First timer... mixed temps?

So today I pick up an anova kit from Costco. The box tells me I can make the best steak and the best asparagus I’ve ever had. I buy some steaks, and I buy some asparagus.

The meat cooks at like 135 and the veg at 185. Logically, I’m stumped. Tips please. Thanks.

What exactly is the confusion? They’re treo different products that need to be cooked at different temperatures.

You could cook the asparagus, lower the temperature (leaving the asparagus in the bath) and add the steak.

You could also buy a second immersion circulator and have them going simultaneously.

“what exactly is the confusion”?

Exactly… as I stated. What exactly is the confusion about my confusion? lol

It may be obvious to someone that’s done this, but as I stated I’m a first timer and I just got the thing. It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine that someone would be confused how to deal with a meal that has different temps.

Your 2nd paragraph could be helpful, thanks. So its OK to leave the asparagus sitting there at a lower temp for the 2-4 hours it takes to cook the steak (plus whatever time it takes for the temp to drop 50 degrees)? That seems like it would terribly overcook the veg. The instructions for the veg say to serve “immediately” after only minutes of cooking. The other way round is what I guessed… that I would cook the steak and then hopefully crank the heat and cook the veg while the protein rests and then sears. But again, there’s no info on how long it takes to go up (or down) 50 degrees. Is it OK to add boiling water to spike the temp quickly?

Your 3rd paragraph is a non-starter, and not a serious consideration particularly for someone that’s never used one (let alone 2).

Perhaps it just isn’t a suitable tool for both proteins and veg in the same meal. That makes in very much less versatile, of course.

I’m not really sure why I bought it lol. I cook a fine steak in the pan and roasted asparagus is a breeze… but the marketing promises me the best I’ve tasted for each, so I’d like to try it! I was just hoping to try both in the same meal :slight_smile:

Any other tips anyone?

I’ve never cooked asparagus sous vide however I’d stay away from a long hold with the steak. I would expect the texture to change with 2-4 hours at steak temperature. You could try a side by side experiment and see if there is a difference and which you prefer…

If you want to have steak w/ asparagus and cook both sous vide with a single circulator, I recommend cooking the steak first. Take the bag out of the water bath and turn up the temperature. Steak benefits from a 15 min rest on the counter. It’ll re-adsorb some of the juices in the bag as well as cool a bit which helps it not over cook when searing. When the water gets up to the asparagus temp, pull the steak out of the bag and pat dry, salt, and set on a rack. Dry steak will give you a better sear… Add the bagged asparagus to the water bath. When there’s a couple mins left of the asparagus, sear the steak. That should get you both ready at the same time and not sacrifice any quality.

Have fun on your new culinary adventure!

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Thanks. That fits along with my logic. However, I did more research since my last and it seems most people think Brian had the order right… but not quite the actions. The consensus seems to be to cook the veg first, then ice bath the veg and lower the temp. Cook the steak and put the veg back in for last 30 mins to warm. That feels weird to me… Cook then cool then warm. But I gather that the sous vide method preserves the veg well enough to not ruin the texture and taste. I am looking for a superior end result (as per the marketing on the box), not convenience, and I’m skeptical that this will beat freshly roasted asparagus, but we’ll see.


Wait – roasted asparagus?

If that’s what you’re after, might I suggest a contrarian viewpoint?

Your steak will take a few minutes to sear and rest. I wonder if you could shave 5-10% off your asparagus cooking time, and then roast it in a hot oven or on a grill for five minutes while your steak rests after searing. I would think that that would give you the advantages of a sous-vide cook along with the nice, brown crust you’d get from roasting/grilling.

Full disclaimer: I have the oven not the water tool, and am basing my thoughts on the fact that the oven recipes generally recommend doing virtual sous-vide to cook plus a quick broil for colour. Also, I’ve had the oven for only about 10 days as of this writing (did I mention NOOB ALERT! ?).

Good luck!

Lol thanks. I’m not after roasted though… I’ll after (and intrigued by) the “best asparagus [I’ve] ever tasted”, as written on the box.

But I gather that the sous vide method preserves the veg well enough to not ruin the texture and taste.

Yeah, sous vide cooked food tends to be fairly stable if cooled then re-heated. I’ve prepared 7+ course meals solo over the course of a couple days and used that technique to great effect.

I’ll after (and intrigued by) the “best asparagus [I’ve] ever tasted”, as written on the box.

I’m a bit skeptical this is more than marketing hype. I imagine that sous vide asparagus will end up much like steamed or blanched asparagus. I’m curious for your results.

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I’m one of those that doesn’t use my sous vide for my veggies (and I’ve been doing it for several years) :slight_smile: (that isn’t to say that it isn’t worthy of an experiment)
If you want to get the most out of your APC, it’s very worthwhile to keep a journal of your experiments (so you can repeat your best successes and learn from your near-misses).
When it comes to meat and fish, you’re really never going to go back to traditional methods.
Veggies and eggs? I’ve never been sold.

Too many people buy one of these and get into the mindset of “when all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail” :slight_smile: It’s another tool in your culinary toolkit.

Enjoy your experimentation!!! :slight_smile:

Oh…and Sous Vide meat doesn’t need to rest after cooking - neither before nor après sear.

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I’ve found a pre-sear rest to be beneficial especially for thinner cuts. It allows the meat to cool a bit helping protect it from over cooking during the sear. Without this I get more greying around the sear line. I’ve observed this across various sear methods including blowtorch/searzall, pan searing, basting, and grilling. To be fair I haven’t done a proper side by side test on identical cut of meat.

Additionally, several years ago I heard Dave Arnold on Cooking Issues talk about doing a test with cooling the bag for 15 mins on the counter before ice bathing vs. immediately ice bathing before cold storage and found the counter rest resulted in a juicier steak. Not exactly the same as searing post cook but does demonstrate that the meat will absorb juices from the bag during a counter rest.

Agreed that a post sear rest will have minimal impact from my experience.


Lol, so… well, Merry Christmas first of all!

This isn’t going so well. I had no idea it would take THIS long to get up to temp :slight_smile:

started with 120 degree water. It got to 140 reasonably quickly, but I need 185 for the veg. Half an hour later, its at 145. Yikes.

I resorted to spiking the water. I’d remove maybe 1.25L and boil it on the stove and replace it. That was OK, but better once I started removing 1.25L and then removing another 1.25L before replacing the first (then boil the 2nd and repeat). I’ve done that about 5 times now and I’m at 180.8. Dinner’s in a little over an hour lol.

“I got this”, he says to his wife.

And yes, we’re having steak for Christmas. I told my son it was his choice this year (thinking we were choosing between turkey and ham).

Cheers everyone.

It all worked out fine :slight_smile: I’m impressed with the cook on the steak. As promised, it was perfectly medium rare throughout the piece. With that said, I’m not sure it is worth it. The end result was easier, sure. More foolproof, no doubt. But it took WAY longer, involved an expense piece of equipment, and also more equipment and steps (ie. not pan vs. sous vide, but rather pan vs. pan + sous vide). Was it “better” than what I would typically achieve pan-alone? Hard to say, as I cook a pretty good steak. I can’t get the uniformity that I just saw, but in the mouth I’m not sure that’s a better vs. worse thing.

The asparagus… pass. Not at all worth the fuss. I could see if I was going through pounds and pounds of it that it might be worth it to have pre-cooked in the fridge ready to be fried… but in a typical household situation, that’s unlikely.

I’m not sure if I’ll keep it. Costco has it bundled with the 16L container and it was C$300. That’s a lot of coin. I saw the unit by itself at a different store for C$190, which means that container is $110 and I just don’t see the value there. Mostly though… cabinet space is precious. I don’t know that it is versatile/helpful enough to justify giving it a home. I’ll play around with it for a few meals and see.

Thanks for those of you that helped. I appreciate the assist.

ps. As far as “giving it a home” goes… a lot of devices have come and gone through this kitchen lol. We had a house fire in 2018 and lost everything and I’m being selective about what comes back in. I used to have a stand mixer, but really what can’t I do between a hand mixer and wooden spoon? I used to have a food processor, but… well, knives. The biggest regret was the juicer. That’s just being lazy. Panini press, waffle iron, blender… these (and the sous vide) all have a use, absolutely. They all make one thing or another easier. But unless it is something I can’t do with basic tools, I find it hard to justify giving it a home here. Oddly enough, I decided that an inversion blender was the one “gadget” I couldn’t do without because I couldn’t figure out any other way to do what it does. Months later, I still haven’t opened the box (I’m not a big soup person, but I still don’t see any other way to make a creamed squash soup)

I hear you on the space thing! :). Apartment dweller here (try to keep this story short) - spent my last few months in Ontario selling, gifting and donating everything that I owned as I planned to emigrate to Australia. (decided Aus isn’t for me in the long run, hence why I’m now in Vancouver) - wish I would have come out here 20 years ago! :slight_smile: Re-building my culinary toolkit since I landed here just over two years ago - I picked up an APC before I even thought about a slow cooker (and then picked up an Insta-Pot, as you know, Swiss army knife device means fewer items in the cupboard). :). Minimalist cooking.

Take it back to CostCo, get another one at a place with a healthy return policy (30 days) to make sure you’re sold.
How long did you cook your steaks? The magic that the APC does to steaks (IMHO) is the “low and slow” methodology (southern BBQ) - take your time. I cook my steaks for 6-8 hours at 130F. That extra time really tenderizes the meat. :slight_smile: (and whatever juices you lose in the bag, you could put into a sauce - peppercorn or blue cheese?) :slight_smile:
Steak, chicken, roasts (pork or otherwise), chops and (obviously) what the French created this method for in the first place (what, 60 years ago?) - Fish!
Keep a journal…trust me, in time, you’ll really appreciate what it can do for meat.
The eggs and veggies…yeah, I don’t get it either.

Oh, on the container front. I had a Cambro that I cut a hole in the sealed lid for. I liked it as I could see what’s going on in the cook (handy if you start using the sous vide bath for creme brûlée - those damn little jars are bloody temperamental!) - BUT, doing it over again (and being an apartment dweller) I’d go for the Coleman stacker coolers. They have 24 and 48 can stacker coolers - same lid, double the depth. Here’s the play. Buy both. Get yourself a 2 3/8" hole saw and cut a hole in the corner of one of those lids. Now, either cooler can be a sous vide vessel or a cooler, depending on which lid you have on it!

Coming up to temp and holding it (with minimal impact on your electric bill) is exponentially better with an insulated vessel. :slight_smile:

Use the search function up top - there’s no end of people discussing what they’ve done to make a better vessel (but my money will be on the Coleman stacker coolers…might have to run down to Walmart in the US to get the best deal on them though - post-covid of course) :slight_smile:




What I’m using currently? Just a big stock pot. :slight_smile: Next place will have more storage space (and a storage locker for seasonal items) - then I’ll pick up the stackers on a road trip to the US. :slight_smile:

Oh, and when you cut the hole in the lid - the lid becomes your clamp for the APC - it just sits in the hole - it doesn’t need the clamp to hold it. :slight_smile:

Interesting! Never thought that the meat could re-absorb some of the jus from the bag if given the opportunity (given these are very low temps we’re cooking at). I have done the ice bath post cook to create a cool outer layer, to minimize gradient when searing, but, honestly, my preferred method is to get my propane grill up to about 800F and then just do a quick sear on the outside. It’s fast enough that there’s minimal greying on the edges. :slight_smile:

Yes, I also had a Searzall (likely the best method if you’re in a municipality that doesn’t allow BBQ’s on balconies if you’re a condo/apartment dweller).

I’m going to try that trick! :slight_smile: 15 mins on the counter still in the bag. That’s about how long I let the grill get blistering hot before the sear, so it will be time well spent! :slight_smile: (I bury the needle - I’m guestimating it’s at least 800F as the needle only goes up to 700F) :slight_smile:

Erik, your comments on cooked meat absorbing juices meat are interesting, however without accurate measurements they appear to be opinion rather than being science-based. I agree with fishersd.

Here’s my problem.
We know that about 80% of muscle meat’s water is held in between the thick and thin myofibrils that shrink in width during cooking causing water loss. That shrinkage begins about 105F and continues to 140F. Above 140F muscle fibres also shrink in length causing increased water loss. As far as i know this process, called denaturation, is irreversible. How can the ruptured muscle fibres be returned, even partially, to their original state, - or uncooked?

I’ve mostly ignored posts here recommending meat be rested after SV cooking. That’s carry-over thinking based on experiences with conventional high heat cooking techniques that just don’t apply to SV.

Here’s why.
In high temperature cooking internal meat juices move away from the heat source towards the centre. (That’s a scientific Law of Thermodynamics.) The reduced surface moisture permits the sought after browning or even charring.

After high temperature roasting and grilling there is some benefit from waiting before cutting into just-cooked meat. The wait allows meat juices within to establish equilibrium throughout the meat. There can’t be absorption as the external meat fibres are the most severely heat damaged.

In defense of cooking vegetables sous-vide, my favorite carrot recipe is the one in the Anova app from Kenji. So easy and the results are fantastic.

Side note: one day I put in the carrots early so I could leave for a few hours and come back just before dinner. The carrots were in the bath for over 3 hours and were just as good as the stated 1 hour cook.

I am going to try this the next time we do steaks: cook carrots first (1hr) and then reduce the temp to 130° and do the steaks for 4-6 hours with the carrots still in the bath.

Cook the asparagus.Leave them in the bath.Remove some of the hot water and lower the temp by adding some ice cubes.Insert steak.Cook in perfection.Shear the meat.Invite me to Dinner!

Forget the asparagus in the Sous Vide. Perfect asparagus only takes 10 minutes in the oven at 400.
I also saw someone said the texture of steak changes with 2 to 4 hours cook time. This is perfect cook time for steak in Sous Vide. It’s when you get past the 4 hour time that it starts to change.

Welcome to sous vide! I think once you play with this a bit you’ll find lots of uses for it. Anova has a bunch of good info on their site. Two more I’d look at are and

To your specific question: First, depending on the cut of meat, you may not want to go more than a couple hours on the steak… I mean, you can. But a tender cut of steak (fillet, ribeye, KC strip, etc.) can actually be done in an hour. They can go up to 4, but no benefit. Second, how do you like your steak? For medium rare, I’d shoot for 131 not 135, and maybe even a little less if you plan to sear afterward… searing can raise the internal temp, too. Third, as to your asparagus question: Vegetables take much higher temps than proteins because of their cell walls… So you sure could cook the veg first at the high temp, and then just lower the temp to what you want for your protein… either just leave the veg in, or take out and put in the refrigerator, then toss back in at the meat temp for the last half hour or so to warm back up.

I’ve been doing sous vide for over 15 years… made my first unit out of a livestock bucket heater and a PID temperature controller with a probe! I now have “store-bought” ones… down to 3 because I gave 2 away. I’ve had a lot of fun with it. It’s really nice for cooking for company or a crowd, because unlike, say, grilling, you don’t have to try to get everything timed right… If folks are running late, or if cocktail chatter is going over time, no worries. Just be prepared for a little bit of a learning curve. I’ve messed up a few things over time… you will, too. Maybe hold off on wagyu beef until you’ve got the method down! lol! Good luck!

Thanks for all the helpful replies. Figured I’d come back and give you an update. The steaks came out perfect. No complaints at all. The asparagus just wasn’t worth the time getting the temp up to 185. The result was… well, it wasn’t he “best tasting asparagus I’ve ever had” or however they worded it on the box. It wasn’t bad, but asparagus is super-easy to cook well anyway.

Since then, I’ve tried pork chops which were really sub-par. I have a nice pan-in oven technique that works much better.

I can see the value of this gadget for cooking larger quantities of proteins, but I so rarely do that. I can see the value of this gadget for those that have a hard time getting a nice finish on a steak… but I’m pretty practiced in that regard.

So for me… I’m returning it and I don’t think I’ll miss it. I may regret that if I have 6+ people over for steaks one day, but until then it would just be eating up significant cupboard space (including the container) and I just think there’s better ways for me to spend $300.

I came, I saw, I tried. Thanks again.