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  #11  
Old 12-28-2012, 12:08 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: So. Orange County, CA. USA
Posts: 1,155
Default Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

I found a old, wooden, fabric covered, slide storage box and will be using this until it disagrees with me. The controller seems to be doing what the default settings tell it to do and this is where the tweaking starts. Right now it runs significantly past the target temp and then settles back to the target, by tweaking it should move to the target temp, quickly until it's close and then slowly to just past. After this it pulses the power to the heater coils and should keep things within 0.5F. The controller will learn about the bath / heater relationship. Things like how fast is the temp changed up by the heaters and down by how fast the heat bleeds off. If the bath is covered heat dissipation will slow, if it's insulated it will slow, if it's a big insulated pot without a cover in a cold room.. Well you get the idea.. Although the cost of the equipment is relatively low, by the time you run the parts, assemble and tweak, my feeling is that the $500 Polyscience device isn't so crazy. My bet is that these are going to be in the $300 range by this time next year..

JMHO

Chris

PS Cooking results to follow..
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  #12  
Old 12-31-2012, 09:09 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: So. Orange County, CA. USA
Posts: 1,155
Default Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

The only thing I've completed cooking, sous vide, so far are NY steaks. That said I have a 4# pork shoulder that has been cooking comfortably for 16 hours.

My impressions so far are limited but here is what I have so far. There is a real convenience factor to the method an example would be that the steaks are all at temp and ready just queued for browning and presentation. Steaks may not be the ideal food items bearing in mind that with sous vide the resting period, after grilling, is non-existent or nearly so. Just Sear with a blow torch or very hot pan or Tuscan grill, and plate. A Pork belly or short ribs, or another item that takes time, at a specific temp, seems to be a more ideal candidate.

I’m not convinced that this method really replaces braising, but it’s early yet. I still have the feeling that braising has the advantage of concentrating and bringing flavors together. Ragu of pork or Coq-au-vin or getting Texas BBQ, require time in the pot or in the smoke and I just don’t know that these are better done or prepped using sous vide or if they can be done at all.

I became aware that evaporation is, or can be an issue. Who’d have thunk it? I’ve added about 2L, a gallon, of water to the bath in the last 16 hours. Evaporation, of course, is going to be relative to the temp of the bath and coverage of the bath. I’m also happy to pass along that although the DYI tool works beautifully. After chasing the parts and trying to design an acceptable, functional tool, I now understand spending $400, or more, for a stand alone, self contained unit like one of the PolyScience devices. The downside of lower cost, production, devices are the ability to maintain a larger volume bath at temp and their high purchase price. The units need to be flexible enough to return the dollar and skill investments. My feeling is that these units will drop in price significantly in the next 2 years, the Modernist Cooking movement and component costs will drive these drops. I don’t know how much I’ll end up using this tool and technique; it’s just too early for me to know yet.

I’ll update things as I have more to share.


Chris
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  #13  
Old 12-31-2012, 06:56 PM
Journeyman
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Detroit
Posts: 396
Default Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

For anyone reading this with the thought of building their own thermal immersion circulator I would highly suggest one thing. Built the immersion circulator and the temperature control unit separate. That is how I built mine, and although I don't Sous Vide all that much, I use the temperature controller pretty much non stop.
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  #14  
Old 01-01-2013, 08:19 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: So. Orange County, CA. USA
Posts: 1,155
Default Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

shuboyje,

How are you using the controller?

The controller and the ability to setup a proofer or temp control for my grandparents little Kamado or whatever else were part of the reason for going forward with the project. And it certainly was part of the reason I kept the controller separate from the heat and circulation components. Your point of keeping these things as plugins certainly adds a high degree of flexibility.

The Pork shoulder, butt, was kept at 66C, 150F, for 26 hours. Maintaining the water bath due to evaporation took little effort but having a secondary "Digital" instant read thermometer became fixation. I'll be ordering a ThermoWorks Thermapen today when I can decide on the color.. ;-) Although I have any number of analog thermometers and digital remote roasting thermometers, I need a Thermapen.

Back to the Butt. It came out moist and separated from the bone with little effort. Success! Along with evaporation, it became apparent that the thermocouple to controller connection needs soldering. The connectors came crimped on and even though they seem to be firm, movement at this connection creates reading inaccuracies.

Right now the whole device looks like a science project and this needs to be cleaned up and packaged.

Chris

Last edited by SCChris; 01-01-2013 at 08:22 AM.
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  #15  
Old 01-01-2013, 03:47 PM
TropicalCoasting's Avatar
Journeyman
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Qld
Posts: 315
Default Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

Seems to be a few cheapish ones on ebay out of China
$200 odd dollars is still a fair bit to pay,I might wait until they are $19.99 like a rice cooker in a few years time.
Thermostatic Water Bath | eBay
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