DIY sous vide

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving, and in the words of Arlo Guthrie, we had “a Thansgivin’ dinner that couldn’t be beat.”  Along with all the traditional Thanksgiving fare at Casa Eades, we had dueling turkeys: one cooked the traditional way and one cooked sous vide.  And let me tell you, there was no comparison.  I’m not saying this just because we’ve got a sous vide cooker for sale, either.  I’ve never had turkey that tasted so good.  Because I’m not really a big fan of turkey, I eat turkey on Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving only.  I found our sous vide turkey to be so good, because it didn’t really taste like turkey.  At least not turkey cooked in the traditional way that I’m used to tasting.  It was like a different meat entirely.

MD has posted on how she cooked both turkeys on her blog and on the Sous Vide Supreme blog, giving precise recipes for both.  As you can see when you read the posts, cooking a turkey the traditional way is a major pain (both figuratively and literally).  It’s just not worth it when the taste and texture outcome is so much better using sous vide.  Especially since the sous vide method is so much easier and less time consuming. Vastly easier, in fact.

Lest you think this is another post cleverly designed to promote and sell the Sous Vide Supreme, let me disabuse you of that notion.  I’m going to show you how you can try the sous vide method at home without having to purchase a machine to see if it’s really for you.

Not long ago I wrote a post on how MD and I came up with the idea for what ultimately became the Sous Vide Supreme.  We wanted to try cooking sous vide, but there were no sous vide units available for the home cook, and we weren’t about to fork over $1500 for a commercial unit just to give the technique a try.  So, we cobbled together a Rube Goldberg kind of set up and tried it out.

I went back and pulled some of the photos I took of our contraption, which was made of a stock pot, a steaming basket turned upside down, and a candy thermometer.  And, the most important piece of equipment of all: constant attention.

The secret of cooking sous vide is the maintenance of a constant temperature over the cooking period.  Since most things are cooked sous vide at a significantly lower temperature than 212F/100C (the temp at which water boils), you can’t put the container directly on the stove even with the burner on its lowest setting.  The lowest setting is typically for simmering, which holds the temp right at the boiling point.  When we were trying to set up our first try, we experimented with several different ways to get the stock pot high enough up off the flame of our gas stove so that we could get the low temperatures we needed.  We found that the steaming basket (made to set inside a pan) turned upside down gave us the height we needed given the flame on our stove.

Sous vide cooking requires that the temperature be maintained precisely for long periods of time, sometimes up to 72 hours for, say, fall-off-the-bones beef ribs.  On the Sous Vide Supreme, you simply set the temp and walk away.  It’s not so easy with a homemade unit.  You’ve got to monitor it closely because temperature fluctuations of even a degree or two will make a difference in your outcome for many foods.  One of the ways you keep the temp where you want it is to use an important piece of equipment not pictured in the photo above: a pitcher of ice water.  You watch the temp carefully – you don’t have to stand there and watch it minute by minute – checking the candy thermometer every few minutes or so.  If the temp starts to drift up a little (the most common thing), you need to pour in a tiny bit of ice water to bring it down.

Since you’ve got to stay on top of it, it’s best that you limit your cooking in a homemade device to foods that don’t require a long time in the bath.  Which means you’ve got to stick with good-quality beef cuts such as rib eye, New York strips or tenderloin, chicken breasts, salmon, turkey breast, etc.  If you read MD’s post on cooking our Thanksgiving turkey, you’ll notice that she cooked the breast for 2.5 hours at 140F and the dark meat at 176F for eight hours.  If you’ve got a Sous Vide Supreme, you can stick the dark meat in, set it for 176F and get it out eight hours later.  If you’re cooking it using the homemade device, you’re going to be standing close by watching it for eight hours.  Since you probably don’t want to spend eight hours fiddling with it, I would avoid trying the dark meat of a turkey as your first outing in the homemade device.  Try the breast or, better yet, some salmon or even steak, lamb or pork chops.  You want to minimize the amount of time you have to remain vigilant in your temp watching.

Let me give you a couple of never-fail recipes so you can give it a try. And let me say that these were not the same recipes we used the first time we tried our rigged-up machine.  These are recipes that we’ve developed after a lot of bad experiences.  We suffered them so you don’t have to.

Chicken breast sous vide

The first thing you should try is chicken breast.  Why?  Because it’s easy and because the taste difference between a chicken breast cooked sous vide and one cooked any other way is so huge that you can really experience the virtue of cooking this way.

Take your chicken breasts (they can be skinless or with skins in place) and brine for for hours in an 8 percent brine.  You make an 8 percent brine by putting five tablespoons of salt in one quart of water.  Make your brine, put the breasts in, and put in the fridge for four hours.

Pull the breasts from the brine, rinse with fresh water and pat dry.

Put each breast into a food-grade plastic bag along with a big pat of butter.  (If you like it, you can add some cracked pepper or herbs to the bag at this stage)

Vacuum seal the bags with a Food Saver or one of the little hand vacuum pumps.  (You can even press all the air out with your fingers if you don’t have a pump of any kind, though you risk having your meat float and cook unevenly–and perhaps incompletely, which isn’t good with poultry–if any significant amount of air remains.)

Bring your sous vide machine to 140F and put the bags in.  Watch it like a hawk (assuming you’re using your homemade setup) to maintain that temp for about 1.5 hours.

Remove the bags, open and dump out the breasts.  They won’t look particularly appetizing, especially if they have been cooked with the skins on.  If the breasts are skinless, you can actually slice and eat just as they come out of the bag, and they’ll taste something like poached chicken, but infinitely better. But they are better yet if you sear them first to give them a little color and caramelized flavor.

To sear them, you need to put a stainless or cast iron skillet on the stove at the highest temperature you can get.  Gas or electric both work, just put the burner on its highest setting.

Leave the empty skillet on the hot burner for about ten minutes.

Add some clarified butter (ghee), which will sizzle and steam like crazy if the skillet is hot enough.

Put the breasts in the hot skillet and turn from side to side about every 30 seconds with tongs until you get a nice golden brown exterior.

Remove and eat.  You won’t be disappointed.

Steak sous vide

You can also try steak.  Here’s how we did it last night.

Get a nice cut of steak, a rib eye or porterhouse or something tender.  I wouldn’t use grass-fed beef for this experiment because you have to cook it too long to get it nice and tender.  If you use a regular grocery-store steak that isn’t too think – one inch, say – you can get by cooking for only 40 minutes to get it perfectly medium rare.

MD puts a sprinkling of sea salt on each side, a few turns of the pepper mill and a little garlic powder then puts each steak in a food-grade plastic bag and vacuum seals it.

Heat your water bath to 135F, put the bagged steaks in the bath, and watch carefully.

Pull the steaks out after 40 minutes and let them sit at room temperature for 5 or 10 minutes to drop their internal temperature just a bit.  Remove them from the bags and pat dry.  (The patting dry is actually an important part of the process.)

Do the deal with the skillet as described above for the chicken breasts.  Get it hot, add the clarified butter, then sear the steaks.

sous vide steaks cooking1

Sear them on each side no longer than about 20 seconds.  If you want, you can flip them around a bit from side to side.  You should even hit the edges of the steak with the hot skillet as well so that they are seared all around and the fat on the edges gets a nice color.

Serve immediately.

You can see from the photo on the right how the interior looks.  Perfectly medium rare from side to side with a tiny layer of caramelization on the surface.  Must be tasted to be believed.

Several of your fellow readers have used the sous vide method and posted on it.  You can read their posts here, here, here and here.

One of the nice (and sometimes aggravating) things about the sous vide method of cooking is its precision.  If you don’t like your steaks at 135F, try them at 130F or 140F.  Or even at 133F.  You can get as precise as you want.  The meat at each temperature will be a little different than when cooked a degree or two hotter or cooler.  It takes some diddling with and experimentation to find the temperature that works best for you.

Once you do, you can turn out steak after steak after steak or pork chop after pork chop perfectly cooked just as you like it.  The food will be more nutritious because nothing is lost in the cooking process, including the moisture, which is why the meat is so tender.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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68 thoughts on “DIY sous vide

  1. It looks like you enjoyed your turkeys last Thanksgiving! I would love to have that machine so I can make some turkey cooked sous vide. Thanks for sharing your Thanksgiving story.

  2. Couple of questions…

    Does the butter have to be clarified? Is there a recipe for that anywhere?

    Why do we often hear that chicken must be cooked to 180 degrees? I think even the USDA says 165 degrees. Is 140 OK for everyone (in terms of safety) or should certain people (e.g. pregnant, very young/old, etc.) not eat chicken that way?

  3. You sure make this look *awesome*. I sure wish my job were not being “transitioned” to India over the next four months, at which time I will be out of a job and out of income. It just makes it too dang hard to justify spending money on sous vide, much as I yearn for one of your machines. :-)

    • i’ve cooked sous vide over a dozen times and can’t get enough of it. if you have any interest in sharing instructions on how to sous vide at home spending anywhere from $0 to $55 before buying an IC or SVS, i’d welcome any readers who’d like to check out my experiences. pictures and more then the original 2 posts are coming, i promise! http://sousvidedeeds.blogspot.com/
      for notification of updates, follow this blog on twitter: @sousvidedeeds

  4. I love my SousVide Supreme!! I’m still making some adjustments to get my meat done exactly as I like it, as suggested in this post. I am really looking forward to trying it out on more types of foods.

  5. @ Richard Nikoley

    Next time we get together, the Jameson is on me.

    @ Michael

    Yes, the butter needs to be clarified to cook at those high temps. You can buy ghee (which is clarified butter) at most natural food grocers. You find it in the dairy department. You can make your own, but it’s kind of a pain. You’ve got to melt the butter slowly and carefully heat it while all the milk solids come out. You then extract them and are left with clarified butter. We used to do it, but it’s so much easier to simply buy ghee.

    As to the low temps…just to be safe, I would be careful with pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals and infants. Most of the problems come from restaurants sous viding then holding for a period without proper refrigeration. Home cooks typically serve right after they cook, so it isn’t a problem.

    @Ramona Denton

    Thanks for the posts. You are right. You’ve got to fool with it a bit to get your stuff just like you want it.

  6. Here are my ghee instructions:
    http://vesnavuynovich.blogspot.com/2008/01/how-to-make-ghee.html

    Dr. Mike, thanks for posting your homemade sous-vide method! I am dying to try it. After reading your earlier posts, I experimented and found that cooking ribeyes in a 200 F oven to an internal temp of 100 and then searing (approx. 1.5–2) minutes/side in a dry iron skillet to an internal temp of 135-140 yields tender, juicy, flavorful steaks that are edge-to-edge rosy with a tasty, Maillard-y exterior. If the steaks were never frozen, they exude virtually no juice after cooking. It all stays deliciously within the meat. Now I want to go the next step and try a home-sous.

  7. Thanks for the post, but I’m already sold. One of the advantages to your machine is NOT having to hover over the food. If anyone is even halfway considering a SVS, I suggest you get one. If you are a frequent cook, I think you’ll love it. If you aren’t a cook, but would like to be, it will turn you into a culinary god!

    Those looking to experiment with boneless chicken breasts without buying equipment can use regular Ziploc freezer bags (which are okay for microwave) and squeeze out the air by hand or by submerging the bag in water to help push the air out. It doesn’t create a vacuum but it should at least get most of the air bubbles out.

    Also, the very cheap Ziploc manual hand pump vac works well (for a couple of bucks at the grocery store), and works on the easier to find, but more expensive FoodSaver zip bags with the valve (as seen at Wal-Mart, Target). I’ve had no luck on getting my Reynolds battery pump to work on the other brand bags, since the Reynolds bags are no longer available.

  8. There is a 3rd alternative between manually watching a cobbled-together steam basket & pot and buying a $400 SVS. For about $140, you can buy a PID controller that will control a crock pot. It will be a lot easier than trying to constantly supervise your pot with a candy thermometer, although it may take a few tries to get the sensor calibrated.

    For mine, I set the calibration offset by setting the PID at 100F, and verifying with a fever thermometer.

  9. so far I’ve done pork chops and a big fat ribeye, both were amazingly awesome… even tho I just used regular butter…. I find I need to sear them longer than 20 seconds to get them the way I like, more like a minute or two. That thin outside layer comes out much thicker but I don’t mind.

    This thing is so much better than my old rice cooker, must be the precise temp control I guess?

    Speaking of temps, I noticed the temp on the SVS fluctuates a bit, up a few tenths, down a few tenths… is that to be expected?

    Also, gonna do a grass fed steak, is it safe to cook it somewhere between 110 – 120 for 8 hours?

  10. On the Six-week diet subject in the Protein Power section on the LowCarb.ca forums I found someone raving about sous vide. Going to her blog, I discovered she is a sous vide convert and made her own using rice cooker. Have a look at http://mostlypaleo.blogspot.com/2009/10/sous-vide-at-last-i-have-found-you.html if your are interested.

    Personally, I desire Dr. Ede’s creation. I finally got a copy of the six-week diet book after a very long wait from amazon.ca.

  11. I cooked my turkey sous-vide last week for Thanksgiving.

    I don’t have a sous-vide machine, so I just used 2.5 gallon ziploc bags, a large pot and a digital instant thermometer.

    Bag 1) Dark Meat, stick of butter, sage, thyme, s&p
    Bag 2) White Meat, stick of butter, sage, thyme, s&p

    I did 3 hours total at 170-175F – longer at lower temps would obviously be fine, but everything was fully cooked at 3 hours for me and that was my goal.

    In the meantime, I chopped up the bones and seared them in a pan and made a stock/gravy with some veggies.

    I seared the meat when it was done, and I’ve never had more tender or better “turkey” taste from my turkey. I wanted to share my experience, so people know that they don’t need a sous vide machine to experience this type of meal. (That said, I’m saving for one, myself!)

  12. @Anders

    Botulism isn’t really a worry as long as you are removing the food from the bag and consuming it after cooking. The bacterium that produces the botulism toxin can grow only in anaerobic conditions, which are really difficult to achieve with vacuum sealing devices, so you don’t have to worry about it. And it takes a while to develop, which you don’t provide if you eat the food after cooking.

    @VesnaVK

    Thanks for the instructions for making ghee. That’s how we used to do it. Now we just buy it.

    @txchlinstr

    We tried the PID/crock pot set up at first ourselves. We found several problems with it. The probes break more frequently than you would expect. Especially if you are doing a lot of cooking with it. It takes a lot of fiddling to get the probe exactly into the right place in the crock pot. And the probe can slip out of that position during cooking, leading to a bad outcome. It was using this setup that drove us to develop our own product that didn’t have all these problems.

    @mrfreddy

    Yes, it’s fine that the temp bounces around. You’ll notice that it stays within a precise range – a little up, a little down. That’s the way the PID works.

    You can do the grass fed steaks as you describe, but I would cook them a little hotter for 8 hours. Say, 134F. It’s not really a safety thing as much as a taste. I like my steaks a little more medium rare than I do rare. Also, it takes a little more heat to break down the collagen and produce the tenderness you’re looking for.

    @Joel

    That was the point of this post: you don’t really need a Sous Vide Supreme (SVS) to cook sous vide. We cooked sous vide the Rube Goldberg way a lot before we decided to create the machine. The SVS is simply a labor-saving device that allows you to cook sous vide with little effort and perfect outcomes.

  13. @DrMike
    “Botulism isn’t really a worry as long as you are removing the food from the bag and consuming it after cooking.”

    I took some of my meat out of the SVS and placed them directly in the refrigerator without removing them from the pouches…

    Should I remove the food from the pouches when refrigerating extra portions?

  14. @mrfreddy–

    You can indeed do it with the SVS. I like the times and temps better that I MD put up in her post, but try these and see what you think.

    @Simon Fellows

    I’m staying mum on this one

    @Ramona Denton

    It’s best to quick chill foods after taking them out of a sous vide unit before putting them in the fridge for any length of time. You quick chill by putting the bags in a basin of ice water until the temp drops, then put them in the refrigerator. Quick chilling drops the temp quickly so it doesn’t stay long in the zone where bugs can grow.

  15. Thanks Dr. Mike,
    Seems to me that once my husband gets a taste for Sous Vide, he will be a little more persuaded to get me your SVS (Lord knows i’ve tried!). I mean, I can’t exaclty be expected to watch over dinner for 8 hours, that would be an inefficient use of valuable time… plus if ever I were away, he probably wouldn’t have the patience to do it sans-SVS. 😉

  16. @Tom Scott
    Yes. I noted one comment suggesting that a picture may not be taken of someone else.

    Well, anyone may take a picture in a public space. (There is no right to “privacy”, as many protesters to Google taking local pics and having them available on Google Earth have found – as also objectors to papparazzi.) If in subsequent publication, an individual is held up to ridicule or disrepute, then the individual may have a right to recompense or damages.
    In this particular case, it is difficult to recognise the particular passenger, and it is clear from the context that it an illustrative example of a potential safety problem for the airline or discomfort to the passenger on the adjacent seat.

  17. Dear Dr Mike,

    Are you at all familiar with the work of Dr Jean Seignalet ?

    http://seignaletdiet.wordpress.com/diet-basis/

    He contended that food should never be cooked beyond 110C as it creates what he called Maillard molecules, which he believed were harmful for humans. The diet he recommended (ancestral, no grains, no dairy) was apparently used successfully for people suffering from auto-immune diseases.

    If you care to look into that, I think it would be interesting for a lot of people to see that as the topic of a future blog post.

  18. I’m a little bummed that the email warning about the discount deadline ended up in my spam filter. Still plan on buying one, though.

    One quick question to Dr. Mike or anyone who owns a SVS: how much meat can it hold? Thanks!

  19. It seems to me that you could accomplish the same thing by sealing the meat and putting it in water in an oven that has a reasonably precise thermostat. It might not be exact, but it should be close enough for experimentation purposes.

  20. Got our SVS on Monday. Cooked pork chops first and they were moist and tender … very good. However, the AHA moment came last night after cooking a grass-fed flank steak at 134 for 12 hours. It was wall-to-wall deep pink, juicy, and tender as Filet. I’ve never gorged myself on flank steak before. :-) I can see that we’re going to recoup the cost of the SVS in a few months just on the savings from cheaper cuts of meat alone. Our last attempt at grass-fed flank steak was in the crock pot and it was dry and tough as shoe leather. We had to throw it out. Am anxiously waiting to do some chicken this weekend. I’m also thinking of using it for making yogurt instead of using a heating pad.

  21. Hello Dr. Eades and friends: that turkey looks pretty good. I love turkey, it has a lot of protein and low in calories and fat. The other day i bought 5 turkeys because they were on special at 40 cents a lb. Oh by the way i was thinking that the USA needs a real change in every aspect. First we need to rise to government, and from the government make the health reforms that the country needs. Specially a pro-low carb revolution and information and propaganda from a different Health Department and a very different FDA, than the corrupt corporate FDA we have now. I would love to see some day nationalization of corporations like Duncan Hines, and Pillsbury cakes, and instead of selling those instant cake mixes with white-flour, to make instant-cakes with soy-protein, or whey protein powder. But for that to happen we need to be united. Like the philosopher Ludwig Feurbarch said that man alone is weak, but in a community is strong. Because like you said in your book “Protein Power” diets high in carbohydrates lead to more deaths than wars.

    .

    .

    .

  22. I am a family Nurse practitioner
    My husband and I have been on the Protein Power diet for sometime with impressive results fat loss wise. My lipids have really improved all around. My husband had decrease in trig from 250 to 63, HDL 37 to 54 , however his LDL went UP from 126 to 158 and total cholesterol also went up some as well, currently 225.

    I know his ratios of LDL/HDL are great at 2.32 and total/HDL is only 1.4

    My real question is have you done any comparative CT scans or MRIs ( or cardiac caths) on any of your patients that DO document a decease in actual plaque DECREASE since successfully reaching their goals on your programs?
    I know that Statins are questionable in actual reduction of plaque despite the good looking numbers (not to mention all the risks to liver).

    I am retiring in 3 weeks after a 40 year career. I simply cannot follow the standasrds of practice in regards to diet, wt loss and general nutrition. I agree the food pyramid is upside down! What will it take for AMA to get off the pharmceutical bandwagon and tell the truth to the US population???

  23. My thoughts exactly, Allen! Last night I made sirloin in the SVS that was as tender as fillet and more flavorful. Today I’m cooking a whole Costco package of pork loin chops.

    And last night, since the water was already warm, I did a test run on yogurt in the SVS. It is ridiculously easy, since you just pick your temp, add starter and milk in an old yogurt container and leave it there overnight. I tried it at 105 degrees. It came out a bit stickier than I like, but I think it was just the bacteria mix of my starter, which was a mutt-like mix of whey I have been collecting (not as creamy as my preferred Brown Cow yogurt). I’ll strain it for Greek yogurt and whey and do again with Brown Cow as the starter, perhaps at a lower temp and for longer. Why cook your food when you can grow it!

    I’d like to hear SV yogurt making tips from others, too!

  24. Just FYI because I know you’ve mentioned him before on your blog: Jack Lalanne is going to be on “The Doctors” on Friday.

  25. Congratulations on the article about you and your machine in the NY Times. Your sales should soar, even more, and it should turn on even more people to this kind of cooking, and, hopefully the benefits of low carb.

  26. This is all over the news here… (brought to you by generous contributions from The Sugar Bureau, and people like y… them.)

    I’d love to see you dissect this study Doc!
    ——————————————————————

    Contact: Dr. Steven Hunter
    steven.hunter@belfasttrust.hscni.net
    44-289-024-0503
    The Sugar Bureau

    High-fat low-carb diets could mean significant heart risk

    New scientific research has shown that low-carbohydrate high-fat diets, made popular by the likes of the Atkins diet, do not achieve more weight loss than low-fat high-carbohydrate diets. Worryingly, the research, lead by Dr Steven Hunter from the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, also shows significantly increased risks of cardiovascular disease for people following low-carbohydrate high-fat diets.

  27. Okay, I’m really, really hanging out for one of these suckers. But I live in Australia which is on 240v. Any idea when a 220-240v version will be available? If push comes to shove, I will buy a U.S. version and use a transformer (which I already do for my Sperti Vitamin D lamp).

  28. “Your sales should soar, even more, and it should turn on even more people to this kind of cooking, and, hopefully the benefits of low carb.”

    Yes, indeed, truly a world-changing event!

  29. Hi Doc,
    Off topic and posted here as I don’t Tweet, you trendy twitterer, you. Interesting newspaper report. Haven’t tried to find the paper concerned.

    http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/wellbeing/scientists-find-wasted-blood-thats-worth-bottling-20091210-kmbp.html

    “Scientists find wasted blood that’s worth bottling
    “JULIE ROBOTHAM
    “December 11, 2009

    “A MASSIVE dose of HDL ”good” cholesterol injected into patients after a heart attack can quickly break down fatty deposits in the arteries and might prevent subsequent attacks, Australian scientists have said after early tests of a new therapy derived from donated blood……….”

    Interesting. But why not do it the easy way by eating more sat fat?? Oh, wait…….

    Michael Richards

  30. Stjohn, when I consider wrapping my food in plastic that tests out for bad stuff lower than the detection threshold of 1 ppm, at cooking temps that average perhaps 140 deg, contrasted with fire on a hot grill at hundreds of degrees, no contrast.

  31. Richard, I get your point about the hot grill, but introducing PLASTIC to cooking no matter what temps is not a step in the right direction!!! There is always some test to say it is safe….. until!!! I won’t use Cling Film, or TuberWear…… we gota get rid of PLASTIC, not introduce more.

  32. @Guy

    Have done several batches of yogurt in the SVS now. I hope that you are bringing your milk to 185*F first before cooling to 110-115*F then adding the starter? You want to only culture the good bacteria, not the nasties.. :-) I put my milk in an old FoodSaver canister and vacuum seal it. I set the SVS at 109*F and do it overnight (I’ve heard this is the best temp). In the morning I have perfect, thick, creamy yogurt. Of course I start with organic whole milk from grass-fed cows. I was concerned at first that the vacuum sealing would affect the bacteria culture formation, but no problems. It really is simple and fool proof … so much better than using the heating pad. You can do it for 6-20 hours, the only difference being the amount of lactose that is consumed, and the resulting tang. I’ve read that it takes a full 20 hours to get all of the lactose consumed, leaving you with 4g carbs for 8oz yogurt.

  33. Dr. Eades,

    This is unrelated to this post, but I didn’t have another avenue to contact you on.

    This inquiry is about maximizing growth hormone secretion post-workout (PWO) while also maximizing anabolism/maximizing protein synthesis.

    Regarding maximizing growth hormone levels PWO and also trying to put body into anabolic mode simultaneously: I’m reading that its glucose levels—not insulin—that will blunt the secretion of growth hormone post-workout (this is Rob Faigin’s work I believe). Thus a CHO+PRO PWO shake will blunt/stop GH secretion (degree of blunting assumed to depending on the glycemic load of the carbs ingested), while in theory just PRO should not (Faigin writes that PRO enhances GH secretion I believe).

    It would seem that given this, and ignoring the non-paleo aspect of Whey protein, the intake of just whey PWO would not blunt GH levels despite its ability to spike insulin (glucose levels will remain low tho b/c no ingestion of carbs). (Milk proteins have extremely insulinogenic properties, and I don’t think their mechanism for elevating insulin so quickly is well understood yet). Thus, it would seem that insulinogenic Whey intake PWO is complimentary (even synergistic) to GH release to help turn this into an anabolic window w/o blunting the GH response. This is how I interpret this. I realize lean animal protein is a better source (although much slower digesting), but sometimes its not feasible (where to store in gym?) and whey is very convenient in these times.

    What is your take? Don’t mind the insulin spike so long as GH secretion isn’t blunted? Or is this just flat out wrong? This is fascinating stuff and I’m not sure we have enough conclusive evidence to determine a “right” answer.

    Any help would be much, much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Kyle Schneider

  34. I agree, Richard. I researched the plastic issue and decided it was not a danger in this context. For one, there doesn’t seem to be BPA in these cooking bags. Secondly, the testing issue over BPA seems to depend on whether it is ingested BPA (not a problem) or if it is injected BP (more of a problem), which is detailed in the report below.

    Basically, if you store food in plastic and microwave in plastic, SV presents no greater hazard, to my knowledge.

    Here’s a long report from STATS, a public policy institute at George Mason
    http://stats.org/stories/2009/science_suppressed_BPA_intro_jun12_09.html

    Here’s Consumer Reports story scary story on the issue. Once on the page, the menu on the left links to other parts of the report.
    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/december-2009/food/bpa/overview/bisphenol-a-ov.htm

    Here’s the STATS response to the CR article.
    http://www.stats.org/stories/2009/Consumer_reports_false_on_BPA_nov2_09.html

    I think we should be way more concerned with the estrogen-like impact of soy than plastics. After all, I don’t plan on eating the bag!

  35. I was all over this method and your work until I read this:

    ‘I wouldn’t use grass-fed beef for this experiment because you have to cook it too long to get it nice and tender’

    I assume you know that meat which hasn’t been raised and finished on grass (the natural diet for most animals) does not contain omega 3 essential fatty acid in any significant amount. As you are obviously on a mission to correct lipids, how can you make this obvious error in favour of something as ridiculous as tenderness in meat? Just chew!

    Cows need grass and humans need to eat meat that has been raised on grass – turkey too. I sincerely hope your two turkeys were free range at the very least. The western diet is much too high in omega 6 and way too low in omega 3 – do everything you can to improve that ratio.

    Finally – cooking foods in plastic? No way. Couldn’t this be done with a crock pot or in a low oven without resorting to coating your meat in hormone disrupters?

  36. StJohn, I was wondering if this issue would ever come up, yours is the first comment I’ve seen about plastic and it’s pollution to the planet. This is the one thing that would stop me cooking this way. I have more concerns about what plastic is doing to our planet than to whether or not it leaches out into the cooking. Whilst I am not a believer in man-mad Global Warming and think that it has become a rather bad religion, one only has to travel from country to country (as I have done) to see the terrible pollution that plastic has and continues to do to our planet. Imagine how much more plastic will be thrown out if a majority start cooking this way, it is almost unbearable to think about.

    Are the vacuum bags even recyclable, I do not believe they are, I have never seen a vacuum plastic bag with the recycle icon on it, so out into the bin, landfill and all over the landscape they will go.

    In all the excitement, it seems no-one has considered this possible side effect.

    Glenice

  37. @Allen

    Thanks for the details. I did it at 105 F and it turned out just fine. There are so many variables to play with in yogurt, from the type of starter to the milk and temperature that its fun to fiddle with it. I’ll try it at the longer times you suggest and see how it goes.

    I am using local grass-fed whole farm milk and see no reason to sterilize it (some people ride motorcycles w/o helmet, I don’t pre-heat my yogurt–gotta get my thrills somehow). I just mixed in about 1/4 cup of starter whey from my last batch of yogurt into a quart yogurt container and set it into the SVS on 105 to sit overnight. The next morning I strained it with a coffee filter into Greek yogurt and whey. Very yummy and cheaper than store yogurt.

  38. Just “SAY NO” to Plastic!!! for our own personal health…. that of our children ….. way more important,…… and that of our planet…. GOD!!! stop introducing more PLASTIC…. it is not Natural …. and it is NOT worth it!!!
    Well put Glenice:))

  39. It seems we missed an opportunity here to sequester carbon.

    Re-cycling petroleum derived plastics is the wrong approach. Instead such bags should be made so that the plastic cannot be broken down to CO2 and H2O. Instead such an item should have a long life with multiple re-use ( as glass items are) then at life-end should go to a special carbon sequestration pit and be buried FOREVER.

  40. @Naomi:

    Grass-fed beef doesn’t contain a “significant amount” of omega 3 fatty acids, either. It just contains fewer omega 6 fatty acids than grain-fed beef, so the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 is skewed in favor of omega 6. One could correct this by, say, ingesting fish oil or krill oil, or eating oily fish occasionally, which I’m pretty sure the good Drs do. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that the Protein Power Lifeplan was shilling for the sardine industry. 😉

  41. Desmondo, In your dreams are people going to re-use these bags, glass is a whole different ball-game, you can wash it easily, but try washing one of these vacuum bags to get them properly clean, and remove residue of meat & juice, you would have to turn it inside out scrub it by hand rinse etc. Won’t happen, simply will not happen, they will be thrown out after each use by an absolute majority of people, and therein lies the problem! A meal for four, at least 4 bags, every meal, the mind boggles if you multiply it by however many users!

    Glenice

  42. I think using a glass container would be somewhat problematic in a sous vide. However, since I am experimenting with very tough, cheap cuts of meat, I might try one in a sort of “double boiler” arrangement with a glass container sitting in the sous vide. Can’t seal it, though; don’t want an explosion and glass shards all over the inside of my cooker. To get good contact with the heat source, I would need to figure out a way to compact the meat so that it is in contact with the glass all around, or add enough fat (butter?) to immerse the meat.

    Glass is also a poor conductor of heat, but cooking for more than 2 days should make that a non-problem.

  43. Hi Dr. Eades,

    I hope that you don’t mind my posting this announcement on this (and the other) old thread, but I thought googlers might find it. Plus, as you know, I’m hopelessly in love with my Sous Vide Supreme, so I figured it would be okay. :-)

    * New E-mail List & Blog Carnival for Sous Vide *

    I’ve recently created a mailing list and blog carnival for folks cooking sous vide: http://www.modernpaleo.com/sousvide.html

    Here’s the description from the web site:

    SousVide is an informal, private mailing list for people who cook sous vide, particularly home cooks. Its basic purpose is to facilitate the sharing of information, resources, recipes, and tips related to cooking sous vide.

    All and only subscribers to SousVide are eligible to submit posts to Sous Vide Review, a blog carnival featuring the best posts of the month on sous vide cooking hosted by The Modern Paleo Blog ( http://blog.ModernPaleo.com ).

    SousVide is not moderated, but members who violate its very basic rules will be subject to moderation, if not unsubscribed.

    The list is part of my “Modern Paleo” web site ( http://www.ModernPaleo.com ), but you don’t need to eat or advocate a paleo-type diet to join the list.

    You can subscribe here: http://groups.google.com/group/sousvide/subscribe

    If you have any problems subscribing, just drop me an e-mail, as I can subscribe you manually.

    Please feel free to spread the word! I’m hoping that the list and carnival can become a major resource as we experiment with sous vide cooking.

    FYI, I’ve blogged a bit about my own experiments with sous vide here:

    http://blog.modernpaleo.com/search/label/Sous%20Vide