The 5 Simple Things You Need To Cook Great Sous Vide At Home

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Those words – Sous Vide – seem to strike fear into the hearts of many home chefs

Everyone thinks you need to spend a small fortune on equipment, to be able to copy what the professional chefs do in their well-stocked, well-equipped kitchens

But you don’t!

You can cook sous-vide at home with five relatively inexpensive items, that you most likely already have in your kitchen: –

1) Large soup/stew pot, the bigger the better

2) large freezer bag (big enough to hold the amount of food you’re cooking)

3) Temperature probe

4) Clips to hold thermometer & bag

5) Clingfilm/Clingwrap/Saran Wrap

 

You will also need a heat source, but if you’re cooking, then I guess you’ll already have a stove in your kitchen. A pen and paper could come in handy too.

There are two reasons I say a large soup/stew pot – it needs to be large enough that it will easily hold the amount of food you’re cooking, and the greater the volume of water, the more stable the temperature
What temperature should you cook at, and for how long?
There are many sites on the internet already, which will tell you exactly how hot and how long, just search for ‘sous vide temperature pork’ or something similar, and quite a few will be there in the results

Method

sous vide at homeFill your pot 2/3 – 3/4 full with water, place on your stove and turn up the heat.
Clip your thermometer to the edge of the pot, and monitor the temperature.

When the temperature starts to approach the temp you want to cook at, turn the dial down.
If you follow the instructions at the end of this page, you will already have a chart which shows you what number on your dial to turn down to.
Monitor the pot for the next 15-20 minutes, making sure that the temperature is stable.

 

 

sous vide at home

While your pot is stabilising, you can prepare whatever you are cooking sous vide.
In this instance, I was cooking a ham joint, which weighed 700g/1.5 pounds.
Place the food, along with any oils or other flavourings in a strong freezer bag, large enough that all of the food can be spread out. You don’t want any of it overlapping, as that will increase to cooking time.

 

 

 

Once the water temp is stabilised, you can add the bag to the pot.
Keeping the top of the bag open, slowly lower it into the water.
The water will displace the air in the bag, doing the same as an expensive vacuum machine!
Seal the bag, and clip to the side of the pot, making sure the bag is not resting on the bottom.

 

 

 

sous vide at homeMove the thermometer around the pot, and use it as a second clip for the bag.
This puts both clips in the same area, which will allow you to cover most of the pot with some clingfilm/clingwrap/saran wrap. This covering stabilises the temperature, as it stops heat and moisture escaping from the pot.

Be sure to check the temperstureon a regular basis during the long cooking time!

 

Cook for as long as the charts say. Once cooked, remove and, if wished, sear in a hot pan to add some colour.

There you go, cooking Sous Vide at home, without having to pay out hundreds of $/£/€’s

** Learning what temperature your hob works at**

This method can take a long time, and I did this at times when I could spare an hour or two.sous vide at home
Please bear in mind that it only needs to be done once, when everything is written down, you never need to do this again.
I printed out an excel sheet I designed, and marked the temperatures on it.
Basically, I placed a pot of water on the hob, and turned the dial to the ‘min’ mark
Then waited for the water to get to a come up to a stable temperature, then monitored it for the next 60 minutes, marking the temp at 10 minute intervals. Over a period of around two weeks I did this for all the numbers on the dial, including the half way point between the numbers. Your cooker/stove may be different, but the process is exactly the same
Now, whenever you cook sous vide at home, you know exactly what number to dial up, for any temperature!

37 comments

  1. Nice..
    But, does the freezer bag is going to be okay?
    It seems the freezer bag is stuck to the edge of the pot, and if it’s a stainless steel pot, isn’t it going to be hot and damage the bag?

    1. As long as it is a good quality bag, it will be fine!
      Yes, it’s touching the side of the pot, but the temperature is never going to get to boiling, so it’s not going to be damaged.

  2. Chef Keith, What a marvelously professional website you run here! And your recent topics are intriguing me to explore more! Thanks for the “Like” on my “8th PastaPost.” Check out some of our original pasta recipes listed for your convenience & the links to click on at {Link Removed by Admin} And thanks again, Keith! I am the proud father of an Executive Chef myself! Phil

  3. Thank you chef for visiting my blog that leads me here to your awesome site. I have been curious about sous vide but still debating if I need to get that expensive tool or not. Your explanation make more sense. If we can do it without..why not.

  4. I love using this method. Makes great steaks! I bought a sous vide cooker at Walmart. It controls the temperature and everything. Works great.

  5. Thank you Keith for finding me at Whisk and Dine, and giving a thumbs up on my Spring 2018 post. I am now looking through your blog and loving it! I will follow and look forward to the mutual interests we share. Your post on Sous Vide is great. I have resisted, though my chef son is loving it. When he does tastings for the Catering Company he operates, he said there are so many small and important details to look after for the mini feast meals that are displayed for Bride to Be tastings, and said the Sous Vide has been his best friend in dealing with meats, one less thing to perfect. Mama, here, needs to give it a try. Anyway, hello and thank you.

    1. Hello, and thank you for coming to visit my site.
      I’m sure that your son has access to some amazing but expensive cooking equipment, but I just wanted to show people that with a little ingenuity, they can achieve the same results with very little outlay

    1. No, I don’t think it’s just a ‘fad’, as restaurants have been doing this for years. It’s just that some techniques can take a long time to filter down into home kitchens. Mainly because of the cost, whether it’s the ingredients or the equipment needed.
      Personally, I will always cook certain things ‘sous vide’.

  6. This is exactly what I needed to read as I am contemplating the purchase of a sous vide immersion cooker for home use. I don’t see myself using it a lot, but there are a few recipes that I’d like to try (Heston Blumenthal’s Meat Fruit for example!) and if I could save myself some €uros it would be great!

  7. Getting a sous vide is on my wishlist. I have tried to make steak before and it didn’t turn out that great, but I’m hoping a sous vide will change that. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thanks for the tip, Chef. Should try practicing it before my Christmas dinner! 🙂
    Greetings from The Netherlands.

    1. The temp gauge is only there to help monitor the temp.
      If you have something that can hold a pre-programmed temp, then there’s no need for the probe.
      If you make it, pop back and post a few images

  9. Hello! Thank you, Chef Keith, for dropping by my blog and having a peek, which inspired me to come visit yours….and wow! Your title about cooking sous vide at home intrigued me. Firstly, this is the first time I’ve heard of this method. Secondly, your photos and detailed description about the process got me thinking and wondering….about the possibility. I am excited and impressed at your appealing looking lay-out and enjoyable writing on how to cook sous vide. You have gained another follower, as I love to cook and am always open to learn new-to-me ideas and approaches, as well as other people’s takes on old favourites. And I appreciate how you make your chef’s techniques more accessible to the home cook. 🙂

  10. Many thanks for dropping by my blog and following it.
    I’ve been curious about the sous vide technique, and I am intrigued by your DIY version. I shall certainly give it a go.

    Please, can you tell us which dishes you would always prefer using the sous vide technique?

    Best wishes on your blog, and looking forward to more interesting recipes!

    1. Hey Jeanne, thanks for dropping in and having a look

      What dishes do I like to sous vide?
      Well, in the last week I have done a 1lb ham, 2 x lamb leg steaks and a bacon joint.
      So basically, any ‘protein’.
      I have also heard of people infusing vodka’s & gin’s as the temp doesn’t go above alcohols boiling point and there is no eveporation

  11. Excited to try your technique with equipment I already own. Didn’t really want to invest in a sous vide cooker. Your instructions make this look easy. Thanks much for sharing.

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