Cooking time by thickness or Weight?

I’ve just ordered the Sous Vide, but I have a couple questions…

  1. Is the cooking time for based entirely on Weight or thickness? If I have a 2" thick steak that weighs 1 lb vs a 3/4" steak that weighs 1 lb, is the cooking time the same??

  2. With the WiFi model & Bluetooth models- does the unit reset itself in the middle of cooking if the wifi or Bluetooth connection is interrupted by poor service? I’d like to use the unit while camping and where we go wifi isn’t available & if we go on a hike I don’t want to have to leave my phone behind to cook dinner.

Thank you in advance for sharing your experiences, thoughts and ideas, I really appreciate it!

You cook by thickness, not by weight

Loss of wifi or bluetooth connection will not reset the cooker. It will maintain the set temperature.

Note that you don’t even need to use the app in order to use the sous vide cooker. You can dial in the desired temperature using the scroll wheel on the device.

B, re: question #1, successful SV cooking requires a partial change in the way you think about your cooking because of the cooking environment and the lower temperatures employed. In conventional cooking you have been thinking about mass, now it’s thickness the effects cook time.

Think about your two pieces of steak and what you are about to do to them.
Apply heat.
Imagine a race between equal amounts of heat energy penetrating your two steaks. Which steak gets the heat at its centre first?

The steak with the shortest distance to its centre.

That’s why you let thickness be your guide to timing.
A ruler always beats a scale in planning your successful SV cooks.

While the heat may get there first, the whole point to sous vide cooking is that you cannot overcook the food unless your temperature is too high. Cooking a steak sous vide at 130F, who cares if it takes 1 hour or 2 hours or 4 hours? Sous vide is not a “race” to heat the food . . . it’s exactly the opposite. Any chef will tell you that “low and slow” wins the tenderness game. There is no direct heat cooking method for steaks or roasts that can compare to the low-and-slow sous vide plus reverse sear.

If you determine that 2 hours at 130F delivers a nice medium rare steak that’s 1-1/2" thick, you don’t fool around to see if you can get there faster at 140F or 150F. You’ll end up with overcooked meat that defeats the whole sous vide concept.

Temperature is what determines the doneness (bleu through well done), but you CAN overcook items in your sous vide.

Cooking steaks for times longer than 4 hours can result in meat that many find an undesirable “mouth feel” to.

The good folks over at Serious Eats have a great article demonstrating the effect:

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mmherr, B101 asked about how to determine SV cooking times for different meat thicknesses. Thanks for setting us straight.

My response didn’t address altering temperatures but sought to explain how cooking works so B101 could understand why a 2-inch thick steak would take longer that a 3/4-inch steak. It’s through heat penetration and thickness always affects the time required to cook to the desired degree of doneness and tenderness.

Subjecting tender meat to overly long cooks could be detrimental to the eating experience while for tough meat long cooks are required to achieve pleasant tenderness. So like most things in life, - it all depends.

I have not cooked steaks longer than 3 hours. But I have cooked large pieces of meat (pork roast, whole pork loin, pork ribs, pork cushion meat) for times between 4 and 24 hours, and a whole brisket for 16 hours. Long cooks require temps at or above 140F to prevent growth of pathogens. I recently cooked a 2.5-pound tri-tip roast at 143F for four hours . . . it was exceptionally tender and juicy, but a little too rare for my liking – made great tacos the next several days. The next one I will do at 150F.

Huh? Where did you read that 140F was required for longer cooks? 127F is actually the temp that pathogens are killed off. (130F is generally used as the safe line for any cooks over 2 hours).