Cynthia commented on my last post with a good question – why should you sous vide? What is the point? Isn’t it a lot of work, and if you still sear off the meat, aren’t you still getting other pans dirty?
Good questions, Cynthia! So here’s some facts about sous vide cooking.
- The food stays juicier. You vacuum seal food in a bag, with all the spices and fats you want, so the juices have nowhere to go. They have to stay with the food. The food comes out juicy and flavorful.
- The food never overcooks. Because the water in the machine is temperature-controlled, it can never rise above that temperature. Therefore, it can never overcook.
- You can cook food for a very long time. Theoretically, you can cook food for hours in the sous vide machine. After about 18 hours, the fibers in meats start to break down, but you can cook it for a few hours without having to look at it at all.
- You can cook meats at the lowest temperature possible. Technically, 140 degrees is when chicken stops growing bacteria. But almost everything tells you to cook chicken to 165 degrees, because you want to make sure bacteria doesn’t grow, and chicken is of varying thickness, and bones, and variations in your stove, oven and barbeque. But with sous vide, the chicken cooks uniformly because of the water, so you can cook it at the lowest temperature possible for long enough to kill the bacteria. So by cooking it sous vide, you can keep it very tender and not overcook it, and know that you’re still being safe. Read more about it in this Serious Eats article.
- You can cook it without having to baby it. Like I said before, you can leave it in for hours unattended.
- It’s easy. You don’t have to sear off the meat after you cook it, but it comes out looking boiled and kind of grey. Not pretty. So it’s tasty to sear it to make it more appetizing, and also to give it a bit of texture.
- It’s fun! Just look at those photos!
So those are my reasons. Also, John really wanted one, but thought it would be fun to build it himself. Yes, it’s still takes some effort to cook this way. We won’t do it every day. But it’s neat to use it, and fun, and didn’t cost us much to do it. It’s kind of gimmicky, but it’s still useful. And we like it.