Serious Eats: Talk
Sous Vide Smells?
I've been playing with my new SVS for the past few weeks - definitely worth the hype. That said, I've cooked beef a few times and experienced an odd odor every time (both while the bags were in the bath and after I took the beef out of the bags). It didn't really smell bad, it just smelled a bit metallic and chemically. The smell only seems to manifest with beef - pork and chicken have been fine and odorless as you'd expect them to be.
Seasonings or marinades don't seem to make a difference. Food safety isn't an issue as I've been following the existing charts religiously. All instances were cook-serve, so no problems with cooking or storage. All beef tasted normal despite the smell.
Anybody else experienced this? I've found a few references on the internet for off-smelling beef that sounds very similar to what I'm experiencing but no real answers.
My thoughts on what could be causing it:
1.) Beef is the only ingredient I've cooked for longer than 3 hours. I wonder if the bags that come with the SVS machine release sort of odor after an extended period in the bath? Also, it seems odd that I'd be able to smell the food through the bags while still in the bath so maybe the bags themselves are generating the smell.
2.) All beef was previously frozen before being prepped for the SVS. All in vacuum packs directly from the butcher and defrosted at safe temps in the fridge. I put them into the freezer pretty much directly from the butcher case but I wonder if they might have begun to spoil before they ever hit the deep freeze. I've used beef this way in non-SV applications before and never noticed a problem - I wonder if the long time in water tends to magnify a spoilage issue or if the smells created by other high heat cooking methods have been masking it?
3.) The smell is just the smell of beef. I'm just not used to it because other cooking methods tend to hide the smell.