After weeks of continuous use, I finally decided that my immersion circulator has earned some permanent counter space. This meant that I needed to upgrade a bit. The biggest pain of my initial setup was the lack of lid. Long cooks at temperatures over 65°C lost water to evaporation fairly quickly. I was able to compensate, but I had to remember to fill up the pot in the morning before leaving for work, and again when coming home. Not a huge inconvenience, but if I forgot once I might end up with my meat exposed to air and to the meat 'danger zone' of temperatures that sous-vide detractors complain about. I knew if my perpetual meat cooking was to continue that I needed a super simple setup. So for version 2 I invested in dedicated container with a lid I could modify to accommodate my immersion circulator. And here is the new setup:
The lid makes all the difference. There is almost no noticeable water loss as far as I can tell. I got this container which I am very happy with, along with the matching lid. Cutting out a square for the the immersion circulator was super easy. And since the container is clear, it's easy to monitor my meat status.
My other upgrade entailed buying a vacuum sealer. The water displacement method worked fine for the most part, but the bags I was using did not hold up great for the higher temperature cooks. In particular, the bonding to the sealing mechanism would begin to dissolve at the higher temperature ranges. I debated going for a super high-end vacuum chamber sealer which would be awesome, expensive, loud and take up a ton of counter space. Eventually reason prevailed and I bought a mid-range vacuum sealer that works perfectly fine for most my use cases. Not great for sealing bags containing liquids (like meats in marinades), but workable. Now enough about the tech, on to the meat...
Pork Loin Roast
6 hrs · 60°C
Here you can see my new vacuum sealer results, so much nicer. Pork loins have always been a challenge for me to cook in the past. In the oven I would always end up over or under cooking them. For this cut, I put it in a the vacuum bag with some teriyaki marinade for a day before cooking. I was pleased with the results. The loin came out juicy and perfectly cooked. Would do again.
More Pork Spare Ribs
90 hrs · 60°C and 50 hrs · 57°C
The longer cook is pictured above and it was great, but not so much better than the two day ribs that I would do it normally. It was a little more tender and started to fall off the bone. I ended up leaving it in so long because things kept coming up for me to do, so I didn't have the chance to eat at home. This proved to me that I do not need to worry about leaving things in an extra day or two in the water bath. After a few racks, I've settled on 2 days as the best cook time for spare ribs.
49 hrs · 55°C
This was an instant favorite. Fantastic for tacos or fajitas. I feel like I have no reason to cook flank steaks any other way from now on. After I finished eating my first flank steak, I ended up cooking another and another because they were so good.
If you have an immersion circulator, COOK A FLANK STEAK!