I've used sous vide on and off for the last couple of years and I have to say, I'm pretty convinced it is one of the best ways of cooking meat, eggs, veggies, etc., so the answer is yes, sous vide is worth it.
I'll walk you through what sous vide is and show you what you're missing out on if you aren't using this cooking method.
- The sous vide method involves sealing food in a food-safe bag and cooking it in a water bath at a very precise, consistent temperature.
- With the sous vide cooking method, you can cook large cuts of meat, and they will all be perfectly cooked throughout.
- Food retains moisture and flavor better than other methods. This can be especially helpful with meats like chicken breast or flank steak.
- With cooking sous vide, no need to worry about burning yourself on hot surfaces while cooking; you'll never need to touch your food with a spatula or tongs again
- Sous Vide cooking may seem like it's odd or uncommon to us, but it is actually a technique that has been used at the finest restaurants around the world for decades.
What is Sous Vide Cooking?
Sous vide is a method of cooking food in a temperature-controlled water bath. The sous vide method allows the cook to put the food in a plastic bag, vacuum seal it and then place it in a water bath to cook.
This method allows for very precise control of cooking time and temperature, which can be used for cooking tough cuts of meat that are normally difficult to cook properly.
Sous vide also helps to tenderize meats and keep their juices locked inside them during cooking, which results in succulent meals that are tender and juicy. You can cook a lot of food using this method, not just meat.
Is It Worth Trying Sous-Vide at Home?
With sous vide cooking, a water bath is heated to the desired temperature (typically around 130°F). The temperature remains constant, causing your food to cook evenly from edge to center.
You can use the sous vide cooking method for many different types of food, from steaks to chicken to fish and eggs.
Sous vide has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its simplicity and convenience. The only real challenge with sous vide cooking is finding a good recipe; once you get the hang of it, though, you'll wonder why you ever used another cooking method before.
Because sous vide cooks the food in a controlled environment, you don't have to worry about undercooking or overcooking your sous vide meal.
It also ensures that all parts of your food are cooked evenly and thoroughly, so you won't find any gray areas or undercooked spots on your beef tenderloin, sirloin tri-tip roast, or chicken breasts.
Perfectly Tender Meat
Meat cooked through traditional boiling methods will often end up too tough to eat. With sous vide meat cooking, it will come out tender and juicy every single time because the heat is distributed evenly throughout the entire piece of meat, not just on the outside like when you're grilling or pan-frying it.
Tender vegetables without overcooking them
Vegetables like carrots can get mushy if you cook them for too long in boiling water or simmer them for too long in an oven dish with sauce on top of them, but this isn't an issue when using sous vide.
Vegetables are just as tender as they would be if you cooked them with boiling water but without the risk of making them mushy.
No Loss of Juices
Because you're not exposing your food to high heat, there's no need for oil or fat to lubricate it before cooking. That means you won't lose any juice during cooking and if you're trying to keep your dish healthy, this is great news.
It is also a great way to retain moisture and flavor in low-fat foods like chicken breast or salmon filet (which are notoriously hard to make moist).
No Need to Keep Monitoring Food
With traditional methods of cooking like roasting or steaming on a stovetop, you need to check on your food constantly while it's being prepared so that you can adjust the heat levels accordingly or add more liquid if necessary to avoid food from burning.
With sous vide cooking, you simply set the temperature and time, put your food in the water bath, cover it with a lid, and walk away. When it reaches its desired cooking time and temperature, it will turn off automatically. You can also use an app if you want more control over your cooking process.
Steak Cooked Medium-Rare Every Time
If you're not a fan of steak cooked well done, then sous vide is perfect for your steak. With this method, you get a steak cooked exactly how you want it every single time.
Just put your steak in its own vacuum-sealed pouch and cook at 130 degrees Fahrenheit for medium rare or 140 degrees Fahrenheit for medium.
Precise Temperature Control
With sous vide, you can control how hot your water bath is going to be by using an immersion circulator or by setting the desired temperature on your oven or stovetop.
The benefit of this is that you won’t have to worry about ruining your food. You’re able to perfectly cook everything from steak to salmon to chicken breast and it’s all because of the precision with which you can control the temperature.
Sous Vide Technique Saves Energy
Sous vide uses less energy than traditional methods of cooking because everything happens at one temperature instead of being moved around multiple times (like when grilling meat). This means that less heat escapes into your kitchen, which means lower bills.
Sous Vide is Safe
With sous vide cooking method food is cooked at temperatures needed to kill bacteria, so there's no danger of food poisoning or food-borne illness from improperly cooked sous vide meat or fish.
What Equipment Do You Need for Sous Vide Cooking? - Sous Vide Setup
If you want to cook sous vide at home with minimal investment, all you need is a good quality vacuum sealer, sous vide machine, and some quality bags for sous vide.
Immersion Circulators or Sous Vide Machines
You'll need a water bath, which can be as simple as a pot with an immersion circulator or as elaborate as a professional setup. If you're just starting out, go with the simplest option. For example, if you have a large pot and an immersion circulator, that will work just fine. You don't need anything fancy right away like this Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1 Pressure Cooker.
Immersion circulators are the most popular type of sous vide machine and can be used with any type of container.
They keep the temperature constant while circulating the water around your food, which prevents hot spots from forming and ensures even cooking throughout the food that is being cooked.
Vacuum Sealed Bags
You will also need a vacuum-sealed bag for sealing food. The main purpose of vacuum sealing is to remove air from the bag so that heat transfers more efficiently from the water into your food. The best way to do this is with an actual vacuum sealer.
You'll want to use a heat-stable bag so that it doesn't melt when heated in the water bath.
A vacuum sealer is necessary to get the air out of the bag so that it will seal properly around food items.
There are several different types of vacuum sealers on the market today, but they all operate on the same basic principles: suck the air out of whatever is being sealed (usually food).
Is Sous Vide Better Than a Grill?
In my opinion, sous vide is better than grilling in the following cases:
When you want to cook foods very precisely at a specific temperature and don't have much experience with cooking meat (or vegetables).
Sous vide allows you to remove all of the guesswork from cooking because it gives you complete control over how long something will be cooked at a certain temperature. This means that if you're trying to cook sous vide chicken for exactly 40 minutes at 135 degrees Fahrenheit, then you can do just that.
Meat-cooked sous vide will retain more moisture, which helps prevent shrinkage during cooking and makes the texture more tender when cooked to the right temperature.
You don't have to worry about flare-ups or grease fires from fat dripping onto coals or burning wood chips.
Is Sous Vide Expensive?
The answer is yes but worth it if you consider the numerous benefits it offers such as being much more precise than other methods.
Because sous vide requires specialized equipment, it can be expensive to get started with. You'll need an immersion circulator for sous vide cooker to get started with the technique. These devices range from $100-$500 depending on the model and features you want. You will also need a vacuum sealer which can cost somewhere between $50 to $150 depending on its model.
Some people have found ways around this expense by using other methods such as slow cookers or rice cookers to heat their water. However, these methods are typically not as accurate as an immersion circulator.