Sous Vide Cooking

Dinner’s tonight was pork tenderloin. Unlike the pork that was enjoyed years ago, succulent and juicy with marbling, today’s piggies have much less fat due to improved genetics, breeding and feeding, the animals have been bred to be extremely lean in recent decades. While this may, arguably, be more healthy, it creates a formidable challenge to cook. The unfortunate association with the dreaded disease trichinosis from undercooking, with a very small unforgiving range of temperature to where it is safe to eat most often results in overcooked flavorless, dry and stringy pork. It has been accepted as gospel for many decades that pork had to be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for safety reasons, the USDA changed the safe consuming temperature to 145 degrees Fahrenheit in 2011, 15 degrees Fahrenheit lower than before. It seems that pork is the other pink meat. All that is wonderful, but a better way of cooking has been gaining attention, and not just with pork, but pretty much every kind of meat1. Sous Vide cooking, French for “under vacuum”, has been used in the finest restaurants for many years. It entails submerging sealed food in water maintained at a certain temperature for a period of time, the time depends on the volume, meat and desired doneness. Many will say you need a specialized machine to seal the food, I, and many others find that a Ziplock (or other high-quality storage bag) works just as well (just be sure to follow the easy water displacement technique—slowly submerge open bag into water, press out as much air as possible, and seal it an inch or so before water can get into the bag. This creates a seal around the food which you should be able to see easily). Then set a timer and go make your sides, or whatever. This method of cooking is extremely forgiving, for example, a 1.855 lb. (did I tell you I was anal retentive?) pork roast, cooks to a perfect 145 degrees, yields a slightly pink, juicy roast when cooked sous vide with water set at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 2.5 hours. When the timer sounds, you can either reverse sear (traditional methods call for pre-searing before roasting, however, I find much better results with reverse searing, yielding a crispy, beautifully golden brown exterior) it right away, or within an hour or two. I received an Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator – 120V Circulator Cooker (Black) for my birthday last year, and have used it many times since. Enjoy!!

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