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Central Maine
About the pan... it has to be screamin' hot so that it browns the meat and doesn't cook it.The temp' required on the pan would burn off the seasoning. I don't use that method because I like my seasoned pans and I don't want to reseason it after every time I want a SV hunk of meat. That's why I use a butane torch. Propane could be tried and also MAPP. The problem I've heard discussed with propane is a rotten egg taste that some folks get from the stench added to it. So I've never tried propane. There is another way to brown, and that's over charcoal in a chimney. I've never done that because it's too much "set up". I much prefer fast and easy. I've also been known to use out IR broiler in our commercial, but for the home, oven. It's far from being the typical home broiler. It glows blue and puts out very intense heat. It's like having a huge butane torch and under it I can brown a few steaks at once.

Is it worth the effort? Well, it was designed for use in French hospitals specifically because it's so easy and fast, So yes, if one is going to cook something "meat" it's definitely worth the effort since it's so easy and the results so fantastic. It's much less effort than many other ways of cooking. To give you an idea.... I'll SV up to 30 steaks at once. If I don't buy them individually sealed in plastic, I seal them by some means. After sealing they get SV for a time, then we eat a few, after browning, and the rest get frozen. At that point I have steaks that have been cooked to med' rare. Next tiem we want a steak, just put it in the SV bath for an hour to warm through, then brown and eat. The result is a perfect med' rare steak that I might have put all of 3 minutes of time into and it will be significantly tastier and more perfectly cooked than cooking on most propane grills. It also allows one to eat a rare burger once again since the cooking process kills anything in the ground meat.

For browning I make a solution to enhance the browning and taste. It consists of not more than 1/4 cup of water and approx' a tsp each of Dextrose/ or Corn Syrup and Sodium Bicarb'. The reducing sugar is there to goose the Maillard reaction which gives grilled meat that taste that everyone loves. The Sodium Bicarb' is there to lower the pH of the meat to enhance the browning.

Would you still be into it after a few times? I don't know. But if you like easy with excellent results, and if you enjoy eating, I suspect you would be. Especially if I was single, I would be doing SV. It removes any necessity for a propane grill and I have yet to fail to impress anyone with a SV product. I've had folks who don't normally eat meat rave over it and consume every bit of what was served to them. For a single guy dating, a good meal never fails to impress and that can lead to other things. Of course it can be done wrong and then yes, it would probably be put away after a few tries, but it's so easy that success is almost guaranteed. If one can ask questions, read a chart, or a recipe, one can SV since it's easier than traditional cooking.

I don't know why more restaurants don't use it because there is absolutely no waste. If something doesn't get used it gets frozen for reuse. A restaurant might need different temp' baths for different doneness, or find another way to change doneness from rare to something else. But that's no big deal and a steak for instance could be mere minutes away from serving since all that would need to be done is select a steak from the right bath and brown it. Since timing isn't critical the steaks in the bath can hold for hours. But then what would Chef Ramsey have to yell about on Hells Kitchen?

I keep mentioning steaks, but any meat can be done in the SV bath. Even tough cuts like brisket come out tender, but the tougher and thicker the piece of meat the longer it will be in the bath. Brisket can take 2 days to cook. I find that lower quality meat actually works better since the fat from marbling gets in the way of the browning process and it contributes nothing to the flavor of the final product.
Brian. Lover of SE razors. Maker of Krampert's Finest Products.
I made another run at it over the weekend.
I used sirloin steak that was vacuum sealed as a single from the butcher.(not mechanically tenderized, aka cubed) Put it in a stock pan at 134 deg for about 7 hrs. For searing I used the black cast iron skillet for this job for the first time. Previously I used the stainless steel (or the grill). But I went radical. I browned it in bacon grease. The only seasoning I used was garlic powder and pepper. I figured if bacon grease didnt make it pop, nothing would.

Pop it did!. I seared it for about 1.5-2 min each side, seasoned before hitting the grease. Nice brown crust on the exterior, pinkish red in the middle.

No leftovers. Awesome meal.

I threw one in a couple of weeks ago, for about the same length of time. Cut it into small strips and used it in fajitas stir fry. It was a quick stir fry because it basically just needed to reheat, and it was ready. First time in a long while I had tender fajitas.

This reminds me, I need to talk to my butcher to see if he can slice some flank super thin for carne asada meat. That would be fantastic to cook in the sous vide, lay on the gril for 30 seconds, then slap onto a tortilla.
B&B Ban date 4 July 2016
My personal B&Blexit
True irony

Central Maine
It sounds like you're doing fine. Have you cooked sous vide for guests yet?

Yes, flank steak, flap, and another similar cut whose name escapes me right now are fantastic done SV (skirt steak). I don't slice it pre SV, but cook it whole, brown it, then slice. It always comes out tender, tasty, and makes fantastic tacos and such.

Veggies are also SVable but I have simply never done any that way.
Brian. Lover of SE razors. Maker of Krampert's Finest Products.

Ive done baby carrots and beets. Both were exceptional and easy. 180 for an hour if I remember well.

So for that very rare filet... or strip... any suggestions on temp and time? My 130 x 1 hour rib eye and strips have been medium rare. Thanks for the great thread btw.
I usually use the rice cooker as a steamer for fresh crisp veggies, I havent had the foresight to use the spa for them yet. Especially since I have to let the steaks soak for so long. I buy my pork from my cousin. I have thought about using the sous vide on some chops or a pork steak but all the recipes require them to soak for so long, and they are already awesome. Do they want you to soak them for so long for bacterial/parasite reasons?

For me, I would raise the temp a bit and soak for a few more hours, even for a tender grade of meat (longer for my tough stuff). 130 at 1 hr, that doesnt seem long enough. Maybe 132 for 3-4 hrs for good tender steak. I put mine in at breakfast and let them soak as long as I can, considering how tough mine is. I tried higher temps but it made the meat just as tough, so 134 is the highest I go now.
B&B Ban date 4 July 2016
My personal B&Blexit
True irony

Central Maine
The temp' is for doneness. The time is to kill bugs and tenderness.

I cook @ 129°F for my desired rareness, and 6 hours for most steak cuts. But it depends on thickness. A brisket can be in the hot tub for 36 hours or so to get tender and make sure everyting is dead.

There are charts for this. I think I may have posted links. I'm sure I did to keep folks out of harms way. If I didn't post the Baldwin site let me know and I will. Or contact me and I'll email you the charts if you give me an email address. That goes for anyone.

BTW, once cooked the meat can be frozen in the unopened package, and an hour in the same bath it cooked in will bring it back with no loss of quality and virtually no effort. I regularly SV 20-30 steaks at once and we pull them out of the freezer as required. Just be sure to chill them rapidly even after they've been sanitized from the bath. Again, check the chart for the time required to sanitize, it varies with thickness and temperature.
Brian. Lover of SE razors. Maker of Krampert's Finest Products.
I know it's been a while since an update here, but I thought I'd add some of my experience as well.
I first started cooking SV a few years ago, with a DIY rig, now I use ChefSteps' Joule which works great.

Never had any kid of problem with marbled meat - on the contrary, cooked low and slow cause the marbling to "melt" and resulted in buttery, juicy meat. No problem with torching it later.

Regarding vegetables, I don't really cook veggies SV beyond potatoes with butter and S&P, maybe a rosemary twig, and later you can mash everything inside the bag. Carrots are also great, ~80C, for two hours resulted in bright orange, very sweet carrots, that still has a bite/crunch to it.

I've used it for yogurt, chicken liver pate, creme brulee, pickles, tempering chocolate, meringue, infused olive oil, corn on a cob and hollandaise.

When I cook for guests, sometimes I ask the butcher to vacuum pack a large chunk of meat instead of packing it individually, and just cook it whole, torch it, and carve, that way even if your technique is not perfect, the big chunk of meat is cooked perfectly and uniformly, and your chances of overcooking it are slim to none compared with a single steak.

I've been using a TS8000 for torching - it usually goes for ~30$ on Amazon, and recently the Searzall went down to ~65$ so I grabbed one and it works even better than the torch by itself. The initial seasoning process was slightly unnerving, but once you get used to handling it (need to season it only once), it works like a charm. Brian, is that the thingy you mentioned earlier in one of your posts?

Also, I don't recommend using ziplocks for anything heavy, >70C, or anything beyond 1-2h of cooking. The bag's seams will fail. Also, I usually don't add anything (seasoning, oils) to the bag, and just add it later.

A couple of friends were supposed to come for dinner today, but had to cancel at the last moment. I had a 0.85kg ribeye @56C for 5h planned as finger food (I was planning on slicing it thinly with dips and garlic confit), so I just pulled it out of the water bath, torched it, reduced the juices with marsala, chicken stock and butter.

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Central Maine
I may have mentioned the Searsall, but I don't have one yet. I'll check on that price. I'm at heart a tightwad when it comes to something I have that already works.
Brian. Lover of SE razors. Maker of Krampert's Finest Products.
(This post was last modified: 03-11-2017, 08:25 AM by DonnerJack.)
(03-11-2017, 12:09 AM)ShadowsDad Wrote: I may have mentioned the Searsall, but I don't have one yet. I'll check on that price. I'm at heart a tightwad when it comes to something I have that already works.
I might be acting as an enabler, but the heat profile and some other parameters really differentiate it from a regular torch. You certainly don't NEED it, especially if your current setup works for you.

After using it a few times, IMO, it really does a better job. Can I use a good torch and get the same results? Sure, most of the time. Can I use a low temp oven/reverse sear to get big chunks of meat cooked thoroughly, and almost completely even all the way through, without SV? Sure. SV is much easier, less hassle and mostly foolproof, but I've got great results over the years without one. But like SV eggs, sometimes you just can't replicate the effect.

Two great things about the Searzall:
1. Heat diffusion/dispersion. The metallic screens disperse the flame, so you get a bigger area for your torch, plus, you have a very thin layer with intense heat, but beyond that it falls rapidly, so basically you can torch relatively thin cuts without overcooking the interior. You do have to get close with it, so you need to really pay attention.
2. Almost no gas flow beyond the screens. Without it, the torch generates a pressurised flow of gas and ignites it, so fat droplets get picked up, sometimes ignites, and generally thrown into the air in your kitchen. The diffusion screens eliminate this effect.

Also, they claim it eliminates propane fuel taste, which I can't testify to, because I've never had said taste while using propane.

Is it a must? Definitely not. Can you get similar results if you know what you're doing with other tools? Most of the time, definitely.

Do I enjoy using it? Absolutely. So if you have the money, go for it, but not if you're​ happy with your current results. IMO, the only thing that really makes a difference (SV) is channel vacuum vs chamber vacuum machines vs water displacement method.

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