What do you know now that you wish you knew then?

I’m actually thinking of putting together an ‘Introduction to sous vide’ class/demonstration for our local Skills Centre. It would be for a 3 hour class of an afternoon or evening.

Obviously the first thing to cover would be food safety and pasteurisation and why the low temps are ok.

At the moment I’m considering using skinless chicken breast and a steak as samples that can be cooked during the class time. This would also give an opportunity to cover finishing with searing and a little bit on oils.

Thought I might also have a sample (cooked but needing finishing) of a slow cook like a roast or beef cheek.

And we could also cover some vegie basics.

But I was wondering if there was anything you guys wish you had known when you first started out.

1 Like

When I first started out, I really was in the dark about plenty of things. Here’s some things I know now, but wish I knew then:

  1. Prior to searing, pat the meats dry.
  2. How the basic concept of time + temps isn’t really much different than other common cooking methods (i.e. cooking with oven).

If I think of more, I will add to this!


I wish I knew more about how the texture of some foods like pork and chicken would be different even though they are completely cooked and ready to eat.


When you’re making creme brûlée using small Mason jars (with conventional ring lids) be VERY careful to only lightly tighten the lid - they need to be able to expel the pressure as they cook (or they blow the bottom out of the jar - forcing you to pull everything out and change the bath water).

Yes, I’ve likely killed 8-10 of those little jars. :frowning:


Ahhh yes - I second @fischersd.

I’ve been lucky so far. The only jar I’ve killed was when I shock chilled a batch of egg bites without thinking.

Don’t overfill will be on my list of jar cooking warnings too. Forgot to allow enough head room in an egg bite jar and finished up with them swimming in a bath of egg soup.

1 Like

I am a newbie. There are a lot of things I wish I knew. But thanks to people on this site I am slowly learning. Something I wish I knew when starting out is what is the best cooking vessel. We bought the stackable cooler and put a hole in the top on an end in the middle. Should have put the hole in the side of the end instead of center of the end of the cooler. I also think a little bit deeper cooler would have been better. One of our favorite things to cook is a pork tenderloin. We did not know the meat could be pink. So moist and yummy. We cooked a pork loin that was very good also. Tri tip is our absolute favorite in the sous vide. I love this way of cooking and this site is awesome to learn from. I have bought 2 more Sous Vide to give as gifts.

1 Like

Yayyyyyy! Very happy you’re enjoying the website here. There’s so much knowledge and information here. Feel free to search around or ask any questions.

1 Like

OK, so you have an Anova Precision Cooker and you don’t want to use any of the “Apps,” where ever in the &#* they are! You just want to turn the @# thing on and start cooking. So, you put it the pot, add the water, plug it in. Use the wheel to set the desired temperature and press the Start/Stop key. You are done. It will heat the water to the temperature you set, put the food in and wait till it’s done. You can set the timer if you want but believe me, just set your regular kitchen timer for the time you want and don’t bother with setting the Anova timer unless you want to. If you are a millennial techie, I guess it’s not a problem, but if you are a dinosaur like me, just do what I have recommended and you will be fine. No muss, no fuss. It works great and the results are stunning! The instructions are not.


On the bright side. You do at least have that option with the Anova. You don’t with some of the other much lauded cookers.

1 Like

I wish I had known that a bear can smell brisket that is sealed inside doubled foodsaver bags, immersed in five gallons of water contained within a small can cooler with my Anova snugly fitting through the lid. Luckily I was 43 hours into a 50 hour cooking time and the 136 degree water that spilled on his feet was hot enough to save the brisket. I won’t be using my Anova on the front porch anymore.

1 Like

Woah, that’s intense! I can’t even imagine how much of a freak out I’d be having if that happened to me. Is it common to see bears in your area?

Alyssa I live in the country in florida and have plenty of wildlife. Deer, sand hill cranes (aka pterydactyls) and bears. I was out in my garage reading the paper and out of the corner of my eye saw a large black dog walking up my sidewalk that turned out to be a black bear.
I thought…thats’s cool I’ll get a picture on my cell phone and as I was aiming with the bear and 2 cubs 20 feet away I realized maybe I should get the hell out of there. The bear stared at me for maybe 10 seconds and just moved along. haha. It was a good thing cause the bear would have given me a good scrap I’m sure.

1 Like

luckily I wasnt cooking :fearful:

1 Like

That pasteurization is a mix of time VS temp. You can actually “can” things safely at lower temps IF you keep it at temp long enough. You > can’t, WRONG - You CAN go too low and you should only do things that can be canned in a water bath (high acid, etc) but it’s really handy if you don’t have a big canning pot.

Mis typed the “can’t”, you can and it is dangerous. Stay above 130 and check how long you need to stay there. Also this is ONLY for things that can be water bath canned. If your recipe calls for pressure canning you need a pressure canner to do it.

And a frozen turkey in a five gallon bucket of water (still in it’s wrapper) with the circulator set at 135 will not defrost overnight but be mostly cooked!

1 Like

Need to correct an error here.

You can go too low. While it is true that pasteurisation can take place as low as 124°F is is highly recommended that 129°F be used for a larger margin of safety.

Pasteurisation is a product of time at temperature. The time to reach temperature should not be taken into account. At lower temperatures the items must be held at target temperature for longer. Douglas Baldwin has charts for duration to pasteurise various proteins. You’ll probably need to search for data on non-proteins.

Sorry that is what I meant to type. You CAN go too low, and that can be dangerous. From ky reading you want to stay above 130 and I was in the 150’s. Sorry for the typo I will correct it, Thanks for catching that.