I like DIY projects, watching and doing them myself. The latter isn’t always possible (mainly due to space issues). Nevertheless I recently did a small DIY project, combining it with something I love very much: cooking. I used things I already had at home in order to do my own version of a sous vide cooker. Welcome to my DIY sous vide cooker hack.
But let me first introduce Eric, the host of GardenFork (Website, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram). Eric is sharing his own DIY experience, ranging from topics such as building a boat or a pizza oven, to cooking, beekeeping, gardening, and much more. In one of his videos he made a cheap, yet amazing sous vide cooker out of an old beer cooler.
If you aren’t a cooking aficionado you might wonder what sous vide is all about. Sous vide is French for “under vacuum”. In sous vide cooking the food (meat, fish or vegetables) will be put in a sealed and airtight bag. Then the bag will be placed into either a water bath or a compartment which will be full of steam. This is a very controlled, measured method that allows you to evenly cook your food.
In order to achieve the perfect core temperature, your food item will be cooked on a very low temperature for a few minutes or hours (sometimes even for several days). The temperature varies and depends on the produce you are cooking and its thickness (especially when it comes to meat). Chefsteps.com has a good overview when it comes to the cooking times and temperatures for various items.
It’s important to note that because the temperature is not very high, bacteria will not be killed (see pasteurization). Your should therefore eat the food shortly after you’ve cooked it. When you are in doubt, you should pasteurize it yourself or fry it shortly (then it gets hot enough and in the case of meat just tastes amazing). Refrain from sous vide cooking and any raw foods in general if you are immunocompromised.
Sous Vide cooker hack
Lacking the space to store a cooler similar to Eric’s, I used what I had in my flat: My tea cooker. The tea cooker was a fancy gift from my parents and my brother. This means it has plenty of options for tea brewing.
So I got some meat and marinated it, stuffed it in a bag and brought the water to the lowest possible temperature, which was 55°C in this case. Next step was to turn on the “keep warm” function and slowly place the meat in the tea cooker. Now I had to wait for about an hour. I used the time to prepare the rest of the dish.
Once everything was prepared, I took the bag out of the tea cooker. Next step is to dry the outside. In the meantime you heat up a pan. I recommend the pan being very hot. Be cautious when you add your oil and give the steak a good sear on each side. As the steak is already on temperature this doesn’t take long. It simply adds some color and flavor to the meat. Feel free to season the steak to your personal liking.
Afterwards you should give the steak a moment to rest. This allows the boiling juices inside of the meat to calm down. This avoids that all those yummy juices run out of the meat once you slice it.
Now to the most important step: sit down and enjoy your meal!
I used the steak slices for a bowl of ramen. It’s the perfect dish for me.