My Sunday DIY Sous Vide Experiment – Jerk Pork Chops

3 Apr

About two months ago, I learned about Sous Vide cooking through Nom Nom Paleo (yes, she does it all!). The food she cooks with a sous vide machine looks amazing, and it seems like you can’t ever overcook any type of meat that you put in a sous vide. I seriously started to think about getting one, and still am thinking about it. However, there are other big purchases on my to-buy list that I must get first!

When I joined twitter last week, I came across this website called Serious Eats. It contains all sorts of cooking tips, recipes, and information about different restaurants across the US. It’s a great resource! And it had a few Sous Vide blogs about cooking different types of meats, what a Sous Vide is, and …drum roll please…How to make your own Sous Vide Machine using a Beer Cooler! I thought to myself…WHAT?!?! I can use a beer cooler to cook meat?! The cooler will keep my water warm?! WOW!

So, I decided to try this on the pork chops that I was going to cook for dinner. I hate cooking pork chops(or anything pork), because I tend to overcook it. This DIY Sous Vide machine guaranteed that I wouldn’t overcook anything! I was really excited, and started to boil my water.

I boiled 3 pots of water and put it into my small cooler.

As the water was boiling, I seasoned the pork chops with Jerk Pork Seasoning, some EVOO, and lime juice.

The site also said I did not need to vacuum seal the meat. I just put it into a plastic zip lock bag, and it was ready to be dumped.

My water temperature was way too hot(190 F). I had to pour out some of the water, and dump cold water into it. The temperature that I settled at was 145 degrees F. If I actually had a Sous Vide Supreme machine, I would of kept the temperature at 137 degrees F, but you have to account for some heat loss when using a beer cooler.

I dropped the pork chops in at 11:30, and when I came home at 2:30, I took the pork chops out.

At that time, the water had gone down to approximately 135 degrees F. If you need the water to stay at a certain temperature for a specific amount of time, you would have to pour in more hot water every hour or so. Since the pork only needed to cook for an hour, at most, I didn’t refill the cooler.

This is how the pork chops looked after I took it out of the beer cooler.

When it was time for dinner, I took the pork chops out, and seared each side for 1 minute in bacon fat.

The texture of the pork chops were perfect, and I definitely did not overcook it! The meat was cooked evenly, and was really soft! I would of never gotten this texture if I had just seared the pork chops on the stove top.

Overall, I would recommend this method to anyone who wants to cook steaks, pork, fish fillets, or pieces of chicken because it’s easier to control the temperature with. Also, pick meats that don’t need to cook too long(under 2 hours). Otherwise, you’ll have to watch the temperature and pour in more water..which totally defeats the point of a Sous Vide Machine, CONVENIENCE!

**Update: I forgot to mention that I used a meat thermometer to measure the water temperature. It’s what I had on hand, and it worked.


One Response to “My Sunday DIY Sous Vide Experiment – Jerk Pork Chops”

  1. Daphne April 4, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    Shoot… can’t wait to try this! I’ve been eyeballing the ice cooler method too. I’ve been trying to come up with excuses to justify buying a smaller cooler (ours is the jumbo-size) besides being able to stick it in the trunk for when I buy raw milk. Lol! Thanks for being the first one I know to experiment with the beer cooler! ;D

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