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Equipment Reviews

Essential Sous Vide Accessories

The sous vide cooking method gives you matchless taste in all your recipes, whether they are everyday meals or occasional steaks. But a precision cooker or immersion circulator alone cannot do the magic. There are other accessories that you need to buy to complete your sous vide kit.

If you are a beginner, you may have to invest in these things but if you are an expert level home cook, it is probable that you already have all these things at home.

Torch

When you cook meat with conventional methods, the end result is a browned steak or a seared cut of meat. However, with sous vide, this is not the case, with the end result being pink, mushy meat.

To get a seared or browned finish, you will need a kitchen torch for the finishing touch. Many recipes call for searing after cooking in a hot water bath, and for this so you should have a blow torch.

If you’ve never used one before, you’ll need to be very careful with a torch. While it can brown your food, the same can also easily burn the food if you don’t use it correctly. Most models these days come with a non-slip grip which is sturdy. Also, it is better to get a torch with a metal body as these will last a long time and not corrode easily.

A good option is the Master Class Deluxe Cooks Blowtorch. This model comes with an anti-flare flame that can be adjusted at all angles. Most of the models that you find on Amazon are manufactured according to the National Standards of Health and Safety so you can trust them.

The blowtorch is supplied empty when you buy it and needs to be filled with some sort of fuel for working. With a blowtorch, you can sear food at a high temperature of up to 1300 degrees. If you are a professional cook or you want to take your skills up a notch, you can attach a Searzall to the end of your blow torch.

This is an attachment that will help distribute the flame evenly. When the Searzall is attached, it would take longer to brown the meat. Make sure that you completely dry the meat as it comes out of the sous vide cooker. Dry the meat with paper towels so that it’s easy to brown it completely.

An effective alternative to blowtorch is an iron pan. Almost every kitchen has it so it saves money too. The trick with searing this way is that you sear at high heat so that the meat gets browned but not cooked.

Racks

For preparing multiple or larger sous vide meals, you may also need to get a wire rack. This accessory lets you put together several batches of meat simultaneously. The only consideration is that the cuts should require the same cooking temperature.

The avid sous vide cook who frequently uses this cooking technique can really benefit from a sous vide rack. When placed in the water bath, the design of the rack keeps the different food pouches separated. This allows for complete water circulation around every pouch, distributing the heat evenly.

The weight of the rack also keeps the pouches submerged throughout the cooking process. You can also use the rack for cooling the food before serving. Or put it in the freezer to freeze your leftovers.

When looking for a rack, choose a model that is made from stainless steel. This will yield superior heat tolerant properties. It is also easier to clean and won’t rust or corrode easily. Also look for a model that collapses so you can store it conveniently.

Once you get a rack, you can use it conveniently for other kitchen tasks as well and not limit its use to sous vide cooking only.

Weights

Since sous vide cooking takes place in a hot water bath, the food pouches can often float around. But if the food is not submerged properly, it remains undercooked and might even be raw in some places.

Placing weights in the food bag will ensure that the food stays submerged in the water completely and gets cooked evenly by even heating on all sides. Keeping the bag submerged exposes it to the correct temperature reducing the risk of bacterial growth and unsafe conditions.

Oftentimes, sous vide users put metallic cutlery in their water bath to keep the food submerged. The problem with this method is that the metal can have an effect on the taste of food. Or, some people just take any heavy weight from home and put them in their sous vide cooker. These weights are not made for the job so they can topple off. If the weight is too large, the flow of water can also be lowered.

Most sous vide weights are made with a stainless steel core that is durable. The outer finish is covered with silicone shell due to prevent anything affecting the food’s taste. Most Sous Vide weights are cylindrical in shape as this shape does not obstruct the flow of water.

Plus, there are different types of weight based on where you place them in the bag. For instance, some larger weights are shaped to stay on top of the food item keeping it under water. Others are designed to go to the bottom of the bag and weight it down from its base.

Weights are particularly effective when the food being cooked is buoyant. For such foods, it is recommended to place the weight in between the foods.

While most sous vide weight will be engineered from food grade material, you may still have concerns about leaching. If this happens, simply wrap the weight in a separate bag and then put it alongside the food. Or wrap it really well in cling warp. This will also eliminate any concern of any flavor getting transmitted to the food.

You can either buy these weights in packs of three of five. Your choice depends on the bag size you use for cooking. To make things easier, most companies make weights that are dishwasher safe so they can be washed easily.

Weights and racks are both different ways to keep the bags under water. But weights are a way cheaper option as compared to a sous vide rack. They are also more flexible and are a less cumbersome alternative to racks.

If you compare racks and weight further, you will also see that weights take up less storage space than racks.

Bags

Sous vide cooking involves the use of bags as the food does not get any direct heat. Instead, the heat is dissipated through water and then reaches the food through the bags.

Experts recommend getting special bags that are designed for sous vide. Make sure that the bags you buy are food safe so that they don’t harm your food. Another thing to make sure is that the bags should be able to withstand high temperature. Look for heavy duty bags that can tolerate heat well. Many cheap quality bags that you find in local stores may burst due to high temperatures.

Some people also have concerns for cooking in plastic bags since some plastic qualities contain BPA which is hazardous for health. To dodge this problem, only look for options that are BPA free and pose no threat to health. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on special sous vide bags, you can use any food safe refrigerator ziploc bags instead.

Sous vide bags are available in an assortment of sizes and you should get those that suit your meal portions. If you get larger bags for smaller food portions, you may have floatation issues. Or if the bag is too small, then you’ll end up cramping your food item in it. This could potentially alter its texture during cooking.

So choose from sizes that will complement your cooking portions for best results.

Vacuum Sealers

Vacuum sealers are important for sous vide cooking because this method involves cooking food under vacuum. These sealers seal the bags and ensure that there is no air in them. You simply need to activate the sealer and it will remove the air from the bag, making it a vacuum bag.

Most contemporary models also come with a very friendly control panel that lets you change the settings depending on the type of food that you cook. Settings can also change for moist and dry foods.

Vacuum sealing also prevents the food from shrinking. Plus, the nutrients and flavor will be preserved.

Another consideration is that air is a very poor conductor of heat so if the ziploc bag has any air in it, the heat will not dissipate properly. This is why it becomes important to remove the air from the bags so that heat conduction remains uninhibited. A vacuum sealer can also be used for keeping the food sealed at home for storage.

You can choose from different types of vacuum sealers ranging from chamber vacuum sealers and external vacuum sealers to vacuum sealer hand pumps.

Another method for making vacuum in the bag is to use the water pressure method in which air is removed from the bag using water pressure. However, that method is not very accurate. If you want to cook professionally or in the best possible way, then a vacuum sealer is the best option.

Containers

Sous vide containers are a great way to start next-level cooking. You can use any pot at home but if you want to make sure that you don’t face any problems, then it is important to use the right kind of container.

There are a few things you need to consider when buying a sous vide container. The first of these is size. Consider which size is compatible for you. If you want to cook bigger meals for a larger party, then you will need a larger container. If you cook only for yourself or have a small family, then you can work with a small container just as well.

When buying Sous Vide containers online, make sure that you get one that is heat resistant. Ideally, the container should be resistant to temperatures as high as 210oF.

Most containers are made with polycarbonate and are also safe to wash in a dish washer.

Another thing to consider is the immersion circulator you have. Most models come with their own containers that are suitable for them. The containers for these devices are already pre-cut which means that their lid is made in a way that it has room for an immersion circulator on the side.

If there is no container that is specifically made for your immersion circulator, then get a container which has sturdy sides so that you can mount any immersion circulator to it. Most containers that you get from Amazon will be compatible with established sous vide brands like Sansaire, Nomiku and Anova.

Many containers also come with weight balls that make the sous vide experience even better. When you buy a container online, go for the ones that come with a money-back guarantee.

When you shop from a physical location, you can return the device if it doesn’t work for you. But you can’t do this for online purchases unless you have a warranty. So, if you buy one with a refund policy, you will be able to return it if your immersion circulator doesn’t work well with it.

Conclusion

You do not necessarily need to have all these accessories for cooking sous vide as you can DIY most of them. Also, some of these accessories are already present in most houses. Still, if you want to make cooking easier and take all precautionary steps, then investing in these accessories is a wise thing to do. If your immersion circulator company has its own accessories, try to get those as they will be the most compatible ones. Otherwise, you can get any brand you find most suitable for your sous vide needs.

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DIY Sous Vide

The tender steaks and juicy salmon fillets that you get from sous vide cooking are not easy to match. Conventional cooking might give you those results every once in a while, but certainly not every time. While sous vide cooking has multiple pros, the one thing that is hard to overlook is the price point of the equipment.

If you are new to sous vide cooking, and still not convinced you’ll take it up for life, you may not want to shell out the few hundred dollars that most immersion circulators or precision cookers cost. Even keeping it cheap, you’ll still have to dole out close to a hundred bucks to get a reputable sous vide cooker or immersion circulator. So what’s the alternative?

If your pocket doesn’t allow you to invest in a sous vide cooker, worry not.

DIY is a huge trend these days. From home décor to life hacks, it seems like you can do everything at home. The same goes for sous vide. To set up a DIY sous vide system at home, all you need are some food-grade refrigerator bags and an accurate digital thermometer. With these two things, you can get the same results as any high-end sous vide cooker.

Things to Remember

Since you won’t be cooking in a proper sous vide cooker, there are a few things that you need to remember. First of all, you need to keep the water at a constant temperature because there is no immersion circulator to do it for you. For this, you will need to adjust the settings on your stove’s burner. Also, the way you place your pot on the stove matters a lot. The key is to put focus on tiny details because the whole essence of sous vide cooking is precision.

When cooking this way, heat will get lost from the sides of the pot. As water heats, it will evaporate and water levels will drop as well. So, fluctuations in temperature are inevitable. But you need to make sure that the fluctuations are not more than one or two degrees off from the desired temperature.

Instructions

Follow the instructions given below to make your own sous vide cooker at home.

Step 1:

The first step is to prepare a water bath. In sous vide cooking, food is cooked in a hot, steaming water bath. Heat is not directly taken up by the food but it is passed from the water to the food. Take any heat-resistant deep pan or container and fill it with water. Leave some space on top so that when you immerse the food in the container, water does not over flow.

Step 2:

The second step is to set your thermometer in the water bath. There are two ways of doing so. The first method is making use of a clip clamp that can mount your thermometer to the side of the pan. The second method is to stick the thermometer in and out of the water after every few minutes to check the temperature. Of course, the better method is to use the clamp since it will give you steady control over the temperature.

Step 3:

Now it’s time to turn on the burner and let the water heat. Start the burner at medium-low and wait till the water gets heated to your desired temperature. There are different Time and Temperature guides available online that you can use to determine what temperature you need for a particular recipe or food item.

Set the burner according to that and keep checking the temperature on the thermometer. Since this is not automated, it will take some time to get to the right temperature.

Step 4:

The next step is to finally add in the food item. Keep your food in a ziploc bag with all the necessary herbs, oil or butter. As you place the food in the water bath, keep the top open so that the water pressure pushes out all the air. Once the top of the bag reaches the water surface, seal it slowly making sure no air bubbles are formed. Now clip the top of the bag to the edge of your container with a clothespin or a clamp.

Step 5:

Once the food is in the water bath, it’s time to start cooking. The temperature would have fluctuated by now so you need to bring it back to your desired temperature. If the food is cold, it would take some time to bring the water back to the right temperature. Once the temperature is set, start your timer and cook for the duration mentioned on the recipe.

When done, the last step would be to sear the food if the recipe says so. This makes the food appear better in texture and also adds a crusty taste to it.

Cooking Sous Vide in Different Containers

To make DIY sous vide easier, you can use different containers that you already have at home. The first option in this regard is to use a Rice Cooker. Just immerse a digital thermometer in the rice cooker and you are all set to go. Most cookers also come with a ‘keep warm’ setting. This makes sous vide easier as it lets you keep the water in the container at your desired temperature. Of course, this technique is not as accurate as the automated version but with some calculations and practice, you will get there.

Cooking Sous Vide In a Deep Fryer

Most kitchens have a deep fryer so you can use it for cooking under vacuum too. However, the one problem often faced with a deep fryer is the temperature range. Most deep fryers start very high on the temperature range, typically around the 250oF mark. This problem can be solved with the help of an external thermometer.

The trick is that the thermostat actually works down to 86oF. Fill the deep fryer with water like you would do with a water bath and then clip an external thermometer to the fryer. Calibrate the thermometer to 132oF, which is the ideal temp for a steak. You can change this according to your recipe.

Oven Sous Vide

A very simple DIY sous vide method is to clip your digital thermometer to a container with the prong immersed in the water bath. Keep the container in the oven. When the water gets heated to your desired temperature, add in the food and keep a lid on the pot. Place the pot back in the oven. For this method, you will have to keep an eye on the temperature. If it gets higher than your desired temperature, turn off the oven for some time until the temp drops back to normal.

Sous Vide with Insulation

Did you know you can also use an insulated cooler as a sous vide container? This is a very simple method that requires a thermometer. Fill the cooler with water. Make sure the temperature is slightly higher than your desired temperature. The thermometer will help you with this. If you cannot seem to get the temperature high enough, add some boiling water to cooler.

It depends on which insulation cooler you have, but with most of them, you can put the lid on to hold the food bag in place while the food cooks. Again, you need to keep a close eye on the temperature.

Most of these methods, though easy, are balancing acts. If you get them right, it becomes impossible to overcook the food, ever. Instead what you get is food that never reaches a temperature higher than the water bath it is immersed in. Plus, since it’s sealed, the food retains all its nutrients and maximum flavor.

Cost of DIY Sous Vide

Depending on how many things you have at home, the DIY sous side setup should not cost more than $50. Most kitchens have at least one of the containers mentioned above. If you do not any one of these, you must have a deep bottom pan that you use for daily cooking. Just turn that into your sous vide cooker.

The second thing you need is a digital thermometer. If you already have one at home, then you’re good to go. The last thing needed for DIY sous vide cooking is food bags. Any food grade refrigerator bags work for sous vide. There is no need to invest in expensive bags. So, the overall cost for DIY sous vide is way less than the cost for a precision cooker or an immersion circulator.

Conclusion

It is definitely possible to cook sous vide without a $250 precision cooker. All you need is a little bit of practice and a knack for calculations. Remember that the temperature settings will not be accurate to the degree, like they are with automated cooking but the results will be the same if there is only a degree or two difference.

As you practice, you will learn some tips and tricks along the way. Get help from cooking guides on the Internet to calculate the temperature and time on your own to make cooking easier.

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Is Sous Vide Cooking Safe?

Sous vide cooking promises perfect results every time, but does this perfection come at a cost? This is a question on many minds since the practice uses plastic bags for cooking and involves low cooking temperatures (even though for prolonged periods).

The word “plastic” itself is foreboding enough and when used in the context of cooking becomes an outright abomination. The other issue is cooking on low temperatures which raises the concern for letting harmful bacteria thrive. And then there is the whole business about vacuum sealing the food before submerging it in a water bath.

So naturally skepticism isn’t far behind when it comes to the integrity of food prepared in (seemingly) less-than-optimal cooking conditions.

You may well wonder if you’re putting your health at stake just to enjoy a delicious steak.

The Science behind Sous Vide

Sous vide involves vacuum sealing raw or partially cooked foods in plastic bags. You submerge the bag in a hot water bath for anywhere between a few hours to a few days. The temperature settings are low and once cooked, your food comes out full of flavor and nutrition.

So to determine if this slow cooking technique is indeed safe or not, here’s addressing its main concerns:

Are plastic bags safe?

The simple answer for this will vary depending on the kind of plastic bag you use. If you are using food grade plastic or BPA-free versions, you are safe.

This plastic is inert which means that it doesn’t react with food or water. This also keeps the food free of any contamination. Polyethylene bags are the best in this regard because they are inert and they do not pose any harm to the human health. Inert plastic doesn’t contain additives which may otherwise leach into food and impact your health adversely.

This type of plastic is also resistant to the sub-boiling temperatures used in sous vide cooking. So as long as you are using food grade, BPA free plastic, you have nothing to worry about.

On the other hand, if the bags contain BPA, they can seriously threaten your health. BPA mimics hormones present in the human body and can disrupt normal body functions.

Some studies conducted in animals also show that excessive exposure to BPA may also cause cancer in later stages on life. The effects of this chemical are more pronounced in infants and young adults. So if you are using phthalate-free or BPA-free plastic bags, then you do not need to fear.

Is low-temp cooking safe?

The USDA has specified a ‘danger zone’ which is a temperature range, cooking in which can be harmful for health. The danger temperature zone is between 40 and 140oF. According to the USDA, any food held in this range for more than two hours can be harmful for the body as bacteria thrive in this temperature. This is the range in which pathogenic bacteria increase in number and cause food-borne diseases.

Now there is a buffer zone within this temperature range above which bacteria growth becomes retarded. So when food is cooked at the 130oF mark, bacterial growth stops. In fact, increasing the temperature up a notch to 135oF would actually kill any bacteria present in the food.

Since sous vide cooking is all about precise temperature, and most cooking is done around the 130-140oF mark, pasteurization becomes possible. This makes sous vide cooking a much safer cooking technique than conventional methods. Also, the latest models of sous vide cookers come with keep-safe technology so they will let you know if you are cooking in the danger temperature range.

In addition, some research states that cooking at low temperatures is actually beneficial because it helps retain the nutritional value of foods. Vitamins and minerals in food break down at high temperatures which is why conventional methods can strip the food of its nutritional value. In sous vide, nutrients are retained since they don’t get broken down. Also, there is no likelihood of burning since heat dissipates into the food, instead of just heating on the outside.

Is Cooking Under Vacuum Safe?

Vacuum sealing creates an anaerobic environment which is ideal for the growth of certain bacteria that grow in such conditions. This means that these bacteria grow in the absence of oxygen.

The most harmful bacterium in this regard is C.botulinum which produces toxins when it has the right temperature in the absence of oxygen. It causes a disease called botulism which is certainly possible under anaerobic, low temperature conditions. But if you follow given precautions for staying out of the danger zone area, then you should also be safe from botulism as well.

So if you cook at given sous vide temperatures and for the given times, you should be able to effectively kill off this bacteria. It is important to realize that working at the right temperatures is only half the equation. The other half is all about the timing. Killing harmful bacteria becomes possible because you cook at a certain temperature for a prolonged period of time. Together, the two pasteurize the food making it safe for consumption.

Also, make it a point to always refrigerate your food in case there are leftovers.

Some stipulations

Never attempt sous vide cooking without the proper equipment. For instance, regular cooking thermometers aren’t precise enough. Invest in a proper sus vide immersion circulator or cooker to get the time and temperature right.

Takeaway

Sous vide cooking can be done right if you invest in the right equipment. A quality immersion circulator with give you precision and control over your timing and temperature. Food grade plastic bags will remove the concern for leaching and storing the food correctly will keep it safe for future consumption.

So follow the safety rules and the instructions of your sous vide machine for safe cooking. Overall, sous vide is considered a very safe cooking technique. So much so that one of its earliest uses was to use sous vide for preparing hospital food.

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Best Sous Vide Cookbook

The sous vide cooking methodology has gained a lot of popularity and for the right reasons too. It is a very reliable cooking method that can be used by anyone, whether at the beginner level or expert. The only evident issue that you could have with this cooking technique is knowing the right temperature and time. Since these two are the main elements of this technique, it is important to know the precise settings for cooking a sous vide meal. For this, there are plenty of sous vide cook books available in the market.

Sous Vide at Home: The Modern Technique for Perfectly Cooked Meals

This cookbook is the work of Lisa Fetterman and her colleagues. Published by Ten Speed Press, the book became available for sale in November 2016. This compilation of recipes has something for everyone and allows sous vide chefs to harness the power of this wonderful cooking method.

The author has added all the necessary tips and tricks of sous vide cooking that you need to know to make restaurant quality meals in the comfort of your own kitchen. Whether you want to learn how to make the perfect Thanksgiving turkey or you want to excel at the art of making interesting appetizers, you can turn to this book for guidance.

It has more than 100 recipes to satisfy taste buds of all kinds. The range of recipes isn’t limited to any particular cuisine but derives inspiration from all over the world. For the French connoisseur in you, try the delectable Duck Confit or if you want to tingle your Indian taste buds, there is a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala too. To satisfy your sweet tooth, indulge in some hassle free vanilla ice cream or enjoy some homemade Coffee Cardamom Bitters using this recipe book.

Chris Cosentine, the winner of Top Chef Masters says that this book is a chef’s trick turned into a wonderful tool for anyone cooking at home. According to him, the recipes in this book are very easy to follow as they come with step-by-step instructions.

Lisa Fetterman is also the founder of Nomiku which has the honor of being the first ever Sous Vide immersion circulator for home cooks. She has been featured in magazines like Forbes and is well-appreciated for her work in the food space. Her experiences from her work at top restaurants are present in this cook book, providing inspiration to expert and new home cooks.

This book available in both hardcover and Kindle editions. The hardcover is listed on Amazon for $35.00 with a discounted price of $15.61.

Pros:

  • Includes tips that expert sous vide professionals would know, now accessible to home cooks
  • Complete guide on cooking safety and proper food preparation
  • Includes wide collection of recipes based on cooking expertise
  • Lots of pictures to go with recipes

Cons:

  • Lacks in recipes with too many words spent on discussing temperatures

Sous Vide for Everybody: The Easy, Foolproof Cooking Technique That’s Sweeping the World

This book is written by a professional team of cooks from America’s Test Kitchen. Published by the same company, the paperback version is scheduled for release in September 2018. It is an ideal book for cooks new to sous vide as it starts with basic techniques such as cooking steak and eggs. With the recipes in this book, you will be able to experiment this new cooking technique. Whether you want to cook holiday-quality chuck roast or you want to make every day soft finish eggs, every recipe is in the book.

America’s Test Kitchen is popular for its TV shows, magazines, websites and cook books. 60 passionate cooks located in different states of the US have provided their services for compiling this book. With this book, you will be able to expand your cooking knowledge. There are different dessert recipes including ice-cream and pudding recipes for your next family gathering or kids’ school party.

The beef recipes in the book will aid you in making the tenderest meals with fully cooked meat cuts with retained moisture and flavor.

The book is retailed on Amazon for $17.56. It will soon be released on 25th September, 2018.

Pros:

  • Includes recipes ordinarily found in restaurants, now available for your kitchen
  • Recipe range includes appetizers and cocktails, plus main courses and desserts
  • Basics and tips on sous vide
  • Includes cooking and temperature charts
  • Compiled by experts who know everything about sous vide

Cons:

  • N/A

The Effortless Sous Vide Cookbook: 140 Recipes for Crafting Restaurant-Quality Meals Every Day

The book is written by top chef and author Carey Copeling. Published by Rockridge Press, this book was made available to the customers in January 2018. This book has 140 recipes that are all hassle free and restaurant quality. The writer claims that this book will turn any everyday home cook into a restaurant chef.

There are weeknight recipes such as sea food recipes, poultry and dessert recipes for every home cook to enjoy. The author has even added drinks recipes. If you are a vegetarian, you can find vegetable recipes in the book too. For meat lovers, there are many red meat recipes for special occasions or for daily meals.

There are also reference guides in the book featuring helpful charts to enhance your cooking skills. You can gauge temperature settings and timings using these charts. You can even learn the power settings from the charts in this book. Go from beginner to pro level with reference guides in this book.

You will be able to savor recipes such as Seared Wasabi, Rosemary Veal Chop, Duck Confit and even more. Care for an Espresso Martini? You can make them with the recipes given in this book too.

Carey Copeling is a top chef and sous Vide enthusiast. He has been experimenting with these cooking techniques for quite a while and shares his findings in this cook book. Also, he has a blog called sousveat.com that you can go to for more recipes and tricks.

This book is listed on Amazon for $15.50. The pictures in this book are so beautiful that you would want to try every recipe as soon as you get your hands on this masterpiece.

Pros:

  • Suitable for anyone excited to try sous vide recipes
  • Sous vide details won’t leave you guessing how to cook your meal
  • High end recipes with everyday ingredients

Cons:

  • Too few photos of finished products

Sous Vide Cookbook: The Complete Sous Vide Cookbook

This book has been written by Vincent Bryant and the best part about it is that it also comes in a Kindle Edition. This edition is a total of 177 pages with word wise reading enables. If you want to know the tips and tricks for getting your meals right every single time, you can surely invest in this book. The book is divided into chapters, with each chapter dealing with a specific aspect of sous vide cooking. First the author explains what sous vide cooking is and then goes on to tell you how it benefits you.

There is also a comprehensive section for home cooks about the things they need for starting sous vide cooking. To round off, the author mentions some tested tips and tricks for learning sous vide.

There is a wide range of recipes with a total of 150. Some of the older cook books only have recipes for meat and fish but Bryant has added dessert recipes too. Now you can enjoy perfectly cooked desserts at home. When you buy a sous vide cooker, it is likely that you might be lost at first but with this cookbook, you can make a perfect steak one day and enjoy a yummy cheesecake the next.

Most of the recipes are extremely simple with no more than five ingredients. For the meat recipes, Bryant mentions the precise temp and time for each cut of meat. It is ideal for beginner level cooks. People at expert or intermediate level may not learn much from this book as it has been kept very simple.

The Kindle version supports page flip, enhanced type setting and screen reader feature. It is available for purchase on Amazon.

Pros:

  • Straight forward and simple writing style
  • Ideal for newbies
  • Provides tips and suggestions on par with sous vide experts

Cons:

  • No pictures in the book
  • Recipes are very basic with nothing for the medium or advanced sous vide cook

Conclusion

All the cook books mentioned above have their own selection of recipes formulated by some of the most well-known and experienced chefs. While Bryant’s book is the most suitable of the four for beginners, it is Sous Vide at Home: The Modern Technique for Perfectly Cooked Meals by Lisa Fetterman which is the best book to have if you want to step into Sous Vide cooking. With its tempting pictures, precise settings and well-explained recipes, this book is a cooking gem by one of the most acknowledged and successful sous vide experts in the world.

Equipment Reviews

Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide Review

You may well have been cooking using conventional methods for years now. But are you really satisfied? What about all those times when the meat stayed uncooked or raw from the inside? Or all those times when the meat burnt because of being overcooked?

With conventional methods, you have to carefully monitor your food for the whole duration that it cooks. But with the Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide, there is no need to do so as this immersion circulator is made for making your job easier in the kitchen.

Whether it is cooking vegetables, meat cuts or delicious desserts, this sous vide immersion circulator will help you excel at this slow and steady heat-aided method of cooking.

Performance

The Kitchen Gizmo circulator is a simpler take on sous vide appliances. It’s a fairly basic immersion circulator without any of the bells and whistles but gets the job done right.

With the use of the Kitchen Gizmo immersion circulator, you no longer have to worry about removing food from heat at the exact time. This device will do the job for you, as it heats and cooks food to precision. Not only does this ensure doneness, it also makes your food tender and delicious.

Unlike conventional cooking in which heat only gets supplied from the bottom, this immersion circular provides heat from all sides. It comes with a heating element that constantly propels the water in the water bath. As a result, your food gets heated from all four sides. It is easy to see why you can never go wrong with this device.

This immersion circulator is very easy to use. It is remarkably intuitive and the best part is that you can predict the results every single time. There is no need to empty your pockets at an expensive restaurant because you can get the same quality and taste of food at home.

Design

The design elements for the Kitchen Gizmo are pretty impressive as it comes in a unique packaging. You get your device in a long hexagonal box that securely holds the immersion circulator in place. Inside you will also receive a quick start guide, a user guide, a recipe book and a time and temperature chart.

The device itself has a sleek finish. Its aesthetics are completed with a slightly different-than-usual sous vide display. The temperature dial on the unit is placed directly on top of the device just to the side of the display. It has a touch screen and the top lights when the immersion is in use.

It also has a strong-grip clip feature that can fit any pot. So there is no need to buy a special container for this device.

Color choice

If you’re a choosy individual or perhaps follow a theme for your kitchen you might want to take a closer at the Kitchen Gizmo. This immersion circulator comes in three different colors, all distinct in their own way.

Bringing a change to your kitchen from the same old black and whites, this circulator comes in Blue, Grey and Red. While for some people, only the taste matters, others also care about presentation so this color choice is a great option.

Operation

The temperature settings are also quite easily programmable. You can program the settings up to 194oF. With its latest technology and high precision, the immersion circulator can detect a difference of up to 1oF. There is a Safety Feature installed in the device which is activated when the water level is above the minimum mark.

Setting the temperature and time is as simple as scrolling the selection wheel. There is no complicated setting or programming option.

Power

The wattage of this device is 800W. Due to presence of a powerful motor, the device takes a very short time to heat the water bath. This saves power and time. Also, the motor works without any noise, keeping the cooking experience comfortable.

The powerful water circulatory pumps water all around the container. 8 liters of water get pumped per minute with the motor. This creates the same effect as you manually rotating the water using a spoon in conventional cooking method. So your food will be cooked evenly and will not only get heat from the bottom.

The silent motor of Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide makes it a good choice for your kitchen as it will not create an irritating noise for as long as it works. The device will work quietly while you busy yourself with other chores or take a nap.

Clean up

The sleeve is easily removable. So, after you are done cooking, you can simply take it off and clean it. The care instruction for cleaning is not to put the device in a dishwasher. Instead, use a damp cloth to wipe the device clean. Since the device is made with stainless steel, it is very easy to clean with a cloth.

It is approved by ETL so you do not need to have any concern about safety or health. Whether you are a new chef or an expert one, there is something for everything.

Cook book

This cookbook is filled with savory recipes, veggie foods and even dessert recipes along with the precise temp and time for cooking them. For the daring or more experienced chefs, the company has added a cook chart that can be used to determine the right cooking time or temperature for a specific recipe.

So you can use this device to polish your cooking skills or you can simply use it for making pre-tried recipes for your own family or for guests. The same taste is guaranteed every single time because you are cooking the food at the set conditions every time.

Product Specifications

Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide comes in a package that measures of 17 X 6 X 5.4 inches. It weighs about 2.8 pounds which is in the medium weight range as compared to other immersion circulators.

The Kitchen Gizmo unit measures 15 X 4.2 X 3 inches which makes it larger than many of its other contemporaries.

Pros of Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide

The pros of Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide are listed below:

Scrolling: There is an easy method of setting time and temperature. You just have to scroll the dial on the device.

Control: The control panel is easy to switch from one temperature option to another. With a single touch of screen, you can change Celsius to Fahrenheit.

Grip: The grip on Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide is very comfortable. Due to the ergonomic design and rubber-coated design, holding the immersion circulator is made very comfortable.

Cook Book: Another notable feature of Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide is the cook book filled with various recipes of different foods. These include chicken, fish, beef, and dessert and breakfast recipes.

Cons of Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide

There are a few cons of Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide that should be considered before buying the device.

Simplicity: The Kitchen Gizmo is not WiFi compatible. While this simplistic approach to cooking may be appreciated by some people, other chefs may find it somewhat limiting. Most novice and young chefs want to have a device that they can connect to their smart phones so that they can control the appliance via Bluetooth.

Sound Alert: There is no sound alert mechanism in this device to alert you about the reaching your target temperature. Plus, although there is an alarm when you reach your finished cooking time, the device shuts off automatically. This means you don’t have the option to continue cooking if you want to do so for a few extra minutes.

Price: The cost of Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide is higher than other immersion circulators with the same basic features. This is partially compensated by the fact that the device comes with a free cook book. However, other models also have supporting apps with free recipes so this very standard device might not be the first choice for someone on a budget.

Cost

The Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide is being sold for $114.99 on Amazon. You qualify for free shipping when you buy the immersion circulator from Amazon.

Customer reviews

The Kitchen Gizmo is a suitable option for people who don’t care for connected features such as using it with their smart phones. Customers found that this simplicity of the device made it a cinch to use the immersion circulator. They liked that it was easy to use, the display was simple to follow and the temperature readings were very accurate.

The low heating power of the unit was a downer for some, especially if you want to cook larger meals.

Conclusion

The Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide is a great choice for anyone who wants to try their hands at Sous Vide cooking. This immersion circulator is particularly useful for those people who are still new at cooking because of its simple interface and no-hassle functionality. The easy touch programming, free recipe book and strong water motor can qualify this device as a must-have in any modern kitchen.

Equipment Reviews

Nutrichef Sous Vide Review

If you’re tired of your beef or chicken recipes losing their moisture or your vegetables losing their precious nutrients, then you are in luck. There’s now a new cooking technique called sous vide that preserves all this and much more.

Among other brands, the Nutrichef Sous Vide is finally here to solve these problems. The manufacturers claim that they have released the most reliable and user friendly sous vide cooking immersion circulator in the market. According to them, their circulator will keep all your recipes in their best condition, giving you the taste that you will not forget.

Performance

The Nutrichef sous vide immersion circulator helps you cook restaurant quality food at home without any hassle or extra cost. You can use the same ingredients that you have always used in your conventional methods and get amazing results. The device has a very sleek and modern look and comes at a very attractive price point for such a gadget.

There is a built in thermostat and the programmable settings are very easy to control. This ensures that you food will never get overcooked, burnt or undercooked. Cook all your recipes to their maximum taste with the help of this device.

Design

The manufacturers have placed a lot of attention on design, keeping the circulator as ergonomic as possible. So if you’re tired of bulky circulators, then this one is the right one for you. It is very easy to carry around and can be stored conveniently in your kitchen cabinets or pantry.

Working with a very basic LED display, this unit is easy to operate without much hassle. The model comes with a lever style clamp that lets you attach it to almost any container of your choice.

The unit itself weighs 2.6 lbs and measures 5.3 X 3.5 X 14.4 inches.

Power

This circulator features an impressive 1200 watts of power and decent circulation which can heat up your medium sized water bath fairly quickly.

The Nutrichef Sous Vide circulates your food 360 degrees so that it is warmed and cooked from all sides. The circulation ensures that water temperature is maintained during the cooking process and that there are no uneven spots in the water. This means the absence of any hot or cold patches in the water bath.

As such, the Nutrichef Sous Vide gives you the liberty of running errands or using your time elsewhere while your food cooks on its own. There is no need to monitor the food constantly as you might have to with conventional cooking methods.

This device has a high power heating system which means that the water bath gets heated in no time. This function conserves both energy and time. The button controls are very simple to use and your settings will be displayed on the LED display so that you can monitor the food at all times.

Color choice

While this particular feature might not be exciting for everyone, people who have their kitchens color-coordinated like to buy matching appliances. The Nutrichef Sous Vide comes in four different colors. You can choose from White, Black, Silver and Gold, all featuring a sleek finish.

Operation

While the immersion circulator helps you make some complicated dishes, the controls are not complicated at all. They are simple and easy-to-use so that everyone, even people with minimal knowledge of technology, can use this device.

There is a single power button that you use to switch the device on and off. Also, when you press the set button with the power button, you can switch between the Celsius and Fahrenheit settings. Just choose the one that works in your country or the one that your recipes follow.

You do not have to press the up or down buttons multiple times to get to your desired temperature as there is a wheel which quickly lets you set the temperature and time. Just press the set button once you will have programed the circulator according to the recipe.

Using the Nutrichef Sous Vide

The whole process of using the Nutrichef Sous Vide is very easy. Just prepare your food using any recipe and place the prepared food in a ziploc bag. Then submerge this bag into the water bath. Make sure you have supplied the power and turned on the immersion circulator beforehand.

Program the settings and the water bath will heat in a matter of seconds due to its high powered heating system element. Let the food immerse in the water bath for the time given on the recipe. When done, take out the food and sear or broil it. This will add more texture to your food making it taste even better.

Pros of Nutrichef Sous Vide

Range: The temperature and time range on this circulator makes it suitable for all kinds of recipes. Some recipes call for longer hours of cooking such as certain cuts of beef or lamb recipes. This device is suitable for all such foods as it can be set up to 100 hours of cooking at a high temperature range.

Clamping: The Nutrichef Sous Vide immersion circulator is very easy to attach and detach. You can take any heat-resistant container available and attach it to this device. It has an easy clip-on method which makes it compatible for all deep pots and pans.

Built-in Thermostat: The Nutrichef Sous Vide comes with a built in thermostat which means that there is a wide range of temperatures that can be controlled by the device. There is no worry about the food being overcooked when this immersion circulator is in action.

Circulation: There is a 360 degrees circulation mechanism ensuring that the heat from the water bath reaches all sides of the food and it gets cooked well. Also, the moisture is retained in this way and the food is not stripped of its nutrients. You no longer have to spend hours in the kitchen because Nutrichef Sous Vide is there to do your work.

Power: Given its basic features, the Nutrichef excels in the power department. Many other basic model offer pretty much what the Nutrichef does, but none give 1200 watts of heating power. Most only yield between 800 and 900 watts.

Cons of Nutrichef Sous Vide

Along with some distinctive pros, this immersion circulator has some cons.

Recipe Book: The latest models of immersion circulators often come with a recipe book or an app that has recipes for sous vide cooking on them. This immersion circulator does not have this feature so you will have to invest in a recipe book or you will have to look for recipes online.

Connectivity: Some people will also find it a limiting factor that they cannot connect their phone to the device. Connectivity makes it easier for the user to control the device even when they are not at home or in the close vicinity of the kitchen. The manufacturers of Nutrichef Sous Vide decided to keep it simple for use which is why this feature was not introduced.

Noisy: While it does have more power wattage, the jets on this model are also louder than many other models. This may not be a problem if you’re cooking something for a shorter while but for longer periods such as a roast, the constant background noise may become bothersome.

Who should buy it?

If you’re new to sous vide cooking and looking for an immersion circulator on a budget, then the Nutrichef Sous Vide will meet your needs adequately. It is your basic circulator with all the standard features that make it a good buy.

What are customers saying?

For the most part, customers are happy with this purchase and call it as advertised. They like its affordable price and reliable results. The simplicity of use of this device is also appreciated.

However, some did feel that the minimum water level on this unit was a little high. So if you use a wide container, you will need to use a lot of water to reach the minimum water line. You may not have this issue if you use a smaller pot, but it also means making smaller meals.

Cost

The cost for the Nutrichef Sous Vide is quite reasonable at $74.99. The immersion circulator is available online on Amazon. When you get it from Amazon, you also qualify for free shipping. Since the circulator does not come with its own container, you will have to invest in a new one if you do not have a heat-resistant one at home.

You can also buy this from Amazon and the total price would be around $95 if you buy both things together. It’s still under the $100 mark and very good for all that it offers.

Conclusion

When searching for the best immersion circulator, you have to look at all the features and price range. In this respect, the Nutrichef Sous Vide proves to be quite satisfactory. Coming in different colors, with a high temp range and ease of sous vide cooking, this immersion circulator can be a helpful and beneficial addition to your range of kitchen appliances.

Equipment Reviews

Hamilton Beach Sous Vide Review

With the Hamilton Beach sous vide cooker, the process of lengthy slow cooking is made simple and possible. This cooker is a tool made for people who want to excel at the art of sous vide cooking and want to enjoy scrumptious meals every day. Allowing you to use the same method for cooking that chefs employ, this cooker gives you access to fool proof cooking on a daily basis.

Performance

The company behind Hamilton Beach Sous Vide is not unknown when it comes to sous vide cookers or immersion circulators. Their products have been received warmly in the past. Even with this Hamilton Beach Sous Vide and 6QT Slow Cooker, the company gives a 5 year guarantee. This makes their claims about the product even more convincing.

The cooker comes with a two-in-one facility for its users. Along with being a water bath for sous vide, it also acts as a slow cooker. This means you can perform two very efficient cooking methods using one single device.

The cooker has made cooking easy and simply for everyone. You could be a guest-pleaser, gathering compliments from your guests over your cooking. Or you could be a meat-lover, wanting all your recipes to be tender and soft. In either case, the cooker won’t disappoint.

Versatility

This Hamilton Beach cooker is not only suitable for meat recipes but works equally well for vegetable and egg recipes. You can make egg bites or your daily breakfast eggs using this cooker. At the same time, you can start up the cooker for your evening steak. There is no problem of cleanup afterwards. The non-stick vessel makes cleaning so much easier and you won’t find yourself fighting with sticky patches.

Worry-free cooking

Want to cook food without monitoring it for the whole duration? No problem at all. With the Hamilton Beach sous vide cooker, you can easily do that as the device lets you set the temperature and cooking time. The microprocessor settings keep the water bath at the right temperature, without any fluctuations, cooking your food at a uniform pace and heat settings. Since the temperature is very precise and highly controlled, there is no worry of food staying undercooked or being overcooked.

Operation

This is an easy to operate device. All you have to do is to press a button and the device switches from a sous vide setting to a slow cooker. Both options also have programmable temperature and time settings.

So whichever one you choose, you can enjoy convenient cooking. Go off to work without any worry about your food getting burnt. Once you get back, your food will be cooked to the right consistency, texture and taste.

Slow cooking at your desired temperature ensures that the flavor is locked in. The Hamilton Beach sous vide cooker lets the moisture retain in the final outcome and with that, the flavors also persists. Whether it is grilled food or a simple carrot recipe, everything can be perfected with this sous vide cooker.

Using the Hamilton Beach sous vide cooker

The first step in the use of this cooker is Set Up. For this you have to season the food as per your recipe and place it in a ziplock bag. Make sure that the bag is heat-resistant as it will be in a hot water bath for extended period of time. For safety, it is important that you use BPA-free bags.

Fill the Hamilton Beach sous vide cooker with water and set the time and temperature. Press the Start button and wait for the water to reach your desired temperature. Once the water reaches the required temperature, you can add the bag into the water bath. Make sure you submerge the bag completely. Follow by putting the lid on the cooker and busy yourself with other work. You just let the cooker do the cooking.

Once done, take the food out of the water bath and enjoy. Some foods such as meat may need searing afterwards, but this is totally optional and depends on your taste.

Features

The Hamilton Beach sous vide cooker has some distinguishing features that are worth mentioning. For starters, it offers two facilities in just one appliance. While it serves as a slow cooker, it also doubles up as a sous vide cooker. This means you get two products in the price of one.

This product comes with a 5 year guarantee which is quite a decent period of time. If you have any issues with the cooker in this timeframe, the company will be happy to help you. With a 6 quart capacity, the cooker is suitable for a medium sized family. You can use it for daily meals and even to satisfy a party of guests.

The temperature programming allows up to 72 hours of cooking. This is more than the maximum cooking time needed for most recipes so you can use this cooker for almost all sous vide recipes. As for time, you can cook up to 8 hours on the high and 16 hours on the low settings. This is also quite suitable for most recipes.

Being a non-stick vessel, this cooker offers great convenience to users. You no longer have to worry about the nuisance of wiping off fatty parts of meat or sticky food components from the vessel. This problem is solved with the non-stick variety.

The Hamilton Beach sous vide cooker also comes with a recipe book. This means you have access to different vegetable and meat recipes that you can try on a daily basis. These recipes have the exact timing and temperature for cooking making your task much easier.

Pros of Hamilton Beach Sous Vide

Purchase of this fantastic kitchen appliance comes with the following perks:

Blog: The company that makes the Hamilton Beach sous vide cooker also has a blog which is an additional resource for users to enjoy. The blog called Every Day Good Thinking is something that users will find helpful.

Cook Book: The Hamilton Beach sous vide cooker also comes with a free cookbook. Oftentimes, when you invest in a sous vide cooker, you end up looking for recipe books or online sources since you need an exact time and temperature for each recipe. The recipes in this cook book are all sous vide so you will find it really easy to adapt to this new method of cooking.

Support: The company offers 24/7 support in case of any queries. You can get in touch with the company from their website and get your issues resolved in no time.

Simple: The interface of this cooker is very simple, making the cooking process easier. The buttons are displayed on the front and with just one click you can switch between the two options. There are two simple Up and Down buttons for increasing or decreasing the temp and time.

Convenient Cooking: The Hamilton Beach sous vide cooker makes cooking quite convenient as you no longer have to spend hours in the kitchen hovering over your food. The food will cook at a precise temperature for the set amount of time, without any risk of burning or undercooking. And since sous vide is quite forgiving, if you leave the food in for a little longer, there won’t be any harm done.

Shipping: The shipping for the Hamilton Beach sous vide cooker is free. This is always an added perk for people who don’t want to pay shipping charges after paying over a hundred bucks for a kitchen appliance.

Cons

Despite all the perks, the Hamilton Beach sous vide cooker also has some drawbacks.

Online Purchase: The cooker can only be bought online. Some people find this unsettling because they want to see and physically test an appliance before they decide to buy it.

Alarm: There are many models in the market that come with an alarm system to notify you that the food has cooked. However, this one does not come with such a feature.

Cost

The cost for this product is $129.99. This is cheaper than many other models in the market. Another exciting feature of this cooker is that it ships for free so you save money there too. It is in stock on the manufacturer’s websites you can order it from there. Their secure website offers ID protection and you can also read up the Use and Care section to learn about any precautions that you may need to take.

Conclusion

The Hamilton Beach sous vide cooker is a handy kitchen appliance for people who want to up their cooking game. Sous vide is no longer limited to restaurant kitchens but has entered the arena of domestic cooking that calls for efficient appliances.

The Hamilton Beach sous vide cooker, with its programmable settings, non-stick vessel and 6 quart capacity is one of these appliances. Along with that, it has a 5 year manufacturer’s guarantee.  You can trust it for cooking delicious food that your family and guests will savor.

Equipment Reviews

Best Sous Vide Torches Reviewed

Food cooked sous vide style offers guaranteed perfection. Meats come out done just right, retaining all their flavor and texture. Veggies don’t lose any of their crunch or color and desserts yield that melt-in-your-mouth decadence. While sous vide can do all this and much more, there is one area where it can use some help to finish off its results.

This is typically in the case of finishing off the surface of proteins. If you want to make your fish or chicken skin crispy or give an outer sear to your perfectly cooked steak, then you could use a sous vide torch.

Searing sous vide meats creates a satisfying texture and color contrast on the outside of the meat. While you can also sear the same in a pan on the stove, using a sous vide torch will give you an instant sear without the concern of overcooking the meat in the center.

But meats are not the only thing you can use your sous vide torch for. If anything, you can also use the same to finish off your deserts like baked Alaska, meringue toppings and crème Brulee. And the creativity doesn’t stop here. You can also caramelize sugar, melt cheese and make a crisp topping for your oatmeal.

The reason why culinary torches complement this method so well is because the sous vide technique ensures perfectly cooked food on the inside and the torch completes the outside.

You really don’t want to expose your perfectly cooked food to any further heat once it has been cooked sous vide style. But you still want to get that sear.

A sous vide torch will help you achieve just that. It won’t affect the inside of the dish, whether it’s a meat or a dessert. But it will give you the perfect outside sear or grilled/charred effect to complete the look of your meal. This way, you also get lots of flavor, juiciness and texture on the inside enveloped by a gorgeous crust on the outside.

Using a Sous Vide Torch

To use a sous vide torch the right way, you need to take your time and make sure that the torch doesn’t get too close to your food. Also, the most important consideration is to make sure that the flame produced by the torch is an oxidizing, and not a reducing flame.

Of the two, the oxidizing flame completely combusts the gas being used and is identifiable by a dark blue, short flame that hisses and roars. On the other hand, a reducing flame is a large flame that has a yellow tip. This type has unburned hydrocarbons that will add a distinctly unpleasant taste to the food known as “torch taste”. This is what you don’t want added to your food so you need to be careful with your selection of a sous vide torch.

You could also use a diffuser to regulate the flame and prevent it from becoming too intense or concentrated in one area.

Considerations when using a sous vide torch

Temperature range: The highest temperature that a torch can reach and maintain is an important consideration. This is because the higher the temperature, the faster the sear. That said, you also want to make sure that the temperature doesn’t go too high to burn your dish. Based on your skill using a kitchen torch, opt for a model that offers a high range of adjustability.

Temperature consistency: Along with a wide temperature range, a sous vide torch should also offer temperature consistency. This refers to the ability of the torch to hold or maintain a consistent temperature when you use it. This also refers to both long and short time usage.

Size: Smaller torches can heat up to 2,500oF and are better suited for things like caramelizing sugar, melting cheese or browning a meringue. But for searing meats, you may want to go for a larger, industrial grade model that can reach higher temperatures.

Multipurpose: Torches come in different shapes and sizes and as such, their versatility also varies. For instance, if you are an avid sous vide cook, and work with seared meats and torched desserts at the same time, then go for a multipurpose torch. This means looking for a model that offers a wider range of temperatures so it can accommodate all your cooking needs.

Usability: A sous vide torch should be easy to use. You should be able to handle and adjust it without difficulty. If the torch is too heavy, or has tricky operation, it can become cumbersome to use. You may want to opt for an easier-to-use model instead.

Guarantee: With such a wide variety of kitchen torches available, the quality can vary significantly. There are many brands and models to choose from, some more well-known than others. Where possible, look for a model that offers a money back guarantee and comes with a warranty. Most reputable brands will back up their products with both.

Canisters: Most torches do not come with accompanying fuel canisters, although some brands do. When you purchase a kitchen torch, make sure to order a compatible canister with it as well.

Attachments: If you are new to using a kitchen torch, you may want to invest in a diffuser to even out the heat applied to your food. A diffuser is an attachment that you can fasten to your torch to make the flame more consistent. Using a diffuser will improve the sear you get by distributing the heat evenly across the surface.

Using a diffuser will also reduce the torch taste that can often accompany the use of a kitchen torch.

Kitchen Torch Recommendations

There is quite a bit of variety when it comes to buying a kitchen torch. There are different models and makes with different fuel types and price ranges. To make things easier, here is our recommendation of two sous vide torches that will work equally well for novice and seasoned sous vide cooks:

BernzOmatic TS8000

The BernzOmatic TS800 is an all-rounder product. It is a heavy duty torch that handles projects like soldering and welding but is equally suitable for searing your sous vide meats to perfection.

The torch is designed for easy portability with user friendly features. The design makes for easy handling and it has adjustable flame knobs that are easy to use. To adjust flame intensity, just turn the black knob left or right.

This feature of the TS8000 lets you control the flame which makes it very versatile. It can be the perfect companion for a new sous vide enthusiast in the kitchen giving them more control over this device. At the same time, even experts can use this torch to create flawless food presentations.

The torch is designed with a cast aluminum body which means that it is durable and will last you a long time.

There is a yellow knob on the body of the torch. This is a safety feature that allows you to turn it to the OFF position when the torch is not in use. To light the torch, all you have to do is turn it to the ON position and push in.

The torch fires up every time and is ready to use instantly.

To turn it off, simply let go of the yellow button and the torch will extinguish.

The ON/OFF trigger is easy to operate using one hand only and will allow you to handle the torch with confidence and safety.

This product is pressure regulated for consistent performance. So even when you tilt or momentarily invert the torch, its performance doesn’t get affected in any way.

There really isn’t much to complain about when talking about the performance and features of the TS8000. However, on the flip side, this model does not come with an accompanying fuel tank, so you will have to invest in a separate one.

Customers who have used this product love its versatility for all kinds of cooking applications. Not just sous vide, but the torch is equally effective for starting woodstoves and campfires and other works like soldering and welding.

They really like the fact that the TS8000 is compatible with the Searzall diffuser attachment. When used together, the Searzall delivers perfect searing results and lets you up your sous vide game to the next level.

Users also applaud the fact that the torch is compatible with multiple fuels. There were some concerns over getting a hint of taste from the fuel but that can be remedied by using the Searzall attachment.

Pros:

  • Adjustable flame
  • Durable body construction
  • Safety lock mechanism
  • Suitable for all skill levels
  • Comes with lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Does not come with fuel canister

Sansaire Searing Kit

Featuring a very sleek design, the Sansaire Searing Kit makes an instant impression with its aesthetics. This product is sold as a kit with a torch, a propane tank, a searing rack and a drip tray.

The Searing Kit is the brainchild of a partnership between BernzOmatic and Seattle based sous vide manufacturer, Sansaire. The torch is a somewhat modified BernzOmatic with a noticeable difference of a wider than usual nozzle attached at the front.

This unique torch head gives a wider flame and greater heat than most other models. This lets you sear meat faster and more evenly.

The handle on this torch shares the same design elements as the BernzOmatic making it user friendly and easy to handle. The handle is quality made but may feel a bit heavier than other models.

There is the same lock mechanism on the Sansaire as BernzOmatic that lets you control the flow of propane when in use. Plus, the control lock will also keep the flame going even after you take your finger off the flame button. This feature can be very handy especially when you work with larger roasts that need more time to sear completely.

The torch also comes with its own wide-based black and white propane bottle. The wide base makes it easy to prop the tank stably on countertop. The tank accommodates 16 oz. of fuel which is adequate for hours of searing. When you run out, simply get a standard replacement tank from your local store.

The Searing Kit also contains a thick stainless steel searing rack designed to withstand the intense heat of the flame. At the same time, the handles on the rack stay cool for safe and easy handling.

To complete the kit, there is a durable, enamel coated drip tray to catch all fat and drippings. The tray protects your counter from getting spoiled and slides neatly into the grate for a stable, all-in-one base.

The rack and tray are nice additions to the kitchen and may be one of the reasons why the price point on this product is higher than other kitchen torches.

Customers who have used this searing kit consider it an excellent all-in-one investment. Those who bought it for searing steaks and roasts absolutely love it complementing the outstanding quality of the torch. They also appreciate the inclusion of the rack and tray for a mess-free searing session.

But what many did miss was the absence of a way to control the intensity of the flame. This model only has an On/Off mechanism with no way to control flame intensity. Since the flame is more intense than other torches, the Sansaire may not be the best fit for delicate sears on something like chicken, fish or even torched desserts.

Pros:

  • Sleek design
  • Exceptional control
  • Fast and powerful
  • Comes with fuel tank, searing rack and drip tray

Cons:

  • Has a very expensive price tag
  • No flame control mechanism
  • Strong flame may leave an overpowering torch taste

Final thoughts

It’s not hard to think that all torches do the same thing and one can be used in place of the other. However, as you have seen here, the TS8000 performs very differently from the Sansaire model.

So if you are looking for heavy searing such as steaks and roast and not much else, then opt for the Sansire Searing Kit. But if you want to work with a variety of foods then the TS8000 offers more versatility.

Equipment Reviews

Chefman Sous Vide Review

If you’ve ever wondered about the secret behind tenderly cooked beef or buttery salmon that you enjoy at top restaurants, just know that it’s not some secret ingredient or special seasoning. If anything, it is a cooking technique preferred and mastered by professional chefs.

Known as sous vide, this is a slow cooking process that imparts the buttery texture to the salmon and keeps the beef tender and moist. To make this technique accessible to home cooks, more and more home appliance companies are now releasing their models of sous vide cookers and immersion circulators. Among these, the Chefman Sous Vide immersion circulator is an impressive contender. With its easy interface and simple design, this device can bring restaurant quality food to your table without much hassle or effort.

Performance

With the help of the Chefman Sous Vide, you can enjoy the same food made by top chefs at home, without having to bear the cost of expensive restaurants.

Following the principles of sous vide cooking, use your Chefman sous vide circulator placed in water bath. Seal your food in a ziploc bag, immerse it in the hot water bath and cook at a precise temperature for a set duration of time. These precise settings keep your food from burning. As your food cooks slowly and gently, the flavor stays put too.

Conventional cooking methods do give you the final product but your end result will lack the taste that comes when you cook with this sous vide cooker.

Suitable for different recipes

The Chefman sous vide circulator is not made for a single or single type of recipe. In fact, it can be used for making anything from pork, beef and chicken to fish and vegetables. You can enjoy everything from a deliciously cooked carrot recipe to a scrumptious beef recipe for game night. No matter what your skill level is in the kitchen, the Chefman Sous Vide makes you a pro at cooking five-star quality food.

Use for reheating

Along with cooking, the immersion circulator can also be used for reheating food. While your microwave strips the food of its moisture and taste, this sous vide reheating method keeps the flavors intact and heats your food from the inside, and not just on the periphery. The Chefman Sous Vide has a PTC heating technology which keeps the temperature constant so that your food heats and cooks at the right heat settings.

Consistent results

While traditional cooking methods are subject to temperature fluctuations, sous vide cooking with this immersion circulator is not. Consistency is very important when it comes to cooking. When you cook with conventional methods, the results will be different each time. On the contrary, you get the same results every time with Chefman Sous Vide because you are using the same device at the same temp and time range. This makes cooking hassle-free and very easy.

Design and Features

This immersion circulator has a sleek poly carbonate, stainless steel finish with a smart LCD display. The display shows time as well as current and set temperatures in oC and oF as per your preference.

The unit measures 15.6” high X 4” wide and weighs 2.5 lbs.

There is a swivel dial that lets you set the cooking duration and temperatures instantly. The smart sensors on this device monitor the water levels and temperatures carefully. The unit will automatically shut off if anything goes out of the safe range.

There is also an adjustable clamp that opens up to 1.5” and fits on most medium or large sized pots.

The 360 degree pump circulates the water around the container so that there are no hot or cold spots as the food cooks. This not only keeps the water at a constant temperature but also maintains it throughout the cooking duration.

This immersion circulator can support a maximum bath volume of up to 4 gallons or 14 liters or water. The minimum water depth should be no less than 2.9” while the maximum water depth should not exceed 5.11”.

The Chefman App

To make things easier for newbies, this immersion circulator also comes with an adjoining app that you can download for Apply and Android. The Chefman Cooking App has many sous vide recipes with precise temperature and time settings for each food. Also, there are how-to videos, taking you step by step through cooking beef, chicken, vegetable and dessert recipes. With this app, you can never go wrong whether you are cooking for yourself or for a large group.

Models that come with Bluetooth and WiFi let you be in full control of your sous vide cooking even from afar. You will receive notifications when the water gets hot and when your food gets done. All you need is your phone with you for constant updates.

Advanced safety measures have been taken in the manufacturing of this device to keep it safe for the users. It has been approved by cETL. On top of that, the manufacturers also give a 1 year warranty for their product.

Pros of Chefman Sous Vide

The Chefman Sous Vide comes with a lot of pros. Many of these are directly related to its distinguishing features and the overall design of the immersion circulator.

Alarm: The immersion circulator has an alarm system which means you will be notified about the finish time of the cooking. You could be anywhere in the house and the alarm will let you know that your food is ready to be seared, broiled or grilled now. As soon as the alarm rings, the temperature will also come back to normal to prevent overcooking the food.

Touch Screen: This immersion circulator has a touch screen so you can program the settings using your fingers instead of having to fidget around with a remote.

LCD Display: The LCD display makes it easy to spot the time and temperature as soon as you enter the kitchen. Since it is bright and glow-in-the-dark, you can read the settings even when cooking overnight.

Clamp: The Chefman Sous Vide comes with an adjustable clamp so it can be attached to any container that you have in the house. The easy clip-on method lets you use this device with various containers you already use for cooking.

Manual: When you buy the Chefman Sous Vide, you also get a manual that informs you in detail about how to use it and the care instructions. You can also find many helpful videos on YouTube to learn more about this device.

Cons of Chefman Sous Vide

There are also a few cons of the Chefman Sous Vide.

Container: Most models these days come with their own container but this one does not. So, if you do not have a heat-proof container at home, you will have to invest in a new one that could cost you about $40.

Size: The size of this unit is larger than many other models. You may need to get a deep enough container or else it may not fit well into smaller containers. Common opinion holds that this circulator is best suited for medium to large sized containers and nothing smaller.

Cost

The cost of the Chefman Sous Vide is one of its attractive features. It is available on Amazon for $69.99. This is a great price for technology of this sort. Also, there is a gift wrap option available when you buy it from Amazon. This lets you get it as a gift for a newly married couple or a relative who loves cooking.

What are customers saying?

Customer reviews indicate that this is a popular sous vide immersion circulator. People who have bought this device like its easy usability and consistent results.

Another perk is its very affordable price tag compared to other similar products. This immersion circulator offers all the basic functions as many other more expensive models without having to break the bank.

However, there have been some serious complaints about getting defective units in the mail. That said, customer service has been quick to replace broken/ defective items.

Some customers feel that the final beeping sound when the food is done is barely audible and they’ve had to use other timers instead.

Should you get it?

The Chefman immersion circulator is suitable for both beginner and professional sous vide cooks. However, you have to remember that sous vide is a slow cooking method.

If you’re okay with waiting and letting your food cook for hours, then this is a good investment. The price, ease-of-use and customer support make it worth the wait. But if you don’t have time to wait for your meals, then you could consider another, faster cooking method.

Conclusion

The Chefman Sous Vide Immersion Circulator is equipped with all the features that a device of this sort should have. Judging from the positive reviews, we can say that this kitchen appliance is a promising one. Keeping things very simply and easy, the Chefman Sous Vide can really help make any recipe better.

If you want to get the same delicious results every time with your cooking, then this immersion circulator is a great investment.

Equipment Reviews

Best Sous Vide’s Reviewed

As sous vide slowly reaches domestic settings from restaurants, a good precision cooker has become the need of the hour. And as more and more people become familiar with the concept of sous vide cooking, the demand for immersion circulators and sous vide cookers is on the rise.

Given this demand, many companies have released their best equipment for this cooking technique. Here, we discuss some of the best precision cookers, in terms of effectiveness and popularity that are in the market at the moment.

Here’s a quick look at what each one offers before going into details:

Tabular Comparison of Sous Vide Cookers

 

Sous Vide Cooker Features
Anova Precision Cooker
  • 800 Watt power
  • Has over 1000 recipes on the app
  • Can be controlled manually or from the app
  • Gives cook notifications
  • LED display
  • Easily programmable
  • 360 water propelling with strong motor
Joule Sous Vide
  • 1100 Watt Power
  • Supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Supports Amazon Alexa
  • Unique “Visual Doneness” feature
  • Versatile clip
  • Supporting App
  • Fast yet light
  • Stainless steel body for extreme durability
Sansaire Sous Vide
  • 1000 Watts
  • Active pump for water circulation
  • Available in two colors
  • Digital reading on an LED
  • Stainless steel finish
PolyScience Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
  • 1100 Watt Power
  • Ergonomic design
  • Pump flow regulation up to 90 degrees
  • Works with 8 gallons of water
  • Easily clipped on to any container
Wancle Immersion Sous Vide Circulator
  • 850 Watt Power
  • Circulates water uniformly
  • Stainless steel body
  • 100 hour time range
  • 25 to 99 degrees temperature range

 

Anova Precision Cooker

Do you want to nail a Thanksgiving turkey or steak in your first attempt? Or perhaps you want to make cooking easier than conventional methods? If you wish to do so, then the Anova Precision cooker is your best friend in the kitchen. The manufacturers claim that the results you get with their device cannot be achieved by any other cooking method.

Keeping aesthetics and performance in mind, the manufacturers have put together a sous vide device that is highly stylish yet simple to use. With a fairly simple interface, a highly functional clamp and a precision cooking mechanism, you can’t go wrong with this device.

With an 800 Watt motor, the Anova precision cooker circulates water in the container at high speed ensuring that the heat seeps into the food from all sides. This also saves energy and a lot of time that would otherwise be wasted on waiting for the water to heat up to the cooking temp.

This cooker has a temperature range of 25 Celsius to 99 Celsius. With its high-precision technology, even a 1 degree difference is noticed by the cooker. Pumping 8 liters of water per minute, this cooker has a pump speed of 1 GMP. Since it comes with a tank, you do not have to invest in your own. The capacity for this tank is 15 to 19 liters which is more than enough for a middle sized family.

The Anova makes cooking even more fun for you as it comes with an in-app control feature. You can control and program the device using the app. Just select any recipe from the app and the settings on your cooker will get programmed according to the requirements of that recipe.

There is no need to worry even if you are new to sous vide cooking. This is because the Anova comes with an app that has over a 1000 recipes. These sous vide recipes have been formulated and tested by top chefs from around the world. When you start cooking with the Anova Precision cooker, you get cook notifications. This is really helpful for people who need to multi task. You can keep yourself busy with other work while the cooker keeps you notified about the progress of your food.

The app has a user-friendly interface, letting you share recipes with your friends. So the next time your guests ask you what recipe you use for your top notch steak, you can share it with them too. Also, there are numerous video tutorials on the app to teach you sous vide cooking. The step by step instructions make cooking so much easier even for beginner level home cooks.

The different Anova cookers range from $99 to $150. You can go for the Nano version or the bigger sizes, depending on your needs. It has a rating of 4.3 on Amazon, which means it has satisfied many customers.

Joule Sous Vide

The Joule Sous Vide cooker is another sous vide machine that is popular among customers. It features a minimalist yet highly elegant design staring with its stainless steel body. The cap and base are both made with stainless steel which makes cleaning very easy. Also, the cold-forged body is resistant to corrosion and will last the test of time because of its durability.

As compared to some other immersion circulators, this one is smaller in size which makes it easy to store. Just keep it in the knife compartment or the silverware drawer to save space.

The supporting app of this cooker is next-level in its features and ease of use. It has a Visual Doneness feature which lets you see how your food will turn out. This lets you see the final results even before you start cooking. The app also has about a 100 cooking guides that will help you excel at sous vide. These recipes have been devised by the in-house chefs at Chef Steps.

Just like the Anova Precision Cooker, this one also has connectivity features. You can connect your phone to the cooker via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This makes it really easy to control the settings and check on the doneness of the food even when you are not in the kitchen. Since the immersion circulator comes with a magnetic base, it can be attached anywhere easily. The versatile clip makes it compatible to any pot you have in the house.

The Joule Sous Vide immersion circulator is way faster than your everyday circulators out there. It has a wattage of 1100 Watts which heats up water in a matter of seconds while cooking your food at a fast pace too. The settings are easy to program and the temperature settings are precise up to 0.1 F or Celsius.

If you have Amazon Alexa at home, then you are in luck because the immersion circulator can also be controlled with your voice because of its Alexa skill. Weighing only 1.3 pounds, this immersion circulator might just be the lightest one in the market. Do not let the size or weight fool you because the strength of this device is matchless in terms of wattage and precision. It is available on Amazon for $199 and has a rating of 4.2

Sansaire Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

She’s a beauty! Sansaire Sous Vide in action

The Sansaire Sous Vide immersion circulator has a smart clip which can be hooked to any heat-resistant pot. Just do that and you are ready to start cooking.

The 1000 Watt motor heats the water quickly and propels it so that your food does not stay undercooked. Plus, the 360 circulation feature of this immersion circulator has got you covered ensuring that the water bath stays at a consistent temperature. There won’t be any uneven hot/cold spots in the water bath and your food gets exposed to even temperatures during the entire cooking process.

The Sansaire sous vide immersion circulator works with a maximum volume of up to 6 gallons so you can easily feed a party of 8. Weighing 5.9 lbs., this immersion circulator is slightly heavier than other ones on our list. Still, it saves you the cost of expensive vacuum sealing bags as it works just fine with any zip lock or food-grade freeze bag that you may have at home.

The LED screen lets you read the temperature and time settings in any light all the way from the kitchen door. The manufacturers have equipped this device with the latest and most innovative thermometer which keeps the temperature in 0.1 degrees of the desired temperature for cooking a meal. This is why the Sansaire immersion circulator is extremely precise, giving you best results every single time.

It is a model that is most suitable for cooks who want to keep their cooking simple. Unlike the Anova and Joule immersion circulators, the Sanasire does not have connectivity features. However, that does not take anything away from its performance as an exceptional sous vide device.

From salmon fillets to soft-boiled eggs, you can cook everything with this cooker. Made with stainless steel, the cooker will last you a long time since it is corrosion resistant. The body material is also very easy to clean. Just wipe with a damp cloth and you are ready to use it again.

It comes in black color with a sleek finish to match the aesthetics of your kitchen. You can get the product from Amazon for $189. It has received most ratings of 4 starts and many positive reviews about its performance.

PolyScience Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

Polyscience getting the job done with ribs

PolyScience is a company that has been making sous vide immersion circulators for quite a while now. It is a brand trusted by chefs all around the world. The company came out with their Creative series for home cooks which is a more cost effective alternative to their Chef series.

As claimed by the manufacturers, the aim of this immersion circulator is to bring sous vide cooking to your home kitchen. Giving you complete control over the timing and the quality of food you want, this immersion circulator will turn any beginner level cook into a pro.

The best part about this device is that you get the same results with every use. You can impress your guests with your awesome steak recipes or your carrots without fail every single time. Since it lets you set a precise time and temperature for each recipe, you can rely on getting consistent results without any fluctuations.

The clamp design is rugged to allow attachment to a variety of containers. You can use it with stock pots or larger heat-resistant containers. This feature allows you to cook for your family or even for a larger group of people.

To get the right sized water bath for your cooking, the front of the immersion circulator is marked with the minimum and maximum levels of water volume. This way you can’t go wrong with preparing the right sized water bath.

The PolyScience immersion circulator works with 8 gallons of water or a 30 liter bath volume. This is a suitable volume for home cooks. The 1100 Watt strong motor pumps out 12 liters of water per minute eliminating the need for you to stand over the container and monitor it. Cook perfect food without any hassle in your own convenience.

It has a temperature range of up to 99 degrees Celsius or 210F which is suitable for most sous vide recipes.

The Auto Restart feature starts the cooking process again without you having to program the settings in case of a power failure. The device is ETL approved this immersion circulator for sanitation so you can use it at home without any worries.

The pump-flow regulation feature keeps the food cooked precisely. In conventional methods, there are hot and cold spots in the container as the food is only getting heat from the bottom. With this immersion circulator, the problem is solved as water is being circulated to provide heat to the food from all sides.

From desserts and appetizers to main courses, everything is possible with this amazing device. It is available on Amazon for $179 and has a rating of 4 stars from most of its customers. If you are looking for a device that delivers good value for its price, this could be a good option.

Wancle Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

Wancle In Action

The Wancle Sous Vide Immersion circulator is a great choice for people who are just stepping into sous vide cooking and familiarizing themselves with this science.

This unit is made with a stainless steel finish and cleaning this material is a no-hassle task. You can wipe anything off it with a damp cloth. Also, the steel provides durability to the device ensuring that it will serve you well for many years to come.

The manufactures aimed this device for new cooks which is why they have kept it very simple. It is incredibly easy to use with its user-friendly interface and no-tech features. The creative minds behind the Wancle sous vide circulator say that the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi features make cooking even more complicated which is why they have kept these features out of their device. Simplicity is the key. There is no need for any fancy equipment as the immersion circulator is compatible with any ziploc bag and heat-resistant container.

The circulating system is extremely silent so you won’t have to go through the nuisance of listening to the motor for hours. It also has smart technology features that cut off the power should the water level goes below the minimum limit. .

The temperature on this device is accurate up to 0.1 degrees so the precision is hard to match. Also, the temperature range is very wide from 25 degrees to 99 degrees. The maximum cook time for this immersion circulator is 100 hours so it can be used to cook almost everything.

With an 850 Watt power motor, this immersion circulator is not as strong as other circulators on this list but it is good for anyone who is just starting out.

With this device, your food will be perfectly cooked every time retaining all its nutrition and flavor. Even if you are buying a sous vide immersion circulator for the first time, you can trust this device as it comes with a one year guarantee.

The Wancle Sous Vide Immersion Circulator is priced at $79 on Amazon. It has a rating of about 4.5 which is great for a kitchen appliance of this sort. Customers have found its working quite satisfactory and there are almost no complains about its functionality.

Conclusion

All the immersion circulators on this list work great in their own way. They have the same baseline features and you will get amazing results with all of them. Still, one or two of them stand out because of their distinguishing features and extra pros. For expert cooks who want to polish their skills and who have a budget for latest technology, the Joule Sous Vide Immersion Circulator is a great choice. It works with basically every technological device from your phone to Alexa home, making it very convenient to use. On top of that, the recipe guide makes cooking much easier than it is with conventional methods.

On the other hand, if you are relatively a newbie and you don’t have much to spend, the Wancle Sous Vide Immersion circulator could be your pick. It works just as well as any high end immersion circulator. The only thing it lacks is connectivity which many home cooks won’t even find relevant.