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Semi-OT: First sous vide

gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,401
edited 10:22AM in EggHead Forum
Reading the thread on the charred NY strips, and the comments on hot tubbing, I thought I'd mention the results of my first sous vide.

I started on the sous vide track with hot tubbing steaks. Along the way I tried manual control of my slow cooker and zip-locs. Also tried oil poaching, which worked quite well indeed. (Oil poached rabbit seared on the Egg is the best.) So for my Christmas gift-to-self, I got the least expensive controller. As it happened, Zip-Loc has started selling a vacuum bag for freezer storage and sous-vide.

Everything I've read suggests beef short ribs are the best done sous vide.

I just salted mine, and did them 60 hours at 134F (approx. temp, the controller varied +- 2F.) Unfortunately, my wife came down with the flu the day they finished, so I didn't bother to fire up an Egg to finish, but just went with a pan sauteé, and then some fresh pepper.

It was almost apples to oranges compared to other short ribs. While less fat rendered than I would have liked, the collagen did become extremely soft, and was somewhat crisped by the pan sear. The meat, tho a bit past medium, was very tender and very succulent. Not as falling apart as I expected, but easily cut. The long period at low temperature caused the flavor to become very pronounced, almost pungent. I'd place them as a close second best to any short ribs I've done.

It was a little freaky, looking at the meat 48 hours in, and seeing it still pink. Also, the lack of any odor while cooking was peculiar.

Next time, I will add a bit of marinade, and go for 72 hours at 132, and finish over some real flame. Will also try another of my favorite tough-to-do cuts, heart.


  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,519
    I love short ribs but have no knowledge of this method of cooking. Just checked it out and it sounds like a combo of vacuum & heat. Is the vacuum the reason that it can remain in the "danger" zone for so long? What unit did you purchase? TIA for any info!
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,401
    The vacuum seal does a couple of things. Keeps all moisture in the food, and so no flavor escapes the bag. If flavors are added, they tend to intensify also because of the concentration. The close seal makes sure the heating liquid touches all surfaces.

    Actually, the "safe" temperature for beef is as low as 130 F. But the meat must be held at 130 for about 112 minutes. The food safety guidelines are set to temperatures where the pathogens are killed quick enough that just a minute or less will ensure safety.

    So for many cuts, like short ribs, can remain medium rare for the very long time it takes for the connective tissue to break down.

    Also, the meats' enzyme action continues at a rapid pace under (I think) 150 F, so the sous vide cook acts as a sped-up wet aging.

    But, the meats must be seared at some point, usually after cooking. Lots of cooks use some sort of torch. I've used my MAPP weed-burner outside, but have not tried indoors.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,401
    Oh, and I got the lowest cost controller from Auberin's Instruments, and hooker into my $39 Presto cooker.
  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,519
    Oh boy, I've got a lot to learn.. Thank you!
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