Sous Vide is French for “Under Vacuum,” and is a method of cooking that emphasizes even heat and consistent cooking. Food is sealed in a vacuum bag and placed in a water bath where temperature is tightly controlled. A device heats the water to the desired temperature and then proceeds to circulate the water, ensuring an even and consistent cook. Sous Vide is possible either in dedicated containers, or with a device that clamps to a pot and controls the temperature of the water within.
Once a method largely limited to professional chefs, there are a number of products on the market nowadays that make sous vide cooking much more accessible to the average home chef. For a one-time investment, you can end up with a device that will give great results each and every time.
Sous Vide cooking involves a few simple steps:
Attach the cooker to a container of water, and set the time and temperature you’d like your food to cook at according to the degree of doneness.
Put your food in a sealable bag and place it in the pot.
Take the food out and enjoy as is, or toss it in a pan or on the grill for a crisp, delicious exterior.
It’s a simple process with consistent results, making it perfect for the aspiring home chef. While there’s a little bit of setup involved, it’s much easier to cook your meat to the required temperature by applying even and consistent heat.
Benefits of Sous Vide Cooking
We discussed a few of the benefits above, but, basically, the main benefit of Sous Vide cooking is the consistent temperature it provides.
When cooking meat in a pan or oven, there are often “hot spots” or other variables that can make it difficult to get proper doneness in each spot. Sure, there are thermometers that can give you a general sense of the progress of cooking, but the meat may be different temperatures all over the place, making for an inconsistent doneness.
Sous Vide cooking is a surefire way to get consistent cooking results. The combination of a vacuum sealed bag and hot water maintained at a constant temperature will allow you to take a lot of the guesswork out of cooking.
Additionally, a major benefit is the idea of being able to “set it and forget it.” While some sous vide models still require that you turn them off when the cooking is done, a majority of consumer models offer a timer that shuts off automatically when the food is finished. This leads to a crock pot type functionality, but it generally cooks meat a lot faster.
Most of this section has been focused around cooking meat, but sous vide also offers the functionality to cook food like vegetables. Pretty much anything outside of baking that relies on a regular and consistent source of heat will lend itself well to cooking with an immersion circulator.
Best Sous Vide Machines
Which Sous Vide machine is the “best” is going to depend on what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for a powerful machine that can cook food super quickly, it’s best to choose the Joule, Nomiku, or Sansaire.
When getting into sous vide on a budget, Sansaire offers a basic model that will get you started without too much initial investment.
Some of our favorites are the Joule and Anova. The Joule features a beautiful design, easy storage, and a fully-featured app with recipes, easy control of your machine, and detailed instructions for getting that perfect cook. The Anova, on the other hand, features great smart home integration. How cool would it be to start up and control your sous vide device using just your voice? Having Alexa fire up your machine while sitting comfortably on the couch is the ultimate in cooking convenience.
Overall, the decision is going to be largely personal. We’ve compiled a chart of some of the most popular sous vide machines to give you a basic sense of what each model has to offer. Detailed comparisons between these models is available elsewhere on our site, and they provide all the information you’ll need to make a great decision.
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