Pausing / Taking a Break Mid-Way Through Cooking

Hi everyone, new-ish to Sous Vide and the Anova community. Here’s a weird question. I’d like to do a 72-hour recipe but will be visiting family about two and a half hours away. Is it possible to start cooking the food…getting about 36 hours in to the cooking time and then pausing the cook while we head back home and resuming/finishing the sous vide once home? If possible, we’d cook for 36-48 hours, head home and then start it back up again about 2.5 hours later.

How to go about doing this?

Thanks so much!!!

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The way I would handle this is to put the sealed bag into a cooler buried in a bag’s ice cubes for the drive home. That will get it quickly down to a safe temperature and hold it until the water is back up to temperature at home. This will not add a lot of time to the cooking.

Thanks for your response - do you think a total of three hours or so (from taking out the bag and getting it cooled down to getting the water back up to cooking temp) is too long to pause for?

Would hate to invest 36 plus hours of cooking (and the cost of meat) for it to be overdone/underdone on account of pausing the cook…

and on that note - would it be wiser to simply travel with the food for the 2.5 hours with it still in the warm/hot water? perhaps the water wouldn’t cool down that quick and that’d be an option?

That will not be a problem on a 72 hour cook. Times for sous vide cooking are open to interpretation and convenience. Your meat will be “done” in the first 4 hours of cooking (I assume it is a large piece). The rest of the time is used to break down connective tissue and make it more tender. Even that depends on how tender the meat was to start with.

That makes sense - I’ll be cooking short ribs so I’m assuming there’s lots of connective tissue to break down and the relatively short break (2.5 hours) amid the grand scheme of 72 hours of cooking will have little impact. Thanks again for your thoughts. Wish me luck. Hoping the short ribs come out edible with the break in cooking.

Last question - better to ice down the food for transport or leave them in the 140 degree water for the return trip and then resume cooking?

That would probably work too. If you put the hot bag in a cooler for the trip home it would be fine since the meat inside the bag is pasteurized from the first half of the cook.

Having had experience trying to move an aquarium, I advise against driving with water in an unsealed container.

reasonable - i had thought of moving it in a cooler that’s pretty water tight. final answer? move it in the water and hope that the water cools off gradually or ice it down and then move it? lol!

The one bit I’d change is I’d plunge the meat, in bag, into an ice bath to stop the cook and cool the meat very quickly (getting it out of the danger zone as fast as possible).
Just having it surrounded by ice isn’t as effective as it is in ice water (and the surrounding ice would melt, producing air gaps, etc). Depending on the thickness of the meat, you may want to leave it in the ice bath up to an hour. (take about half the time from the thickness charts for cooking).

I wouldn’t transport it in hot water - unlikely your food would cool enough to become dangerous, but it’s less than ideal - keep in mind you have to get your bath ready to receive the meat on the other side.

Lastly…do you not like these relatives? Seems almost cruel to cook meat in their home, then amskray with it!! :wink:

ha - love my relatives that i’ll be seeing, but I have dear friends coming in from out of town and i’m an awful cook - aside from sous vide-ing (-:
think that i will plunge it in ice before leaving and then separately travel with it in ice water (of course in a spill-proof container).

hopefully getting it back in the sous-vide the minute i get home won’t change the cook too much!

thanks for the help everyone!!!

I have done short ribs on many occasions (smoked porter recipe) 24 hours is usually plenty for cook time and it always turns out perfect, the sauce need a bit of reduction but cook time at 24hrs seems to be sufficient.

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