Let’s say you own a large steak house with hundreds of customers a night, each desiring their steak cooked to perfection be it rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, or well done. Imagine five immersion cookers, each set to the perfect temp for each desired wellness. These cookers are filled with your best aged steaks, in vacuum sealed bags, seasoned to perfection. And, once these reach the perfect cooking temperature, holding them there denatures the proteins and just makes them all the more tender. The chef simply plucks your steak from the proper tank, puts a quick sear on it over their mesquite grill, lets it rest for a few minutes and sends it out on a sizzling platter; just that quick, just that simple. It makes my mouth water just writing this.
I first saw immersion cooking in action at The Kitchen, in Sacramento, CA. This is an incredible (and expensive) dining experience where the dining room and the kitchen are one, and between courses of the fixed price, single seating, meal, the patrons are invited to walk around the kitchen, talking to the chefs, learning from them how to prepare the meal, seeing how they use the tools of their trade.
Now imagine the home application. Sunday morning you pull a nice roast from the freezer, vacuum seal it and toss it in your immersion cooker. Just before dinner, you brown the outer surface in a skillet and serve it to an admiring family. Oh, let’s not forget, you cooked your vegetables in the cooker right alongside the roast.
“Isn’t this the same as crockpot cooking?”, you ask. As much as I love my crockpot for pulled pork, stews, and the like, letting a pricey piece of meat sit in a crockpot turns it to, well… pulled pork. It does not preserve the integrity of the meat.
I have priced these cookers from $750 to $1,000 in commercial cooking stores. So I set out to build own immersion cooker for considerably less.
Step 1: Disclaimers and Legalese
2. You can sustain serious health risks for under-cooked food. Please consult recipes and food labels when deciding on proper food cooking temperature.
1. NEVER OPERATE THE COOKER UNLESS THE HEATING ELEMENTS ARE IMMERSED IN WATER.
2. NEVER OPERATE THE COOKER UNLESS THE SUBMERSIBLE PUMP IS IMMERSED IN WATER.
3. CARE MUST BE TAKEN TO ENSURE THAT WATER OR OTHER LIQUID NEVER ENTERS THE CONTROLLER BOX.
4. NEVER IMMERSE YOUR HANDS INTO THE HOT WATER.
5. NEVER TOUCH THE HEATING ELEMENTS WITH POWER APPLIED.