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The Better Upgrade

So I have a large BGE with the plate setter and a baking steel.  The AR seems to be the darling of this board -- and looking at it, I get it, it presents a lot of options.  While part of me thinks that getting an AR would give me some new options, I'm not currently feeling thwarted by what I have -- but I also may not know what I am missing.

On the other hand, I'm rather enthralled by the increasingly affordable sous vide rigs.  I'm familiar with what the technique brings to the table, but I had held off, first, because the immersion circulators were so expensive and, second, because even once the immersion circulators became more affordable, I figured that it would be a waste without a great vac sealer.  I'm still not wholly disabused of that notion, however it seems that a $70 Foodsaver could satisfy 90% of my needs.  While I could spring for a really good chamber sealer, I probably shouldn't do that right now.

Here's the question: would an Anova IC coupled with the cheap Foodsaver and a Cambo container be a more significant upgrade to my rig than adding an AR? 

What would you guys do?  Suggestions?  Thoughts?  Thanks!
I will never cook inside again.


  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    The standard answer around here is "Get Both!!!"   :))
    The Naked Whiz
  • I cannot comment on sous vide cause I've never done it. I will say though that they AR was a great investment. The main two things I got from it that I didn't have without are raised direct and multilevel cooking.
    LBGE 2013, SBGE 2014, Mini 2015
    Columbus IN
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 12,988
    For me, sous vide would be a no brainer. I intend to build my own soon, using a few cheap parts and the crock pot I already have. Should save me about $160-170 off the price of the cheapest commercial product I've seen. If it actually works, it should be a great deal. :)

    That said, you can sous vide without a vac sealer. Or a sous vide unit for that matter. Put the food in a zip lock bag, partially sealed. Lower it into the water slowly to let the water pressure force the air out. Once the water level is near the zipper, THEN close it. I did this with a beautiful ribeye just a week or two ago. In a cheap cooler and hot tap water (added a little boiling water to bring it up to about 125°). Cooler held temp for the hour or so I had the meat in there. Seared in CI. Best steak in a long while.

    As for the AR, I like gadgets and have tried and tried to figure out why I NEED one of these. I cannot. By all accounts, it's a great product and Tom's a very helpful nice guy. However, I have a homemade method of raising the grid (cost, $0.00) and I have yet to cook more food than I can fit on my large single grid. I've had a platesetter since the beginning for indirects. I also have a smaller Weber grid with carriage bolts for a two tiered cook if needed. I've had that for almost as long as I've had the egg and have never used it. If someone can point out something else an AR will do, I will consider it, but for me, I just can't see the need.

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!


    Central Connecticut 

  • PNWFoodiePNWFoodie Posts: 1,046
    I love both my sous vide and my chamber vac. Can't comment on the AR though...
    XL, JR, and more accessories than anyone would ever need near Olympia, WA
    edited April 2014
    This seems to be a two-fold question. I will attempt to address the AR - because i have one. 

    What made the AR purchase attractive to me was the type of cooks i do (more consistently) such as ribs, wings, brisket and butts. I wanted to raise the grid high in the dome and have the ability to cooks multiple slabs laying flat (i never liked the ribs racks because the ribs would lay vertical). I do a lot of entertaining for friends/family. For my sons BD in March we had maybe 50-60 ppl over at our house. I cooked 6 slabs and pulled to foil until party. Next, I cooked 100+ wings (with the flap removed) all at the same time. This saved me so much time and money not having to cater the party nor having to cook multiple batches of chix. I also like to ability to see the lump and maybe add a couple wood chunks during my cooks. With the regular grid this is not possible without removing grid and food. 

    So, you have to decide what makes more sense, having the versatility of your cooker or having a machine that allows you to slowly raise the meat to a desired temp without much attention. You dont have to have them at the same time. You can buy one or the other and revisit the latter when you are ready. I know there is a sale on the Sous vide machines now so let that drive your decision. 

    If you love this forum as I do, you have to make these types of decisions on your own. This forum will have you broke with the numerous eggcessories and cooking utensils available to man kind. From the thermapen to the AR there is always going to b items to entice you to spend your cash. You have to be conscious of what wont sit and collect dust when the next toy stokes your interest. 
    XL BGE 
    Joe JR 
    Baltimore, MD
  • plumbfir01plumbfir01 Posts: 719
    Sv for applications of exacting temp and nailing cooks consistently. Also allows freedom to buy big cuts, portion them and season them. Then vac seal and freeze to return at a later day and put them in sv frozen doubling the cook time and voila. Also you can buy silicon bags that seal for sv and use them forever unlike the ziplock that may/may not release chemicals at a certain temp. I use the leuke ones... Not real big but works for my stuff.

    Adj rig can be used in every grilling application. Raised direct for spatchcock, multi level for more food, get the extender for possible 3 levels of food. Or set the level desired on your cooks. Also helps with indirect if you buy stone... This helps with spider so you can easily add chips/ chunks mid cook without removing food grids and ps.
    I own them both but if you don't have a thermapen.... I would scratch it all for one.
    Beaufort, SC
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817
    plumbfir01 on all. Once you get used to cooking higher in the dome you will produce much better stuff. That said, there are other ways of doing that but the rig makes it easy. If it were me and I was new to the egg I would concentrate on stuff that would enhance that for now.


    Caledon, ON


  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 9,859
    edited April 2014
    One thing to consider is a foodsaver is very handy even if you don't get into sous vide.  Also, you could start with a food saver and just try out a redneck sous vide method using a cooler to see if it this interests you.  If you decide your not crazy about sous vide for some reason I think you will still get use out of the food saver.

    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg. 

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,972
    im holding out on sousvide til the prices drop, they seem way over priced for something that occasionally heats water
    :)) i bet they start showing up on ebay in another year or two as the craze diminishes
  • NibbleMeThisNibbleMeThis Posts: 2,293
    I got a Sous Vide Supreme and it works well but after a few uses, it found its way back into the basement closet.  I don't use it often at all, I'd much rather have a reverse seared steak. 

    So if I had to pick, I'd go for the AR :) 
    Knoxville, TN
    Nibble Me This
  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 7,894
    I got a Sous Vide Supreme and it works well but after a few uses, it found its way back into the basement closet.  I don't use it often at all, I'd much rather have a reverse seared steak. 

    So if I had to pick, I'd go for the AR :) 
    Same here. Keep trying the SV but so far no real successes. If I could keep only one it would be the AR.
    Thank you,

    Galveston Texas
  • Some very good thoughts, thank you all.

    Ultimately, I suspect the right response is to get both.  @plumbfir01, I also need to get a Thermapen -- although my $15 CDN hasn't failed me yet -- the red one looks very fast.

    @Carolina Q: I'm sort of in the same boat with the AR -- not convinced that it's going to do much beyond what I can already do. 

    That said, as several other people noted, aside from playing a game of jenga while wearing welder's gloves, I don't really have a convenient way to go up (or down) in the dome.  @GATABITES makes a pretty compelling case for increasing the volume of what I can cook.  That, and the ability to add lump/chunks mid-cook, are really compelling. 

    With respect to the indirect, I know I am in the minority here, but I actually like the plate setter.  Am I missing something that the AR does in that respect?

    So, a further question -- does CGS make a product that would allow me to do raised indirect, additional grill, add lump/chunks while cooking, etc. without the additional expense of the stone (which I don't think I really need)?  I hear some people speak of dropping $300 on their AR -- what would I really need to accomplish these goals?

    Thanks -- you guys are very helpful!
    I will never cook inside again.
  • FWIW, I have been egging for 5 years now and the sous vide setup has been the best thing I have gotten since my first BGE.

    Chamber vac is overboard for home use though, you can do 90% of what you need with ziplocs and foodsaver bags.

    SV is so good that I don't even bother making steaks on the egg unless it's a party.

    I'm cooking beef shortribs for 48h right now actually :)
  • grege345grege345 Posts: 3,515
    AR oval setup with rig extender is about 200$. Yes you can do raised indirect. The ceramic grill store has you tube videos with set up in action. Maybe you can do both? Ceramic grill works sells a swing rack for raised direct or raised indirect and you keep your platesetter. You can even just get a woo. Maybe just raise the grid the cheap way and get the sous vide. Set a budget and get all you can. We are all here to help you spend money. Good luck with your decision
    LBGE& SBGE———————————————•———————– Pennsylvania / poconos

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