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sous-vide - low temp water bath cooking

 
steward
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There was a great thread on cooking steaks in cast iron which reminded me of a video my sis sent me: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxCambridge-Kenji-Lopez-Alt-F.

Kenji walks through how searing doesn't "seal" in the juices as commonly thought/taught, and why he thinks cooking at a low, constant temperature is better. Hence the current trend in "sous-vide" or water bath cooking.

I love that he shows you how to use a regular cooler instead of a fancy-schmancy sous-vide appliance.

Using the water bath cooler reminds me of haybox cooking in a way. I just don't like the use of plastic bags. I'm concerned that any glass container with air in it might not provide the same consistent heat around the meat.

Any other ideas for doing sous-vide sans plastic? (Well, except for the plastic cooler, I suppose.)
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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More info from a friend of mine: "sous vide" means vacuum packing, and without the plastic barrier, (or broth in a vacuum-sealed mason jar), there might not be a way to do the low temp water bath.

Here's a pic that illustrates what I would love to achieve:


 
pollinator
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If it is not important to get a crust or browning:

My favorite method for cooking just about any meat is in an old fashioned enamel roaster. Put on a rack or bed of veggies, add about 2ish cups of water and whatever spices, oils, etc.. Cook for 4 hours at 250F. Don't open oven, don't open roaster.

When it is done it can sit there for a couple of hours if needed. Meat is always tender and falling apart juicy - even the toughest yard bird. I like that it is easy; little prep time and I can just set it and forget it.


Now, my next step will be to get this done in a solar cooker so that I don't need electricity to get this done.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Sounds lovely, Jeanine, and far less plastic. I think I will be doing more slow cooking via roaster or crock pot for now, myself.

A sous vide proponent friend (who is a scientist of some kind, btw, a physicist or some such) claims the low heat of the water bath means no off/out gassing of the plastic, but I'm not exactly trusting that. I don't think plastic water bottles are heated, (unless left in sunlight or a hot car) and there is still a BPA concern with those.

Plus, I have a friend who was using her non-stick pan on low heat to prevent off-gassing, as all the supposed experts were recommending, and her birds died. Their lungs filled up with blood. <shivers>

So, yeah. I have concerns about what my food gets cooked in. And yet, I am still in search of learning how to cook a better steak - especially the leaner cuts that toughen up so easily.

 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Yes, I'm with you on the plastic and non-stick. But I CANNOT get my husband off the non-stick cookware.

I don't do crock pot meat much unless it is something like pork shanks or tails or I am rendering lard. For other meats the crock pot seems a little watery for my taste. The four hour 'roast' has only enough water to keep some steam going but the meat is not submerged.

I need to get a few canaries to keep to help get my message across about the non-stick - he is such a softy that it might just change his mind. Seems kind of mean of me though since I know what is going to happen.
 
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