Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Having fun with sous vide: Rib Roast

A little while back, I got an immersion circulator from Anova Culinary to test. I'd been itching to try one since the first home units came out, but the last thing I have room for in my kitchen is a big tank of water. The Anova immersion circulator doesn't include any sort of cooking vessel. Instead, it's the heater, pump, and controls in one fat cylinder.

The nice thing is that it doesn't take as much space to store. The nicer thing is that you can affix it to different pots. Sure, there's a size range. But I've used it with two different stock pots, and it's great with both.

I've been muddling around with it since I got it, and I'll admit that I haven't a clue what I'm doing. But I'm having fun and learning from mistakes. My fault, not the device's fault.

After cooking pork and chicken, I decided to move on to beef. I picked up a couple bone-in ribeyes, then noticed that the rib roasts were on sale. Like, half the price per pound of the steaks.

Okay, then, roast it is.

When I got home, I poked around online a bit, and found quite a few people who thought that using sous vide to cook a roast was a bad idea. I found just a few who liked it. Many of them cooked their beef roasts at about 145 degrees, which seemed odd to me. I wanted a roast that was medium rare, at most. Not medium.

So, I threw caution to the wind and went my own way.

I seasoned the roast with Healthy Solutions Bold Beef Rub. I just got samples of that, and figured it was a good opportunity to try it. Then I bagged the roast, and sealed it, and bagged and sealed again. I had run out of FoodSaver bags and bought a cheaper brand, and I didn't completely trust the bags, so I figured two bags was a good precaution.

Turns out, I didn't need to worry about the bags. But anyway ...

I set the temperature to 130 degrees and let the roast cook for seven hours. Yup, seven.

When that was done, I put it in the fridge - I was cooking it for the next day. So, I let it chill.

The next day, I took the roast of out the fridge about an hour before cooking.

This is the roast, sliced the next day, cold.
I cranked the oven to 450 degrees, took the roast out of its bag, got rid of the liquid, and put it on a foil-lined baking sheet.

I rubbed the top with a little more of the spice mix, then tossed it in the overn and let it cook for 30 minutes. I took it out of the oven, covered it with foil, and let it rest for 30 minutes before I sliced it.

It was about as perfect as it could be, and unbelievably tender. This was a basic supermarket on-sale rib roast, not a super-fancy prime cut of beef. They're never tough, but this was meltingly tender. I was totally shocked, and I'm definitely doing this again.

Because of the sous vide cooking, the meat was the same doneness all the way through. The short high-heat cooking browned the outside edge and warmed the meat, but it didn't affect that all-the-way-through doneness at all.

Want a slice?
And, I have to say I liked the flavor that the beef rub gave it. It wasn't overpowering, but it definitely added flavor.

I'm thinking the leftovers will make great beef sandwiches, either hot or cold. And the ribs will no doubt end up being lunch for me very soon.

Definitely a win all the way around.

To go with the beef, I cooked some potato chunks in the Phillips Air Fryer that I wrote about here. (See, I do use these things after I review them.) I drizzled the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkled them with another spice mix from Healthy Solutions. This time I used the Herb Crusted Tilapia mix. I know it sounds weird to use a fish-centric seasoning for potatoes, but the first three ingredients were onion, garlic, and parsley, so I knew it would work with my potatoes.

And I was right. The mix is relatively mild - which is what you'd want with delicate fish - and it was perfect for the potatoes. They tasted like potatoes with flavor rather than potatoes obliterated by spices. I think this would work well with pretty much any vegetables, as well as with fish.

I'll me sharing more sous vide experiments as I come up with things that work. I want to try some vegetables, and then maybe some shortribs - I hear those are great. Have you tried sous vide? Is there something you;'d like to see me try?

Disclaimer: I received the immersion circulator and the spices as samples from their respective manufacturers.