Sous Vide is the most important thing to happen to my kitchen since the discovery of fire.
Let that sink in for a moment. The most. important. thing. to happen. to. the. kitchen. since fire. It has made that much of a difference in my life, it is so significant that I couldn’t go back to cooking without it. I was eating 0% of my meals prepared Sous Vide before and now 80% of my meals are prepared Sous Vide.
Originally, I only intended to use my vacuum sealer for food storage. That’s all I knew a vacuum sealer could be used for. While researching vacuum sealers I discovered so many more uses for a vacuum sealer than I ever initially thought of, and Sous Vide is by far my favorite of those discoveries.
Imagine food perfection. Having trouble? Think perfectly textured steak with the juices sealed in. Crisp or well-done vegetables, cooked exactly the way you want, every time. Fall-off-the-bone chicken without wasting a drop of marinade. Buttery potatoes au gratin – all done with no effort from the fridge to your plate, and without ever having to watch the pot. That’s what Sous Vide will do for you, and it will do it all without fail.
So, what is it?
Sous Vide is french for “under vacuum”. Ah, See the connection as to why I’m telling you about this on a website about vacuum sealers? You vacuum seal your food raw (in most cases), then to cook it you place the packet into water that is highly temperature controlled. Generally, the water is not terribly hot and you leave the packet in the water for a longer period of time than you would typically cook for.
Since the water completely surrounds the packet on all sides it cooks completely evenly on all sides. Also, since you are cooking for a longer period of time, it can cook the item entirely and evenly through. In addition to all of the above, since your food is under vacuum it stays perfectly moist or perfectly dry. The vacuum eliminates any waiting for marinating and helps your flavors penetrate your food entirely. Once it is done cooking, open the bag and if what you cooked normally has a crisp outside toss it onto a hot grill or pan. You can even blowtorch it.
I know what you’re thinking…Sous Vide must be completely new, right?
Sous Vide has been around for a while, so you may be wondering why you’ve never heard of it before.
Amusingly, Sous Vide was discovered in 1799 by an American born British physicist and inventor named Sir Benjamin Thomas. It was pretty much only used in the 1960’s by American and French engineers for food preservation. Later in 1974 it was adapted and used in Restaurant Troisgros in France. It sperad from there. You likely haven’t heard of it because it wasn’t exactly accessible to the home cook, you’d mainly find the technique being used in commercial kitchens because the appliances that enabled you to do it were large and expensive. And ugly. But the restaurants knew that it was the perfect way to cook and keep people coming back for more. I want you to think about the best steak you have ever eaten in your entire life from a restaurant. Is your mouth watering yet thinking about it? Because It was very likely cooked Sous Vide!
See? They are big and ugly. And expensive! I’m talking over a thousand dollars at least. Nope nope nope. Combine those factors with the cost of vacuum sealers in the past and it just didn’t make any sense to attempt to do at home.
that is no longer the case.
Only, in recent years Sous Vide has been able to make the jump from the commercial kitchen to the home kitchen. This is very much due to the reduction in cost and miniaturization of the technology in what we affectionately know as a precision cooker or circulator. They sort of look like stick blenders that you put into a pot or tub of water and it practically performs magic.
My favorite part is that nowadays these little precision cookers are connected to the internet. That means you can start and stop your meals cooking from anywhere you have an internet connection. I am assuming that you are likely a one of the 200 Million people in the USA alone who have a smartphone, so that means anywhere you get a signal.
There are three players in the connected Sous Vide at home world.
#1: Anova Precision Cooker, the Sous Vide King
Currently the reigning King of the at home Sous Vide world is Anova. Their Precision cooker shown above comes with bluetooth and wifi connectivity. The app allows you to schedule cooks and monitor it in real time. It also has on board controls for redundancy. I like that. The app is lacking recipes for now, but Anova has announced that they will be adding the feature soon. Currently, the Anova precision cooker is the only at connected Sous Vide at home device in stock! Click here to buy one before they too, are sold out! With over 1,400 reviews and a rating of 4.4 out of 5 Stars, it’s a given that they might sell out soon.
#2: Chefsteps Joule, the Sous Vide Prince
The Joule is durable and uses quality components. I like that the bottom is magnetized so it will stick to metal pots without having to be clipped. Since it doesn’t have a screen it is much smaller than the others! You simply control it with your smart phone. The app is really cool and you can choose recipes to cook from Chefsteps. Admittedly, it is a little bit daunting that if your phone bites it you can’t use the circulator (though I am sure others, like myself, have multiple Android and or iOS devices on which to use the app). Chefsteps is a good company, I trust them to do right by their customers. The Joule is so popular that, at the time that I first wrote this, they’d run out and had to make more.
#3 Nomiku Wifi, The younger Sous Vide Prince
Nomiku had its humble beginnings on Kickstarter, and they made a huge splash. Their first circulator wasn’t wifi connected, but they have released another version called the Nomiku Wifi. That too proved to be immensely popular and is currently sold out.
#4 Wancle Wifi, The new contender