APC for Large Dinners

First time in the community - didn’t find much along the line of what I would like to try -

Have to prep a dinner for about 100 - serving pork loin - have a commercial kitchen available - but only the APC which I use at home.

There is a large square stainless steel sink about 18"-20" deep x 18"-20" wide and high. - the divider is about 3/8" thick - thick enough to clamp the APC to it - and I can use the middle sink and cover it with HD plastic wrap to keep some of the heat from escaping and prevent evaporation.

But my question is - will the APC be sufficient to handle 5 or 6 10 lb loins (about 45-55 pounds total) to properly cook them, as I would on a single/smaller scale at home in a stock pot?

Has anyone used their APC for volume meat cooking such as this? Any insight and ideas would be appreciated!

Noel in Northern NY!

You would be better by far to use an insulated container, like a cooler, than trying to run a cook in a sink. There is not only the matter of evaporation to consider, but heat dissipation due to convection currents. The stainless steel will leak heat as it is not insulated. A well insulated container will allow you to run a bigger water bath with a single APC, therefore enabling larger cooking batches.

I would suggest pre-cooking your loins in smaller batches (2 at a time), so as to not risk over taxing your APC. They can be shock chilled and stored for reheating on day of service. With the meat already cooked, reheating is less critical.

To reheat, fill your container with already hot water (again I stress that the stainless steel sink is less than desirable) to lessen the stress load on the APC.

I’d be wondering about finishing and carving the pork and reheating packages of pre-sliced pork. Or even look at another way to reheat once your have your pork cooked. Perhaps reheating in a sauce/gravy or stock. It only requires heating to mouth hot, which is around 50C.

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Get a large wheeled cooler and install you APC by drilling a hole in the lid. They are not all that expensive and well worth it if you will be doing this size again. My cooler is only 24 quarts and I use it all the time.

The APC can maintain temperature in a big insulated container if you can fill it with very hot water as should be available in a commercial kitchen. However, the sink is unlikely to work out, IMO.

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Everyone above had great suggestion. I would also consider getting a cooler for the large cook. You can also check out this thread for ideas on vessels/containers for large cooks: Best Vessels/Containers for Precision Cooking

I would worry about circulation with 60 pounds of meat in a cooler. To work properly the hot water needs to circulate freely around the loins. If there are dead spots it will be under cooked and you will be disappointed. Loins would stack like cord wood and it would be difficult to do as many as you want.

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Thanks to john.jcb / AlyssaWOAH / Richard OL and Ember - for the prompt response and the information.

I sort of thought SS sinks would bleed the heat out continuously - so I will look for a large insulated container (cooler).

Taking all the info in - if I start a couple days in advance of the dinner - do 2 or 3 a day and chill them - then on the morning of the dinner and prep I can re heat all (since they already reached the 152 degree I am considering for medium doneness - then I can sear them on the large cast iron griddle available just before serving - and then slice and enjoy!

Thanks again to all! Bon Apetite


Hey ND, you are one brave cook to take on that assignment, particularly if you haven’t done it previously. I hope you have a few extra pairs of hands to help.

You are serving a commercial-sized group and your APC with its 900 watt output and about 2 gph flow is designed for home use and its associated thermal loads. Please cook in smaller batches in an insulated vessel. For successful SV cooking you need ample water circulation.

If you are considering using bone-in loins, - don’t. Why? There’s the excess mass, they often need to be double bagged because of the bones, plus all those bones to mess with that will woefully slow your portioning and service.

I’d use boneless back halves, or even better, only rib-half boneless loins which are relatively uniform in shape end-to-end and shorter with less end-trim to ease portioning and service. I have always used 2 1/2 portions per pound as my edible portion guide in catering while rounding up. It’s lots, unless you are serving a couple of football teams and offering “seconds”.

If at all possible, you will achieve a superior product by adding tenderness and moisture if you brine the pork before SV bagging with a 4% sea salt and 2% brown sugar solution for 12 to 24 hours. Besides, it adds flavour too.

Since you have a commercial kitchen available you have the option of straight oven roasting low and slow on the day of service. (i know, - outrageous heresy here, but it works particularly if you want medium done pork for 100. Serving medium done pork loin is beyond my comprehension, but i know it happens.

Alternatively, i’d suggest considering a SV cook at 140F, no higher, for 3 to 6 hours. That will result in tender, pink - not red, moist roasts. Anything over 150F is going to toughen that lean meat and render your SV cook efforts almost useless. Although it will result in producing lots of juices for your sauce. Give yourself ample time to wrestle with those pork loins on the griddle, and it’s going to be a beast to clean. Get some 18" tongs too.

Be sure to save the fluids in the bags for your Onion and Herb Pan Sauce.
You are going to make gravy, aren’t you? Put it over the meat for your medium doneness guests and under the meat for those that enjoy perfectly cooked pork.

Happy cooking.


@chatnoir -

Thanks for the reply and the wonderful info?

Likewise - I grimaced a bit when some on the planning committee said "just make sure the pork is well cooked!!

I have done a SV loin at home - at 140 as you suggested - it was like cutting through butter! I HATE DRIED MEAT! Period!

I would really like the SV method - but being one of two cooks - the low and slow stove would be less work - but I will brine them regardless!

Agai - great info - much appreciated - God Bless! - Noel

Noel, Thank you.

You know the right thing to do. Deliberately ruining meat is a travesty.
I believe we should always treat our food as a gift.

“Well cooked”, or cooked well?
Of course it’s going to be well cooked.
The planners would not have given you this assignment if there was doubt in your culinary capabilities. They are just speaking based on their personal taste.

If at all possible, and if you are doing plate service, warm those plates if at all possible, - blot those planners’ pork portions with a wad of paper towel to get rid of those evil juices. Serve the planners separately if you have to. Sauce or gravy, something, goes on top of their portions. It’s always worked for me in similar circumstances. If there is any grace in their hearts they will compliment you on your superb work. Just don’t you count on it.

Remember, in life most folks discover it’s always better to seek forgiveness than permission.
What’s the worse thing that can happen? - You won’t be asked to cook for the next event?
Most of your guests will become your raving fans.
And you will bask in their admiration.
Do well.

Recipe please on you onion and herb gravy. I am making a pork loin tomorrow. Yum! Thank you for the great information on how to cook it. When I have cooked a pork loin in the oven I have made an apricot glaze that was really yummy, but I want to Sous Vide my pork at 140. My pork tenderlions have come out moist and fantastic, thought I should try a pork loin.

Mary, i use techniques rather than recipes when i cook so i don’t have any written details to give you. Just use the same basic technique you used to cook your pork tenderloins, only SV cook the pork loin about twice as long as the tenderloins. By the way, I consider an overnight brining to be essential with most contemporary pork, but it’s too late for that this time. Please try it sometime. It makes a significant difference.

Here’s what i do for all roasts with a few details for your gravy in particular. It starts with the meat. I’d whack up a large cooking onion and put half of it in the SV bag with the pork. Use any herbs you enjoy with pork. I like fresh rosemary, thyme, a little sage, and garlic with pork. Use more than you think you need. Put half of the herbs to cook with the pork.

When the pork is just about done lightly brown half of the remaining onions in your fat of choice. Some bacon fat brings a smoky-piggy flavour to your meal and you’ve already paid for it. Make a tan roux in the pan with the fat and onions. You’ll need about a tablespoon of flour for each cup of finished sauce. You will probably have to loosen the roux with more fat. Do it. You want your roux to be very slightly runny. I figure on each cup of sauce serving about two guests generously. That’s two ounces per portion for service with the rest offered at the table. If you’re not serving gravy at the table you will get three servings per cup. (Get yourself a 2 oz. ladle.)

As usual you decant the cooked pork, straining and reserving the juices, onion and herbs separately. Use your usual sear technique, or not. I always do. Stir in the remaining raw onions to the roux. Now whisk the pork juices into the roux, bring to a boil while stirring for a minute and simmer. You know all this. You will likely have to add some stock or beer to get the right consistency. Or add some of the wine you plan to serve. If all else fails, water will do, but just. Stir in the SV cooked onion and herbs and adjust seasoning with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Please taste as you go. Before service stir in the reserved fresh herbs, starting with about half, and taste, so you get that just-right flavour and aroma.

Mary, you always have 2 spoons on your cooktop, don’t you? One spoon is to take a sample and deposit it on your tasting spoon. If you are right-handed, your tasting spoon is always on your right. Seeing cooks take a spoon out of their mouth and putting it back in food drives me crazy. Fingers are even worse. Shows no respect.

You probably don’t want to know why there’s three additions of onion, but i’ll tell you anyway. The result is a subtle blend of onion textures and flavours that adds complexity and makes your gravy uniquely delicious. There’s other little tricks like adding a bit of anchovy or soy sauce, but i’ll let you discover them on your own.

Enjoy your dinner.

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This sounds really good. Next time I will try this sauce. Today I used your other advise to spruce up my apricot sauce. Hubby really liked it. :yum:I copy, pasted and mailed this information to myself so I do not lose it :grinning:

Mary, you might want to start keeping a ring binder with your favourite recipes, although i suspect it won’t be long before you will be cooking without using them because you know the techniques and the flavours Hubby and you enjoy. You will soon discover you can get dinner on the table faster when you don’t keep referring to a recipe.

Happy cooking.