Over cooking everytime!!!

Ok, so i got an Annova 900w wifi device as a gift for my birthday and was super excited to use it after watching all the videos.

The first problem was that i couldn’t connect the device to wifi even though i had followed every trouble shooting step i knew of and even the ones given to me by the support team after i emailed them… I tried dozens of times to connect it… and yes i tried sitting the device in numerous locations from 5ft right up until was less than 3 inches away away from my router and all my other devices connect fine!

I skip this step in frustration and decide to cook up a delicious medium rare steak at 54 degrees Celsius (129 degrees Fahrenheit) i set the temperature with my phone using the app (bluetooth works but the wifi doesn’t) and bring the temperature up to the desired range of 54 degrees C.
I select a Scotch Fillet steak approx. 3/4 inch thick from the refrigerator, season it, place it in a vacuum sealed bag and seal the steak inside using the vacuum sealer.

The water is at 54 degrees Celsius (129 degrees Fahrenheit), there is no air in the bag, i submerse the bag under water and clip it to the edge of the pot and it remains submersed for 1 hour.

I remove the steak from the bag, sear it less than a minute (approx 30 seconds) on either side of the steak in a hot (HOT) skillet pan to lightly colour it, remove it from the pan and serve.

And Walla… Over Cooked… id say cooked to about well done… tender… but well done!

I have repeated this process several times… selecting different sized steaks… even up to 1.5 inches, using different cuts of steak… lowering the water temperature to 52 Degrees Celsius (125.6 Degrees Fahrenheit) to try and get it to cook less… i have altered the length of time (between 45 mins to 2 hours… even though i am told through the website that i could leave the steak in the pot with the Annova at the set temperature and it will never over cook)… Well SURPRISE… Nothing will fix this problem of over cooking!!! The steak is always well done!!

Now if this is a temperature issue (device incorrectly calibrated) and i am expected to next put a thermometer in the water bath to check the water is at the correct temperature, i begin to ask myself… are they calibrating these devices as they send them in the post?? or are they just like… “oh well, im sure they’ll work it out eventually” or… would it be less risky to use a thermometer and a low flame to regulate the water temperature manually instead of over cooking my steak everytime?!
Either way if i was to pay a considerable amount of money for a device i would expect it to work when i removed it from the box… especially after the hours upon hours of trouble shooting and expensive steak ruined by this device!!

The question remains have i just got a lemon or is there something else i can try?

Have you checked the water temperature with a stand alone thermometer?

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Stix, a belated happy birthday, - and don’t quit now.

Successful cooking unfortunately requires one to participate in problem solving by collecting all the evidence possible. All you have up to now is sensory information. You need factual details in order to take the necessary corrective action which might include returning a faulty device.

I suggest you do as Ember advised.

Also, use your new Anova in manual mode for your first few cooks. When those experiences are successful move on to remote control if you need it. Personally, i never had that need so i don’t use it.

My approach to cooking has always been trust everything, but also check up on everything occasionally to prevent costly adverse surprises.

No, This was the question i mentioned above Ember but i haven’t got around to doing it yet.

I’m still questioning why i should have to go out and buy a thermometer to check whether a brand new device is working correctly.

Thankyou Chatnoir, greatly appreciated!

Now somehow I must have missed this in the instruction booklet and online video’s.

I thought that successful cooking would rely upon the Annova device working as it was intended and maintaining the desired temperature of the water bath as set on the device?

Was my detailed explanation not factual enough for you? You’re definitely right about one thing… my sensory information told me that all of my steaks were over cooked. I did this by using my eyes when i looked at them and my mouth when i tasted them.

Yes, i have used it manually as well. I apologise for not mentioning this above, but alas…the same results as listed in my initial post… overcooked.

I’m just unsure as to why i must now go out and by a thermometer to check the calibration for more factual information?.. must i also provide photo evidence of this or would a video of the entire event be more beneficial?

A thermometer is a basic piece of equipment that should be in every cook’s kitchen. Very accurate digital ones are no longer expensive. Very handy tool when frying, making candy or caramel, yoghurt/cheese making, checking done-ness of meats not sous vide processed. Every serious cook should have at least one, if not two. While I’m on the subject, a fridge thermometer is another cheap purchase but worth the effort, and one for the oven as most thermostats are way out.

As for why you should have to check a brand new device, the answer is as simple as to make sure it is functioning properly and check if it needs calibrating. Thermocouples are quite delicate instruments and we never know what handling packages receive during shipping.

Asking you to check that the thermostat is working properly, temperature is reading correctly is very likely to be the first request that support will make.

Visual check of colour of meat for doneness is not an accurate measurement as many things can impact the colour displayed: the type and brightness of ambient light, the freshness if the meat, whether or not it has been frozen, even the breed and age of the beast before slaughter.

The circulator is a very technical piece of equipment, although very easy to use. All equipment is subject to manufacturing tolerances. Remember my mention of a traditional oven? The thermostats in these can vary by more than 20C between two identical ovens from brand new. But, when we are dealing with temperatures of 100C and more this variation is considered negligible. In comparison when cooking sous vide we are dealing with increments of degrees. It is worth the investment of a few dollars for a thermometer so that you can check for security. Had you been able to do so on the first occasion it would’ve saved you the price of another steak.


Although the above advice takes some effort on your part, they are helpful. If you’re unable to double check on the your cooker’s temperature accuracy or just don’t want to - just email us at support and we will be more than happy to help you out with your unit.

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No need for a thermometer. Fill a pot with ice water and stick in the Anova. It should read 0 ºC.

Let the Anova warm back up to room temperature. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Run hot water from the tap into your sink and stick the Anova into the hot water to pre-warm it a bit, and then stick it into the pot of boiling water. It should read something very close to 100 ºC (unless you live in Nepal or some place like it.)

Hi Stix. After reading these posts I am curious as to why you don’t own a basic thermometer. I have spent more on pig-shaped corn-on- the- cob holders than a cheap manual analog thermometer. Let alone you can get a digital one for around 12 bucks. It’s part of the game! You obviously have a computer or smart phone and some sort of data service that allow you to be on this site which I am sure costs quite a bit more than a thermometer.

These products are made by man…and man is not perfect…therefore we just have to rely on tech support, warranties, etc. No snarkiness meant and Best of luck to you in this new cooking endeavor! :grinning:

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Well Ember, I have never professed to be a cook… nor am i making candy, caramel, yoghurt/cheese or any other type of meat that is not sous vide processed. I am simply attempting to cook a steak using the Anova device i have as per the manufacturers instructions.

Thermocouples can be quite delicate instruments on there own, but installed in a device and shipped in the appropriate packaging they should be quite robust. i have installed countless over the past 15 years as an electrician and haven’t had one fail up until this point… if this is the reason the Anova is malfunctioning so i must be extremely lucky.

I disagree with your statement of a visual check of colour for doneness being inacurate.
Anova themselves use this image as a guide which i will attach for your reference.

My reference of “well done” in the initial post was in reference to the level of doneness Anova has listed on their website…although i have no idea how old their beast was or whether they had frozen and defrosted the meat prior to cooking, i have used this scale as a reference my entire carnivorous life as i am sure a lot of others have, so please feel free to enlighten me if myself and others have been living a lie this entire time.

I’m confused as to why you included a reference to a conventional oven as it has nothing to do with my initial problem nor is it even close to the method of cooking i am using with the Annova.

Helpful advice is appreciated Ember… being patronising is not!

Thanks Michihenning, ill give that a go and see what happens!

The problem with comparing your meat to a photo to check doneness neglects to take into account several things. Every brand of camera handles colour differently, every screen displays colour differently and every brain interprets colour differently. Also, the colour of the cut piece of meat will change and actually get more red/pink with exposure to air. The colour blooms.

But if you consider this sufficient for you, fine. We are all only trying to help you work out what the problem is with your unit.

Although we have a chart that tries to provide a visual for doneness, I’d agree with @Ember that the most accurate way to figure out if your food has been cooked to the exact temperature you would have liked it to be cooked, is to double check with a thermo. But I understand not everyone has one in their kitchen. If you ever have any doubts or don’t think your cooker is not performing the way it should - just email us at support@anovaculinary.com.

Also, @Stix please be respectful on the forums. I understand your cooking experience may have been frustrating, but let’s keep cordial in here. We’re all just trying to help. I removed your comment - if you have any questions about our guidelines, feel free to message me.