keeps the temperature within one degree of the set temperature at all times, it seems to hover on the low side, so I think 135 will actually get me closer to a true 134 than I would get setting it at 134.

    This is fun.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/25/2014 @ 12:12 pm

  110. MD in Philly,

    To respond to your question above: this method of cooking is possible with a slow cooker or even a beer cooler. It just requires constant monitoring and adjusting of the temperature. The beauty of the device is that you set the temperature and forget about it.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/25/2014 @ 12:54 pm

  111. Nothing like good food and family, enjoy Patterico.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/25/2014 @ 1:00 pm

  112. Thank you all, I’ve been edumacated.
    But I will share some edumacation in return.

    nk’s kind link* left me still confused, until I happened to see this comment in one of the google search results:
    We ate a lot of this cut when we lived in SoCal, but then moved to NJ and it was nigh impossible. My dad ended up talking to a butcher and providing him with the NAMP code to special order it, he missed grilling it so much. Now that I live in Chicago I have had better luck finding it at grocery stores that target Hispanic populations, and also at Costco oddly enough.

    So maybe there is a reason I have never seen it or heard of it before. I have seen something called “sirloin tip” that is usually cut in chunks like for stew, and one article on the search said that tri-tip is a favorite of competitive chili cooks where they would use it cut up, but I found nothing explicit about whether these were the same or different.

    We do have a Trader Joe’s not too far away, maybe sometime we will see if we can get one there, so tell us P how it turns out.

    The most incredible piece of meat I ever ate was grilled “backstrap” from a deer that my son had killed. Nothing at home or restaurant, including prime rib, filet wrapped in bacon, tenderloin roast, nothing, was ever near as good. This year instead of getting a deer, he flipped his car on an icy road in the middle of state game lands. He and his buddy were fine, the car not so much so.

    *I guess nk thought I needed help with Google. Why use Google when my friends at PP are better informed and more trustworthy?

    Pinquito beans
    You folk do live in another country, I grew up on Pinto beans Appalachian style, habichuelas of differet types ala Puerto Rico, frijoles negros and others from Central America, and from various countries in SA, but never “Pinquitos”
    Though we due use Sazon from Goya for our PR style beans.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 1/25/2014 @ 1:16 pm

  113. Patterico
    Looking forward to your review on how that tri-tip turns out. I totally get the set it and forget it. It’s the reason I have a (Bradley) electric smoker. I wanted to produce a consistent product, nothing worse than throwing a BBQ and then screwing it all up because of all the variables.

    Comment by MSL (5f601f) — 1/25/2014 @ 1:39 pm

  114. MD
    From what I understand the tri-tip (bottom sirloin?) cut seems to be a West Coast thing. I used to have the same problem looking for a Boston butt (shoulder) and I would have to hit the Mexican store, they always had it. I still have the same problem when looking for flap for Carne Asada tacos, it’s either Mexican store or Costco which has the best flap.

    Comment by MSL (5f601f) — 1/25/2014 @ 1:50 pm

  115. Patterico, I set mine at 135 and cook it for about 45 minutes. I want the fish to be a firm medium rare, then the searing with up the temp a few degrees so it is medium (wife isn’t really crazy about any degree of rawness in fish). All this food talk has made me hungry, so I bought a small pork shoulder today and rubbed a whole bunch of porketta seasoning into it. I’ll seal it up and put it in about 6:00 (I’m in the land of 10,000 dumb (**()&^ liberals, Minnesota). I’ll cook it at about 178 for 24 hours.

    Comment by Bruce (a889cf) — 1/25/2014 @ 2:36 pm

  116. One more thing, whenever I buy pre seasoned or marinated meat, it’s usually all sealed up, so I just drop the whole pack right in the water. Works just as good and all that happens is you get the label floating in the water.

    Comment by Bruce (a889cf) — 1/25/2014 @ 2:40 pm

  117. Bruce,

    I thought about just throwing the tri-tip into the machine the way I bought it from the store, but I was worried that the vacuum would not be tight enough and that air bubbles would form. I guess I shouldn’t have worried so much.

    Hey, another question: what do I do with the leftovers? I see that I should probably submerge them in an ice water bath for 30-40 minutes — I guess that helps prevent bacteria from growing by taking the food through the 40F-140F danger zone as quickly as possible. Does this mean vacuum packing the leftover meat again before the quick chill? What if there are too many leftovers for one meal — do I need to put each serving in a separate vacuum packed bag? To reheat, is the microwave OK or do I need to reheat in the water bath all over again?

    So many questions. Anyone know?

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/25/2014 @ 3:08 pm

  118. MD, google pinquinto beans and you’ll find the 411 on this tasty bean grown almost exclusively in the Santa Maria area and nearby environs.

    From The Scoop…

    Pinquito beans have long been considered an essential component of the Santa Maria BBQ menu, making them one of several indigenous ingredients that are integral to this regional culinary tradition.

    In his seminal book on Santa Maria Style Barbecue, R.H. Tesene writes about the community barbecues of the 1920s and 1930s, and remarks, “The only beans used were the pinquito, a miniature cousin of the pink bean that has a very distinctive flavor and is only grown in the Santa Maria Valley.”

    Comment by ropelight (816fdb) — 1/25/2014 @ 3:16 pm

  119. Just handle the leftovers however you did before you got your sous vide machine. I happen to be in the food business; while you want to chill the food reasonably fast, bear in mind that food can sit in the 40 to 140 range for 3 hours before bacteria problems might arise. You can certainly reheat in the microwave, although cold, thinly sliced (make sure you cut against the grain) medium rare beef makes a fine sandwich. I’d bet that you won’t have much left over though.

    Comment by Bruce (a889cf) — 1/25/2014 @ 3:24 pm

  120. a miniature cousin of the pink bean

    All I needed to know,
    Sounds like a version of Spanglish.
    My can of Goya Pink beans in front of me are Habichuelas Rosadas, so Spanish for little ones would be Rositas or Rosadatitas or something.
    Pinquito sounds like taking the English word pink and making a Spanish diminutive of it.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 1/25/2014 @ 5:21 pm

  121. #102

    That was what I was wondering… get out the torch to get crispy fish skin or not (I love crispy salmon skin… its like the bacon of the sea). Thanks adding your experience.

    Question: I really like using woodfire because I grew up always having red oak wood, but do you think a superhot wood fire sear on steaks and sausage would work, or is the gas grill the way to go?

    I sometimes listen to to LA station KFI and the guy that does the Fork Report show did one on Sous Vide with Bill Handel that was informative

    Anyway, when I get a little money again I am going to try it out.

    Thanks for the discussion…

    Comment by steveg (794291) — 1/25/2014 @ 5:34 pm

  122. I think it would be habichuelitas rosadas

    the bean got smaller not the color

    Comment by steveg (794291) — 1/25/2014 @ 5:36 pm

  123. Hot Wood Coals

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 1/25/2014 @ 5:49 pm

  124. steveg,
    very good point.
    I sit corrected.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 1/25/2014 @ 7:26 pm

  125. Just about done with the sous vide part; firing up the grill as high as possible.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/25/2014 @ 7:29 pm

  126. Incredible. Post with pictures to follow.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/25/2014 @ 7:52 pm

  127. The tri-tip didn’t look that bad out of the bag, mostly because it was so covered in the spices. I had talked about doing two minutes a side with the sear, but the grill was at 600 and it looked pretty good anyway. One minute a side was plenty.

    Oh man was that good.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/25/2014 @ 8:05 pm

  128. I have done a post on the results. I recommend taking the discussion to the new post.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 1/25/2014 @ 8:42 pm

  129. I did a tri tip the other day that had been rubbed with some Spicy Montreal Steak seasoning the night before.
    Was pretty good.
    A buddy of mine grills tri tip just short of burnt on each side, then wraps them in foil and puts them in a small beverage cooler for 30 minutes.

    On Saturday and Sunday this old stage stop is a great place to grab a tri tip sandwich and a beer while listening to live music. Lots of Harley’s and girls with brand new boobs

    Comment by steveg (794291) — 1/25/2014 @ 9:02 pm

  130. As taught me by my Grampa Grumpus:

    The proper, i.e., “Old-Timer” way, to cook most sausage, especially “thick” uncured sausage— e.g., Italian Sweets or Hots is to put them in a straight-sided pan (for a “gang”-sized serving of 16-24 links) and almost cover w/water or a v.light stock. Bring to a good boil, lower to slight boil (not a simmer of any sort…) and proceed until all but a few T. of liquid remains— this (mostly) rendered fat/water mix becomes the base for your gravy if you want some. The proteins do brown w/this method, btw, so you’ll get a full-flavored rue for the gravy.
    The sausages will be cooked through, but only lightly browned (good for picky children OR other dishes where they’ll cook more & brown), but finish on the grill/in the pan to a well-controlled golden brown (…or darker).

    “Family size”, at our home was servings to feed 23-30+, b/c we’re an extended family w/three generations. And before The Grumpus passed away, it was four… quite a crowd!
    The cooking method it that case involved using the oven.
    Another featured of “the water bag method”— popular in restaurants is vacuum marination which in an hour gives the penetration results of 3-6 hrs w/o chemically “cooking” the meat!

    Comment by GrandsonOGrumpus (321ffb) — 1/29/2014 @ 6:53 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.3333 secs.