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Best Sous Vide Equipment for Home


Asked by Steven R on Saturday, January 02
What's the best sous vide equipment to get? I know immersion circulators are supposed to be great but are they really worth the extra grand over something like the sous vide magic? And the sous vide supreme just came out, how does it stack up? I can spend as much money as needed, but I'd rather not waste it on expensive equipment unless it really is worth it. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.

10 Answers to This Question

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I tried almost all equipment available on the market (except sousvidesupreme which is not available in 220v version to date). I cooked on a stove, with sousvidemagic and a Julabo immersion circulator.
An immersion circulator is definitely a must but very expensive. Since I tried the immersion circulator from Addélice (the swid), which is the most competitive immersion circulator on the market (EUR 380 excl. VAT) I can't stop using it!
Answered by Jean-francois on Thursday, February 04
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I personally use a sous vide magic and it works great for long-cook items. I've also used the sous vide supreme and it worked really well too and seems to handle short-cooked items. I'd recommend either one of those but I'm not sure which gives you the most bang for the buck.
Answered by Jason Logsdon on Saturday, January 02
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With respect to my post on 02/13/2010, I would like to add the following. I have decided to use the Sous Vide Magic (SVM) rather than the Auber because the latter doesn't read out in hundredths. Since I need a pid capable of 1500 watts, I ordered the SVM fourth generation and, while I haven't received it yet, I did the following experiment. I used the bottom part of the Black and Decker 38 cup rice cooker (about $60) and a 12 inch x 12 inch x 10.5 inch stainless steel stock pot. I replaced the pan in the black and decker with the stock pot. It fit perfectly and depressed the toggle in the rice cooker. Running the Black and Decker full tilt without a pid, the temperature went from 90 degrees F to 170 degrees F in 44 minutes,rising approximately 10 degrees every 5 minutes (+/- 2 or 3 or sometimes more minutes for every 10 degrees.) At this point I think that I will be able to cook in a volume of water usually available only with immersion heaters or their ilk (lotsa bucks I won't have to spend). I can cook in a depth of water at least nine inches deep and I can use a trivet on the bottom with a hose from an air-pump to keep from overheating packets on the bottom while circulating the water even though the latter is probably not necessary due to convection. I might add that the volume of water is not diminished by inserting an immersion heater in the pot. In addition, I can keep the lid on. I don't do much sous vide cooking up around 170 degrees but there is a recipe in Douglas Baldwin's paper on sous vide about cooking corned beef at that temperature which I want to try. I plan to preheat the water before plugging in the pid. To be on the safe side I will use a Gigaware lap top cooler (small footprint)available at Radio Shack under the pid with a USB plug-in transformer/converter from Enercell also available at Radio Shack for the cooler as coolers now seem to only come with USB connections rather than plug-in peripheral transformers as they used to.

Tom Knee
Answered by tom on Friday, February 26
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Some good news and some bad news. My Black and Decker described above simply stopped working at about 180 degrees F when I tried to cook some vegetables.It went off and never came on again. In the interest of cheap alternatives to expensive immersion cookers, etc, I went to Walmart in Avon, CT and they had some Rival 17 Liter roaster ovens on sale for $15.00 apiece. The larger ones cost about $40.00 or more at Sears. Still not a bad deal. In any event, I cooked some flank steaks with my Sous Vide Magic and my Rival yesterday and they were great. I went back to Walmart and bought two more Rivals, one for vegetables, which are cooked at about 180 degrees F and one for meat which is cooked at about 130 degrees F. Tough to do on the same cooker at the same time. I also bought one for posterity since they are kinda neat and retro and remind me of my Grandmother.I also ordered another SVM so that I can cook veggies and meat at the same time.

Tom Knee
Answered by tom on Sunday, March 14
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I bought an Auber pid (proportional integrative controller device) for my bradley smoker to keep the temp as even as possible. Cost was about $140.00. I had to buy a submersible temperature probe for sous-vide from Auber to use with the pid and the cost was about $29.00. I already own a crock-pot which I can use for sous vide but I am thinking of buying a Winco 30 cup rice cooker. Price for the latter is about $160.00. Given the negligible temperature differentials in the Winco it appears that an immersion circulator is not necessary. (Auber provides technical information on request.) So for a price range of $169.00 (if I use my crock pot) to $329.00 if I buy the Winco I will have a smoker pid, sous-vide pid and possibly a large rice cooker as well.

Answered by tom on Saturday, February 13
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Can't agree with you more. I have been using sousvidemagic for over a year now, still amazed for all the wonderful dishes that turned out for such a small investment.
Answered by maria anderson on Wednesday, January 27
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With respect to my blog on 02/13/2010 I was somewhat disappointed when I thought about the fact that the Winco is sufficient for most cooking in terms of diameter (13 inches) but is only 6 inches deep. I reheat a lot of frozen smoked brisket and look forward to doing other roasts sous vide. I don't think that 6 inches of water will cover them adequately, especially with a rack on the bottom. People on the web who are using the Auber pid are reporting that the Black and Decker 38 cup rice cooker works very well for sous vide with the pid while the cooker on its own does not do as well for rice. In any event, the Black and Decker is approximately 15 inches wide and I believe it is approximately that deep. It has a manual switch and sells for about $53.oo. I ordered one and also ordered a nine dollar fish tank aerator and four dollars worth of tubing. I'll keep you posted.
Answered by tom on Tuesday, February 16
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In my last post to this site noted above on 02/26/2010 I mistakenly implied that the Sous Vide Magic (SVM) reads out in hundredths. It actually reads out in tenths. This is a nice feature for setting temp because you can set the temp, for example, at 141.5 F rather than simply setting it at 141. This keeps the temperature fluctuating within the 141 F range, usually +/- .2 degree F when you arrive at the set point with packets in the water. I cooked about 6-7 pounds of assorted bags of chix drums, thighs and breasts in the equipment noted above. I failed to mention above that I use a 20 quart Revere stock pot with a copper bottom that fits exactly into the Black and Decker rice cooker. I also separated the bags with stainless round cooling racks to provide optimal water circulation. After about 1.5 hours at 141.5F and a few minutes under the broiler the chicken was wonderful. Also, given the size of the stock pot I was able to use gallon size food saver bags rather than the quart size even though the latter work nicely. My next experiment is lamb shanks.

Tom Knee
Answered by tom on Friday, March 05
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I own a hot tub and found a great video by a chef who used one to cook a whole pig sous vide (at 140 F with a temperature over-ride) and then finished it off with some sausages inside the pig placed on a spit. To see the video google "sous vide pig in hot tub" and go to the site. If you already own a hot tub, how economical is that?

Tom Knee
Answered by tom on Thursday, March 18
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Baldwin seems to indicate that the degree of precision given by a Ranco ETC controller (non pid, @ ~$75) is sufficient for most home sus vide needs.

given the variations in temperature when using roaster ovens (mine cost $22 at Walmart: i missed the sale) unless you use some sort of circulation device, how important is it to have .1 degree accuracy, or even 1 degree accuracy, in temperature control?

does cooking at 130 degrees versus 132 or 133 degrees really make that much difference?
Answered by bozozozo on Thursday, May 06
You can also find a lot of sous vide information, as well as over 100 recipes, in our book Beginning Sous Vide which you can get at Amazon.com or as a pdf download.

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