Sunday, March 30, 2014

Turkey Breast Sous-Vide

No more Dry Turkey Breasts thanks to Sous-Vide!!! 
Set water temp at 145 degrees. If I could only find a Turkey breast that was organically raised and not frozen. It made a difference with chicken. 

De-bone your breasts and save for stock
Liberally apply your favorite herb blend
Sous-Vide your breast which means Vacuum seal them.
Submerge in water bath. As a technique I usually set the water temp up a few degrees higher to compensate for the drop in temperature when cold meat is placed in water bath. After meat is submerged I set the temp I want and in this case it was 145 degrees. The Breast cooked for 4 hours and 13 minutes. The breast was fully pasteurized. I use the Sous Vide App to determine these numbers. 
Breast all cooked at pretty drab looking due to lack of Maillard Reaction
A very quick sear in fry-pan remedies this situation.

Gorgeous

A picture is worth a thousand words.

While the Turkey was spending some alone time getting a water bath I used this time and make a Stock. I broke up the bones and proceeded.
A simple stock that I used for homemade gravy.
Dinner served.




Update- 2/15/2015

I was able to purchase a higher quality turkey breast and after doing this several times I have landed on the temp of 140. If you are going to Sear or smoke the breast 140 is the magic number for SV. 

I was able to buy the breast bones intact and unfrozen.  A huge difference in quality. 

Update 11/26/15


Thanksgiving 2015 was a hit! I have made 12 Sous-Vide Turkeys to date. I think I have finally dialed in what I think is the best temp and time; for both the Dark and White meat. 

Turkey Breast Sous-Vide at 140˚ƒ for 4 hours is perfect

Dark meat came out perfect at 150˚ƒ for 6 hours. 




Let me give this caveat: All these temps and times are designed around how I want to finish the Turkey. In this case, I planned on smoking the Turkey for about 90-120 minutes at 180-190˚ƒ. When the smoke dissipates, I will crank the heat up to about 225˚ƒ to give that mahogany glaze we all love so much. 

What preceded the smoke is important too. After the Sous-Vide process I shocked the Turkey in an Ice-Bath and refrigerated overnight. If I had taken the turkey out of the SV and proceeded directly to the Smoker, the Turkey would have overcooked. Starting out with temps much lower helps mitigate the possibility of overcooking the Turkey. I also know if I placed a Turkey on my smoker with an internal temp of 34˚ƒ, it would have taken forever for the meat to come up to temp too. So what did I do?  I cranked up the Sous-Vide to about 125˚ƒ and set the Turkey in the bath for about 40 minutes. The Turkey hit the smoker registering 90˚ƒ internally. The Turkey was removed from the smoker when an internal temp of 140˚ƒ was reached. These are all techniques. If you miss one of these steps the outcome will be different. Let's say I wanted to finish the Turkey in a frying pan instead of an oven or smoker. I would have made sure that the meat was at least at 120˚ƒ before the meat would have hit the pan. Again these are my techniques.


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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sous-Vide-By-Me

The title of this blog coincides with the the blog name because this is Sous-Vide-by-me aka Kosher Dosher. I am so excited about Sous-Vide aka the English translation of "Under Vacuum". 

For those of you unfamiliar with Sous-Vide it's a method of cooking food in an airtight plastic bag that sits in a temperature controlled vessel in circulating water. 


Cooking Sous-Vide is straightforward. You seal food in a plastic bag, place bag in temperature controlled water bath, when food reaches your target temperature or time, take it out and give it a quick sear to finish if desired. So to put it another way you are cooking the food at the temp you will be serving it at. Simple right?   

Cooking Sous-Vide produces culinary masterpieces that are virtually unattainable to produce by traditional cooking methods.

The picture in the upper left (Tri-Tip) side of the blog is one of the first things I cooked and allows me to point out some advantages and limitations of the Sous-Vide method of cooking.

Pros:

  • No Carry over cooking
  • Uniformly cooked food always Edge to Edge
  • Holding food at specified temp without over cooking. 
  • Cook at lower temps and pasteurize food simultaneously
  • A recipe can be duplicated 100% of the time. 
  • Cooking large amounts of food in advance and heating up days later using Sous-Vide with no loss of quality. 
  • No more Dry edges or rare centers
Cons:

So what do you cook in a Sous-Vide? I cook lots of meat. Tender cuts of steak (I.E Rib-eye, New York or Fillet etc). Let's contrast Sous-Vide first with traditional methods. Here is what most people do. Whether it's a grill or a pan it's cooked the same way. You place steak on a very hot surface, the moisture on the surface evaporates almost instantaneously which means the surface is at 212 degrees. Don't forget steak is considered well done at 160 degrees and all the layers of the steak are increasing in temperature and drying out. I like my steak at an internal temperature of 128-129 degrees but but by the time the center of the steak reaches that temperature the outer layers are way overdone. If I am lucky maybe 25% of the inner layers are at 129 degree. The rest of the layers are over cooked.

Now for the Sous-Vide method of cooking that has revolutionized the world. We cook the steak in a water bath of 129 degrees. The steak will never go beyond 129 degrees. All we do after it is done cooking is brown the outside which take only a minute or two (see my T-Bone). Creating the maillard reaction (browning) is easy and only requires intense heat. You can use a hot skillet, a grill or a butane torch. 

How about Tough meats like, Short-Ribs, Flat Iron steaks, Pot-roasts etc? Sous-Vide excels in this area too. We can cook meats at temperatures that are low enough to break down (dissolves) all the connective tissues. With this method of cooking you can prepare sublime meat. Cooking tough cuts Sous-Vide does not dry it out like conventional braising. 

To get started what do you need? You need some type of vacuum sealer. There are several to chose from. Some options might be a Chamber Vacuum Sealer, Vacuum sealer such as a Food Saver, or a pistol Vac sealer like Waring.

What Sous-Vide machine would I recommend? I have been blessed with two of them that I just love. 

 Sous Vide by Polyscience
Chef series by Poly-science is is a top of the line unit and sits in many restaurants. I love this unit. It is accurate to 1/10 of 1 degree (30 Liter capacity). I use the polycarbonate containers that polyscience carries on there website.  




 Anova Sous-Vide


I did a lot of research on this unit before choosing. There were three to chose from and I chose this Sous-Vide by Anova (20 Liter capacity max)I connect it to different containers and stock pots. 







What else do you need? I would suggest reading and reading before you jump in. 

The Poly-Science App for the I-phone and I-Pad makes things very easy. Plug in some numbers and it gives you temps and times. Very user friendly. 

A practical guide to Sou-Vide is a great place to start too. Douglas Baldwin is an expert in the field. Click the link above to find out more. 






BBQ-Short-Ribs Sous-vide


 16.5 lbs, Short Ribs from Stewart's Meats in Yelm WA. I will use 1/2 
Every 2 months or so I make a special trip down to my favorite butcher shop in Yelm WA called Stewart's Meat Market. This trip is special because I usually order some type of meat. This last trip was extra special because I special ordered Veal Plate aka Veal Belly (22 lbs worth). They were nice enough to accept my special order.  This is not something they normally carry. In a future blog I will describe how I will transform the belly into Bacon. Sorry I got side tracked this blog is about BBQ-Short-Ribs. 



BBQ-Short-Rib is one of my favorite ribs to eat and prepare!! I would normally cook these babies Low and Slow on my Weber Smokey Mountain at 225 degree temp until fork tender but I wanted to make these ribs using the Sous-Vide cooking method. One of the obstacles you run into when you cook Ribs the traditional way is being able tenderize them without over cooking. To make Short-Ribs tender and break down (or dissolve) that connective tissue you need cook them low and slow and bring internal temp up to 180-190 which takes them way beyond Med-Rare. Sous-Vide will allow me to cook them Med-Rare and still render them succulent and tender. 

Here is a great article on it by Amazing Ribs. Since I like my meat on the rare side and I of course want them to be tender I usually have to compromise on the pink. Theoretically cooking them Sous-Vide which is a very low cooking temp will help dissolve all the connective tissue and keep the ribs nice and pink.

OK so how do I pull this off? I searched the web for advice and came away with a plethora of recipes and techniques.  Temps ranged from 131-166 and a slew of cooking times. Some suggested BBQ the Ribs first than Sous-Vide than back on grill for a fast sear.  

I decided to do it my way!!!!! I used a dry Rub prior to Vacuuming. I will cook them in a water bath at 131 degree (55c) for 48 hours, submerge in ice-bath to cool off than refrigerate over night. The Following day I will reapply rub, maybe add some BBQ sauce and smoke them for about 2.5 hours at a temp of 200-225 degrees. Putting the Ribs on cold will keep the overall temp way down and they should be succulent, caramelized and remain pink. 



Vacuumed sealed and untrimmed. 


All trimmed up and ready to go

131 degrees set 48 hours

In water bath

After a 48 hour water bath
BBQ Rubbed & BBQ Sauce
WSM 22.5 at 225 degree F
2.5 hours.

  • Note: Ribs were refrigerated 24 hours after 48 hour water bath. Refrigerated meat does two things. 
  • Temp of meat will not rise much after 2.5 hour smoke
  • Cold and wet meat will take on more smoke






Final thoughts:

  • They were amazing. All connective tissue broke down and was dissolved. 
  • Cooking at 131 degrees for 48 hours was great but will try 60 hours next time or 149 for 48 like I do my pastrami. hmm will have to see.
  • I should have made more
  • Some people suggested BBQ first than Sous-Vide but they're wrong
  • Advantage to Sous-Vide was I was able to have Medium Rare Ribs. Traditional way of cooking them would have required an internal temp of 185-190 to break down all connective tissue. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chicken Breast Sous-Vide

So who doesn't like chicken breasts? For several years I have been buying the precooked grilled chicken breast at Costco for convenience. I like to snack on them for the extra protein. When I got my Sous-Vide machine I was very excited to cook them using the Sous-Vide method. I researched appropriate temperatures for poultry and I came across several recommendations. 


There were a lot of variances and personal preferences that ranged from 140-155 degrees F. I know you are saying to yourselves "I thought you had to cook chicken to 165 degrees F to kill or pathogens" this is untrue. 


A combination of temperature and time can a pasteurize a piece of meat. Take a look at this graph. If for example we cooked chicken until it hit an internal temp of 165 degrees it would become instantaneously pasteurized and safe to eat. If we then cooked a piece of chicken to an internal temp of 140 degrees and held it there for 35 minutes it would be safe to eat also. I use an APP by Polyscience to figure all that out for me. 

Anyhow I have experimented twice now with chicken temps. I have tried 150.9 degrees F and 147 degrees F temp. I used the 150.9 temp because the APP used this temp to describe a Med cooked chicken. The 147 degree temp came from a Chef I talked with about poultry and he like 147 degrees. Both temps produced perfectly cooked juicy chicken. After cooking it twice now I am just a little close to dialing in what I think would be good. I think 149 will be my preferable temp for chicken. Although both temps above worked well it's about the texture of the meat and what it felt like when I chewed it. I thought the 147 degree temp was a little to fleshy for me and the 150 temp was just about right but not perfect. I am also going to try organic chicken breast to see if this makes a difference too.

Note: after cooking breasts I submerged them in an ICE BATH for about an hour to stop the cooking process and get them ready for storage. I left them in their bags. 
Chicken seasoned with Poultry spices
Just submersed in water bath.
Side profile.
Will cook for 1:38 min to pasteurize.
Beautiful!!!


Update: I used organic 
Chicken breasts and 
cooked them 
at 146 degree F.  
They were beyond perfect.

Update: 2/1/15 
If I plan on browning them in a pan I will Sous-Vide them at 145 degrees.

Update: 3/11/15
I  really like the COSTCO pre-brined frozen chicken breasts that are individually vacuumed sealed. The vacuumed seal is lousy so I suggest taking the individual plastic sealed breast and putting them into a large bag first than SV. I no longer pre-season breasts.  


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Flat-Iron-Steaks Sous-Vide

I needed something quick and easy to cook for Wednesday night dinner and a thought crossed my mind. How about Sous-Vide. It's not quick but if you time it well it can be both quick and easy. So say it with me SOOO-VEEE!!!! because it is so so good. Yea, Yea I know it sounds geeky but you know what I don't care because Sous-vide to me is exciting and new. You can make virtually anything well. However, Sous-Vide cannot replace basic culinary cooking skills and great techniques. As I tread along these uncharted waters I hope to educate my self and others who read my blog. 

I got off work at 6 AM after working an almost double with no sleep but I still had a little fuel in the tank so I headed for QFC to go shopping for tonight's dinner. I just knew I can find something to Sous-Vide. 


I needed something that 
  • could be cooked in a matter of 6 hours or something close to that or
  • cook at least 16 hours or more so I could sleep

By chance Flat Iron Steaks were on sale and I purchased them. 

There's not much of a story here except for the easy steps I used to cook them. 



Just came out of the water water. Blah looking!!! No maillard. Cooked at 130 degrees for 16 hours.

I applied a dry rub and some BBQ sauce and applied some intense heat. 


Beautiful looking.

Some final thoughts.  I loved my T-Bones at 129 degrees F but the Flat Iron steak at 130 gave me the sensation of slipperiness.  It is really hard to describe. Overall I loved how the Flat Iron came out but steak I think next time I will shoot for 132-133. At 130 degrees the intramuscular fat should have rendered down a little bit more and firmed up the meat. I am learning that a degree or two can really make a huge difference depending on several variables.  Cut of meat, age of meat, and quality of meat. There is definitely a learning cure when it comes to Sous-Vide. 



Update- 7/4/14 Flat Iron Steaks Sous-Vide Temp of 133 degrees for 6 hours was perfect. The time of 6 hours was perfect because the meat was no longer slippery when eaten and had a better chew which I enjoyed and the temp of 133 was just the right temp to render down the fat and connective tissue.

Update- 5/24/15 I still like the 133 degree temp but prefer a 6-9 hour cook time. I also do a dry-brine for at least 24 hours.  



Update- 7/19/15 These were a last minute Dinner thing. They were still in the package frozen like a Rock. I vacuumed sealed them in their package and SV'd them for about 7 hours. There was no dry-brine but they tasted great. 
Right out of the SV