Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Sous Vide Machine Comeback

My own homemade sous vide machine, a photo by atl10trader on Maison Marcel.

The sous vide machine made its first appearance in almost 6 months tonight.  In anticipation of holiday guests this year, I nominated a kosher beef brisket in my freezer to be my trial run.  Luckily the machine still operates perfectly - much to my surprise.  My only question was how long to cook it and at what temperature.

The internet has all kinds of suggestions.  'It depends' is a standard issue response.
  • How thick is the cut? (thicker = higher temps, longer times)
  • What kind of cut is the meat? (the more sinews and connective tissue = higher temps, longer times)
I read 80 degrees Celsius for 24 hours. I read 48 hours at 55 degrees.

My machine has a constraint: I don't get above 70 degrees Celsius for fear that it starts to melt my water circulation pump. Had that happen once already - the tribulations of a home built machine from someone who knows the feat is impossible to repeat.

Here's how I cooked the beef brisket:

24 hours at 66 degrees Celsius.  The result was a pink all the way through cut of meat that was tender and flavorful.  The meat was medium and I like my beef medium rare i.e., with a little more free flow of juices which this attempt slightly lacked.  I made a very effective and delicious harissa gravy using the liquid from the bag.  The dish was rounded out with roasted acorn and butternut squash and a Chad Merlot.

Oven roasted
Roasted Butternut Squash, a photo by Bruce Tretter on WestboroughPatch.

The meal won praise from my toughest critic, and I enjoyed the meal.  My improvement for the next time will be to lower the cooking time to 18 - 20 hours and give the meat a good sear and resting period before serving.

My next project will be to do short ribs for 48 hours +.  It's really the cut of meat the most praised when cooking sous vide.

1 comment:

sous vide machine said...

Thank-you! Great information and easy to understand.