When you're making lobster rolls, sous vide is your friend, delivering the most tender, buttery, flavorful lobster meat around. Here's how to do it.
If you've cooked sous vide as much as I have, you've probably had a long, unattended cook accidentally cut itself short when the water level drops below the minimum level that the sous-vide cooker can handle. Not only can cooking sous vide in an open pot lead to situations like this, it's also a waste of energy. How do you solve this problem? With Ping-Pong balls.
With sous vide cooking, it's absolutely vital that your bags stay submerged and that trapped air bubbles are pushed to the top of the bag and away from the food. This is the only way to guarantee that your food is heating properly, which is important for both food safety and quality. So how do you get a persistently floating bag to sink? This quick video will show you.
Before deciding to try some dessert sous vide, consider what traditional cooking methods actually accomplish, and whether or not that can be replicated in a plastic bag. Spoiler alert: The answer is, probably, no.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Carnitas are the undisputed king of the taco cart. The Mexican answer to American pulled pork, at their best they're moist, juicy, and ultra porky, with the rich, tender texture of a French confit, and riddled with plenty of well-browned, crisp edges. At home, I've been making them for years using my oven-based recipe, and, while it's a fantastic and easy method, I'd venture to say it's even easier using a sous vide cooker. Here's how to do it.
Shrimp cooked through traditional methods can be fantastic but nailing the perfect temperature can be a bit hit or miss. With a sous vide cooker, you don't have this issue because that short window of time between perfect and overcooked stretches out to a good half hour or so. Sous vide also allows you to achieve textures that you can't really achieve through more traditional methods and affords you the opportunity to infuse the shrimp with flavor while they cook.
Lobster was the first meat that I ever cooked sous vide, and it's still one of my favorites. If buttery, tender, sweet poached flavor is what you're after, there's no better way to cook it. It's also a heck of a lot more foolproof than boiling or steaming, and affords the opportunity to infuse that lobster meat with extra flavor. Think: lobster with the butter built right into it. Doesn't that sound swell?
Like bacon, sliced Canadian bacon (a.k.a. breakfast ham) is not one of the meats you'd think would benefit from being cooked sous vide. But as it turns out, sous-vide ham is revelatory: Cooked low and slow overnight, it retains all of its juiciness, but gains an incredibly luxurious, buttery-soft tenderness as its connective tissue and muscles break down.
I was skeptical of the idea of sous vide bacon. I generally prefer my bacon cooked completely crisp, rather than trying to get bacon that's crisp and moist at the same time. But bacon cooked sous vide overnight is the first I've ever tasted that delivers on that moist-and-crisp promise. It's crispy on the exterior as you bite into it, but it quite literally melts in your mouth, like the finest confit pork belly, as you chew. Here's how to make it.
After a long build-up, the Joule has finally been released and is shipping now, at a price of $199. I've been testing a pre-production beta version of the unit for several months now and an actual production line model for a few weeks. Here are my thoughts. The news is (mostly) great.
The other week, I found myself swamped with boneless lamb legs for recipe testing. I still had a few left when I was done, so I figured, why not make use of what I've got for another recipe? I immediately thought of pairing the lamb with black olives, a flavor combination I've loved ever since I cooked olive-crusted lamb with blue cheese fondue at a restaurant where I worked. For this sous vide version, instead of putting those olives on the outside, I'm putting them on the inside.
A butterflied leg of lamb is ideal for stuffing and rolling with other ingredients, and, because lamb is so robustly flavored on its own, you don't have to be shy or subtle about it. Today we're stuffing a lamb leg with crispy fried mustard seed and cumin seeds, then cooking it sous vide for perfectly foolproof results.
Rack of lamb isn't cheap, so it's understandable that cooking it can be even more nerve-wracking than cooking a pricey steak. What's more, lamb tends to be leaner and smaller than a steak, which means that it's even more susceptible to accidental overcooking. All of this makes it an ideal candidate for cooking sous vide, which makes overcooking nearly impossible and perfectly edge-to-edge medium-rare results the norm.
Halibut aren't terribly fun to fish (think: reeling up a 200-pound bath mat through hundreds of feet of icy-cold water), but man, are they delicious! Firm yet flaky, with a heartier texture and flavor than other widely available white fish on the market. Halibut cooks more like a thick steak than other flaky white fish—well-browned and -crusted on the outside, with a juicy, tender center. And, just like with a steak, cooking sous vide can help you nail that medium-rare center every time. Here's how to do it.
McDonald's McRib is the rarely available pork-and-barbecue-sauce sandwich with a cultlike following. My goal? Take everything we love about the McRib and turn it up to 11, by starting from scratch with a few high-quality ingredients and a lot of good technique. It's a project, but it is oh-so-worth it.
Rare seared tuna might have fallen off the menus of the most fashionable restaurants, where it ruled the scene from the late '90s through the 2000s, but that doesn't make it any less delicious. Historically, this has meant tuna served in the style of tataki, a traditional Japanese preparation in which the bulk of the tuna is essentially cold and raw. With the precise control of a sous vide cooker, you have a few more options. Rather than cold and raw in the center, you can serve tuna that's heated just to the point of starting to firm up, giving it an even meatier bite while maintaining a gorgeous, translucent deep red color and moist texture.
You think chicken breasts are delicate? Salmon has it beat by a mile. With practice, you can get to the point of nailing a perfect medium-rare center on a piece of poached or pan-seared salmon. But practicing on salmon can get pricey, and sous vide will guarantee perfectly moist, tender results each time. Sous vide also allows you to achieve textures you never knew were possible, from buttery-soft to meltingly tender and flaky-yet-moist.
In Texas, barbecue beef brisket is the name of the game. But the truth is, it's a difficult cut to get right, especially when you're working with the more common lean portion of the brisket. Want more reliably juicy results? Try beef chuck instead. Its flavor is different from brisket, but no less delicious.
When it comes to plastic-bag storage, there are a lot of good reasons to remove as much air as possible. Marinating in an air-free plastic bag helps better distribute marinades around food. Excess air causes oxidation that can develop into off flavors or promote spoilage. Air pockets can exacerbate freezer burn in the freezer and slow down sous vide cooking. Removing that air is simple to do with a vacuum sealer, but what if you don't own one or don't want to use the expensive bags for a relatively simple storage or cooking task? Here's a quick, easy, inexpensive option called the water displacement method. All you need is a zipper-lock bag and a tub or pot of water.
Good brisket is often called the Holy Grail of barbecue. This is an apt description, given how rarely you find good smoked beef brisket in the wild. Sous vide cooking changes all that by allowing even a novice to produce brisket that's as moist and tender as the very best stuff you'll find in Austin or Lockhart, with all the savory brisket rub and smoky flavor you could want.
Small enough to cook relatively quickly, but large and elegant enough to make a centerpiece roast, pork tenderloin is the kind of dish to pull out when you're feeling extra fancy on a weeknight. Sous vide is the most foolproof way to get it on the table with consistently great flavor and a buttery, ultra-tender texture.
Don't get me wrong. I like a good slow-smoked, true barbecue pork shoulder just as much as the next guy. In fact, I probably like the process way more than the next guy. Still, there are times when we want things a little more streamlined, a little more hands-off, a little more reliable. Not only that, but using a sous vide cooker to cook pork shoulder can allow you to achieve textures you can't get with traditional cooking methods.
You want the most foolproof way to guarantee extra-juicy pork chops? Sous vide is the way to go. Here's my complete guide to how it's done.
Sausages have a reputation for being easy. They've got the right ratio of fat to meat built in, and even a convenient skin to ensure that all those juices stay inside. But there's a difference between "yeah, that's a good sausage" sausages and "holy crap, how did they fit an entire pig's worth of flavor and juices into this single five-inch tube" sausages. It's the latter we're after, and the latter that sous vide cooking can help produce.
You've never cooked sous vide before, and it's unlike any kind of cooking you've done in the past. Where should you start? What should you cook first? Here's a simple, no-nonsense guide to the essential tools, plus some basic foods and techniques that should be at the top of any first-time sous vide cook's list—the ones that will show you results beyond anything you've achieved through more traditional methods.
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This apple pie slices cleanly and holds its shape as you lift it out of the pie plate. It has chunks of apple that are tender yet intact, lightly bound in a thickened sauce that's just sweet enough, with a hint of spice. This is the pie for all you gooey-pie-lovers out there (and you know who you are).
I'm predicting right now that for the next decade, all of the new advances in home cooking are going to be geared towards precision. Entering the fray next year is the Cinder, a countertop cooking device that promises to deliver sous vide-level precision without the bags and the water bath. Think of it as the world's most precise and powerful George Foreman Grill. The question is: will it deliver?
I was a skeptic at first, but I'm going to say it now: When done properly, ribs cooked via sous vide are every bit as good as traditional barbecue, if not better. Not only that, but they're far more replicable, they take much less effort, they take less practice, and, to top it off, they can be cooked year-round, indoors.
Cooking corn sous vide is the best route to juicy, tender-crisp kernels packed with flavor.