Sous Vide Pork Chops – Thick or Thin, a Flavor Win

Sous Vide Pork Chops

Did you know that CVap® ovens can also do sous vide? In this session, we staged pork chops using the sous vide mode, and finished them on the grill, for a quick serve out. The results we wanted to demonstrate were a superior food product, and tremendously reduced ticket times.

If you were to ask 100 chefs for their definition of sous vide, you’d get 100 different answers. In traditional French terms, sous vide means under vacuum. Beyond that, it’s really about low temperature paired with precisely controlled water cooking. When cooking with immersion circulators, you’re basically cooking in a tightly temperature-controlled water bath. It’s a beautiful method of cooking, with many benefits; reduced risk of contamination, improved flavor, and the impossibility of overcooking are just a few. Sous vide is a method that proves beneficial for any chef to use from time to time and benefits foods across the spectrum, from proteins, to starches, to vegetables.

CVap technology matches the precision of sous vide cooking, without immersing food under water.  Remember, CVap stands for controlled vapor; the cabinet itself acts as a larger water bath. But instead of utilizing water as the cooking medium, CVap uses heated water vapor, creating an atmosphere that mimics an immersion bath. Thus, food can be cooked, sous vide-style, with or without the use of bags. 

We wanted to demonstrate this by preparing thick dinner chops and thin breakfast chops in the same oven, at the same temperature, at the same time, achieving sous vide precision without having to prepare two different water baths. Using CVap Sous Vide Mode at 145°F, we cooked cook the chops to that base temperature, then removed for quick sear on the grill, to simulate an expedited service.

The Process

Preheat the CVap oven to Cook Vapor Temperature 145°F, using the sous vide mode, which is an option when setting the Cook Air Temperature. In this case, we set the oven using the CVap Programming app, and waving the phone near the oven’s NFC sensor (available on Series 7).

Start with a whole boneless pork loin. Trim any extra fat, then slice into chops. We sliced some thick, and some thin, to serve as dinner and breakfast chops. The dinner chops were approximately eight ounces each. Breakfast chops were about four ounces each.

Place chops on sheet pans. For best results, chops should sit atop cooling racks, to elevate them above the pan surface. Place racked chops into the preheated oven.

Cook time was approximately 45 minutes. We pulled the chops just prior to doneness temp, as they would continue to rise in temperature for a few minutes while resting on the counter. All measured around 142°F when removed from the oven.

Most proteins cooked in CVap’s sous vide mode will not brown, because the temperature isn’t high enough to achieve the Maillard reaction, so you’ll want to finish sear on a grill, griddle, sauté pan, or however you see fit.  This technique is considered “reverse sear” or “reversed staging.”

We patted dry the surface moisture from the chop, and seasoned both sides with salt and pepper. It only took about two minutes, total, to get beautiful grill marks.

If holding cooked chops, this translates to two minutes from the time the ticket comes into the time the plate goes out. Compare that to cooking from slacked, where you’d likely be looking at a 20-minute prep time for an eight-ounce chop.

CVap ovens cook uniformly, with no bullseye, undercooked, or overcooked areas. In this session, both the thin and thick chops were beautifully done, tender, and juicy. With CVap, you’ll never overcook pork again.

Final Thoughts

One of the best things that ever happened to pork happened about ten years ago, when the USDA determined it was safe to cook pork to 145°F. This is an ideal temperature for pork, especially for lean cuts like loin chops.  Prior to this decision, the accepted method was simply to cook the hell out of pork to assure safety. The lower temp simply results in a better product. Ten years have shown the decision to be the correct one.

Sous vide, as we utilized with this session, is one way to prepare pork. A lot of chefs, as they get more accustomed to CVap technology, will begin to play with the settings, to come up with their own twists on base settings. It’s yet another way to make recipes their own. CVap ovens are capable of so much more than just prime rib.

One caveat to keep in mind when using sous vide mode in CVap. Our sous vide settings top out at 150°F. But that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve higher sous vide temps in the ovens; we’ll be glad to walk you through higher temperature sous vide methods that meet your needs.

Our staff of culinary experts here at Winston are happy to work with you, to help you achieve the settings and methods that work best for you. Need advice? Click the button below for our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.

Recipe Recap

  • Whole Boneless Pork Loin
  • Pinch Salt & Pepper

Trim excess fat, then slice into chops (thick or thin, depending on preference – approximately 4 to 8 ounces each). Pat chops dry with a paper towel, then season both sides with salt and pepper.

Program CVap RTV7-05UV-ST Retherm Oven as follows:

  • 145°F Vapor Cook Temp
  • SV (Sous Vide) Air Cook Temp
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Convection: On
  • High Yield: Off

Preheat the oven. Allow 45 minutes to preheat. Place chops on sheet pans. For best results, sit chops atop cooling racks, to elevate them above the pan surface. Place racked chops into the preheated oven. Start cook cycle.

Check meat temperature just before timed cook completes, as most meats will continue to rise in temperature after removal from oven.

Most proteins cooked in CVap’s sous vide mode will not brown, because the temperature isn’t high enough to achieve the Maillard reaction, so you’ll want to finish sear on a grill, griddle, sauté pan, or however you see fit.  This technique is considered “reverse sear” or “CVap staging.”

CVap Sous Vide Barbecue, Sort Of!

smoked bbq ribs

As the weather heats up, many folks begin daydreaming about barbecue, but not just any barbecue, sous vide barbecue. May is National BBQ Month – an entire month focusing on the delicious ways we’ve discovered to make proteins their savory, smoky best.

Barbecue has been a frequent topic in our blogs, for a couple of reasons. First (obviously) is that barbecue is freakin’ delicious. But another huge reason is how perfect CVap® Staging technology is at bringing the lip-smacking best out of barbecued meats and veggies. I’m amazed (but not surprised) at just how many calls we get at Winston asking about how to prepare a barbecue in CVap. (For a quick, quirky video about CVap® Staging and sous vide, click here).

Sous Vide Barbecue or Smoked

CVap technology positively impacts your BBQ recipes in many ways. Cook amazingly tender briskets in a CVap Cook & Hold. Add a Winston Smoker Box to your CVap Holding Cabinet to smoke bodacious Boston butts in a CVap holding cabinet. You can even Sous-Vide-Que your ribs using the method outlined on the Amazing ribs website. In our most recent BBQ test, we prepared baby back ribs using two different methods of “sous vide” – bagged and bagless, simultaneously in the same unit, our new CVap RTV5-05 Retherm Oven.

Ingredients

 

Procedure

  1. Remove membrane from ribs and rinse.
  2. Rub mustard on all sides of the ribs.
  3. Liberally sprinkle Memphis Dust on all sides of ribs.
  4. Weigh each slab of ribs.
  5.  

Smoking and Sealing

First, smoke the ribs in preheated CVap Holding Cabinet to 170°F food temp and 170°F air with smoker box set for two hours. In this case, we used hickory chips.

Next, vacuum seal three slabs of ribs in a vacuum sealer, using high temp bags.

Then, allow ribs to rest in the refrigerator for a minimum of six hours.

  1. Preheat CVap RTV5-05UV to 190°F water temperature and 240°F air temperature.
  2. Place prepared ribs into oven and cook until ribs reach 203°F.
  3. Remove ribs and weigh for yield.
  4. If preferred, place on grill and crisp, then finish with another dusting of Memphis Dust.
 
 Weight InWeight OutYieldTime to End PointEnd Point
Vacuum Sealed3.607 kg3.207 kg88%2 hours, 23 mins203.1°F
Bagless3.087 kg2.657 kg86%3 hours, 10 mins201.7°F

Observations

  1. Ribs that were vacuum-sealed in the traditional sous vide style cooked more quickly and had a slightly higher yield.
  2. Both ribs were highly acceptable relative to taste, tenderness, and juiciness.
  3. Ribs cooked in the bag were slightly more tender; ribs cooked bagless were slightly more toothsome.
  4. The ribs cooked in the bag had a less-defined outer bark and more of a wet finish.
  5. Ribs cooked bagless in CVap had better bark and a more defined rub taste.
Soon, we plan to attempt to duplicate Amazing Ribs Sous vide Que. CVap® Staging is a revolutionary process that brings food to a precise temperature and keeps it there, for a quick finish on a grill, griddle, or fryer. Traditionally slow foods can be served in a flash. Think sous vide, but don’t think you have to use the bags if you don’t want. It’s your call!

CVap Sous Vide Shrimp with Butter Herb Sauce

sous vide shrimp

Today I’m sharing one of our favorite CVap sous vide recipes: Shrimp with Butter Herb Sauce.

sous vide shrimp

If you are looking for tender, perfectly cooked shrimp bathed in a light, buttery sauce with a bright, citrus-shallot flavor (with just a hint of thyme), you will really love this one. This might spark some menu ideas, since operators may be looking for lighter fair in the upcoming warm weather season.

There is virtually no limit to what you can cook in CVap using a sous vide preparation. Because of CVap equipment’s unique ability to create and maintain precise temperature environments, even the most delicate products – like shrimp or fish – will turn out beautifully every time.

Recipe: CVap Sous Vide Shrimp with Butter Herb Sauce

Ingredients

  • 12 shrimp or prawns, peeled (16-20 count)
  • 1/4 cup clarified butter
  • 1 medium shallot minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Place shrimp and all ingredients in preferred bag for vacuum sealing.
  2. Vacuum seal shrimp (prawns) in a single even layer.
  3. Set CVap Cook & Hold Oven to temperature of 125°F + 0°F differential. Allow to preheat for 30 minutes.
  4. Place vacuum sealed shrimp in CVap oven for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  5. Maintain in CVap until ready to serve. When ready to serve, cut open and place in serving dish or toss with delicate pasta, such as capellini.
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes We’d love to try your favorite recipes too, so please share them!
staging in cvap sous vide shrimp

Hassle-Free Sous Vide Style Egg Bite

sous vide egg bites

The sous vide egg bites at Starbucks have become a very popular menu item since their introduction earlier this year. There are many copycat recipes on the web, but my go-to is usually Chef Steps for anything sous vide. They have a great recipe for a version of egg bites made in 4-oz. mason jars. I have a sous vide circulator so that I can compare items cooked sous vide with with those cooked in a CVap oven. The egg bites turned out fantastic. The simplicity of this recipe makes it easy to tweak; you can easily come up with healthy and tasty variations on your egg bites. My trial run in the sous vide water bath was successful, so it was time to try the CVap version.

The Recipe

I used the egg bites recipe (roughly) from Chef Steps to do my jar-less egg bites.

  • 8 large eggs (approximately 350g)
  • 350g of cottage cheese
  • 3g salt
  • 3g pepper

Blend the egg mixture thoroughly in a blender. Spray muffin tin with pan spray and fill with the blended egg mixture.

I chose to add cooked, chopped bacon to each of the egg bites.

The mix-ins are pretty wide open for these bites, but I had bacon in the fridge, and who doesn’t love bacon with their eggs? Seriously.

My goal was to mimic the Chef Steps method, where the bites are cooked in a water bath at 185°F for 25 minutes. I set the CVap Cook & Hold to Constant Cook, Doneness to 180°F and Browning to 2. This air temperature differential of 10 degrees keeps the egg bites from getting too much condensation on top. 25 minutes later I had perfectly cooked, firm egg bites.

The bites were easy to remove from the muffin pan, and they were delicious. Tender, velvety texture with the cottage cheese blended in. It was easy and hassle free to make a bunch at a time. Do you like sous vide cooking, but not the hassle and expense of bags or jars? CVap can cook sous vide style without the hassle.

CVap® vs. Immersion Circulator

sous vide chicken cooked in CVap

Not long ago I had a talented chef come to the Winston headquarters 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 a sous vide 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. 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 immersion 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.

A Precision Cooking Contest

Skirt Steak - sous vide vs. CVap

We tried three different methods for each item: bagged in sous vide; bagged in CVap, and bagless in CVap. The menu included short ribs, mock tenders, beef filet, ribeye steaks, NY Strip steaks, skirt steaks, and half chickens. Each product was cooked and finished. The results for each product weighed fairly heavily in favor of the bagless 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 Cook and 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.

Sous vide chicken vs. CVap chicken