Once something you only saw on ‘Top Chef,’ sous vide hits shelves at Target, Best Buy

Anova Precision Cooker
Target is pushing hard to help consumers figure out their smart-home situation. In addition to the Target Open House in San Francisco, it recently opened a location in Minnesota to demo Internet of Things products. And back in March, it began selling Anova sous vide machines, with plans to have the device in up to 1,800 stores by October.

Best Buy will also begin selling the Anova, which is an immersion circulator that lets you sous vide in your own kitchen. Once the purview of only high-end restaurants, sous vide is a cooking technique that involves slowly cooking food in a temperature-regulated water bath. Instead of using a stove, you clip an immersion circulator onto your pot; it heats the water and keeps it moving around your sealed plastic bag of chicken, steak, or what have you, keeping the food at just the right temperature to cook, as well as juicy.

Anova AppAnova — like a glut of other similarly priced devices on the market — wants to make sous vide more mainstream. Despite its French name and unfamiliar equipment, these appliances actually amount to a technique that’s more foolproof than making something on your stove or oven. “It enables you to produce results that are impossible to achieve through any other cooking method,” Anova’s Jordan Houston Ramsdell told Digital Trends. While many aspiring amateur chefs might not think anything of picking up a $30 slow cooker they’ll occasionally use to make chili, the Anova’s $199 price tag might make some balk at buying a device they aren’t sure they’ll use frequently.

If you learned to cook knowing that your chicken should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit (about 73.9 degree Celsius) to ensure it’s safe to consume, then putting raw thighs in a bath of 140-degree Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) water for an hour might make you squirm. “I think that’s the biggest hurdle we have to overcome,” Taylor Dawson, product evangelist at GE’s FirstBuild, told me when I was reviewing the company’s Paragon induction cooktop, which can be used to do sous vide.

But the Anova, the Paragon, the Nomiku, and other sous vide devices all come with apps that walk you through recipes or steps for making a variety of food via the sous vide method. Many people say you don’t need a vacuum sealer to make your meal, just heavy-duty ziplock bags, but there is some concern about the safety of using plastic bags in heated water, especially if they’re not BPA-free.

And while we love a sous vide steak, vegetarians can actually find plenty of recipes that will keep them satisfied, from corn on the cob to scrambled eggs. “We have customers using the Precision Cooker for home brewing, baking, tempering chocolate, and even ice cream,” says Houston Ramsdell. You can find recipes for mulled wine, chocolate chip cookies, and Greek yogurt done in the sous vide method.

I did an informal poll of my friends, family, and co-workers about sous vide. Some had never heard of it; others were already posting pictures of their creations on Facebook, and one adventurous soul had already purchased an immersion circulator for his smartphone-illiterate mother. Now that consumers can pick up an Anova at Target when you’re on a paper towel-and-box-of-wine run (they go hand-in-hand), you could find yourself sampling a sous vide pork chop the next time you head to your parents’ for dinner.

Update 6/13/2016: Updated to reflect Anova began selling its device in Target in March.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Thanksgiving in an Instant ... Pot? Here are our favorite recipes

Did you know you can cook the majority, if not all, of your Thanksgiving menu items in your Instant Pot? It's all about picking the right recipes. These are our picks for the best Instant Pot recipes for Turkey Day.
Product Review

Size matters, and Anova got it right with the Nano sous vide immersion circulator

Thinking about trying your hand at sous vide cooking? Anova recently came out with the smaller, more affordable Nano. The compact and easy-to-store precision sous vide immersion circulator is only $99. Here's our take on the device.
Smart Home

Amazon Echo Show vs. Lenovo Smart Display

The Amazon Echo Show and Lenovo Smart Display are two popular smart displays, but which one is right for you? Learn about the displays, speakers, capabilities, and other important features before you decide which to buy.
Smart Home

You can now use Amazon Echo Buttons to set up multitasking Routines

Amazon announced that its Echo Buttons now work with Routines. You can craft custom Routines — multiple tasks performed together — and have Alexa carry out the command for you when you hit the Echo Button.
Smart Home

Amazon has a huge team dedicated to enhancing Alexa and Echo

An Amazon executive on Tuesday, November 13 revealed the huge size of the team that's tasked with developing the Echo, the company's smart speaker, and Alexa, the digital assistant that powers it.
Product Review

You don't need Alexa in your microwave, but you'd be surprised what she can do

Amazon has added to its long portfolio of products with the AmazonBasics Microwave, a small appliance that works with Alexa. We took the microwave for a test drive to find out more.
Smart Home

Ecobee announces Black Friday deals on smart thermostats and smart switches

Ecobee's 2018 Black Friday deals are live. Ecobee's smart thermostats and smart wall switch are compatible with smart home voice assistant systems including Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings.
Deals

Here are the best Amazon Echo and Google Home deals for Black Friday

Google Home and Amazon Echo smart speakers compete head to head when it comes to smart home tech. Whether you're a fan of Alexa or Google Home, we've found the best prices on your favorite smart home devices.
Smart Home

Wynd’s new air-purifying bundle lets smart home owners breathe easier

Wynd is already well known in the tech industry for its popular Kickstarter-backed air purifier and now the company is launching two new products designed to improve air quality to inform smart home owners.
Smart Home

Google Assistant adds smart home bells and whistles in time for the holidays

Just in time for the holidays, Google Assistant is introducing a bunch of new smart home features, including the ability to reply to broadcast messages, create and use cookbooks, and access enhanced storybook content for kids.
Smart Home

Brew it fast, hot, and flavorful with our favorite coffee makers

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Emerging Tech

These Alexa-stuffed retro phones don’t listen until you take them off the hook

Looking for an Amazon Echo with a cool vintage touch? Los Angeles-based Grain Design is taking old, non-working antique phones and transforming them into amazing Alexa smart speakers.
Smart Home

This alarm clock uses targeted light and sound to wake you, but not your partner

The Wake v2 isn't like your typical bedside alarm. Instead, it wakes you by shining a soft light directly into your face, thereby not disturbing the person sharing a bed with you. Pretty smart, huh?