Sous Vide Cooking Times vs Thickness

In the General Sous Vide Questions Forum
Jason

I have a question on your iPad program. Your cooking times seem long on meat. I used PolyScience guide and cooked1 1/2 inch filet two in a bag for forty five min. Your guide recommends 2-3hours.

The man from Microsoft that wrote the 2000 page cookbook was supposed to have a definitive guide on eGullet but I couldn't find it. Any help on this would be appreciated. His last name is Myhrvold

Steve


6 Replies So Far

That's a good question Steve. Here's a long answer, some of which you probably know already but I'll be thorough for other people that might not know. There are two ways to cook sous vide, one is based on the thickness and the other is based on the tenderness. Cooking based on thickness is how PolyScience, Baldwin, and Nathan started out as they did research on food safety. Cooking sous vide based on thickness basically tells you the minimum time you can cook a piece of meat to ensure it is safe and comes up to temperature in the middle. It doesn't take into account tenderizing time or any other factors. It's often used by restaurants or home cooks who want to minimize cooking time and are using tender cuts of meat that don't need the tenderization. Cooking sous vide based on tenderness takes into account how tough a piece of meat is and how long it needs to be cooked in order to make it appealing. So a chuck steak needs to be cooked a lot longer than a filet, even though the are both safe after the same amount of time. As long as the minimum cooking time is met for the temperature used then it's completely safe to eat. Both sous vide methods definitely have their uses. Thickness-based is great for very tender cuts cooked by people who need them done at an exact time. Tenderness-based is great for longer cuts or people that have a range of time that they are interested in. In order to keep things more simple in our sous vide app we decided to stick to the tenderness based method as the majority of home cooks seem to use it. One of the hardest parts of sous vide is also knowing how long to cook something in order for it to taste good. For good charts with the thickness method you can look at Baldwin's online guide. We will also be releasing an update with the thickness information in a month or two, and releasing a printable guide. I'll keep you posted about them. I hope this helps answer your question. Jason
Jason:

I'm taking my PolyScience to Bahamas next month along with tenderloin roasts and pork roast. If I cut the tenderloin roast into 2 pieces about 3 lbs each and cook together what would you suggest as to time. I will also cook two boneless pork roasts about two lbs each. Please suggest time and temp.

Are you familiar with Myhrvold and eGullet?

Thanks
I would cook the tenderloin roasts sous vide for probably 3 to 4 hours. They really don't need to be tenderized any, just warmed up to the temperature.

For the pork roasts, it depends on what kind you are using. For shoulder roasts / picnic roasts / boston butt roasts / blade roasts I would do 135F-140F for 1 to 2 days. For loin roasts / rib roasts I would do 5 to 8 hours.

About Myhrvold and eGullet:
I've definitely heard of Nathan Myhrvold, he, along with Baldwin, really helped to shape the understanding of sous vide and codify its data. The eGullet thread actually just got indexed (it used to be 1 or 2 hundred pages of forum threads). It's still a little unwieldy but much better than it was. Here's a link: eGullet Index

I hope this helps.
Jason

Thank you. On the tenderloin. I did tenderloin steaks about 45 min at 133. Turned out great. What do you think min time for the roast. Don't want it to overcook from a time standpoint. This seems to be what we have to balance time, temp and thickness and apply it to the tenderness of the cut.

I am very excited about this method. A new restaurant opened in Pittsburgh using sous vied. We have eaten at French Laundry and Charlie Trotters but didn't know that they were using SV.

Steve
The min time for the sous vide tenderloin roast will depend on the thickness of the roast. In general though the 3 to 4 hours I suggested will not overcook it any. You can use the charts referenced above to get the specific minimum time though if you prefer to cook it that way.
Jason

Just did a butt end of tenderloin roast about 21/2 lbs. Cooked at 138 f for 2 hrs. I seared first and then after. Turned out great but will probably add about 30-45 min next time

Tried a recipe from spiral dock that came with PolyScience pro. Page 54 Pappardelle. Turned out great. Anyone with the PolyScience should try

Steve


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