Serious Eats recently posted a great article about using a beer cooler to cook sous vide in. I hadn't heard of anything like that but it definitely makes sense that it would work.
They simply used ziplock bags and their beer cooler filled with the hot water to hold several steaks at temperature for one to two hours. Then they finished it off on the grill when everyone was ready to eat.
The only part I'm not sure of it how to heat up enough water to fill the cooler!
Here's how it works: A beer cooler is designed to keep things cool. It accomplishes this with a two-walled plastic chamber with an air space in between. This airspace acts as an insulator, preventing thermal energy (a.k.a. heat) from outside to reach the cold food inside. Of course, insulators work both ways.
Once you realize that a beer cooler is just as good at keeping hot things hot as it is at keeping cold things cold, then the rest is easy: Fill up your beer cooler with water just a couple degrees higher than the temperature you'd like to cook your food at (to account for temperature loss when you add cold food to it), seal your food in a plastic Ziplock bag*, drop it in, and close your beer cooler until your food is cooked. It's as simple as that.
If so, please join the more than 6,500 people who receive my exclusive newsletter and get a FREE COPY of my printable modernist ingredient cheatsheet. Just click on the green button below!
Did you enjoy this?
I'd really appreciate you sharing it with your friends:
You're Almost Done!
Thanks for signing up! I look forward to sending you recipes, links, and exclusive content and offers that you can't find anywhere else on the site, and I'll send you a free copy of my modernist ingredient cheatsheet too!
Enter your first name and email below, and I'll see you on the inside!