Disappointing Start

In the Sous Vide Recipes Forum
Well...I have to say that sous vide is not for me! I've cooked hake and beef fillet following the specifications included in the (mediocre) book sponsored by this website and the results were far from the glory reported by many sous vide followers! Indeed, I would have enjoyed my food more if it was cooked the traditional way! OK, my bath is not the more precise or expensive set up (off by 1.5°C, which I understand is not that bad) and yet after spending money and time on Slow cookers, controllers and the sort, I am definitely and happily back to my beloved pots and pans!

10 Replies So Far

I'm sorry your first results with sous vide didn't go as well as you hoped. I'm also sorry you didn't enjoy our book. If you don't mind I'd love some feedback so we can improve our books in the future. Thanks.
I'm sorry that it didn't work out. I got my immersion circulator for Christmas and I love it. I have had mostly success with it, although some fish I cooked left something to be desired. It was on the dry side, but I don't know if the fish itself was to blame or the cook. How did you cook your beef? I have had stellar results doing boneless braised ribs, strip loins, brisket and hangar steaks. I have also done pork chops and scallops and have been delighted with the results. Please post what you did so some suggestions could be offered. I will never cook beef again any other way but sous vide.
Both brisket and bone-in beef ribs have been disappointing for me. Even tough I get a good vacuum seal pre-cooking, by the time they come out there is a big bulge in the pouch full of meat juices. The meat is very tender but very dry.
About the only thing I really prefer sous vide is salmon.
I forgot to say that many different types of steak have universally been a disappointment and I've tried various time and temperature combinations.
If you've got cash to flash and want a great kitchen gadget get a Thermomix I say. That gets regular use in my house whilst my two sous vide setups languish.
Hmmm...that's a shame. I've been cooking SV since 2010 and while not everything has been an out-of-the-park homerun my results have been uniformly good. I'm especially puzzled that you found brisket to be disappointing- I won't eat it any other way (same for corned beef). SV burgers are a revelation, and what it does for chicken is amazing.

I'm curious to hear what you're doing and how you're doing it.
Though new to SV, I have had nothing but excellent results. (I'm trying chicken or burgers for the first time today)
Corned beef, pork belly, steaks several times, asparagus and carrots all with impressive results.
So, I was wondering if I've just been lucky after reading Noangel72 and Darren's comments, but as Rob asked, I will be curious also for more details on their equipment etc.
Here is SV pork belly, apple wood smoked and finishing on the grill.
Hi NoAngel72,

I'm really sorry you've had such a disappointing start on the Sous Vide front.... it is always a downer when one invests time, energy, and money to try something that sounds "cool" and then not have it turn out.

Like others on this forum, I'd love to hear about your attempt... given that multiple fine dining restaurants are using this technique, as well as many home enthusiasts like myself, I wouldn't be too quick to toss in the towel. As an enthusiastic 12 year old budding chef I recall cooking a loaf of bread that we used for a doorstop for years (yes, really)... and as a third year med. student I remember sewing up a patient that the attending physician subsequently had to come in and remove all my sutures and start over himself. (I ended up in Emergency Medicine and am happy to say that my suturing skills improved quite a lot in the ensuing years! ;-)

There are many reasons why Sous Vide is an excellent method for many things... today for the first time I took a bunch of fresh Morel mushrooms and cooked them at 183 F. for 30 minutes with a little butter and one clove of garlic cut in half... OMG... this is the way I will preserve my bounty from now on. We are currently cooking a deer tenderloin Sous Vide... the very best way we have found to do so... 131F for about 3 hours.

My wife and I use Sous Vide to cook a variety of proteins for quick cooling and freezing... It's great to be able to take out a couple of steaks or chops from the freezer that have already been cooked Sous Vide and warm them up quickly in a water bath... a quick sear in our cast iron, or with the torch, and supper's ready.

So I encourage you to keep the faith... and try again. What have you to lose other than a few bucks for some more meat, some time, and maybe some irritation if it doesn't work? On the other hand, it you get the hang of it, you might be greatly rewarded in the long term.

One final thought: Jason has been a great resource for many of us who have embarked on this method... No one thing works for everyone, but if you can share with him (and us?) what didn't seem to work he/we may be able to give you a helping hand.

If you've got cash to flash and want a great kitchen gadget get a Thermomix I say. That gets regular use in my house whilst my two sous vide setups languish. And I'm really sorry you've had such a disappointing start on the Sous Vide front.... it is always a downer when one invests time, energy, and money to try something that sounds "cool" and then not have it turn out.
After about 18 months of experimenting we've decided that like any other technique, Sous Vide isn't for every dish. For example, we've gone back to conventional egg cookery.

But for some things, sous vide is just magic. Halibut and salmon done at 50 degrees C for 20 minutes and then finished by pan searing one side is amazing. Beef short ribs at 54 C for 48 hours and then finished by grilling puts most prime rib to shame, and steaks done at 54 C for two hours and then given a quick shot on the grill come out perfect every single time. Chicken that is done sous vide then breaded and fried, well, I don't have enough words to describe it!

First of all, I am pleased to see folks have been 'sous videing' for some time. I have been experimenting for less than a year, and I thought I was on the leading edge... just another slight miscalculation.
Still, one can't help but conclude that this process is very new, and fraught with trial, and many errors. For me, just finding this site is like discovering a wealth of new information.
I agree that the sous vide books are lacking. The one that came with my Demi kit had only 4 recipes, and they were not nearly what I found to work well, after trying different temps amd time. for example, I have seen Salmon recipes vary by over 20f differences and salmon does not do well over an extended time in the water bath. Besides, the doneness of this fish, in particular, is a very personal choice. Like fishing, patience is required.
Know that I am a professional fisherman. I actually get paid to fish, mostly for salmon, with very extreme tackle. Think; flyfishing eqipment.
I first tried 'sous vide' to rebuttle the disappointment in results of cooking fresh caught salmon and fillets frozen in vacuum packs. I started jsut this past summer - on my boat - using a small deep fryer, as the water bath, and the first, nieve, results were an amazing difference. Also, know that I have been so pleased after months of the dreaded trial and error, to buy myself for xmas, a Polyscience sous vide madel, and it will be making the trip north to Ketchikan, this summer.
My conclusion; don't give up,.. try, try, try again.

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