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Pepper’s Sous Vide Guide for Dummies

January 13, 2016

Sous vide has definitely become one of the restaurant world’s favorite terms over the past few years. Once thought to be an overtly fancy technique only associated with molecular gastronomy, it has turned out to be, scientifically, one of the best ways to get meat tender. Still, it seems inaccessible to most common folks as it often requires some pretty intimidating equipment. Here are two methods that can be replicated in practically any kitchen.

Sous Vide Stovetop Method

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  1. Fill a stockpot with enough water to fully submerge the food you intend to sous vide. Mount thermometer. You can either clip on a thermometer to the side of the pot, or check the temperature once in awhile. Best to use a digital thermometer. Heat the water on the burner until the desired cooking temperature is reached. Adjust accordingly to maintain the right temperature. Stir the water to distribute the heat evenly.
  2. Put the seasoned piece of food in a Ziploc bag. You can add a little oil to keep the food from sticking. Do not stack or overcrowd the food.
  3. Keep the top of the bag open when you gently push the bag into the water. The air will be pushed out from the top of the bag like a vacuum. This is called the water displacement method. Clip the bag in place. Time the cooking process. Monitor the temperature closely. Make adjustments to the burner in order to maintain the most constant temperature. Stir the pot every so often.
  4. Remove the food and pat it dry.
  5. Finish as desired, or sear over a smoking pan.

If you aren’t eating the food immediately, put the bag in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Cool completely before storing in the fridge.

Sous Vide Cooler Method

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  1. Fill a cooler with enough water to fully submerge the food you intend to sous vide. As you fill the cooler, add hot or cold water to reach the desired cooking temperature. Use a digital thermometer and stir the water. Tip: You can make the water 2-3 degrees hotter to compensate for the cold food that you are about to submerge.
  2. Put the seasoned piece of food in a Ziploc bag. You can add a little oil to keep the food from sticking. Do not stack or overcrowd the food.
  3. Keep the top of the bag open when you gently push the bag into the water. As with the stovetop method, the air will be pushed out at the top. Use the lid of the cooler to keep the bag in place. Time the cooking process. Check the temperature of the water every 12-15 minutes. If necessary, add hot water and stir, to maintain the right temperature.
  4. Remove the food and pat it dry.
  5. Finish as desired, or sear over a smoking pan.

If you aren’t eating the food immediately, put the bag in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Cool completely before storing in the fridge.

Notes: Food cooked sous vide is usually a two-step process: the initial water bath cooking and—most commonly—the searing. Searing gives the product a deeper flavor, better texture, and more appealing look. It is perfectly safe and fine to eat the food directly from the bag, but we do not recommend it. Make sure you do not overcook the product during the second cooking step. You can avoid this by making sure your pan is scorching hot when making the sear.

2 comments in this post SHOW

2 responses to “Pepper’s Sous Vide Guide for Dummies”

  1. chinkiefoodie says:

    At what temp should we maintain to be able to cook the steak sous vide?

    • Monica Yang says:

      Hi! It depends on your personal preference, but we like using 57’C for medium rare steaks. The cooking time varies depending on the thickness of the steak.

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