DSV Temperature Controller as Sous Vide?
I am interested in trying to use the Sous Vide method of cooking, but not interested in the price tag. While searching here and else where, I stumbled across the following for a DSV Temperature Controller that I could use with an old crock pot:
Anyone have one or know if it is worth it? $99 on Amazon might be worth a try if it is any good...
Calling it "DorkFood" is a little much! This dork "resembles that remark"!
I use a controller from Auber Instruments (http://www.auberins.com/ ) that was a little more expensive (maybe $150). It works well, provided you are OK with +/- 1 degree control. It has the advantage that I can also use the same controller to control fridge or freezer temperature -- e.g. for lagering or cheese-making.
I have a DIY version of that, built using an arduino for about $35. It works fabulously.
You still have the (potential) issue of needing a circulator if you want to be true to the real thing. I was thinking an aquarium pump...
ETA that if you are in posession of the connections, ability and/or desire to DIY one, you can make it programmable for time and temperature intervals which I find quite useful.
I use that exact same one with an old crock pot and it works like a charm. btw, you have to an old type crackpot (non-digital) in order for the thing to work.
I went ahead and paid the extra money for the Auber. Paid a little extra to get it sooner too. Have a nice ribeye in the fridge with it's name on it... ;)
Ok. Got my Auber today. Had a little time to play with it (not actually cook anything). Filled my 4 quart crockpot with warm water, connected everything, set it for 134, and saw it rise up and then stay at 136 for the rest of the time I had. So, before I cook with it tomorrow (1.5 inch thick ribeye I bought to try it out), I have some questions.
1. I set it for 134 as that is what I remembered reading for RARE to MEDIUM RARE. But, it held at 136, not the 134 that I selected. Now, looking at another chart, I see 138 for a medium ribeye. What should I set it at to cook it right and knowing that when I shot for 134 it held at 136?
2. Do you just throw the probe in so it is laying on the bottom? I was thinking that since the crockpots supposedly heat from the bottom that this might explain the higher reading.
3. When I put the bagged steak in, do I let it just lay on the bottom too? Or do I need something to hold the bag upright so that the bottom heat doesn't cook one side more than the other side?
A crock pot has a lot of thermal mass, when the water reaches the set temp and the controller turns off the heating element there will still be a lot of thermal energy in the crock that will continue to heat up the water bath past the set point. You can try to minimize this by using the low setting on the crock once it has reached the desired bath temperature. The probe should not be touching the crock since the crock will be at a higher temperature than the water bath when the heating element is on. The bags containing the steak should also not be laying on the crock for the same reason, the side touching the bottom will be exposed to a higher temperature than the other side. A small cooling rack on the bottom will prevent direct contact with the crock. Adding some circulation to the bath will help even out the bath temperature, you could use an air stone hooked up to a small aquarium air pump to do this.