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DIY sous vide

Started with this prototype that scared the daylight out of some folks, including myself ...

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Well, salvaged an old APC 600 UPS and removed the dead battery to make room for the PID controller and solid state relay with heat sink. The transformer's 12V output that used to charge the battery becomes the power supply for the low voltage controller. Also wired in a nice steel cable shielded thermocouple with SS probe. The power cord is already there, so are the outlet boxes; however the outlets were rated at 400 or 500 watts total, so I wired two of them directly to raw input AC for plugging in rice cooker, roaster oven or what have you. The aquarium air pump for circulation can also be plugged into the same unit. It was a fun project.

APC 600 UPS box from Kijiji - $10
PID controller - donated by someone
Relay with heat sink - $16
Thermocouple with probe - $6
Aquarium pump - from parts bin

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Also scored this 18 Quarts $8 roaster oven from Kijiji for larger cooks

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canuckland

Comments

  • McStewMcStew Posts: 550
    nice job working on one myself
    Marina Del Rey CA 
  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 4,780
    edited December 2012
    Thanks and welcome to the madness! wish my controller is not low voltage so I don't need that monster transformer which is heavier than everything else combined. Have fun!
    canuckland
  • Very cool, although it looks like counter space might be a problem.... :))
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 4,780
    Haha, with my toy collection of K/A mixer, breadmaker, Vitamix, commercial grade meat slicer, Excalibur dehydrator, we ran out of counter space eons ago :))
    canuckland
  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 12,712
    edited December 2012
    I'd love to see you try to get that proto through airport security. You wouldn't see the light of day for years

  • lwrehmlwrehm Posts: 206

    Looks great!

    It beats my homebuilt unit, it has a VGA port!

     

  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 4,780
    Darn, you just burst my bubble, I was going to take it to the next egg fest south of the border
    :))
    canuckland
  • no sir, it's a sous vide cooker........you know, a sous vide cooker....hey wait....where are we going......you vacuum seal food and put it in there......no I'm not mentally unstable, I really cook that way......never mind.

  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 4,780
    edited December 2012
    CT, you're killing me, I'm in tears and my stomach is aching
    =))
    canuckland
  • CT, you're killing me, I'm in tears and my stomach is aching
    =))

    probably something you ate out of that cooker you rigged up :)

  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 4,780
    @lwrehm, not sure about the VGA port but you just gave me an idea: I can wire the PID controller's alarm output to the circuit board's buzzer!
    canuckland
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 1,710
    Nice setup.  How well is it holding temperatures?

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 4,780
    edited December 2012
    @paqman, the PID has an auto-tune feature, after tuning, I cook an egg at 153F for an hour, it held very well within 1 degree throughout. Need to write down the tuned results for each cooker because auto-tuning is time-consuming and the cookers have different capacity and heating profile.  Would be tricky if one has to tune manually. The air pump helps eliminate hot/cold spots in the bath.
    canuckland
  • McStewMcStew Posts: 550
    you inspired me to finsh mine thanks now to see if it works
    sv.JPG 134K
    Marina Del Rey CA 
  • Gary,

    You are incredibly wealthy....why bother? The thrill of the kill?

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 15,360
    Love projects like this.  Built one myself a while back out of a fish aquarium.


    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • DeckhandDeckhand Posts: 318
    After using the warming burner and a big pot for stove sous vide... for a year... I finally got the Sous Vide Supreme... Not as clever, but it's easy... and it works.
  • Deckhand said:
    After using the warming burner and a big pot for stove sous vide... for a year... I finally got the Sous Vide Supreme... Not as clever, but it's easy... and it works.

    so true. I love seeing all the ingenious rigs out there but damn........sometimes store bought is OK (in my case- all the time)

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 15,360
    Do it once.  Check it off your list.  Then go buy one.  I'm not ashamed to say not everything I make is as mature as a vended product that was developed over years with project managers and engineers.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • RaymontRaymont Posts: 367

    I just ordered a DIY crockpot conversion kit for $59.00 from Thermo Mart, but not before testing via the "Le cheap Sous Vide" method!

    All of the the Sous Vide discussion certainly peaked my interest, but the idea of spending $300-$700 on something to keep water warm at an overly specific temp is certainly difficult to justify. I ask myself: a) How much would you use it? b) For what type of foods? So, here is how to try Sous Vide on the cheap: Couple of Filet's that were in the freezer in a foodsaver bag, let them thaw overnight in the fridge. I did not season them at this point. I filled up a cooler about half full with tap water as hot as I could get it (my tap water is about 135-140 degrees). I then Rigged up a thermometer from my DigiQ, added some ice cubes until I got my temp at 130 degrees. The benefit to a big cooler is that the more water, the more constant your temp will be. Dropped the steaks in on a rack:

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    1.5 hours in I started up the BGE to get it up to sear temp. I then removed the steaks from their bath and seasoned with some Dizzy "Raising the Steaks".

    image

    I seared for about 90 seconds a side, plated with a little garlic butter.

    image

    The steak was cooked to absolute perfection, Medium rare all the way through. Very tender. A significant benefit to this technique was I never felt rushed. This would be a great way to cook for multiple people. (instead of trying to cook 6 steaks of different thickness to Medium rare over a hot green egg). I'm sold on Sous Vide, but the cooler technique would work just fine for steaks. I'd recommend you try this!

    Small & Large BGE

    Nashville, TN

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 15,360
    looks perfect Raymount.  SV is as foolproof as you can get.  Taking the guesswork out of cooking, especially when it's tough because you're cooking en masse, that's priceless.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • McStewMcStew Posts: 550
    well todays test went well just messing with some eggs
    sv1.JPG 92.2K
    sv2.JPG 163K
    Marina Del Rey CA 
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 15,360
    Nice.  I want to make those.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • McStewMcStew Posts: 550

    1/3 cup flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp sea salt camola oil for frying 1/2 cup bread crumbs

    67 degree bath for 60 min

    wash the egg with off with cold water

    combine everthing with an additional egg yoke and you can figure out the rest by how well you want them done

    Marina Del Rey CA 
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 15,360
    Cool, thanks!
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • McStew said:
    well todays test went well just messing with some eggs
    yeah, that's cool. I'm all over that

  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 4,780
    @LS, I wish! also wish I have an expense account :)  Ya, may be I can afford to buy one but there's no guarantee that one sous vide unit is enough, what if I get hooked and need several just like the eggs, eh!
    canuckland
  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 4,780
    @McStew, those eggs look amazing, bet they taste great too!  I've tried 'em straight only, planning to inject maple syrup next time.
    canuckland
  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 4,780
    edited December 2012
    @Raymont, great looking steak.
    This is what you ordered, right?
    http://www.thermomart.com/sous vide machine, sous vide equipment, sous vide cooking, sous vide temperature controller, make sous vide canada USA

    I got my SSR, heatsink, thermocouple from Thermomart too.  Also bought the large weather sealed project box from them but didn't use it because the UPS box is easier with ready supply of input 110V power, 12V to power my donated PID controller, and the electrical outlet boxes.

    As luck would have it, Thermomart is less than 15-minute drive from my house, no waiting, no shipping expense and no customs hassle! If I decide to build a second sous vide unit, I'll probably order the kit same as yours.

    canuckland
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