Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sous-Vide Series


Welcome to the new Underbelly blog, where we’ll be sharing our secrets, and maybe some secrets stolen from smarter people as well.

We’re going to start with a series on sous-vide cookery. If you’re not familiar with sous-vide, expect to be hit over the head with it very soon, by way of cooking shows, blogs, food magazines, and ads for high-tech gizmos.

We won’t cover all the basics here, because so much has already been written.

For starters, see Douglas Baldwin’s excellent site. His book is also a good starting point.

For further exploration, see Dave Arnold’s and Nils Norén’s posts on the ICE’s excelent Tech ’n Stuff blog: Primer 1 and Primer 2.

For a review of current equipment choices (2014), see Kenji Lopez’s review at Serious Eats.

Just a couple of years ago, sous-vide technology was widespread in the restaurant world, but was priced out of reach for most of us. At Underbelly, we had to borrow an $1100 laboratory circulator from our friends at A Razor, A Shiney Knife (They have two).

Eventually, the Sous-Vide Supreme machine came along at half the previous price of entry. It still failed to tempt many of us. It wasn’t a true immersion circulator, didn’t have interchangeable containers, and took up a lot of counter space. And it was still pricey.

Starting just last year, a whole new generation of cheap-but-awesome circulators hit the market, offering pro-level performance in the $200-$300 range—what you might pay for a toaster at Williams-Sonoma. As you’ll see from Kenji’s review, they all work, and will all give identical results. The differences are in the details, interfaces, capacities, and esthetics—things worth mulling over for a few minutes. But you’ll probably be happy with any of them.

In this series, we’re going to cover some possibilities for sous-vide that are unexplored, or that we feel deserve a closer look than what you’ll find elsewhere.



The Poly-Science circulator that first showed up in U.S. restaurant kitchens.

A few years later, you can have an Anova culinary circulator for around a fifth the price. They work just as well.

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