Sous Vide Carnitas

Sous Vide Carnitas TacosI’ve mentioned more than a few times that I love my Sous Vide Supreme. It just makes everything better! I’ve made the best ever sous vide fried chicken and it totally transforms flank steak. In my experience with everything I’ve cooked Sous Vide, it makes the biggest transformations of cuts of meat that are typically tough. I love pork shoulder, but our Kamado is in storage for a little while, and wanted to see how it would come out in the Sous Vide.

 

Seasoned Pork Shoulder for Sous Vide CarnitasUsing the same spices that I would use in my carnitas, I put a dry rub on a 2 lb. piece of pork shoulder, popped it in the Sous Vide for 24 hours at 145 degrees, and the result was perfectly cooked carnitas that were flavorful and juicy! After cooking, pull the meat apart, discarding any fatty pieces, crisp in a cast iron skillet to get those crackled edges carnitas is known for, and squeeze a little fresh lime juice on top. Seems like this is a whole lot healthier than traditional carnitas cooked oil or lard!  It also only takes about 5 minutes of prep to go into the Sous Vide and 10 minutes to crisp after removing.

Ingredients:
Pork butt
Dry Rub:
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper

Sous Vide Carnitas Tacos 2This recipe would make great tacos, nachos or sandwiches. Serve on corn tortillas with pickled onions, cilantro, queso fresco and lime for an easy taco night!

Enjoy!

Wine Pairings:
Montgo Monastrell 2012
Solanera Vinas Viejas 2013

Sous Vide Pork Loin

It’s not a big secret that I love my Sous Vide Supreme. It makes a killer flank steak and is even perfect for making fried chicken! I like pork loin, but it can be notoriously dry if baked in the oven, especially if it is over cooked. Enter the Sous Vide method of cooking. Sous Vide style of cooking includes a water bath being set to the temperature that is desired for the internal temperature of what is being cooked, so impossible to overcook and make dry. Not long ago, the safe temperature for pork was thought to be 160 degrees, but was recently lowered to 145 degrees. Pork tends to be a little dry at 160 degrees, so I aim for 150-155 degrees for tender, juicy pork. This recipe has a spicy, flavorful rub and is finished under the broiler with a sweet duck sauce, to make it perfectly caramelized.

Sous Vide Pork Loin 1Ingredients:
2 lb. pork loin roast
½ tsp. chipotle powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. duck sauce, sweet and sour sauce, or any other sweet glaze or sauce that would pair well with the spice of chipotle.

Set Sous Vide to 153 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together chipotle powder, salt, garlic powder and black pepper. Rub spice mixture on the outside of pork loin, place in a vacuum seal bag, seal and cook in Sous Vide for approximately 4-6 hours. Once cooked, remove from pouch, coat outside in duck sauce. Broil on high for approximately 5 minutes until outside has some nice charring. Pork will be spicy, sweet, juicy and delicious!

Sous Vide Pork Loin 2Enjoy!

Sous Vide Fried Chicken

Sous Vide Fried ChickenFried chicken is one of my favorite dishes of all time, ever! It seems like a simple southern dish, but it can be pretty tough to time the perfectly crispy outside with having thoroughly cooked inside. This is just one more reason to love my Sous Vide Supreme – this recipe for Sous Vide Fried Chicken. As discussed in my Sous Vide Flank Steak recipe, Sous Vide style of cooking includes a water bath being set to a precise temperature, usually the temperature that is desired for the internal temperature of what is being cooked. For a medium rare steak, that temperature is somewhere between 130-135 degrees. Since the safe internal temperature for chicken is 165 degrees, always set the water temperature to at least 165 degrees when cooking chicken. This way, the chicken is completely cooked before getting a quick, high temperature frying.

The rest of the recipe is fairly traditional for fried chicken. Prepare the brine as discussed below, which will season the chicken and lock in the juices. Add ingredients to water and bring to a boil, letting simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and pour entire brine mixture over a whole, cut-up chicken. Return to refrigerator and let sit at least 8 hours to really get that chicken juicy and flavorful!

Brine
1 gallon water
Lemon, quartered
Large shallot, cut into slices
2 cloves garlic, smashed with knife
Tbsp. peppercorns
1 cup kosher salt
Boil all together. Let cool, and pour over chicken for at least 8 hours, up to 2 days.

After removing from brine mixture, rinse chicken and transfer to a Sous Vide bag and zip, carefully removing as much air as possible. Usually I use a vacuum sealer, but the sharp chicken bones would likely puncture the bag if that much pressure was applied, so I just use a zipper bag.  Immerse at 165 degrees for approximately 2 hours.

Now that the chicken is cooked, if can be breaded and fried at a higher heat, which will give it a perfectly crispy crust in about 8 minutes, without having to worry that the inside won’t be cooked properly. I like a little kick to my fried chicken, so I put a few dashes of hot sauce in with the buttermilk and cayenne pepper and lots of black pepper into the breading mixture. It’s not an overly spicy recipe, but feel free to adjust to your taste!

Sous Vide Fried Chicken 2
1 pint buttermilk
Few dashes hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
3 cups flour
1 tbsp. black pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. salt. More to taste after frying (the brine is fairly salty)
Fry in 375 degree oil for 3-4 minutes a side until golden. Place on a wire rack to drain excess oil after frying.

Enjoy!

 

Sous Vide Flank Steak – Do you Sous?

sous vide flank steak 2A few years ago, the owner of Serve Gourmet, a wonderful little kitchen specialty shop in Austin, Texas told me about a technique of cooking called Sous Vide. A bath of water is set at a selected cooking temperature, food is sealed in a pouch, and cooks in the water for a set time.

I didn’t get it.

As time went on, I head more and more people talking about Sous Vide. In restaurants, I would hear of specials like “Sous Vide Short Ribs in a Balsamic Fig Reduction” or “Sous Vide Root Vegetables in a Sage Brown Butter Sauce”

After trying some of these dishes, I was hooked. How can this method completely transform certain ingredients, especially meat dishes? The science behind it is actually pretty simple. A water bath is set to a precise temperature, usually the temperature that is desired for the internal temperature of what is being cooked. For example, since I like my steak a perfect medium rare, I would set the water temperature to 130 degrees. It’s impossible to overcook, because the internal temperature of the steak can never exceed 130 degrees.

Traditional methods of cooking steak create somewhat of a bulls eye effect of doneness. As the outside gets exposed to very high heat, it must be removed at the exact point the inside reaches that perfect 130 degrees. Not with Sous Vide. Since the water temperature is the same as the internal temperature, my medium rare steak is medium rare from top to bottom, side to side. Since I like a good sear on meats, after cooking I will sear my steak in a screaming hot cast iron skillet for a minute per side. It doesn’t really raise the internal temperature much, and it adds to the flavor and texture.

sous vide flank steak

I was lucky enough to receive a Sous Vide Supreme as a gift from a friend. My first attempt was a flank steak cooked for 8 hours to a perfect 130 degrees. A general rule of cooking meat Sous Vide is “the tougher the meat, the longer it cooks.” While the internal temperature of the meat won’t rise above the selected cooking temperature, the connective tissues in the meat that make it tough are broken down by this prolonged cooking time, leaving a perfectly cooked that is tender and juicy.

I’ve made steaks, pork chops, sausage, chicken… all stellar. Sous Vide chicken is especially good in a dish that diced or shredded chicken is needed. Season a few chicken breast, seal in cooking pouch and cook for an hour at 165 degrees. Perfectly cooked, tender and juicy. Enchiladas anyone?

I would love to know what your favorites are using Sous Vide. I have only scratched the surface, and want to learn more!