The great sous-vide circulator wars of 2013 have officially started. We test out the Anova, the newest competitor to breach the sub-$200 mark for water circulators aimed at the home cook market. How does it stack up to the competition?
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Sous-vide cooking may be experiencing a rise in popularity, but the problem for home cooks spans familiarity, price, convenience, and design quality. Now, Scott Heimendinger, the Director of Applied Research behind Modernist Cuisine, thinks he might have the solution: The Sansaire, a new all-in-one sous-vide solution that is designed to work in any container and retails at just $199. Is it worth the dough? We got our hands on the first working prototype to test it out. We cooked everything from steaks to eggs to slow-braised short ribs to put it through its paces.
There are countless good ways to cook a steak. So long as you start with good, high quality meat, season it properly, don't overcook it, and get a good sear on it, you can't really go wrong. But if your goal is the ultimate in tenderness and juiciness, a steak with a crisp, crackling, dark brown crust that cuts open to reveal flesh that's perfectly pink from edge to edge, then you're going to want to cook your steak sous-vide. Sound expensive? Think again. Watch the video or read the transcript to see how you can cook the best, most consistently foolproof steaks of your life, all in a $30 beer cooler.
Sous-vide cookery is slowly but surely moving into home kitchens, but there's still a large convenience barrier that is stopping people. Enter the Nomiku. The idea is simple: a clip-on water heater with a built-in pump that heats and circulates water inside any pot, pan, or other vessel you'd like. With this nifty little guy, you can turn any pot in your kitchen into a sous-vide water bath. Heck, you could cook a steak in a flower pot or poach fish in a fish tank if you'd like.
By this point, there is absolutely no question that the method of cooking foods at precise low-temperatures in vacuum-sealed pouches (commonly referred to as "sous-vide") has revolutionized fine-dining kitchens around the world. But the question of when this technique will trickle down to home users—and it certainly is a question of when, and not if—remains to be answered. The Sous-Vide Supreme is certainly a big step in the right direction. But at $450, for most people, it still remains prohibitively costly. In an effort to help those who'd like to experiment with sous-vide cookery without having to put in the capital, a couple weeks ago I devised a novel solution to the problem: cook your food in a beer cooler. I put the hack method head-to-head against the Sous-Vide Supreme.
Is the new SousVide Supreme, the $449 home version of the $1,000 machines used by the world's best restaurants, worth all the hype? Our man J. Kenji Lopez-Alt cooked over 35 different foods in it to find out.