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Glad to hear that you started with a temperature controller and a Crock-Pot. I still use a similar setup. It works great. Am I missing all that much by not using a circulator?
- Scott Walker
Note:The following article is an edited transcript from the video.
The short answer is, I don't think so. If it works for you, then great. Circulators are really nice to have though.
My Crock-Pot was an old model that didn't work very well anymore. After trying to do some ribs, I gave up on it; never used it again. I wanted to sous vide the ribs at 176 degrees and it took about 4 1/2 hours for the Crock-Pot to get the hot tap water up to that temperature. The people who say that it doesn't matter how powerful it is because you can use hot tap water, have never waited 4 1/2 hours to get up to temperature; it was ridiculous.
To make matters worse, it didn't even hold the temperature very well, and so I really struggled with those ribs. But if it's working for you and meets your needs, then stick with it. There's nothing wrong with a basic setup.
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The wand style circulators like the Anova and the Joule do have some benefits. You can use different size pots, which is nice. I normally use a Lipavi 12-quart polycarbonate container. Rubbermaid makes one as well. I like that size a lot, it works really well for day-to-day cooking but when I have parties, I can use their larger container that fits 4 to 5 racks of ribs in it.
Note: You can read Do I need a sous vide machine with wifi for more information.
Having the ability to sous vide larger amounts at once is really helpful if you like to have people over or entertain quite often. I think that's the main thing you're missing if you use a temperature controller or a set water bath. Also, if you really want the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth stuff, then a circulator is the way to go. However, a lot of people aren't interested in those options or don't need to turn it on away from home.
So if it works for you, don't worry about spending the money on something else. Get a nice piece of prime ribeye or another favorite, instead of buying a circulator and you should be just as happy.
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