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Sous Vide? What's the big deal?

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  • SlushDeezey
    Former Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 191
    • Texas

    Sous Vide? What's the big deal?

    I've been curious for quite sometime about why sous vide things seem to be so popular here. It's not a technique that one would expect to see touted on a BBQ site so what's the connection? Seems too close akin to boiling to me so I don't personally see me ever doing it (that and the equipment is expensive) but what's the draw?
  • Jerod Broussard
    • Jun 2014
    • 9265
    • East Texas
    • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
      Weber One Touch Premium Copper 22" Kettle (gift)
      Slow 'n Sear for 22" Kettle
      Weber One Touch Premium Black 26" Kettle (gift)
      Slow 'n Sear XL for 26" Kettle (gift)
      Weber Smokey Joe Gold
      Weber Rapid Fire Chimney
      Maverick ET-732 White
      Maverick ET-732 Copper
      2- Auber SYL-1615 fan systems(Awesome!!!!!!!!)
      Thermoworks Thermapen w/ Back light (gift)
      Thermoworks Timestick
      Cambro Model 300MPC110 w/ Winco SS Pans
      B & B and Kingsford Charcoal
      B & B Pellets

    For me it's the ability to choose medium-rare on normally not so tender roasts, or roasts that I didn't care for the texture simply going medium-rare on the grill or smoker, such as sirloin tip roast and tri-tip. Does great for the finishing touches on pastrami without having to steam. Gives me the absolute best tenderness on baby carrots. The Creme Brule is out of this world. Sous-vide chicken breasts do great for pulled chicken salads.

    I didn't purchase mine it was a Christmas gift.


    • Willy
      Willy commented
      Editing a comment
      Ahhh! Creme brulee!
  • mhkesler84
    Charter Member
    • Jun 2015
    • 84
    • Raleigh, NC

    For me the convenience of a Sou Vide, can't be beat. And the adventure of mixing BBQ/Grilling with Sou Vide constantly has my mind wandering thru new ideas.


    • tbob4
      Charter Member
      • Nov 2014
      • 2247
      • Chico, CA
      • BBQ's
        California Custom Smokers Intensive Cooking Unit
        California Custom Smokers Meat Locker
        Santa Maria Grill
        Vision Grill

        Sierra Nevada IPA


      I bought mine with one intent - to be able to make steaks rare for my son and daughter while also being able to make mine medium rare and my wife's medium-medium well. It has worked like a charm. I can set the steaks low and just touch them to the grill for my son and daughter and know that the meat is safely cooked. I still like the taste of a nicely grilled steak from beginning to end better but my kids prefer Sous Vide because I no longer over-cook their steaks. I have also found that there is nothing better for reheating BBQ. If you told me I could never again use the device for simple cooking but could for reheating, I would still be happy. I will say that it took me a long time to admit that I used the thing for steaks on the site because I thought I would be blasted for it. I found the opposite. As for boiling, although the comparison would seem appropriate because water is the vessel in both, it's not boiling at all. It's a highly controlled cooking medium because the food is in a container. I have never done ribs Sous Vide. However, I wrap my ribs in the BBQ after 3 hours. That creates a very humid environment that tenderizes the ribs and makes them pull back from the bone. Interestingly, that has a "boiling" effect. I unwrap the ribs to firm them up and dry them out to bring them back to the "BBQ" state. I certainly understand why some folks would be philosophically against its use. Heck, I've read where some folks think a water pan is bad and I use them with regularity in my units - I have one that was specially made to be a water pan smoker. The nice thing here is the wide array of vessels, styles and opinions. Where else are you going to find a BBQ site where people actually debate the sourness of bread while also talking about a 24 hour brisket?


      • Craigar
        Craigar commented
        Editing a comment
        ribeyeguy that is what grabbed my attention too.

      • Atalanta
        Atalanta commented
        Editing a comment
        Heh, that's what BF is planning. For a dinner party, pre-cook the steaks to the right temperature per person, then re-heat (all can go into same bath then) and sear. We like ours rare and others like them all over the range..

      • hoovarmin
        hoovarmin commented
        Editing a comment
        Just ordered my 1st Sous Vide circulator and am catching up on posts. I can't pass this one by, tbob4 - kids who prefer rare steak? Bravo, sir. You raised them youngins' RIGHT!!!!
    • Willy
      Charter Member
      • Apr 2015
      • 1772
      • High Desert of the Great Southwest

      Ditto for what everyone above said. SV is really convenient and really precise. I've never had a better steak than one done SV and then slapped on screaming hot GrillGrates for 30-45 seconds per side. It's easily the best way I've found to cook chicken breasts that are actually juicy. As tbob4 said, it's unbeatable for reheating Q. It's great for making perfect hard boiled eggs. I use mine to make home made yogurt as well. I wouldn't be without one. The Anova can be found on sale for $99 at times.

      Also realize that you aren't "boiling" the food at all--the food and water never touch.


      • Mosca
        Charter Member
        • Oct 2014
        • 2840
        • PA
        • Large Big Green Egg, Weber Performer Deluxe, Weber Smokey Joe Silver, Maverick 732, DigiQ, and too much other stuff to mention.

        Originally posted by SlushDeezey View Post
        I've been curious for quite sometime about why sous vide things seem to be so popular here. It's not a technique that one would expect to see touted on a BBQ site so what's the connection?
        It's about making the food the best it can be. I like to break it down to this: The food doesn't know how you cooked it: it either tastes good or it doesn't. So if you can get the benefits of both bbq and under vacuum cooking, then you will get a superior result.

        Originally posted by SlushDeezey View Post
        Seems too close akin to boiling to me so I don't personally see me ever doing it (that and the equipment is expensive) but what's the draw?
        The only similarity is both use water. Boiling is 212*, sous vide is (for example) 125* for a steak. When you boil you lose all the juices to the water, when you sous vide all the juices are vacuum sealed inside the bag. As for expense, wait until the Anova is on sale for $99 at Amazon. That's about the same as two tanks of gas right now.

        All that being said, I don't use it all that often, because I'm set in my ways. But I'm starting to come around on steaks. A good sous vide'd steak, seared on the grill or in cast iron afterwards, is pretty freakin' amazing.


        • customtrim
          Former Member
          • Dec 2016
          • 1123
          • stow ohio

          I don't own either but gave it serious thought about getting one simply for if I have a big cook let's say 20 steaks they all could be done to different doneness with the exception of the short search meaning no one is really waiting for their meal. Everyone is a happy camper


          • Potkettleblack
            Club Member
            • Jun 2016
            • 1835
            • Chicago, IL
            • Grill: Grilla Original / Weber Genesis EP-330
              Thermometers: Thermapen / iGrill 2 / Fireboard
              For Smoke: Chunks / Pellet Tube / Mo Pouch
              Sous Vide: Joule / Nomiku WiFi
              Disqus: Le Chef - (something something something)

            It's about the simple repeatability, the ability to make difficult things easy (hollandaise, for instance), the convenience with planning, and the ability to create things that cannot be made any other way (72 h short ribs being a prime example). It's also a low and slow technique, so it fits very nicely with smoking and BBQ.


            • DWCowles
              Founding Member
              • Jul 2014
              • 9760
              • Smiths Grove, Ky
              • Hi, my name is Darrell. I'm an OTR truck driver for over 25 years. During my off time I love doing backyard cooks. I have a 48" Lang Deluxe smoker, Rec-Tec pellet smoker,1 Weber Genesis 330, 1 Weber Performer (blue), 2 Weber kettles (1 black and 1 Copper), 1 26" Weber kettle, a WSM, 8 Maverick Redi Chek thermometers, a PartyQ, 2 SnS, Grill Grates, Cast Iron grates, 1 ThermoPop (orange) and 2 ThermoPens (pink and orange) and planning on adding more cooking accessories. Now I have an Anova sous vide, the Dragon blower and 2 Chef alarms from Thermoworks.

              I used my for steaks ONLY! I will stick with traditional BBQ...FIRED and SMOKE!


              • Craigar
                Founding Member
                • Jul 2014
                • 1034
                • Papillion, NE
                • * - Weber 26.75" OTG
                  * - Weber 22.5" Premium cloaked in Crimson
                  * - Slow 'N Sear
                  * - Smoke E-Z - 26.75" (The Grain Silo)
                  * - Lodge Sportsman Grill
                  * - Weber Rapid Fire Chimney Starter
                  * - Thermoworks ThermoPop
                  * - Thermoworks Dot
                  * - iGrill2 - 4 probes
                  * - Favorite Beer - the cold one in my hand (craft beers of all flavors; haven't had a blue yummy in over 6 years) my tastes change with the season so it is difficult to name just a couple. However, I will occasionally have a vanilla porter float in the summer (Empyrean Vanilla Porter w/a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream) as I usually drink stouts & porters in the colder months, pale ales & IPAs in the warmer months. I have to add Not Your Father's Root Beer to beers I use for floats.
                  * - Booze - I don't really have a favorite, but lean towards single malt Scotch & Irish whiskey
                  * - Wines - Reds: mainly the heavy stuff mixed in with the occasional pinot noir ( I have yet to meet a malbec I didn't like); Whites: German & Nebraska (hey, I have to support the home team)
                  * - Favorite Spice outlets - Frisco Spices in LaVista, NE (the local butcher supply shop); Volcanic Peppers in Bellevue, NE
                  * - Current butchers: Just Good Meats & Fareway Foods

                Okay, so now I am becoming more intrigued. How does one figure out how long to let a chunk of meat sit in the hot tub? Depending on the cut I have seen mentions of an hour to 24 hours? How do you figure out what is going to work with the particular cut you are wanting to sous vide?


                • Skip
                  Skip commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I just got my Anova before Christmas but am learning slowly. This AR site has a lot to offer, just ask for advice. For instance a Tri Tip SV'd at 134 for 12 hours and then SEAR. My 5 yr old Grandson said "this is really good". That's all I needed to hear. Good luck.

                • Willy
                  Willy commented
                  Editing a comment
                  For a nice, thick ribeye--two hours tops. I did try SV pork ribs--BBs- and wasn't impressed. I'd be more likely to do "real" Q--even a CrockPot on occasion. I am intrigued by maybe doing tri-tip SV. I am anxious to do Jerod Broussard 's creme brulee!

                • Atalanta
                  Atalanta commented
                  Editing a comment
                  There are charts based on thickness of the meat and doneness. BF likes the one from Chef Steps: https://www.chefsteps.com/activities...perature-guide , I'll more often check out The Food Lab: http://www.seriouseats.com/sous_vide_101
              • Willy
                Charter Member
                • Apr 2015
                • 1772
                • High Desert of the Great Southwest

                An additional comment: I don't see the need for Blue Tooth or WiFi (if that option costs more), but then, I am a geezer who doesn't own a smart phone.


                • RonB
                  Club Member
                  • Apr 2016
                  • 11403
                  • Near Richmond VA
                  • Weber Performer Deluxe
                    Pizza insert
                    Smokenator 1000
                    Cookshack Smokette Elite
                    2 Thermapens
                    lots of probes.

                  I love gadgets, but I also love the taste of smokey meat. That is the major concern for me. I like the way steaks turn out on the grill using reverse sear. Most of the comments say something like "almost as good as over charcoal the whole time". As seldom as we eat steak now, (not my idea ), I want as much flavor as I can get. However, the idea of being able to cook to an exact temp is very tempting. Especially if I need different temps for different guests.

                  So if I understand the process, I'd Sous vide well done steaks first, then turn the temp down and add the medium steaks, then turn the temp down again for rare and pull them all off at the same time and onto the GrillGrates to sear - correct?


                  • tbob4
                    tbob4 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I cook all to rare - take them out at the same time and put them on the grill. The rare steaks are simply cooked super fast and the others are cooked longer. It takes about 9 minutes, tops, to go from rare to medium well.

                  • HawksJ
                    HawksJ commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yes, that's how you cook at different levels of doneness. Start out with the hottest/most well done and cook for an hour or so. Turn the temp down and when it gets there, add your next batch of steaks, and repeat.

                    At the end, remove them all, pat them dry, and brown them up however you like.
                • EdF
                  Club Member
                  • Jul 2016
                  • 3156
                  • Atlantic Highlands, NJ
                  • Uuni Pro (new kid in town)
                    Karubeque C-60
                    Large BGE since 2002 + plate setter + pizza stone + upper grid + stainless paella pan for drippings (the best!)
                    TEC Cherokee FR since 2014 (portable infrared grill - does a mighty sear)
                    Polyscience Sous Vide Pro since 2012 (wasn't much else available in those days)
                    Thermapen Air
                    ThermaQ (or its predecessor)
                    Thermoworks Hi temp IR
                    BBQ Dragon & Chimney of Insanity
                    Various other stuff

                  Personally, though I haven't tried it, I'd be inclined to cook all of them at the low setting, pull the rare steak when it's ready, raise to the next level, cook a half hour and pull one, then raise the heat again and finish the well for a half hour Then sear them. Maybe someone with some experience can chime in.


                  • MBMorgan
                    Club Member
                    • Sep 2015
                    • 5793
                    • Colorado
                    • > Weber Genesis EP-330
                      > Grilla Grills Original Grilla (OG) pellet smoker
                      > Pit Barrel Cooker (gone to a new home)
                      > WeberQ 2000 (on "loan" to a relative)
                      > Old Smokey Electric (for chickens mostly - when it's too nasty out
                      to fiddle with a more capable cooker)
                      > Luhr Jensen Little Chief Electric - Top Loader circa 1990 (smoked fish & jerky)
                      > Thermoworks Smoke
                      > 3 Thermoworks Chef Alarms
                      > Thermoworks Thermapen
                      > Thermoworks IR-GUN-S
                      > Anova sous vide circulator
                      > Searzall torch
                      > BBQ Guru Rib Ring

                      > Favorite Beer: Guinness Extra Stout, Fat Tire, Anchor Steam, or Alaskan Amber
                      > Favorite Wine: Klinker Brick Old Ghost Zinfandel or Matetic Corralillo Winemaker's Blend
                      > Favorite Whiskey: Balvenie Double Wood Scotch or Jameson Irish

                    Originally posted by EdF View Post
                    Personally, though I haven't tried it, I'd be inclined to cook all of them at the low setting, pull the rare steak when it's ready, raise to the next level, cook a half hour and pull one, then raise the heat again and finish the well for a half hour Then sear them. Maybe someone with some experience can chime in.
                    You are correct, Ed. It's much easier and faster to incrementally heat water than it is to incrementally cool it. A half hour when the bath is stable at each incremental temperature should work on steaks. You just don't want to start the timer until then. Holding the pulled steaks might be an issue. Perhaps just toss them (still sealed in the bag) into an ice water bath until it's time to sear them all.

                    RonB , this applies to your question, too.


                    • surfdog
                      Club Member
                      • Mar 2016
                      • 785
                      • Sunny SoCal
                      • Cooking gadgets
                        Weber Summit Charcoal Grill Center
                        Weber Summit Platinum D6
                        Blue Rhino Razor
                        Dyna-Glo XL Premium Dual Chamber
                        Camp Chef Somerset IV along with their Artisan Pizza Oven 90
                        Anova WiFi

                        Thermapen Mk4 - ThermaQ High Temp Kit - ThermaQ Meathead Kit - ThermaQ WiFi - ThermoWorks IR-GUN-S - ThermoPop -ThermoWorks ProNeedle - ThermoWorks TimeStick Trio x2 - and a Christopher Kimball timer - NO, I do not work for ThermoWorks...I just like their products.

                        Other useful bits...
                        KitchenAid 7-qt Pro Line stand mixer
                        A Black & Decker food processor that I can't seem to murder
                        A couple of immersion blenders, one a "consumer" model & the other a "high end" Italian thing. Yes, the Italian one is a bit better, but only marginally
                        Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus 8-qt + accessories like egg-bite & egg holders
                        All-Clad pots & pans, along with some cast iron...everything from 7" Skookie pans to 8-qt Dutch ovens
                        Weber GBS griddle & pizza stone
                        Knives range from Mercer to F. Dick to "You spent how much for one knife? One knife?!" LOL

                      RonB I would set the circulator for the for the lowest temp to be served. Pull those that want "more done" first, and put them on the "cool" side of a two zone grill... They'll continue to cook up to well done if need be. (shudder LOL) When those are about ready to be blasted with HIGH heat (read: seared) pull the lower temp steaks. That way they are all "finished" at the same time, and everyone gets served with the steak cooked to their choice. And everything from well done to rare can be done this way if needed.
                      Last edited by surfdog; February 1st, 2017, 03:11 PM. Reason: Spelling errors.


                      • ribeyeguy
                        ribeyeguy commented
                        Editing a comment
                        That's the way I envision it.



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