Best Vessels/Containers for Precision Cooking

This may not spark a discussion, but I wanted to get the info out there. I’m Very happy with the performance of my cooker but I was confounded in trying to find a large enough (and correctly-dimensioned) cooking vessel. I’ve got alot of pots and pans but none were hitting the mark, so I started searching restaurant supply stores. I figured that a large mise tub would do the deed… but no, too small, no lid, flimsy construction. The “aha” solution? I bought a camping cooler for thirty bucks and cut a hole in the open edge of the lid! My Anova clamps to the side, the lid closes over it, there’s no evaporation, and it’s insulated to boot!


That looks nice! What size cooler is it? I have a smallish portable cooler that never gets used. I may have to sacrifice it :smile: What did you use to cut the hole?

It’s 24" wide by 13" deep by 14" tall. I removed the screws from the lid hinges and used my bandsaw to cut the slot after using my Anova to gauge the size. I then reattached the lid, although I think I’ll remove the hinges permanently as flipping the lid back is a fiddly business when the cooker is in place. I’m halfway through 24-hour pork hocks and the cooker is rock-solid at 165F - the lid is warm but the sides are cool so almost no heat loss which to me means more efficient operation. My hocks are in zipper bags clothespinned to each end, but next I’ll be looking to add some sort of internal rack from which to hang the bags.

Good job @Kevin ! Insulation is important for energy efficiency and to reduce evaporation during longer cooks. I did something similar but with a much smaller cooler, and I used a hole saw to make a circular hole only slightly wider than the APC: [missing image removed]
You’re right about the hinges, they are a nuisance and should be removed.

I then went too far in the other direction and used a fish tank:

1 Like

I was getting irritated because here I had this fantastic device with so much potential, yet I was unable to fully exercise it! I had good success cooking small items using standard stockpot-type pots, but because they were un-insulated they not only got hot, they also sweated profusely so they had to sit on a tea towel… plus brushing against a pot radiating at 170F is not recommended. For v2 of my cooler I’m going to remove the hinges, pretty up the hole in the lid, figure out a way to mount an internal rack of some kind, and also add the handy-dandy drain kit that you can get for most coolers - I’ll just drain the hot water right into the sink! I’ll be sure to post photos as I go!

@Kevin please consider not tipping away 20+ litres of perfectly good water! If you feel you really need to get rid of it after every use, can’t you do something useful like watering your back yard?


Ah - I live in rural Ontario Canada… where this morning it was -16C (with a windchill of -25C). No back garden for another 2 months!

@Kevin Brrr…I’m cold thinking about it. Maybe you can start building an ice rink with the water instead!!

@Fudspong Thoughts on a discussion on water re-usage? I think we can get pretty creative :slight_smile:

@jordan I think it would be a good idea to start that off as a separate thread. I will get on to it now, and hopefully the community can come up with some ideas to get excited about :slight_smile:

@Fuspong Woohoo, thanks!

@Kevin Here’s the link to the new thread for getting the most out of the water beyond the ice skating rink idea:

Also, keep us updated with your vessel project, would love to hear about what you use for the racks!

I was inspired by the first post from Kevin. I will be picking up a cooler on my way home!

@bigfish3 Woohoo! Have you gotten the cooler all set up yet?

I also purchased a cooler to use as a cooking vessel. Instead of using a wire rack to hold the bags below the water, I created a frame made out of 1/2" PVC pipe with a plastic mesh from the craft store attached with tie-wraps. Even though plastic floats in water, the cooler lid pushes the frame below the water level. Also, the PVC frame is tight enough against he walls of the cooler that I can adjust how deep the frame sits in the cooler. I plan on posting some pictures.

I tried to post some pictures, but I am having problems. When I try to attach a file, it never stops “Uploading…”. Has anyone been able to post pictures on the “new” forum?

@gmacted Very nice job. What you need now is to make a foam cradle for the Anova. That way it will be in the cooler ready to go when you are. That's a very good idea, but I'm probably just going to wrap the Anova in a towel for transport and storage.

For the sake of keeping things organized, I’ve closed two other discussions on this same topic so we can continue the conversation in one thread - here. You can still see all of the great responses here:

@gmacted This is awesome!! I’m working on getting the image upload issue fixed and will let you know once it has been rectified. I can’t wait to see more photos so I’m trying to fix it ASAP!!

@Gmacted - I like your setup and did the same thing with the hinges on my cooler - removed the screws, spun the hinges out of the way, and then put the screws back in the lid.  You'll note that the lid is hollow and insulates solely on the basis of the airgap which is why it gets warmer than the cooler itself which is full of foam.  The hollow lid is a bit of a hassle because after a 48-hour cook it gathers alot of condensation which must be carefully drained post-cooking to avoid a mess - I'm considering how to best fill that gap (maybe with some blown-in foam of my own, or drill it full of holes to let it drain itself).  I've been occupied with other things of late but I hope to get back to my modded cooler soon - drainage, an internal rack, etc) and will post updated pix when I'm done!  My next Everest?  Scratch-made sous vide pastrami!  Woot!

@kevin One thing you might try is to fashion a piece of plastic that fits in the space made by the cutout then thermal seal it or use silicone sealer. This way no water vapor can make its way into the lid. Even with holes I would be worried that the inside does not dry completely and you might get mold.

In a commercial unit I saw something that looks like it would solve some of the floating and cooking a lot of food issues. It was a stainless wire rack that essentially looked like mail slots for the packages to sit in. It was the size of the vessel. It did not impede the water flow and if you had floating issues you just lay something on top of it. If I can locate the materials I need to make one for myself. I might also include rods across the top to hold any floaters down.

A $25 dollar Cambro tub purchased on Amazon or bought at a cooking supply store easily suffices. It is what moost professionals use and put food grade wrap on top.

[missing image removed]