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Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks

Sous Vide Cooking Times

Sous vide cooking is a slow and much prolonged cooking method when compared to conventional techniques. You get to cook your food in a water bath at a precise temperature and for an extended period of time.

Timing is crucial with this method as it ensures cooking your food to the correct doneness. Should you leave your food in for too long, it may mess up the food’s texture or if you take it out too soon, it may leave it undercooked. Here are the timings for some very common sous vide recipes.

Chicken Breast

Sous Vide Chicken Breast

You can use chicken breast in a number of different ways with recipes ranging from salads to main courses and everything in between. But you will have to vary your timing and temperature based on the level of doneness. Just follow the given information to get succulent results every time.

Texture Temperature Timing
Cold chicken salad 66oC/ 150oF 1 to 4 hours
Soft, juicy chicken breast 60oC/140oF 1 ½ to 4 hours
Firm chicken breast 71oC/160oF 1 to 4 hours

Steak

Cooking steak sous vide style is very popular as you are guaranteed perfect results every time. Steak doneness gets determined by the highest internal temperature it reaches during cooking.

With traditional cooking methods this can become tricky as any fluctuation in temperature or timing can cause the steak to easily become dry and overcooked. But with the sous vide technique, you can make sure that the steak, while cooking for longer, gets exposed to the same temperature during the entire cooking process.

Steak doneness varies with personal preference so use the following to get the perfect steak.

Strip, ribeye, T-bone and butcher’s cuts

Doneness Temperature Timing
Very rare to rare 120°F (49°C) to 128°F (53°C) 1 to 1 ½ hours
Medium rare 129°F (54°C) to 134°F (57°C) 1 to 4 hours (2 1/2 hours max if under 130°F/54°C)
Medium 135°F (57°C) to 144°F (62°C) 1 to 4 hours
Medium well 145°F (63°C) to 155°F (68°C) 1 to 3 1/2 hours
Well done 156°F (69°C) and up 1 to 3 hours

 

Tenderloin

Doneness Temperature Range Timing Range
Very rare to rare 120oF (490C) to 1280 F (530C) 45 minutes to 2 1\2 hours
Medium-rare 1290 F (540 C) to 1340 F (570 C) 45 minutes to 4 hours
Medium 1350 F (570 C)to 1440 F (620 C) 45 minutes to 4 hours
Medium Well 1450 F (630 C) to 1550 F (680 C) 45 minutes to 3 1\2 hours
Well Done 1560 F (690 C) and up 1      to 3 hours

 

Salmon

Sous Vide Salmon

Salmon can be cooked sous vide style but needs a bit more attention. Given its flaky texture, it may be more prone to variations in even minor temperature changes.

Since it is made of proteins, cooking for even a slightly longer time can make a lot of difference. Salmon that’s left in a water bath for too long at low temperatures can get soft and mushy. The same can also become dry and chalky when left for too long at higher temperatures. To get firm salmon as end result, follow the chart given below:

Texture Temperature
Like firm sashimi 1050 F (410 C)
Soft and buttery 1100 F (430 C)
Translucent and starting to flake 1150 F (460 C)
Very moist, tender and flakey 1200 F (490 C)
Firm, moist and flakey 1300 F (540 C)

 

For thinner salmon fillets, cook between half an hour to 45 minutes. For thicker fillets extend the time to 45 minutes to an hour.

Eggs

Sous Vide Eggs

Eggs are made up of protein so different cooking times give very different results. Proteins present in the different parts of the egg get affected differently.

While whites tend to set first, they don’t get firm until at a fairly high temperature. The loose white part remains watery even at high temperatures and yolks fall somewhere in between.

To cook eggs perfectly with such variances in the protein content can be tricky. But here’s a quick temperature and timing guide that will take the guesswork out of your cooking. All data is based on large sized eggs:

Texture Temperature Timing Range
Soft cook in shell (quick) 1670 F (750 C) 15-18 minutes
Soft cook in shell (slow) 1460 F (63.50 C) 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours
Hard cook in shell 1600 F (710 C) 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours

 

Pork Chops

Mmmm… Raw Pork Chops

The end results of your pork chops depend on how long you cook the chops for at a certain temperature.

To get pork chops that are juicy yet firm, temperature is the most important factor.

Texture Temperature Timing Range
Rare: tender, juicy, and a little slippery 1300 F (540 C) 1 to 4 hours
Medium rare: tender, juicy, and meaty 1400 F (600 C) 1 to 4 hours
Medium well: quite firm and just starting to dry out 1500 F (660 C) 1 to 4 hours
Well done: firm, a little dry and tough, but still moist 1600 F (710 C) 1 to 4 hours

 

Brisket

Cooking brisket just right is one of the more challenging aspects of cooking. The meat is tough and dry. There isn’t a lot of connective tissue or fat to for lubrication. And it takes a lot of practice to get it right.

However, sous vide cooking has changed much of that. Now you can get moist and juicy brisket even if you are a novice cook.

Texture Temperature Timing
Firm and meaty, like a tender steak 1350 F 36 to 72 hours
Extra moist, with a traditional texture 1550 F 24 to 36 hours

 

Ribs

Get perfectly cooked ribs every time with sous vide basics. Bite into tender ribs that satisfy your taste buds. You can create ribs that are extra meaty, succulent and tender. Or you could go with tender, traditional ribs. All you have to do is follow the time and temperature chart below.

Texture Temperature Timing Range
Chop-Like
Medium rare 1350 F (57.2o C) 1 to 2 days
Medium 1400 F (600 C) 1 to 2 days
Well done 1450 F (62.80 C) 1 to 2 days
Braise-Like
Firm but easy to shred 1560 F (68.90 C) 18 to 24 hours
More fall apart 1650 F (73.90 C) 18 to 24 hours
Really fall apart 1760 F (800 C) 12 to 18 hours

 

Once done, you can pat ribs dry and grill them over high heat to get a nice crust.

Chicken Thighs

Cooking chicken thighs sous vide gives you unparalleled control over temperature. This alone is reason enough to give sous vide a try. You’ll get results that are juicy because greater connective tissue in the area.

Texture Temperature Timing Range
Very juicy but quite firm, with a few tougher spots 1500 F (660 C) 1 to 4 hours
Very juicy and completely tender 1650 F (740 C) 1 to 4 hours
Moderately juicy, pull-off-the-bone tender 165o F (740 C) 4      to 8 hours

 

Tri-Tip

Tri Tip to make your knees weak

Tri-Tip is a traditionally tougher cut of steak and requires a longer cooking time. Once you season your steak and put it in a bag, use the following temperature guide for best results:

Texture Temperature
Rare 1220 F – 1280 F
Medium rare 1290 F – 1350 F
Medium 1360 F – 1450 F
Medium well 1460 F – 1550 F
Well done 1560 F +

 

The cooking time is about 7 hours when placed in the water bath.

Once done, you can sear it for a perfect crust.

Carrots

Sous vide is not only for chicken or beef recipes. It can also be used for making vegetables such as carrots. To prepare carrots sous vide, cook them in the water bath for 1 hour at 183oF.

This technique helps cook the carrots in their own juice retaining all the flavor within.

Take them out and dry them. To get a shiny glazy and enhance the color of your end product, sear carrots in a deep bottom skillet for 1 to 2 minutes. The helps the flavor stay put and locks in the moisture.

Corned Beef

When cooked traditionally, corned beef can end up flaky and not slice well. But with sous vide cooking you can execute temperature control to the perfect level. This lets you get the traditional taste and texture of this salt cured beef.

Texture Temperature Timing
Traditional style 1850 F 7 hours
Less flaky and tender 1750 F 8 hours
Smooth an perfectly sliceable 1650 F 10   ours

 

Prime Rib

Prime Rib

Cooking prime rib sous vide gives you the same results each time so you get a consistent taste. There is some prep work involved beforehand so season rib and keep in the refrigerator between one to 12 hours.

Place in water bath and cook for 6 hours at 132oF/55.6oC.

Preheat your oven and then keep the ribs in oven and bake for 12 to 20 minutes. This timing gives a medium rare cooked prime rib which is the most popular level of doneness.

Shrimp

Cooking shrimp sous vide gives you much better results than cooking it in a traditional way. Not only is the taste enhanced, the doneness is also very precise.

To cook shrimp, season to taste and keep in the zip lock back. Add butter or olive oil to the bag if you want.

Jumbo shrimp can cook for between 30 -40 minutes at 140oF/60oC.

You will enjoy succulent, buttery shrimp done to perfection.

Chuck Roast

If you want to cook rare chuck roast, then the minimum time for cooking is 24 to 48 hours. At precise 36 hours, you get the juiciest chuck roast. It can be very hard to make this recipe with conventional methods so sous vide is the way to go.

Cook it for 18 to 36 hours if you want to get medium rare finish results. Searing the cooked roast will make it even better. In a skillet, heat vegetable oil and sear for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side. To add flavour to roast, add seasonings like Fajita spices, paprika and Cajun spices.

Turkey

The secret to a perfect turkey is the cooking time and brine. Prepare dry brine for the turkey using salt and other seasoning ingredients. Cover the turkey generously in this brine and keep in a vacuum seal bag.

Part of Turkey Temperature Timing
Turkey breast bone 1460 F (63.50 C) 6 to 8 hours
Turkey breast boneless 1460 F (63.50 C) 2.5 to 6 hours
Turkey leg or thigh 1650 F (740 C) 8      to 10 hours

 

Bacon

Bacon is something most people cook on a daily basis so cooking sous vide may not make sense. And while you can get good results with conventional cooking methods but the results you get with sous vide are so much better.

Cook the bacon for 6-8 hours sous vide at 145oF/63oC, still in its original packaging.

Prepared bacon can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or you can freeze it for months. If it is in the refrigerator, take it out and separate the strips. Then heat skillet and sear the bacon for 2 minutes or until you see the color. If you have frozen it, take it out and place in the sous vide for 20 minutes at 62.8 degrees. Then, follow up with the searing.

Potatoes

Potatoes are one of the easiest and quickest things that you can make sous vide. And you get restaurant style results.

The potatoes you get at restaurants are so smooth and soft. They melt as soon as you put them in your mouth. You can make the same kind at home. Keep the potatoes in a zip lock bag and place in the water bath with a temperature of 90oC for an hour. Take the finished product out and serve it as you want.

Asparagus

Asparagus season doesn’t last for long so you should do your best to savour this food as soon as you can. For cooking sous vide, keep the asparagus in a zip lock bag and place small cubes of butter on the corners of the bag. Add garlic to the centre for taste and cook sous vide for 30 minutes at 183oF/84oC.

The goal here is to cook the stalk properly. Take out the asparagus from the bag and serve as you want. Top with Parmesan for extra taste.

With sous vide cooking, anything that you savour at restaurants can also be made at home easily. Make sure that you stick to the precise timings and temperature given on the recipe because even the slightest fluctuation can make a lot of difference. For most beef and chicken recipes, you have to sear after cooking sous vide so don’t miss that step.