Now it can be told. The Posse has gone all-in on sous vide. Well, not quite ALL. But we certainly have some strong sympathizers in our group.
That became quite evident during a recent email discussion. It began on a lazy Friday afternoon and extended into the weekend. No better time to get philosophical about food.
Sous vide, in short, is a method of cooking using sealed bags that are submerged in warm water. The technique was developed by a French chef and an American scientist, first working independently and then together, beginning about 40 years ago. The method, its advocates say, preserves the natural juices and flavors of meat, and allows you to achieve a precise and uniform level of doneness.
On the culinary spectrum, sous vide is about as far from traditional barbecue and grilling as you can get. But there is the potential for cross over. One of the juiciest and tastiest cheeseburgers I’ve ever eaten spent a few hours in the water bath and then was finished on a hot charcoal grill.
Those burgers were prepared by Posse member Mike Gagne who began his sous vide journey a couple years ago. He has also used the technique to cook perfect steaks and a big Denver roast for us. The roast spent 30 hours in the water bath, finishing with a couple hours on the smoker. And, he once cooked a wonderful prime rib roast using a hybrid Weber Kettle-kitchen oven method. We re-heated the leftovers sous vide.
Our recent sous vide email thread started innocently enough. Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins messaged the group seeking suggestions for a Father’s Day gift guide.
Someone mentioned a temperature control system for a pit. Others touted drum smokers and a super hot pizza oven.
Then Mike Gibson mentioned sous vide:
“I think this could translate well to overall cooking too and could be paired easily with BBQ-ing,” Mike wrote. “I have one and absolutely love it. It's a game changer.”
I then asked about reverse sear.
“I sous vide all the time (haughtiest statement I’ve typed in years. . .). Yes - definitely reverse sear after the meat comes out of the water bath. It usually looks unappetizing otherwise.”
“That’s okay, but I’m not. I’m sticking to fire, meat and whiskey or the other way around.”
“I’ve considered the Sous Vide, but Ive been threatened if I bring home another kitchen gadget.”
“HA! My biggest dilemma with sous vide is the reverse sear methodology. . .hot grill, searing cast iron skillet or blow torch. Always a tough choice!”
“Phil, with a tough choice like that, you need a beer or two, or a whiskey or two, to help make the decision.”
Mark Vamos, who suggested the pizza oven.
“Another thing that Uuni pizza oven is great for — the reverse sear. Cook meat rare sous vide then finish with a couple minutes in cast-iron pan in the oven at 930 degrees.”
“Yes sir!! The really neat thing about cooking it this way is the steaks I’ve done have had a really uniform tenderness and chew all the way through the cut, as opposed to having different parts of the steak with different textures as one would find with traditional grilling.
“It was surprising and it took me a minute to figure out what it was the first time I cooked like this. I recommend this tool to everyone. “
“Sounds like the BBQ Posse is going soft with sous vide! What’s next, Quiche? Microwaves? What’s wrong with using wood fires to cook meat?”
“Not me Marshall. I’m sticking to my stick burner and I’ll put a low and slow reverse seared (open flame) tomahawk up against any of the technology tribe.”
“I LOVE sous vide bologna.”
“Bologna is already cooked and sucks. Sous vide too.”
“Great thread, huh? Bunch of food snobs have invaded the Posse!”
So, after all this discussion, if you give sous vide a try, let us know what you think.