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Suggestions for things to sous vide (profitably)

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    Suggestions for things to sous vide (profitably)

    In your opinion, which sous vide applications best justifies its place at home, either in turning out(subjectively) better food or in something like quality-to-effort ratio adjusted terms? I've owned sous vide devices for quite a few years now and I have a variety of other cooking devices and techniques up my sleeve, but I can't say I've used my sous vide equipment much recently. With steaks, for example, I find reverse sear is overall better than sous vide + searing at the end. Granted, this is substantially subjective (trading off some tenderness for more flavor). On the other hand, I've had some success with short rib (sous-vided plus a high temp sear)... which seems like enough of a win to be a big point in SV's corner.

    On the other (other) hand, this advantage might be less clear now I have a pellet smoker and charcoal grill that I can readily fire up (several moves after I first got into sous vide). It'd seem like sous vide would substantially overlap with traditional BBQ (tougher cuts of meat), so perhaps this question is best answered here at amazingribs. Is there a place where it really shines even when compared with BBQ for tougher meats?

    More broadly, I'd really like some things (especially recipes or hybrid methods) to try that are likely to pay off relative to other methods. Lots of books, blogs, etc say that things *can* be done sous vide and how to do it, but few do a good job calling out where sous vide truly shines relative to the range of other options out there (at least in a relatively balanced non-kool-aid drinking way!).

    I can definitely see how sous vide would have its place in restaurants and commercial environments and might work better for some people that struggle with basic cooking tasks, but I'm at a bit of a loss for things to recommend about it at home relative to other options out there. If I've been missing the boat in some big way(s) I'd really love to know.

    #2
    When I was commuting and doing the day care shuffle Sous Vide was invaluable. Could start the cook and run to pickup my son at day care and not worry about over shooting temps or leaving a fire unattended. Very forgiving and goof proof.

    I think it makes better boneless skinless chicken breasts and better pork chops because they are so lean and have a tiny window of doness to over doneness.

    Comment


      #3
      It mainly allows for schedule control on things you typically have to watch like a hawk or need to hold
      for sear right before service.

      it does shine for tough cuts that you don’t want to overcook (like low and slow BBQ does). Good example probably round roast. Way to lean to BBQ and too tough otherwise. SV to tenderness the stuff is great roast beef.

      QVQ makes a unique product in many cases also.

      Does some nice tricks for custards and vegetables here and there also.

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        #4
        I'm a special occasion sous vide'er.

        Cream Bruleè
        Tri-Tip
        Carrots
        Pulled chicken breast for salad

        Comment


          #5
          Leftovers. Eggs. Tough cuts. BSCB. plaak agreed I prefer reverse sear
          Last edited by jhapka; April 8, 2021, 07:52 PM.

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            #6
            I like Sous vide for convenience, but I really like low and slow better overall. I think it is what works the best for each individual at each individual cooks. Idk. I personally like the tender but firm of low and slow better than the tender but soft. I could be doing something wrong, but just my feel for it. I do enjoy both tho. To me a low and slow cook is better. To each their own

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              #7
              Medium rare brisket or short ribs is something you can only do sous vide.

              Comment


                #8
                There are a few reasons to use SV. I put them into 3 main buckets:

                Convenience

                Quality

                Technique

                Convenience is obvious. Start a steak etc in the SV bath while you relax and talk to your partner. Pull a frozen hunk of meat, out of the freezer and have a perfectly done steak. The key here is that you don't need to watch time or temp. Yes, reverse sear is great.... but you DO need to watch the temp and depending on how slow you're raising the temp, you might need to contend with carryover etc. With SV, all that is moot - want to sear when the steak is at 127F? Not a problem.


                Quality is a reason for some things too. Corn or carrots in the SV bath retain every bit of their flavor and are amazing. Want to make chicken for chicken salad? SV those breasts at precisely the temp you want for the texture you want. Grab some shrimp or even better, lobster, SV them at the precisely right temp with some butter and herbs and you have the beginnings of a great lobster or shrimp roll. Some of these things can be done with other methods but are much easier or more foolproof with SV.

                Technique covers things that you really cannot do without SV. Search here for QVQ and you'll see dozens of posts where people took a chuck or brisket to 135 for 48+ hours, breaking down all of the collagen, but smoked that hunk of meat before and after, ending up with a medium rare, smoked brisket or chuckle that's amazingly tender. Need eggs done to a very precise point for ramen? SV. Want a thick pub burger that's food safe but medium rare inside? SV the patty, then sear.

                At the end of the day, it's a tool. IF it allows you to experiment or do things that you can't otherwise or simply makes some things more convenient for you than other methods, cool. If not, also cool.
                Last edited by rickgregory; April 8, 2021, 09:12 PM.

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                • MBMorgan
                  MBMorgan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  To all of the above, I say ... yep!

                • fzxdoc
                  fzxdoc commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yessir!

                  Kathryn

                #9
                I don't have a lot to add because everyone above has mentioned quite a few things that I too use my sous vide for, but outside the realm of making dinner, I have found that the sous vide is the quickest and easiest way to de-crystalize honey. I just popped the jar in the water and turned the sous vide on to 135 and let in de-crystalize it only took about 15 minutes and the jar was fully solidified.

                Comment


                  #10
                  The only good London Broil I've ever made myself was with sous vide. I just can't see any other way to make this beautiful cut come out as good as it looks. Flat iron steak I like that way also. Boneless skinless chicken breast I don't like any other way. Pork tenderloins - Mmmmmm!

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                    #11
                    I love cooking flank steak and sirloin in Sous vide for 8-10 hours and then sear it. Sometimes I will use in a stir fry.

                    Comment


                      #12
                      One impression I had before purchasing my sous-vide contraption was that with the wide range of cooking times provided for most things, there was a large margin for error and/or one could set it and forget it and whenever it was time to eat, pull out what's cookin' and it would be great. No so.

                      Chicken breasts for example. 80 minutes is too soon, 90 minutes is just right, 100 minutes and the texture gets, well, unappetizing. And they are best eaten in their "poached" state because if you try to grill them, they dry out.

                      Red meat on the other hand has been fantastic. I can make a 1-1/2" thick NY Strip steak better than any I've ever had in a restaurant or otherwise. I sous vide it to 130 degrees, pull it out and while it cools I set up the Meathead Chimney Afterburner. When it's ready, I throw a grate on the chimney and in about 2 minutes I have a steak that has a perfect all over Maillard reaction on the outside and medium rare inside.

                      Tougher cuts can be tenderized over a long period of time to be pretty much as good as a NY Strip. This is especially useful in the winter months when I'd rather spend most of my time indoors and just finish up in the snow.

                      Vegetables are OK, carrots having turned out about the best. They aren't as time sensitive (it seems) so I like to use the S-V for sides like this while I focus on the grill or smoker.

                      Eggs have been a disappointment. I can make a better tasting omelet in two minutes than monkeying around with eggs in a S-V. Soft boiled, hard boiled, poached, ... Much better with traditional methods.

                      Overall, I like it and probably use it several times a month.

                      Comment


                        #13
                        What they said. Veggies like asparagus and carrots are great SV'd. Corn on the cob is another favorite. QVQ pastrami is devine, if I may use that highfaluting word. I have moved away from SVing steaks - I think the texture is better with the cold grate reverse sear method. Pork chops, on the other hand, are great using SV and a charcoal sear. Like these guys said, another tool...

                        Comment


                          #14
                          Originally posted by MarkN View Post
                          One impression I had before purchasing my sous-vide contraption was that with the wide range of cooking times provided for most things, there was a large margin for error and/or one could set it and forget it and whenever it was time to eat, pull out what's cookin' and it would be great. No so.

                          Chicken breasts for example. 80 minutes is too soon, 90 minutes is just right, 100 minutes and the texture gets, well, unappetizing. And they are best eaten in their "poached" state because if you try to grill them, they dry out.

                          Red meat on the other hand has been fantastic. I can make a 1-1/2" thick NY Strip steak better than any I've ever had in a restaurant or otherwise. I sous vide it to 130 degrees, pull it out and while it cools I set up the Meathead Chimney Afterburner. When it's ready, I throw a grate on the chimney and in about 2 minutes I have a steak that has a perfect all over Maillard reaction on the outside and medium rare inside.

                          Tougher cuts can be tenderized over a long period of time to be pretty much as good as a NY Strip. This is especially useful in the winter months when I'd rather spend most of my time indoors and just finish up in the snow.

                          Vegetables are OK, carrots having turned out about the best. They aren't as time sensitive (it seems) so I like to use the S-V for sides like this while I focus on the grill or smoker.

                          Eggs have been a disappointment. I can make a better tasting omelet in two minutes than monkeying around with eggs in a S-V. Soft boiled, hard boiled, poached, ... Much better with traditional methods.

                          Overall, I like it and probably use it several times a month.
                          Regarding the bolded part... I've not seen that with chicken. There IS a limit, but I've not seen anything that tight. NOW... I will say that I cook chicken breast to 155 and usually with the skin on if I intend to sauté them. Are you doing skinless/boneless with no added fat?

                          On eggs - SV eggs are amazing IF you need a precise doneness. For regular soft boiled eggs or other normal egg dishes I'm totally with you.

                          Another good use for SV with eggs, though, are applications that call for raw eggs like mayo etc. You might not want the small salmonella risk so bathe them at 130F and you'll pasteurize them without cooking them at all. Kenji's post on SE regarding eggs is my guide https://www.seriouseats.com/2013/10/...bout-eggs.html

                          But yeah - it's a tool. I don't smoke everything either and while some of you seem to go outside to grill a steak in the rain and snow... I don't. No tool is perfect, SV included. I think it's a useful thing to have in the arsenal, but it's definitely not the be-all end-all some SV proponents make it out to be. Hell, I think I once saw a bread recipe and someone asked if they could do that in the SV.
                          Last edited by rickgregory; April 9, 2021, 01:15 PM.

                          Comment


                          • MarkN
                            MarkN commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Yes, I am talking boneless/skinless chicken breasts.

                          • rickgregory
                            rickgregory commented
                            Editing a comment
                            MarkN Interesting. About to do some of those. I usually add fat of some kind (butter etc). I also haven't done them past about 155F. You?

                          • MarkN
                            MarkN commented
                            Editing a comment
                            rickgregory I do the boneless/skinless chicken breasts to 150F with salt and pepper in vegetable oil.

                          #15
                          Thanks for the feedback, y'all. I'm going to try or give a second chance to some of these ideas.

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