This is the latest in a regular series. I don’t particularly have an interest in this dish, but Claire’s writeups are always entertaining and informative. I recommend checking out other entries in the series. Last week she cooked alligator, for example.
Here’s the latest:
Still not my style, but always interesting.
Sausage is a really odd thing to try cooking sous vide, and I wasn’t at all surprised that it didn’t come out much differently. With ground meat, I’d think the only potential benefits you might get from sous vide would be time use (which usually doesn’t matter too much with sausage), and more saturation of flavors (which sausage usually doesn’t have much problem with).
But, at least this one didn’t have me scratching my head as much as one of the previous articles: meatloaf? That seems like one of the worst possible candidates for the cooking method…
That’s part of what I like about the series. It’s not about what makes sense. If it made sense, there’d be tons of recipes already out there.
I have now cooked pumpkin pie and cheesecake sous vide, which I may not have thought of otherwise. They both turned out very well, but make sure you don’t overfill the jars.
Yeah, I’d be concerned that sous vide doesn’t get to a high enough temperature to kill E.coli, which will ruin your day. I bake meatloaf to very well done because of that concern. Plus my wife likes the deeply caramelized edges.
Well, I haven’t found anything specific for E. coli, but it may be good news there is that the FDA recommends 160F for a minimum of 6 seconds for a parasite that is “more heat resistant than E. coli” (though, granted, that’s for apple juice), and salmonella deactivates at 149F for 2 minutes (in beef patties). So the typical 1 - 2 hour sous vide cook at around those temperatures is probably fine as long as the loaf isn’t huge.
The bad news, of course, is that it would be very difficult to get those tasty caramelized bits, especially since a lump of ground beef that’s been cooked that long without any evaporation possible is going to be crumbly as all get-out, and have plenty of moisture to come out to the surface and defeat most attempts to quickly caramelize things. Sausage at least has the casing and the pressure it was formed with going for it.
I would also think that other usual ingredients could be problematic… for instance, if the recipe has onions in it then you’d be missing out on a lot of the interesting chemistry that happens to them at differing temperatures between the outside and inside of the loaf.
I have not taken the plunge yet but I seem to recall posts between friends often talk about Sous Viding most of the way and then doing some sort of charring afterward to get the outside like people prefer. I wonder if you could put the meatloaf under the broiler at the end for a quick caramelization?
Here’s a reference on sous vide food safety:
That’s one possible method, and what was tried in the article I linked, but from the pictures it didn’t look like it did a whole lot of browning.
Part of that may have been that they put the loaf into a loaf tin while finishing, though, which actually could have ended up insulating the sides quite a bit. I’ve had pretty good success using the broiler to finish/glaze both ribs and ham, but 1) they’re not going to have a lot of moisture absorbed into and just below the surface (moist surfaces don’t caramelize well), and 2) it’s always been on a flat baking sheet to maximize the area directly exposed to the broiler’s heat.
If I were trying it, I’d probably put the loaf on a flat sheet, broil it for a bit until it got some browning, then glaze and broil for a bit more. I’d still expect to be fighting to keep its shape, though… and I wouldn’t expect the crispy crust you get from doing meatloaf the usual way.
I didn’t read the links since I don’t have a device. For steaks I think I also saw people using a butane hand torch.
I use one of these:
I’m still a little afraid to use it sometimes.
All I’ve got is the usual little handheld dealie (sorta like a creme brulee torch). It works decently when I do steaks or chops, but it’s very directional and slow. Takes forever to do decent browning for something larger like a pork loin…
That’s there very thing they were using. If memory serves they were initial kickstarter funders.
This just seems to fit here. I have not run into this particular problem (or, I don’t think I have… there’s a possibility something like this could have been involved with one pork loin that turned out odd-smelling) but it’s good to know about it and the (obvious in retrospect) solution:
I realize this is a little late for a reply but I actually have had good success with sausages. It’s great to pre-cook them sous vide so you don’t have to worry about them being cooked through when you grill them. I did this with a bunch of sausages for a recent Oktoberfest party and it was great - the texture was nice and moist.
Of course that’s only for sausages that aren’t pre-cooked, as so many are these days.
Sausage makes sense because most people screw it up getting it too hot and the fat breaks.
As for steak that smells like cheese? Blue cheese crust that sucker.
Given his other descriptions of the smell, I’m not sure that would have helped.
What, no gastronauts willing to explore brave new worlds?
Is this a real word?
Can we make it one please?
The internet informs me I’ve been beaten to the punch in making up that particular word. Convergent evolution and whatnot.