So do you need to insulate the cooking pot, or place a lid on it when cooking. Just started my first 16 hour cook and am interested in your responses
While both are beneficial, reducing evaporation is the best ate toward cook security on a long cook. Foil or cling film over the top of your cooking vessel will suffice to reduce water loss and reduce risk of a cook failing due to low water level.
What @Ember said.
You should definitely cover the pot, to slow evaporation.
I stand my pot on a piece of foam insulation, to protect the counter top, and I wrap it in one or two bath towels, to keep it warm.
I bought a dedicated Tupperware type container with neoprene cover and silicone lid and it has helped tremendously. It gets up to temp so much quicker (down is a different story) and maintains water level on longer cooks.
If you’re doing a lot of long term cooking (aka ribs, pulled pork etc.), it may be a good idea to invest in a cooler (Coleman or else). Just use a hole saw of a diameter equivalent to the shaft (2½") and drill a hole in the cover about 1½" from the lip on the shorter side (about a third of the lenght from the corner). You will notice that the cover is honeycombed on the thickness, you can fill the gap with a latex based sealer. then it’s just a matter of filling the cooler with water, put the lid on, start the Anova. When the temperature is reached, just pause the Anova, put the food in and start cooking. The cooler will keep the heat and the lid will prevent evaporation.
For long cooks (more than 4 hours) I will use a cover. For shorter cook (less than 4 hours) I don’t. But in either case I will always insulate the bottom to protect my countertop.