Sous Vide Notebook

I bought an Avono Sous Vide “Precision Cooker” earlier this year (June 2018). These are various notes. Last updated 09/01/2018.

08/25/2018“boneless chicken leg meat”

On a whim, I bought a sealed 5# bag of “boneless chicken leg meat” from my local megamart thinking it could be placed in the sous vide bath as is. While it worked out OK I won’t be taking that approach again.

My approach was similar to the chicken thighs from 06/23/18. I used 165°F water for 90 minutes this go around, which took close to 3 hours total with the ramp-up time to get to temp. The first problem was that the bag tended to float; weighing it down with a ceramic bowl did the trick.

At the end of the 90 minute cooking time, I transferred the sealed bag to an ice bath to cool down the chicken. After about 15 minutes I went to remove the bag only to find that problem number two arrived; the bag split open and water got in. Not a huge deal but the chicken definitely had that boiled chicken smell that isn’t the most appealing.

The largest problem I found is that the chicken pieces in the bag had started to merge together into a single amorphous blob of chicken meat. I was able to pull it apart where the chicken skin was still on the pieces, however, it was not terribly elegant looking. Luckily I had planned to grill the chicken and that allowed for a more rustic look.

I grilled the chicken for only a couple of minutes per side, just enough to get some grill marks on the meat and reheat the cooled. The end result was pretty tasty, juicy chicken with a bit of grill flavor.

I won’t try this approach, with the 5 lb. sealed pack of chicken leg parts, again. I might use the 5 lb. bag again but will have to open it and properly prep/vacuum pack the contents.

07/14/2018Garlic Herb Pork “Tenderloin”

I purchased 2 “cook in bag” pork “tenderloin”s from the local mega-mart. I’m putting the tenderloin in quotes because, after cooking, I found these weren’t tenderloins at all but smallish loin pieces. It still worked ok. These were intended to be oven roasted. You cute a vent hole in the plastic wrapper, place it on a tray and bake for some time. I figured I could use them unopened as sous vide.

I looked at this recipe on the website and decided 145°F for 90 minutes was for me. I left the pork in the original bags; if it was ok to cook in the oven, I figured it would be fine in a water bath, which it was.

After 90 minutes @ 145°F I moved both pork loins to an ice bath to cool it off. After 15 minutes I removed them from the ice bath, opened the packaging and found a pork loin rather than a tenderloin. I finished mine on the grill (gas, preheated on full for 15 minutes, 2 minutes per side, rested for 10 minutes after removing from the grill).

They were decidedly pink inside, which some folks found not desirable. Next time I’ll try 150°F. 2 loins served 9 with about 1/3 leftover.

06/23/2018Chicken Thighs with Thyme
Read this and chose “very juicy and completely tender”
Apparently, the vacuum sealer won’t work if the rough side of the bag is down.

8 chicken thighs and 8 sprigs of thyme (split between 2 bags)
10 qt. hot tap water in the Cambro container.
165°F water for 75 minutes
pan sear in vegetable oil for 3 minutes to crisp skin
pan sauce of no-salt chicken broth to deglaze the pan, lemon zest, butter

Verdict: they were good but not great. Since the thighs were already at 165°F the time in the skillet pushed them closer to 175°F. No discernable thyme flavor.

Also, the liquid in the vac pack was still red, so I didn’t use it in the pan sauce. Ted suggested I look up what temp hemoglobin moves from red to tan.