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Give Sous Vide a Try Before Buying Dedicated Equipment

Give Sous Vide a Try Before Buying Dedicated Equipment

What items you need

  • A pot of about 8 litres that will fit in your electric oven
  • A digital thermometer with an immersion probe (1C resolution is sufficient to begin with, 0.1C is better)
  • Ziploc bags large enough to accomodate your cut of meat
  • A hole punch
  • A metal skewer a few centimeters longer than the diameter of your pot
  • Paper towel
  • Oven gloves
  • A heavy cast iron skillet
  • Vegetable oil

Calibrating your equipment

  • Find the oven temperature setting that will yield a water temperature of 55C.

How to cook

  • measure the thickness of your cut of meat, as thickness, not weight is the factor indicating the cooking time (2cm - hr., 2cm - 1 hr., 3cm - 1 hr., 3.5cm - 2 hrs., 4cm - 2 hrs. (download your thickness ruler here).
  • preheat your electric oven to the temperature needed to keep the water at 55C (in convection mode if available), see a post in the eGullet forums
  • punch two or three holes in the upper rim of the Ziploc bag with your meat, thread the skewer through the holes, and hang the bag in the pot, placing the skewer over the rim of the pot, fill the pot with hot tap water of 55C (measure with your immersion thermometer) until just below the zipper of the bag, so that the meat is completely immersed.
  • repeatedly check the water temperature to remain between 54-56C.
  • cooking times indicated above are minimum times to reach core temperature, they may be prolonged by 1-2 hrs. until you are ready with the rest of your meal.
  • Heat your heavy cast iron skillet with vegetable oil until just smoking

Refine your cooking method

  • find out what core temperature suits your taste best
  • if your preferred temperature is below 55C, you should restrict your cooking time to a maximum of 4 hrs. for safety reasons (microbial contamination); above 56C you may use longer cooking times (a 70mm thick roast requires 6 hrs. cooking time)
  • if you like, marinate your meat before bagging

If you come to like sous vide cooking, be prepared to spend some money for the appropriate equipment to use more exact temperature control and longer cooking times (maybe 24-48 hrs.) in a "shoot and forget" manner; with the oven-waterpot-method you may have to check the temperature every 15 or 30 minutes to keep it constant, and with cooking times longer than 4-6 hrs. water evaporation will become an issue.

Prepare for Marinating:

Preparing for marinating

Closing submersed ziploc-bag:

Closing submersed ziploc-bag

Ziploc-bag threaded on skewer:

Ziploc-bag threaded on skewer

Waterpot in oven with immersion-thermometer:

Waterpot in oven with immersion-thermometer

(By PedroG aka Peter Gruber)

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