What Should a Sous Vide Newbie Know?

In the Getting Started with Sous Vide Forum
Since a lot of people should be getting a sous vide machine of some kind for Christmas I thought it would make sense to compile a list of sous vide tips and tricks for them to use as a reference.

So what's your biggest sous vide "need to know" item?

9 Replies So Far

Don't vacuum seal liquids...though you only make that mistake once ;-)
It's hard to go wrong with sous vide as long as you follow the time and temperature combinations. Have fun experimenting with different spices and seasonings.
It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the options and choices available. Surprisingly, there are quite a few choices, especially when you get away from the standard English language search. I built my own system, but I don't recommend that unless you'pretty comfortable with working with electronic components - I fried three PID controllers before I got it right.

Ok, I'm rambling... You're a newbie sous vide experimenter. First, read the first seven chapters (free) that Jason is giving away. Second, check out the references give, especially the explanatory guides about the process and the safety considerations. Third, decide if you're a tinkerer or just want something that works ***This is a really important point. If you're a tinkerer, make a system yourself, it's easy enough with a bit of diligence and care. If you're not, set yourself a but get and decide if you're into this as an experiment or feor the long term - I believe that once you get the swing of things, you'll be proudly making the best, tenderest meats for your friends and family that they've ever had. As such, you have three "English" choices, Sous Vide Magic, Sousvide Supreme (there's a midi now) or any one of the excellent immersion circulators or heated water baths.

Having decided on you water oven, the next thing is what do you want ot cook. By far the simplest and easiest to experiment with, from the start is 'whatever is in your fridge.' Failing this, try the beef. Why? Well, if you have the free chapters, you also have a ready reference for playing with beef. Eggs are also good, from the perspective of trying them out and seeing if you like the texture. Personally, I do, but many don't.

Whatever you cook, take care to present it well, regardless of wether it is for yourself or for others - presentation is an essential part of the eating and enjoyment experience. All in all, be mindful of the safety issues, experiment, and have fun, but don't stop at one peice of meat that you're sure you didn't quite cook right, keep trying until you're happy with the result.

All the best for the Xmas and New Year season.

Yours in Sous Vide

Tsp Tempest
http://www.angel fire.com/country/oversite/blog/
Great post Doc Tempest and great suggestions! Here's a link to the free beginning sous vide guide.
If you have difficulty closing your Caso vacuum sealer make sure the rubber gasket is fully seated.
To seal liquids use frozen broth for marinades or put food and liquid in pouch and freeze and then seal.
If cooking above say 145 F put pot on stove and heat until 5 F below target temp.
Cooking long periods of time put foil over tub or pot to delay evaporation.
Curtis and Pat Brothers cpbros@earthlink.net
I have to add, that if you're new to Sous Vide, reading the eGullet forum
is an absolute eyeopener and worth every minute of reading.

It starts out in 2004 and provides lots of interesting background information as well as useful insights into the development of recipes. It also puts current information into historical perspective and should answer many questions about food safety concerns and suitable equipment.

After spending some time on this, in the last few days, it has consolidated a lot of personal questions and given me new avenues for exploring on a, "hack your own equipment" level, which was thoroughly unexpected, and is proving to be a data mine well worth exploring.

Yours in sous vide

Doc Tempest
That eGullet forum is full of great info. The new index on it also helps a ton. I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention our free Beginning Sous Vide guide.
Jason, do you have a discussion area for your free Begining Sous Vide Guide? I'd like to add that so far I have found it to be very easy reading, covers all the basics in an easy and comfortable manner that doesn't overload the reader with too much information. I'm frequently reviewing it, on an iPad, using iBooks as the reader - where it reads very well. As a result I was motivated enough to get your iPad/iPod/iPhone app just to have a few more tables to sink my teeth into. :-) Doc Tempest The Baitlayer - A circus cook's diary
Great idea Doc Tempest, I just created this thread for comments, complaints, suggestions, questions, and (hopefully mainly) praise! Feedback for Beginning Sous Vide Guide Thanks for the great suggestion!

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