Sous vide: All about this growing cooking tech trend

best sous vide machines header
sarymsakov/123RF
If you like to experiment a little in the kitchen, or have foodie friends who enjoy trying new things, you’ve probably already come across the term sous vide. It’s an alternative method of cooking that promises incredibly succulent meats and other foods without you ever having to worry about overcooking, charring, timing, or other issues. It may sound too good to be true, but sous vide is a real, high-tech cooking method that’s all about water. Let’s take a look at how it works and what it’s best used for.

What is sous vide?

One-Smart-Kitchen-Sous-Vide-Water-Circulator_001

Sous vide, a French term meaning “under vacuum,” is a water-based cooking technique that can be used across a wide variety of foods. It doesn’t work too well for things like baking or sautéing, but when it comes to meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and other menu items, it can prove very effective.

Sous vide has grown more popular with the advance of smart kitchen tools that can accurately judge temperature and set automatic timers. Despite the presence of high-tech cooking, however, sous vide is actually a very simple concept. It involves two important steps:

  1. Sealing foods and their related ingredients in a plastic bag. Sometimes a canning jar or other receptacle is used, depending on the method.
  2. Placing the sealed food in water, often in a pot or specialized cooker, and cooking it there at a precise temperature for a certain amount of time.

Wait, so are we just boiling foods now instead of roasting them? Not exactly, since the food is safely sealed away from the water, it doesn’t boil (unless you want it to), and the temperatures are often lower than the boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius). It simply cooks in a very uniform way, and there are several advantages to this type of cooking that food fans and ambitious chefs greatly appreciate.

Why is sous vide is so popular?

Paragon Induction Sous Vide

Chefs like the sous vide method because it removes a lot of the problems with cooking demanding foods over traditional sources of heat. You see, heat via a burner — gas, electric, charcoal, what have you — is never uniform. While the infrared energy that comes from a burner steadily increases the heat of air and objects around it, it’s impossible to fully predict or control, and you can’t hold it at a specific temperature for long periods of time (no matter what your oven tells you). This is why it’s so difficult to cook the perfect steak or fish, even with years of practice. The heat is uneven, constantly changing, and cannot be left on without burning the food. The window for an ideal cooked meat may be only a minute or less.

Sous vide, on the other hand, removes most of these difficulties. When meats and other foods are cooked in water, they are heated precisely from all sides with a temperature that can be easily controlled and maintained at exact levels of heat for precise periods of time. No exposure to flame or external air means no charring or drying out, either. As a result, all the meat and other ingredients are cooked equally well, all the way through. Since temperatures are controlled so precisely, you don’t need to rush off to the kitchen or hover over the stove, either. Also, because the process is so reliable, it allows people with less experience in the kitchen to tackle more difficult meals with greater confidence — and save more time.

There are other, less tangible benefits too. Sous vide is supposed to help lock in natural juices more effectively, increase the amount of edible meat you get on a cut, and may even increase nutritional value.

Smart Home

5 lessons from Amazon’s head-spinning, head-splitting Alexa fiesta

Yesterday’s surprise Alexa announcement was a deluge of fast-paced devices and software announcements. Here are five takeaways from the event (hint: one is a prediction of Amazon world domination).
Smart Home

These accessories will take your already awesome Instant Pot to a whole new level

If you're familiar with the Instant Pot, you know that this bad boys acts as a pressure cooker, rice cooker, cake maker, egg boiler, and a lot more. Here are some must-have accessories to make Instant Pot cooking even better.
Smart Home

New to Instant Pot? A no-pressure guide to using the popular pressure cooker

The versatility of the Instant Pot makes it a great kitchen companion, but it also makes the multicooker a little intimidating if you're a newbie. Here are some tips on how to use the magical device.
Smart Home

It cooks! It blends! Instant Pot strikes again with a blender that can cook

From the creators of the popular Instant Pot electronic pressure cooker comes the Instant Pot Ace blender, which can both cook and pulverize food. It turns soups, purees and the like into one-pitcher operations.
Smart Home

Special-edition Instant Pots pay tribute to Pioneer Women with flowery designs

Food Network star Ree Drummond launched the Pioneer Woman Instant Pot in two different floral patterns only at Walmart. Drummond's special-edition multicooker is a pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, sauté pan, steamer, and warmer.
Smart Home

Second-gen vs. third-gen Echo Dot: What’s the difference?

Amazon's latest Dot promises better sound and a softer appearance than its predecessor for a few dollars more. If you're still debating between the second and third-generation models, here's what you need to know.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Click-to-brew beer, comfy headlamps, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Bigger, louder, smarter: The new Echo Show is better in every way

The pressure was on to make a bigger, better Echo Show device, and Amazon delivered. Featuring a larger screen and better sound, the new Show is a combined smart speaker, TV, and overall entertainment center in one.
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.
Smart Home

Nest vs. Ecobee: Which is the better smart thermostat?

Ever wonder how the Nest Learning Thermostat stacks up against the ecobee4? From cost to voice-assistant integration, we break down the features of both devices to help you make a decision for yourself.
Smart Home

Lockbox for fridge keeps medication and alcohol away from kids, wins hackathon

A locking refrigerator door to secure alcohol, medications, and/or food from unauthorized consumers won the top prize at a GE Appliances-backed hackathon. Other winners: a washing machine load sensor and a dishwasher handle that dries wet…
Smart Home

Beermkr is the all-in-one craft beer homebrewing machine

Beermkr is a new project on Kickstarter that promises to simplify the homebrewing process and make it easy for anyone to start brewing their own beer at home. The connected homebrewer can be monitored entirely from a smartphone.
Smart Home

Win a stay in a tiny house designed by tiny comedian Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart, the multimillion-dollar comedian, left the stage behind for a bit and made himself the perfect tiny house. You can enter to win a chance to make yourself at home in it through Booking.com.
1 of 2