Precise temperature control. Uniformed cooking throughout your food. And not being chained to your clock as you cook. These are just a few of the advantages of Sous Vide cooking. In this blog post I take a quick look at the Anova Culinary Sous Vide Immersion Circulator, which blends high-tech gadgetry with a must-have kitchen accessory. Check it out!
Taking a bit of a departure from the norm, my wife actually did 99% of the testing you see here. As a matter of fact, it is with her notes that I’m able to draft this review. Other than being the recipient of her delicious food, the rest is courtesy of The Missus. Enjoy!
If you’re a regular follower of Ari’s blog, you’ll know that a good deal of his topics have centered around smart home products. I have thoroughly enjoyed reaping the benefits of Ari’s hobby, and the conveniences that all of his smart home gadgets have provided. It’s been great having him install, test, and teach me how to use all of the things that he’s tested over the years!
However, you might be interested to know that Ari, while being great at techy-stuff, is not much of a cook. There. I said it. When I ask him what he’s cooking for dinner, he says, “You mean, where am I taking you?” It’s a very good thing for him that I’m a pretty decent cook. And as the head chef at Chez Comet, I started to think that maybe we could test out a few gadgety things that might make my life in the kitchen a little simpler.
Enter the Anova Culinary WIFI Precision Cooker, which is a WiFi and Bluetooth enabled sous vide cooker. If you’re not familiar with it, sous vide cooking is a method of cooking in which you vacuum seal your food & seasonings in an air-tight plastic bag, and cook it in a temperature-controlled water bath for a long period of time. The term “sous vide” is actually French for “under vacuum.”
I convinced Ari that I should do a “guest spot” on his blog and test the Anova — after all, I had been enjoying the fruits of his smart-home labors, so why shouldn’t he enjoy a few meals at the expense of my testing?!
During the setup and testing process we took a bunch of photos, shown here:
Setting up the Anova Culinary WIFI Precision Cooker was pretty simple. I downloaded the Anova Wifi app, set up the sous vide cooker in a large pot, and after a few tries, the cooker was connected. The app is pretty straightforward. There are lots of pre-set times and temperatures for various foods. Just tap on what you want to cook, and it gives you recommended times and temperatures for that food. The app will notify you when the water bath reaches the set temperature, and when the cooking timer is complete.
The first thing I cooked was hard boiled eggs – they’re cheap, and if you mess them up it’s not as if it was a $20 piece of steak! Using the recommended time and temperature on the Anova Wifi app (160deg for 45 min), the eggs came out *almost* hard-boiled. They were cooked, and not runny, but the whites weren’t quite as firm as I was expecting. But still, pretty cool stuff.
The main thing about sous vide cooking that appeals to me is the idea that, in a temperature-controlled water bath, it should be a lot easier to have perfectly-cooked meats without having to babysit and take temperatures. So it seemed pretty obvious that the next thing I should do is invite friends over and make them be my guinea pigs while I cooked up some nice ribeye steaks! I put my steaks & seasonings into individual Ziplock brand freezer bags and put them in the water bath, and followed the instructions in the Anova Wifi app for a medium rare steak. I finished the steaks off on the grill to get a nice char crust on the outside, and boy oh boy, those steaks were delicious! Perfectly medium rare the whole way through — none of that gray-on-the-outsides and pink-on-the-inside nonsense that you get when you grill a steak. It was tender, juicy, and perfect. Success!! And while the steaks were cooking in the water bath, I had time to make all of my side dishes. No babysitting required.
Next up, boneless skinless chicken breast. I hate cooking boneless skinless chicken breasts because I’m so paranoid about under-cooked chicken, that I always over cook it. I threw some olive oil, rosemary, lemon, salt & pepper in a baggie with the chicken breasts, sealed them up, and started cooking. Again, I charred them a little on the grill, and served them to my family. Even the little one gave the chicken 4 our of 5 stars, and she’s picky so that was a huge compliment!
All in all, the Anova Culinary WIFI Precision Cooker really makes for a more relaxed cooking experience. You’re never worried about over/under cooking an item, and the prep is extremely simple. We ended up testing a few pots, but ultimately ordered this Rubbermaid Food Storage container as it is the perfect size for the sous vide + food without overflowing.
Whether you’re a casual cook, a Food Network junkie, or a culinary pro, cooking with a Sous Vide is definitely the way to go– and the Anova immersion circulator is a high quality unit that, thanks to a very intuitive & informative app, makes delving into sous vide cooking an easier and more pleasurable experience. Give it a try, you won’t regret it! (And those who eat your cooking will love you for it!)