Sous Vide — The Hottest Trend in Cooking

If you’re a Bradley Cooper fan you might have seen him malign sous vide cooking in his latest film Burnt where he suggested to one of his competitors, “You don’t cook; you warm food up in condoms”. Ultimately at the prodding of his love interest in the movie, he adopts the method himself.

Sous vide, for the uninitiated, is a method of cooking in which food is sealed in airtight plastic bags then placed in a water bath for longer than normal cooking times at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 130 to 140 °F. The intent is to cook food evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside retaining moisture.

After watching Burnt and reading J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s The Food Lab at a friend’s suggestion I became addicted to sous vide style cooking. Scroll to the bottom of this post for a complete list of the equipment you’ll need to start on your sous vide journey.

My first sous vide chicken breast (paired with pesto pasta and green beans)

My first dish was a simple skinless chicken breast (seen above). I set my sous vide to 140 degrees, bagged a single breast seasoned with salt and pepper, and let it cook for a couple of hours. When I was ready to eat I removed the breast, seared it with my Bernzomatic torch with MAP gas, let it rest for a few minutes, and served. OMG. I never realized how good a simple breast could be! A few days later I invited my parents over to try my discovery and my mom told me it was the best breast she’d ever had in her life. Why? Traditional cooking methods REQUIRE you to overcook the outside of the breast resulting in a dry, stringy texture most of us are used to eating. I knew there was a reason I never ordered breast!

The Stuff

The first thing you’re going to need is a sous vide immersion circulator. These come in two different styles. The first (as seen on the left above) is a self-contained unit. The heating element, circulator, and container are all-in-one. My mom and dad have one of these and from what they tell me it works well, but I prefer the Sansaire standalone unit. The Sansaire was originally a Kickstarter project. You can learn more from the inventors below:

Once you’ve picked your circulator you’re going to need a container. My pick is a clear plastic 26-quart container you can get on Amazon HERE and see below with the Sansaire inside.

You should also get the sous vide rack to keep your meats separated during cooking. You can find the one that will fit with your sous vide and container HERE.

Searing my sous vide lambchops (yummy!)

You’ll soon learn that you’ll need to sear your meat once it’s removed from the vacuum bag. After a lot of research, I’ve found the best solution to be the Bernzomatic TS8000 High-Intensity Trigger Start Torch and the Worthington Pro Grade MAP-Pro Cylinder. In a future post I’ll go into detail why this is the right unit for you, but for now, just get it.

You’ll also need a vacuum sealer for your food. You can use zip lock bags and the water sealing method, but 99% of the time the sealer works best. Remember to order extra bags.

Interested in starting to cook using the sous vide method? Here is a list of the equipment I use that you can order:

My Sous Vide Kit (Image Linked to Amazon List)

The total cost for the complete kit is approximately $500 from Amazon.You can save some money by using a stock pot instead of the container/rack. You can also sear your food in a hot cast iron skillet (I like to do both) and skip out on the torch and searzall. Finally, you can skip the vacuum sealer and use Ziplock bags with the water bath sealing method.

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