A Sous Vide Breakthrough

When Crimfan came by to visit a few weeks ago, I regretted not being able to expose him to some fun sous vide cookery. I'd been meaning to work out a means to employ the method at home with the equipment I have. Unfortunately, most of the sous vide preparations that I get excited about take a long time - so sitting by the stove with a thermometer wasn't going to do it. I needed something with some ability to maintain a constant temperature.I do have something like that - my electric wok. The temperature control is measured in degrees. It goes from 220 to 420. There is actually a lot of room below 220, too, that isn't marked. The problem is that it has a really big hot spot, right in the center. This made me rule it out for sous vide a while back. Not long ago, though, I had a breakthrough. I stuck a small yet thick ceramic plate over the bottom of the wok to insulate/diffuse the heat, then I filled the wok with water. I found that I could hold the temperature in the wok to within about 3 degrees. The amount of control here isn't totally awesome, but it is more than adequate for most uses of the method. It certainly works for turning chuck roast into super-awesome steak. So... definitely add this to the list of unexpected super-awesome uses for an electric wok.

Comments

Interesting.... I am not surprised that a ceramic plate helped. An oven is often improved markedly by putting some extra mass in there to act as a heat sink and that's what makes a good pan, too.

The hot spot is the whole point of a wok, but not if you're using it for sous vide.

I do need to try the chuck steak sous vide sometime.

Have you tried the cooler method on Serious Eats? http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/04/cook-your-meat-in-a-beer-cooler-the-w...

That's really cool! I'm much more willing to try sous vide at $25 rather than at $500. I suspect that what I'll do is try something like steak, which I'll just sear outside after a rest to get some Maillard reaction.

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