305 of 310 people found the following review helpful
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EDIT: Still enjoying this machine after more than 1 year. I tend to use it at least once a week for fish. I also occasionally use it for (not-so-good) steak. Oh, and it excels at leg of lamb. I do want to note that the difference between tenderness and juiciness has never been more apparent to me than when I used this device - there's a reason it's recommended to serve sous vide meat with a sauce or jus. I note that there is a sous vide machine available through Amazon that's about half the size and half the price. I've never used it, but it looks like it might be a way to try this method of cooking without spending a fortune, although I question if the size is large enough for a small family. Finally, there's an excellent comment about cooking meat to two different levels of doneness in the comments section that I encourage you to check out...
This review is for the SousVide Supreme Demi. I've never seen or used the larger Supreme model, which is about 50% more expensive, for a slightly larger capacity. My understanding is that you probably get 1/3rd more space for the money. The only difference appears to be capacity, so this review may still be useful to read. See my warning at the end for what the machine won't do, but to be clear: you'll need to buy or already own a separate device that will allow you to vacuum seal food in plastic bags. This "oven" can't be used without that sealer and it's not included in this package, although certain warehouse stores have been known to sell a bundle that includes a sealer for not too much more money.
I will not claim to be an expert at SousVide cooking, but this seems to do exactly what you'd want. Briefly, what you'd want is a very precisely controlled water bath. The idea is that the food is put into a bag and vacuum-packed using a separate device, and then thrown into this "oven" to be brought to its perfect final eating temperature. Since there's no risk of over-cooking, food can be left in this state for relatively long periods of time: from hours to days. It is a great way of cooking steaks, fish, soft-boiled eggs/custards, and certain vegetables. It is not necessarily a faster way of cooking, nor does it seem optimized for the vast majority of baking applications. Note that you can't cook at two different temperatures without two different ovens, so you're probably either cooking meat/fish OR vegetables. Given the length of time it takes to cook foods, you probably wouldn't be doing both.
So, it's a device for holding water at a constant temperature for an indefinite period of time. Does this model do the trick? In a word, yes.
First, it is completely silent. There's not even a fan whirring gently in the background. There's not even the whine from the small LCD display. It's silent.
Second, it holds the temperature of the water plus or minus a degree or two (fahrenheit). You can set the temperature to display in celsius or fahrenheit. It relies entirely on convection to circulate the water (no blades or pumps to break) but that seems to work pretty well. Every time I reached into the water, it felt evenly hot throughout. Since one tends to cook things for long periods of time in one of these "ovens", I think convection works just fine. There is a timer that counts down time and then turns OFF the oven. Sadly, there is no count down timer to count down time and then turn the oven on.
Third, it comes up to temperature very quickly - from water out of the tap to cooking temperature in less than 15 minutes. Since you're cooking for long periods of time, you can probably ignore the warm-up and just throw your food in after you plug it in. The one cautiion here is that it takes a full three seconds of pressing the button before the power turns on. Three seconds does not sound like a long time, but it will stop the machine from being switched on or off by mistake. It sure feels like a long time when you plug it in for the first time.
Fourth, the capacity seems fine for anything up to a small family/6 people. If you're going to use it for entertaining or more than 6 people, you'll need the bigger model. I could fit six steaks into the oven. If you were really careful, and the pieces were small, you could probably fit 8. In terms of size, you can get the dimensions from the specs above, but it seemed like it would take a couple of small whole fish, or 6 inch-thick salmon steaks. Again, not great for big families.
Fifth, the lid and (optional) heat mat (which looks/feels like a mousepad) do a nice job of conserving heat in the unit. There's no steam and water at 130 degrees F, for medium-rare meat, just isn't that warm. I'm pretty happy reaching in and grabbing things without gloves or tongs. It's definitely warmer than a hot-tub, but no-one's going to get badly scalded. I'm not sure how high it will heat: up to 200 degrees F should be possible. I don't think it will boil water, but I've never tried. Certainly, that's not the point of this device, since the lid does not lock so it will never function as a pressure cooker. And if you wanted to boil food, you could do that in any pot.
Sixth, at the end, it's easy to take off the lid, pull out the tray, and use the two off-set handles to pick the whole thing up and empty out the water. You don't want this water sitting around for repeated runs - things will start to grow in it unless you add some salt or perhaps a copper penny or two. By the way, I'm sure that either of those approaches will invalidate the warranty.
Yes, this is basically a super accurate, very expensive crock-pot that's designed to be used with water and bags of meat instead of stew. Advantages: the meat will retain it's shape and consistency much better when cooked in the bag.
Ok, so what doesn't this product do?
Well, in order to cook food in this gizmo, you really have to buy a SEPARATE vacuum sealer and then a supply of bags. The sealer creates a vacuum inside special food-safe bags and then melts it closed. Note that the bags are not really re-usable and regular zip locks won't really do the trick, so you'll have to buy a supply of bags OR rolls of plastic that you can seal to create bags. The SousVide company makes a sealer (which I bought) that is not cheap, but that's because it has an important extra functionality: Some vacuum sealers will only seal the bag after a vacuum has formed completely. That will suck out any marinade/juices from the food. However, the SousVide sealer (and certain others, eg some FoodSaver models) allow you to seal the bag, independently of applying a vacuum. In this case, that means I can apply a vacuum until I see the marinade beginning to be sucked out, then hit the other button to seal the bag immediately. It works really quite well.
That's it. So why only four stars? Well, it's really expensive for what it is: a very nicely built waterbath. As an ex-scientist, I've used these in a laboratory setting and I couldn't find one cheaper ... but that's not really surprising since scientists get ripped off anyway. Basically, you're paying for being an early adopter. As these become more mainstream, I would expect the price to go down. Until then, c'est la vide (couldn't resist).
56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
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These were available for a limited time at costco and I'm very happy I jumped when I saw one (costco's return policy = no risk early adoption). I've only had it a week, but have cooked a few things in it. Chicken breasts @ 140f for 2 hours was delish, carrots with a little butter magnificent, scrambled eggs were custardy in a way I thought impossible. The critical thing it does well that a lot of hack sous vide options can miss on is the constant temperature. Various levels of water have fluctuated no more than 1 F for this first week of use. I'm looking forward to doing to some longer cooks with beef this weekend.
If you're the type of person that thinks "ok tonight I'm shooting for a michelin star dinner at home" this is a nice weapon to have in your arsenal. Is it necessary? No, but the hands free consistency that it provides, especially for proteins frees you focus on other details that can really elevate your food to new levels. There's a lot of cook ahead uses for it as well, but I purchased for the curiousity and mad scientist opportunities, not the convenience of midweek meal prep.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Frank W Cannon
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I actually own two of these, the demi and the supreme full size--both bought through Amazon. I should explain that I live in a 3rd world country and select grade of beef is the top grade we get here. We tried crock pots, pressure cookers, nothing would make the meat edible. Out of desperation, we purchased the demi first. We could not believe how tender the steaks came out. After researching, I discovered that many high end $$$ restaurants cook all steaks sous vide before putting them on the grill. Our sous vide is used many days a week. We have owned this appliance for over 6 months and we love it. We cook all of our meats sous vide, from chicken, to pork, to beef, even eggs.
However, a couple of months ago we discovered a whole new use for it. Again, living in a 3rd world country, yogurt is scarce, so we bought a yogurt maker--loved it, but it just couldn't keep up with the amount we use. We make yogurt dressings, yocheese, etc. Just as an experiment, we put 5 quarts of yogurt in the demi sous vide at 117 degrees and 5 hours later we had wonderful creamy Greek yogurt.
The meats all come out perfectly cooked and are so tender you can throw away your steak knives. We have cooked the tough cuts and still, fork tender. What a great way to save money, buy cheaper cuts and cook them in your sous vide. So why do we own two? We recently purchased the larger one for our new home when we retire in December. I cannot say enough about these two products. There are many good books on sous vide and the internet is a wealth of information.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
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I've had this for 2 months now, so I feel ready to give it a review. I started with a primitive crock-pot hack, and quickly decided I wanted the real deal. If you have the counter space, this looks a lot nicer than a crock-pot with a bunch of wires everywhere. As an appliance that I use about twice a week, it merits a prominent spot in my kitchen.
I've done pork chops, pork and beef tenderloin, short ribs, Delmonico, whole chicken, chicken breasts. All of these early experiments have ranged from decent first attempts, to amazing.
Chicken (145 with fresh Rosemary)is the tenderest ever - white meat that explodes with juices when you poke it. I'm looking forward to trying some free range birds, hoping for some real intrinsic flavor.
Pork loin (134) has been especially good. I get local meat that isn't pumped with liquids. Prepared simply and cooked all day. Ready to sear when I get home from work.
I've also used it to keep liquids at 105 for a yeast based batter.
I haven't mentioned seafood - I will try it, but feel that broiling or grilling will still be my preference for that. The utility of this is clearly geared to meats. Some people use it to achieve the perfect egg, something else that isn't my thing.
My latest adventure was a local grass-fed sirloin tip. Seasoned with old bay and pepper, it cooked for 48 hours at 131. Sliced thin and served cold, it was quite a treat for a weekday meal.
The design is perfectly utilitarian. It's a simple concept, and they didn't over-complicate it. The appliance looks fine enough to leave out, and is light enough (without water!) to pull in and out of a cabinet. The handle placement is perfect for pouring out the water.
It's not a panacea. You still need good ingredients and a sense of proportion in use of spices. Generally, less spice is better. If you use something permeating like Cumin seed, better to count the seeds (like 5).
Regarding the Ziploc/Foodsaver debate, I don't see much difference. Ziplocs do leak some of the aroma, but that's not a bad thing, is it? I use vacpacs for smaller items, especially because I have a lot of them. A 3 lb chicken fit nicely in a 2 gallon Ziploc. I do recommend keeping the zipper draped over the side just in case you didn't zip it perfectly.
There's lots of info on the web, if you're looking for some guidance on a particular cut. At least you can see what other people have tried. Google 'Dave Arnold' for some Culinary fun.
Some people balk at the price. I don't agree, considering there is no competition at the consumer level. I'm not saying it's a bargain, but either is a Kitchenaid mixer. What does a Kitchenaid do? It saves you time and gives you consistent results. That's the way I look at this Low Temp Cooker. The ability to do Sous Vide in my own kitchen has changed the way I think about cooking and meal planning. It allows me to focus on the other dishes and not worry about timing the meat. It allows me to serve meals on a weeknight that would otherwise not be possible. Assuming it lasts a long time, it will be money well spent.
39 of 48 people found the following review helpful
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+maintains temperature well
-very flimsy build
The creator of this device (Dr Eades) will tell you himself: this is just a crockpot with more precise temperature control. For that, it reaches the desired temperature precises, and holds it there beautifully.
Then one wonders... why does something like this cost so much??? Forget the novelty* of it, and the fanciful french name... (*yes i know sous vide has been around for decades, and adopted by pralus/goussault 50 years ago)... but why does a WATER BATH cost 300-500$? Because noone else makes one for the mass consumer.
Okay, fair enough, lets talk about it objectively: its FLIMSY. the roughness of the liner finish, the edges of the plastim trim and moulding, then way the control panel/buttons pushes back, the paper-thin lid. The whole device - made in China - reeks of thin-gauge pressed aluminum. A heavy stainless or chrome-trimmed version would be nice. This one, not knowing what it was, would pass off as a 50$ kitchen gadget found at Marshalls.
IS IT FOR YOU?
Think before you purchase the practicality of such a device. All different foods needs to be cooked at precisely different temperature, and for a VERY varying degree of time. Too long on veggies and they go mush. Too short (e.g. 4 hours is NOT ENOUGH) for a roast and it wont be cooked.
Example: A dinner of ribeye steak & glazed carrots. Steak goes at 135* for 8+ hours -- drop it in before going to work , easy. Carrots? 180* for 2 hours. Now you cant cook both of these items in parallel on the same device because of diff temperature requirements. But to cook them in series--one after another--will take hours. Like your dinner at 11pm?
In summary, its not possible to do a complete meal in the SVS. 1 component of a meal per day. What would you cook in there? If you did steak, you would also need to finish it with a sear on the stove top. Thats not a reduction of "effort". And I prefer mine grilled on charcoal Weber, FWIW). For fish and salmon / steelhead trout, its actually TONS faster and tastier to broil. hint: 5 minute per side 6" underneath broiler element = fantastic salmon). So theres poultry... and i do poultry on SVS beause white chicken tastes bad most other methods.
This is all my 300$ "sousvide" is really practical for: cooking chicken breast.
well, that, and make fantastic 65*C eggs