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View Full Version : Is a sous vide machine worth the $?



agp
07-31-2013, 08:20 AM
All these sous vide discussion on the forum got me wanting a sous vide machine. But is it really worth it for home cooking? Will it really turn beef chuck into a very tender meet? Or does the big price tag only provide a small marginal return?

thoughts and inputs are much appreciated

TheDispossessed
07-31-2013, 08:49 AM
you have to factor into the cost that you will forget how to cook.

bieniek
07-31-2013, 09:09 AM
It might be very useful if youre willing to get into it.

I bought it to compare the results myself, and would say that you will get better consistence and consistency with water bath, but flavours with traditional, high temp cooking.
For example, I did the iberian pork meat 3 ways. In a bath, at 55 centigrade, drowned in oil baked at high temp, and grilled.
Now I liked the confit the most, but the 48 hours SV was impressive too. Lacking a little maillarding but to fry it hard you would have to overcook the thin pieces.
I could easily go without the bath in this case, have to try same thing with oxtail one day...

So depends on what you like really. If youre steak must be "perfectly cooked" from side to side then yeah you very much need the bath straight away.
However, if you like your steak "perfectly tasty" - nothing gives better results than a pan, salt, pepper oil, butter, meat, thyme, garlic, shallots and a 180 centigrade oven.

Not mentioning that you could easily overcook tender and lean cuts. And so on.
I dont like any fish served warm from WB. If served cold or as a filling/mousse, vacuum and slow cooking is a great way to introduce funky flavours to the dish.

Other way with crustaceans. These are best bathed and fried imho.

What is your diet made of?

agp
07-31-2013, 12:39 PM
I love grilled food but do not make much of it because it smokes up my apartment. If I am really craving something like a grilled steak, I will usually slap the steak on a hot cast iron pan, cook it for 2-3 minutes, flip it, then immediately toss it in the oven at 350-400. Because if I do not, there will be too much smoke. Too much for the fire alarm to handle.

My diet consists of not much seafood, mainly because I live in Michigan and it is hard to find quality seafood. Also mainly because they are expensive. Cuts of meat I work most with are beef short ribs, ribeye, chicken tenderloins, chicken breast, and pork chops. Every once in a while I will make some pulled pork/ribs and then immediately regret it because I made too much.

I used to make beef chuck in the winter time, but no matter how long I braise it, it never ends up edible.

Veggie-wise I'm pretty simple, I usually roast, sautee, pickle, or eat them raw - from least to most often.

wellminded1
07-31-2013, 01:04 PM
you have to factor into the cost that you will forget how to cook.

I have to disagree with this statement. I think your cooking may become more technically sound, having to learn precise temperatures and times for different cuts of meat, seafood, and veg. But I think you are correct if you want to say that technology is getting cooks away from the traditional task cooking ei. searing, basting, braising, blanching... but then I feel it falls on to the mentor to teach young cooks where they should start and what they should learn.
If you desire consistency and want to experiment, I would give the sous vide a try.

boomchakabowwow
07-31-2013, 02:13 PM
soft boil eggs would never be any better!! do it!

panda
07-31-2013, 02:18 PM
worth it? no. good to have? sure.

ChuckTheButcher
07-31-2013, 03:10 PM
All these sous vide discussion on the forum got me wanting a sous vide machine. But is it really worth it for home cooking? Will it really turn beef chuck into a very tender meet? Or does the big price tag only provide a small marginal return?

thoughts and inputs are much appreciated
They are well worth the money. There are a lot of amazing thing's you can do. People who say it's not really cooking or makes you forget how to cook I disagree. There is nothing wrong with innovation. I'm not suggesting you get rid of your range and only have water baths around your kitchen but it's a new technique that allows precise control. There is nothing wrong with that. They can definitely be over used but for the most part I highly endorse them. When you cook food, that is cooking. So a cook who refuses to use any new methods is like photographer who insist on still using film. It doesn't make anything better or easier. He's just set in his ways.

gic
07-31-2013, 03:12 PM
I'm a home cook and I love my machine but it is really cheap to try: you can get into it for about $100 by buying a dorkfood thingy - if you have a cheap slow or rice cooker around - has to be an older analog not digital model, see there web site ...

Talim
07-31-2013, 04:26 PM
My cousin made a cheap one using a pid controller and a cambro container. I would go down that route if you're just going to use it for home cooking.

JMJones
07-31-2013, 04:32 PM
I'm a home cook and I love my machine but it is really cheap to try: you can get into it for about $100 by buying a dorkfood thingy - if you have a cheap slow or rice cooker around - has to be an older analog not digital model, see there web site ...

Thanks for the info! Since reading about the technique on this site I have been interested but not willing to shell out the big bucks. This looks like it will be a fun unit to play with for my home cooking.

Zwiefel
07-31-2013, 05:38 PM
This. Total cost: ~$130.


I'm a home cook and I love my machine but it is really cheap to try: you can get into it for about $100 by buying a dorkfood thingy - if you have a cheap slow or rice cooker around - has to be an older analog not digital model, see there web site ...

Also, as I've played with it (only a little so far) and tried to wrap my head around it I think what you get with Sous Vide is:

1) very consistent doneness throughout the thickness of the item.
2) very precise, repeatable process/product.
3) ability to time-shift the majority of the cooking, in a very effective way. (particularly for proteins)

Crothcipt
07-31-2013, 07:51 PM
Have been wanting to try this, but not sure about how I was wanting to achieve it. How accurate is this?

http://www.dorkfood.com/

Zwiefel
07-31-2013, 07:52 PM
Have been wanting to try this, but not sure about how I was wanting to achieve it. How accurate is this?

http://www.dorkfood.com/

In my limited experience, it depends on duration. It seems to take about 6 hours to truly stabilize...after that, it maintained within 1 degree F.

Crothcipt
07-31-2013, 07:55 PM
I guess that would be the controlling of the crock pot/cooking. Which makes sense.

AFKitchenknivesguy
07-31-2013, 11:13 PM
I think it is, but I have the means. There are cheaper options. It's fun and fascinating to try science food projects.

sean.fritchle
08-02-2013, 12:58 AM
Yes, deft to with the poly science creative series. Does five gallons is 399. Perfect for home and light professional use