CVap® vs. Immersion Circulator – A Precision Cooking Contest

Not long ago I had a talented chef come to the Winston factory in Louisville to do some testing. He was preparing to open a new “traditional” style steakhouse in Chicago. Knowing how the competition was for that segment, he needed an ace up his sleeve. He had heard quite a bit about our CVap® technology, but wanted to see it for himself. So he came to town with a very specific goal: to test a CVap Cook & Hold Oven side-by-side against an immersion circulator. He also had some very specific food items he wanted to test, so he came bearing gifts in the form of beef, pork, and chicken. I knew I had two days of caveman-style protein consumption to look forward to!

I already had some experience with side-by-side testing with the circulator, so I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong. This chef was very detail-oriented and wanted to capture all the results with precise notes and pictures. So that’s how we approached the project, and I was very surprised by what we found. I already knew about the procedural efficiency and cost savings made possible by choosing CVap over the circulator, but I was not prepared to discover just how much better it performed with regard to texture, flavor, and consistency. Time after time we were both surprised after tasting the finished food items.

We tried three different methods for each item. We bagged and vacuum-sealed short ribs, mock tenders, beef filet, ribeye steaks, NY Strip steaks, skirt steaks, and half chickens. We also had one of each item for our bag-less CVap sous vide-style process. We then cooked and finished each product. We did one each bagged in the circulator, one each bagged in the CVap, and one each bag-less in the CVap. The results for each product weighed fairly heavily in favor of the bag-less CVap sous vide process in terms of flavor, texture, consistency, and moisture retention. Each protein was just more tender and easier to handle than the more complex traditional sous vide process.

Then there’s also the question of capacity. We realized that he would need at least four circulators to do what we were doing in one half-sized CVap CAC509 Cook & Hold Oven, which negated the cost difference of the two options. So much so that the CVap worked out to be the less expensive option. Not to mention the continuous cost savings each year of not having to use the plastic products and the labor savings during prep time without the need for bagging the food items.

But don’t take my word for it – I think the photos speak for themselves.