Turkey Burgers Staged in CVap®

turkey burger

No matter the time of the year, a burger always sounds good. While some folks head straight for the ground beef, some people might need something a little bit leaner. You can do a lot with ground turkey, most commonly burgers. That’s right – turkey burgers! But not just any turkey burgers – these burgers are staged in CVap.

Turkey burgers have a bad reputation for being dry, flavorless, or dull. Fortunately, with the techniques we have at our disposal, this is not always the case. There are many flavor combinations you can try. Not only is turkey lean, but it is also a versatile protein option.

Below we test two methods for making turkey burgers. Try both and decide which one is best.

turkey burger

Sous Vide or Not Sous Vide

Combine ½ lb. of ground turkey with two beaten eggs, ¼ cup of Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce, ½ of an onion (minced), one minced garlic clove, and one cup of Panko bread crumbs. Mixture gently to combine the ingredients. Form the mix into 3-ounce patties.

Place half of the patties on a half-size sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Put the other half into pouches for sous vide and then added a little smoke for an extra dimension of flavor. This will give the burgers a subtle smokiness without it being overwhelming. Seal the pouches and place the pan and the sealed burger meat into the CVap Cook and Hold oven.

CVap Settings

Cook Time: 30 Minutes, Cook Vapor Temp: 145F, Cook Air Temp: 145F
searing turkey burgers

Pan-sear the sous vide burgers for texture and bringing them to a finished temperature of 150° to 155°F. By staging and then finishing in this manner yielded extremely well-textured, moist, and flavorful burgers.
Toast some ciabatta rolls and dress with freshly torn cilantro and chipotle salsa (fresh pico mixed with pureed chipotle peppers) This combination complements the slight hint of smoke in the patty.

Pan-sear the more traditional patties. Once they are to temperature, treat a ciabatta bun to Sriracha mayonnaise on one side and an explosively delicious mixture of pureed onion, Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce, and minced ginger and garlic on the other side. Finish them off with a mix of tender baby lettuce and torn fresh cilantro.

We talk a lot about staging with CVap around here. Use this process to bring food to the exact internal temperature desired and then hold it there – without overcooking or drying out – until it is time to finish and serve the dish. The final flavor-enhancing and texturing touches can be made just moments before you serve the food. Imagine how much faster you can push plates out of a kitchen!

Learn more about CVap® Staging and the possibilities it can bring to your kitchen and speed of service.

Vietnamese Pho Soup with CVap®

Vietnamese Pho Soup

When the weather turns cool, my thoughts turn to soups, stews, and broths. Clearly, a piping hot bowl of Vietnamese Pho Soup is the best way to take the chill off your bones. Can CVap make a good stock or broth? Of course, the answer is a resounding yes! Over the years I’ve made great beef, pork, and poultry stocks. I’ve made Tonkotsu ramen broth out of mountain ham bones. One of my favorite broth-based dishes to make (and eat) is Pho. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle dish with fragrant and aromatic broth. No matter which broth is your favorite, the basic method detailed in this recipe creates a beautiful result. No worries about scorching with CVap – just enjoy this wonderful broth!

Vietnamese Pho Soup


Recipe yields 10 servings of Vietnamese Pho Soup


  • 4 kilograms assorted beef, pork neck and poultry back bones (charred bones in CVap cook & hold 150°F food temp 10, level browning for 2 hours)
  • 4 onions
  • 6 carrots (rough cut into large pieces)
  • 7 stalks of celery (rough cut into large pieces)
  • 6 pods star anise
  • 85 grams of sliced fresh ginger
  • 45 grams garlic cloves (smashed)
  • 21 grams kosher salt
  • 32 grams fish sauce (I prefer Red Boat fish sauce 40N )
  • 10 liters of cold water
  • 3 (8oz.) packages dried noodles
  • 1.5 kg top sirloin (thinly sliced)
  • 2 bunches of cilantro (stemmed and roughly chopped)
  • 2 bunches of scallions (roughly chopped)
  • 3 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 bunches of Thai basil
  • Limes, cut into 4 wedges
  • Bourbon Barrel Soy to taste


  1. Preheat CVap Cook & Hold oven to 150°F food temperature and 10 level browning.
  2. Place bones in a 6” deep full-size hotel pan. Roast in the oven until browned, about two hours.
  3. Place onion on char broiler and grill until blackened and soft, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add charred onion, carrots, celery, ginger, garlic, salt, star anise, and fish sauce in the pan with roasted bones and cover with eight liters of cold water. Next, place pan in CVap oven set to 190°F food temperature and browning level 3. Simmer for a minimum of 12 hours. Strain the broth into a clean hotel pan and place it back into the CVap oven until you are ready to serve.
  1. Place rice noodles in a large bowl filled with room-temperature water and allow to soak for one hour. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the soaked noodles in the boiling water for one minute.
  1. Divide noodles among ten serving bowls> Top with sirloin, cilantro, and scallions. Pour hot broth over the top. Stir and let sit until the beef is partially cooked and no longer pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime wedges, BBF soy sauce, and Ed Lee Chile-Garlic sauce on the side.
pho soup
pho soup

Tasty Ranchero Beans!

Ranchero Beans are yummy school nutrition

With a side dish like  Tantalizing and Tasty Ranchero Beans from a district like Brantley County Schools in Georgia, you can’t go wrong.

There’s been a lot of talk about school nutrition, and what’s being served in cafeterias around the country. The best way to find out what’s being plated in K-12 is to actually go to the schools and have lunch yourself. I work with schools around the U.S., and there is some wonderful food being served, with creative ways of serving!

These healthier options have been putting school foodservice at the forefront of tasty recipes. They’re consistently satisfying one of the most demanding groups of customers there is – kids.

The K-12 market segment food manufacturers have done a marvelous job with reformulating and reinventing a lot of the tasty treats kids love to eat. Add in the scratch cooking that’s being done in many schools and you’ve got some great recipes for healthy well-fed students that get kids ready to learn.

Here’s my challenge to you. Would you try a dynamic, delicious, made-from-scratch school food recipe at your next outdoor cookout?

Ranchero Beans are yummy school nutrition

Ranchero Beans

We took the original bulk ranchero beans recipe from School Nutrition Director Laura Lynn’s Brantley County School District and honed it down for a small family gathering. We’ll share the original and the family-sized versions.

School style:

  • Number of Portions: 43
  • Size of Portions: ½ cup



  • 1  cup -(8 fl oz) water
  • 1 #10 can tomatoes (diced)
  • 2 tsp – low sodium ham base
  • 1  #10 can – /18.5 ct/.5 cup beans (canned, drained, rinsed)
  • 1 cup – frozen diced onions
  • 2 tbsp – Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp – cumin (ground)
  • 1 tbsp – salt
  • ¼ cup – mild banana pepper rings
  • 1 tsp – pepper, black


Pre-heat CVap Retherm Oven by pressing Channel 6.

Place can of tomatoes, drained beans and onions in a 2” deep hotel pan. Add one cup of warm water mixed with the ham base. Add Italian seasoning, cumin, salt and black pepper. Mix well and place pepper rings on top. Once it’s pre-heated, place in the retherm oven and cook for 30 minutes. Then place in holding cabinet with a food temperature of 155°F and a food texture of +10 degrees until ready to serve. Serve students with #8 scoop or ½ spoodle.

Home Style Version


  • 1/2 cup – water
  • 1/4 tsp – low sodium ham base (I used Better Than Bouillon brand)
  • 2 cans – (15.5 oz) unseasoned pinto beans (drained, rinsed)
  • 2 cans – (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup – frozen diced onions (I used Kroger brand)
  • 1/4 tsp – Italian seasoning (I used McCormick brand)
  • 1/8 tsp – salt
  • 1/4 tsp – pepper
  • 1/4 tsp – cumin
  • 6 or 8 – mild banana pepper rings


Mix all of the ingredients together in a half size aluminum hotel pan. Place in a preheated CVap Cook and Hold Oven set to 90+9 for 30 minutes on high yield so it will drop into an automatic hold of 150°F following the heat cycle to warm.

If you don’t have a CVap Cook and Hold Oven at home, you can cook it old school. Combine the ingredients in a gallon pot, reserve the mild banana rings for topping. Heat on medium on stove, covered until warm, then put the banana pepper rings on top for serving.

I served this to friends and family, including my toddler granddaughter Penelope (minus the mild banana pepper rings) and asked them all what they thought.

The adults loved it and Penelope asked for more. Then the big reveal…I told them it was school food!

This made Penelope ready for kindergarten immediately!

Check out this wonderful dish and try it at home. Take heart in knowing that schools are serving great school nutrition like this to your children. Winston’s CVap equipment helps schools serve food that’s top notch.

Chicken Ballotine

chicken ballotine
chicken ballotine

As I have worked my way down the East Coast, I have always taken away something from restaurants. For example, I spent some time in a Philadelphia kitchen that was one of the most creative places I have ever been in. We would manipulate products in directions that I had not considered possible before. We sometimes juiced onions for soup, for instance. There were also items on that menu that were so easy and so delicious, that you would wish you had thought of them first.

The recipe I am offering is one that combines both easy preparation and wonderful manipulation of the product. This is a tried-and-true recipe that never came off the menu, and its preparation is simple enough that one can serve a restaurant-quality menu item at home.

Definition of Ballotine: In the culinary arts, a traditional ballotine is a deboned leg of a chicken, duck or other poultry stuffed with ground meat and other ingredients, tied and cooked. A ballotine is usually cooked by braising or poaching. Modern kitchens make ballotine with other parts of the poultry. Sometimes, they use the breast and not strictly the leg. You can make a modern ballotine using any type of meat, not limited to poultry. Source: Merriam-Webster.

Chicken Ballotine

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 4 Portions

Ingredients / Quantity

  • 2 Chickens, whole
  • 8 oz Mushrooms, crimini, sliced, cooked
  • 2 Tbs Thyme, picked, minced
  • 1 Cup Cream
  • 4 tsp Salt
  • 2 Cups chicken thighs (fat, bone, and connective tissue removed)

The Directions

  • Preheat the CVap Cook and Hold to 165: 0: 2:00hrs
  • Lay the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board.
  • Score the skin of the chicken from the top to the bottom of the bird along the spine. Remove the wings at the top of the breast.
  • Flip the chicken over and remove the breast from the keel bone. It is important that you do not separate the skin on the back of the bird while doing this.
  • Flip the chicken back over onto the breast and peel the skin from the neck all the way down and off the leg of the bird. Make sure to keep the breast meat attached to the skin. Repeat this process on the other breast.

Remove the Meat

  • Next, you remove the breasts from the birds and lay it meat side up. Cut the breast at a 45° angle from the top of the breast to the tail. Do not cut all the way through the breast.
  • Next, refrigerate the breasts until they are ready to be filled.
  • Remove the legs from the bird. Debone the legs and remove all the fat and connective tissue from the meat.
  • In a food processor add the leg meat and salt (2 teaspoons). Turn the food processor on and combine the ingredients. Combine ingredients for about 1.5 minutes until it is smooth, then slowly drizzle in the cream. Add the mushrooms and thyme. Place the forcemeat in a piping bag and reserve.
  • Remove the breasts from the refrigerator and lay them out breast side up. Season with the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt.
  • Pipe the forcemeat into the cut breast and roll the breast so the skin is completely covering the breast meat.
  • Line a counter/ table with plastic wrap. With the box of plastic wrap at the top of the table, tear off a piece that is 20 inches long and place the rolled chicken breast about 6 inches from the bottom.

Roll the chicken

  • Roll the plastic over the chicken breast and continue to roll the breast to the top of the plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap is tight to the breast.
  • Once the chicken is rolled, grab the edges of the plastic wrap at the ends of the chicken breast and hold firmly. Roll the chicken on the lined table/ counter surface to tighten the ballotine.
  • Tuck the ends of the plastic wrap to the bottom of the ballotine and wrap in another piece of plastic wrap to secure them. Repeat this process with the remaining chicken breasts.
  • Place the ballotines in the CVap Cook and Hold.
  • Remove them from the cook and hold oven and Heat a pot of oil to 350°F to fry the ballotines.
  • After ballotines are cooked, remove them from the oven and let them stand for two minutes.
  • Remove the ballotines from the plastic and pat dry.
  • Next, fry them in the oil until they are golden brown for approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Remove from oil and let stand five minutes before slicing and serving

Butter-Poached Lobster with Thyme and Lemon

Lobster with thyme and lemon

Lobster is the ultimate decadent luxury. History shows us that wasn’t always the case.

People once considered it a trash food fit only for the poor. The crustacean was considered the “cockroach of the ocean.” Americans started regarding it as ‘fancy’ food in the 1950s. You can read more on how it gained its lofty reputation in  “How Lobster Got Fancy!”

Lobster is heart-healthy food, being lower in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat than lean beef, white meat chicken, pork, and even shrimp. Grilled, steamed, boiled, poached…no matter how you serve it, nothing can top properly prepared lobster!

poaching lobster

The Process

We butter-poached tails with thyme and lemon in a CVap oven at 200°F Vapor/ 200°F Air (Legacy 200°F + 0) for 12 minutes. Next, we seasoned them with salt, pepper, and lemon butter. We served them with a spring vegetable medley of fresh asparagus and sweet baby carrots, all steamed in a CVap oven. This dish tasted like seaside sunshine!

The butter-poached lobsters were cooked at two different settings for testing purposes in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven – The results are below:

Doing Lobster Up Differently

Below are some different ways to cook delicious decapods.
Consider these serving ideas:

  • Spread pesto on a pizza crust and top with chunks of tail meat, grilled or roasted corn and asparagus, dot with small bits of brie and bake – how decadent!
  • Drizzle sesame, ginger, and lime over Vietnamese-style lobster and vegetable spring rolls in rice paper wrappers.
  • Serve citrusy ceviche with avocado and yucca chips.
  • Sauté in a spicy tomato sauce and serve over pasta for Lobster Fra Diavolo.
  • Substitute it for Canadian bacon for the most indulgent eggs benedict imaginable.
  • Ditch the chicken and go all out with lobster pot pie!
  • Take your bisque in an Asian direction with a hint of curry and curried croutons for topping.

New CVap models 160°F Vapor/165°F Air and 145°F Vapor/145°F Air

test results - butter poached lobster