Sous Vide for $20

Sous vide is a cool way of cooking foods at low temperatures for a long time that makes the flavors more intense as a result. Even the cheapest setup for this is about $150 if you already have a rice cooker or crock pot lying around. Serious Eats has explored this territory before with success and now has a method for doing this with nothing but a simple beer cooler and some ziploc bags.

To do it you need to fill up your cooler with water a couple degrees higher than your target temperature. Then just drop in ziploc bags with your meat inside. Wait an hour or two and voila! Cheap sous vide.

This method only works for a couple hours so it won't help you cook your ribs for 48 hours, but but does give you an introduction to the technique and help you decide if you want to go for the full setup.

Cook Your Meat in a Beer Cooler: The World's Best (and Cheapest) Sous-Vide Hack  via kottke

Picture of Sous Vide for $20
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You can see how I used a hacked aquarium heater to maintain my water temp in a beer cooler here:
Noone ever think of basing it around a mini fridge? Almost all of them have a heat function that heats to 140F or 60C...

I imagine the temperature wouldn't fluctuate too badly since it's using a peltier and circuit... They're actually quite decent inside for a meat course, size wise that is... 
I'm thinking about hacking one to do that. You've already got the TEC there. You'd probably need to replace the controller since you might not be able to edit the temperature setpoint on the existing one.
Can't edit it, however it would actually work at a constant for that temperature, well about it... Maybe a PWM for the TEC? 
Yes. PWM for the TEC. Reverse the current to the TEC and the inside will get hot instead of cold. My final year uni project is control of TECs. Could reuse it to do this. Expect an instructable om hacking a minifridge into a sousvide cooker... Argos do a cheap one for £15 that I've used before.
The original mechanism for switching could probably be kept and just replace the thermostat mechanism with the PWM control, if it just runs at constant you could probably get away with a relay or power transistor... The one thing I'd say really needs to be modified is the heat delivery, maybe just use heat pipes like elements to get a more even water temp.

Actually you could skip the fridge and use a kettle - the fridge would be good too but replace the fans in them, with something like a server blower, because the noise grates on you very fast.

Good luck with the instructable, can't wait to see it. 
A kettle's a good idea! Just hack it so it doesn't get as hot. :D
It wouldn't need to be powerful either, the £3 ones from tesco's would do perfectly... 
£3 kettle? I'll get one tomorrow :D (You're Ireland right? Coming to maker faire 2011? There're plans for an instructables stall)
Aye, over in Belfast... With any luck I'll be over, hopefully with a few projects to bring too.

For the kettle I reckon a simple basket hung in to it above the elements would work - Before you modify it try doing kettle boiled eggs, it's actually pretty good...
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