Written by Jason Logsdon

What is That Smell? Preventing Sous Vide Odors - Ask Jason.

I get a lot of great questions from my readers. In order to help out everyone else I'm answering some of the most popular ones here on the blog. Have something you need help with? You can ask me on Facebook, contact me directly, or view all of the Ask Jason questions!

When doing a long cook over 36 hours the meat seems to develop a foul odor. What is the best way to avoid this? Quickly blanching the meat in boiling water first?

- Allan Poetak

Note: The following article is an edited transcript from the video.

And yes, that is the best way to avoid it. It's Lactobacillus, a harmless bacteria. It is found in cheese a lot, particularly stinky cheeses. You can find out more about it in my Why to Boil Your Sous Vide Food First article.

Lactobacillus smells really bad and from my experience it seems to be in the air in certain places. I've never run into it despite having cooked hundreds of sous vide meals now. Some people run into it almost every time they cook, and I think it's just what's in the environment of their kitchen. They probably eat more cheese than I do.

But if you run into that or if you just want to be safe so you don't run into it, you can dunk the meat in boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds before you sous vide it. This is enough time to kill anything on the outside.

But it's something if you run into issues. It primarily happens in over 24 or 30 hour cooks, but Lactobacillus can grow in the higher sous vide temperatures where the dangerous bacteria can't grow at those temperatures. So it's not bad for you. It just smells horrible.

If you like this you can get more than 85 inspiring recipes to get you on your way to sous vide success. It's all in my best selling book Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Sous Vide - Get Your Copy Today!

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All tags for this article: Ask Jason, Sous Vide, Sous Vide Searing


Jason logsdon headshot This article is by me, Jason Logsdon. I'm an adventurous home cook and professional blogger who loves to try new things, especially when it comes to cooking. I've explored everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to pressure cookers and blow torches; created foams, gels and spheres; made barrel aged cocktails and brewed beer. I have also written 10 cookbooks on modernist cooking and sous vide and I run the AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com website.
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