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The Best Sous Vide Precision Cookers: A Comprehensive Shopping Guide

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It’s the weekend, your family and friends – who you invited for your masterpiece smoked tri-tip – are starving, and you can’t get your meat ready on time! Your spouse wants you to help with everyday meals and you don’t have the time or the energy to grill for an hour after work! Well, if you are looking for an affordable, reliable, and easy to use solution that can help you cook your meat effortlessly and to perfection, then look no further! I have found the perfect cooking tool for you: sous vide precision cookers.

Sous vide is a French cooking method that involves sealing food in a vacuum-sealed bag and then cooking it in a water bath at a precise, consistent temperature. This cooking method has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its ability to produce perfectly cooked food every time. That sounds great, right? But how exactly is that going to help you getting your meal ready on time or make your life easier? Well, sous vide precision cookers are hands off cooking tools that can help you get your meat cooked to perfection, right when you need it to be ready! This incredibly easy process will allow you to season and cook your meat low and slow over extended time, to tenderizing it, to render the fat in the connective tissues to perfection – releasing the natural flavor of your meat.

Now, what can you expect from this post? Well, rather than overwhelming you with a superficial review of the top 10 or top 15 sous vide precision cookers, I have narrowed down this selection to a smaller selection of affordable, easy to use, and effective precision cookers to choose from. Why? Because there are many different brands and models of sous vide cookers on the market but (unlike what most blog post will say) most of them have been created equal. So, whether you are a barbecue aficionado or a home cook who is looking for perfectly cooked food every time, read on to find the best sous vide precision cooker for your needs.

Why should I get a sous vide precision cooker?

Unless if you spend hours standing by your grill or smokers, you most likely won’t take your barbecue to the next level without a good sous vide precision cooker.

If you’re like most barbecue aficionado, you probably spend a lot of time grilling or smoking meats. And while this is a great way to cook up some delicious food, it can be tricky to get the inside of your meat cooked to perfection, particularly when you are cooking a thick cut of meat like a brisket, a tri-tip, or any other type of roast. This is because traditional grilling and smoking methods are typically designed to create a good sear on the surface of the meat, often leaving the inside rare or undercooked.

Of course, there are cooking techniques that can help cooking the inside and the outside of your meat more evenly, like the indirect grilling method, but they often require top of the line expensive barbecues, smokers, and thermometers. And even with all these tools, it can be difficult to guarantee the best possible outcome, right when you need it. Which can be a big problem, especially if you’re cooking a roast for a large group of people. Because, after all, who wants to eat an undercooked or overcooked roast!

Luckily, there’s a solution: sous vide precision cookers. Sous vide precision cookers are designed to evenly cook food from all sides, ensuring that your roast is cooked perfectly from start to finish. And best of all, sous vide cooking is very simple and doesn’t require any expensive equipment. All you need is a good quality sous vide precision cooker and a vacuum-sealed bag (which you can find at any kitchen store). Keep on reading to find out how what are the benefits of using a sous vide precision cooker.

So, why don’t people use sous vide precision cooker more often?

There are a few reasons why people might not use sous vide precision cookers more often.

  1. they are relatively unknown. And because they they are not “essential” to the cooking process, most people see them as a luxury purchase;
  2. sous vide cookers could require accessories such as a cooking bucket, a sous vide air vacuum, and vacuum sealed bags, which some people may not have on hand. This tends to increase the initial investment and discourage many buyers from trying it out;
  3. many people do not know than when cooking meat sous vide, an additional sear of the meat (finishing touch) on a cast iron pan or a grill (gas or coal) is essential in order to create a bark/crust on the surface of the meat. So, many people who get a sous vide precision cooker are often disappointed by the result of their first experience with sous vide and give up;
  4. the cooking process can take longer than other methods (I tend to agree that to get the best out of your sous vide precision cooker, one must devote at least 6 hours and up to 48 hours) so it might not be ideal for busy cooks who are looking for a quick meal.

What are the benefits of using a sous vide precision cooker?

There are many benefits to using a sous vide precision cooker, but here are some of the most important ones:

  • COOKS FOOD TO PERFECTION EVERY TIME: one of the best things about sous vide cooking is that it allows you to achieve perfectly cooked food EVERY TIME! Whether you are cooking a steak, chicken, fish, or vegetables, sous vide precision cookers ensure that your food will be cooked evenly from all sides.
  • TENDERIZES MEAT TO PERFECTION: sous vide is a great way to tenderize meat because it cooks the meat slowly and evenly from all sides. This means that the connective tissues have time to break down, resulting in a more tender final product. Additionally, sous vide precision cookers retain moisture better than other cooking methods, so your meat will be juicier and more flavorful.
  • HANDS-OFF COOKING: sous vide cookers also allow for hands-off cooking. This means that you can set the temperature and timer and then walk away from the cooker while it does its job. This is ideal for busy cooks who want to prepare a meal without having to stand over the stove or grill.
  • RETAINS NUTRIENTS: another great benefit of sous vide precision cookers is that they help retain nutrients in food. Because the food is cooked slowly and at a lower temperature, it doesn’t lose any of its nutrients to evaporation like it would with other cooking methods.
  • ADDED BONUS: THERE IS NO BETTER TOOL TO RENDER THE FAT. If you are a wagyu beef lover like me, this is a crucial selling point! Sous vide is the BEST way to render fat in the cognitive tissues of your beef because it cooks the meat at a steady temperature over long periods of time and it cooks it evenly from all sides. This means that the connective tissues have time to break down, resulting in a more tender and flavorful final product.

Sous vide precision cookers are perfect for busy home chefs who want perfectly cooked food without having to stand over the stove or grill. Additionally, they help retain nutrients in food and come in a variety of sizes and price points to fit any budget. So, if you’re looking for a new way to cook your food, sous vide is the way to go!

Discovering cooking sous vide

One of the first things I attempted – when I got my PK360 – was to smoke a variety of roasts (brisket, tri-tip, etc.) and I quickly realized that while smoking gives meat a unique flavor, it can be difficult to control the temperature in order to create a good bark on the outside while not undercooking or overcooking the inside. I had to remain by my smoker all day, constantly adjusting the vents and adding wood in order to keep a steady temperature. And I still got disappointed by the end result. Eventually, I decided to invest in a FireBoard 2 Thermometer and fan (one of the only adaptable fan for the PK 360) which changed my life and made smoking a walk in the park (worth every penny). I was now ready to smoke to perfection and to impress my family & friends with a 12 pounds wagyu brisket from Snake River Farms. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out quite the way I predicted. I had invited everyone to be home around 5 and announced that dinner would be served within the hour. But it is only at 8pm that my brisket was finally ready to be sliced. My brothers in law were starving, my mother in law almost left to go get pizza, and my wife as furious.

Barbecuing for family and friends should not be so stressful! I had learned a precious lesson on that day and I decided to thoroughly investigate the issue to never get myself in such a situation again. I found many solutions to my problem, beginning with basic time management techniques (Yep. That simple!). But as I kept on looking for solutions, I came across an interesting new cooking process which I had never learned about before and which appeared to be the miracle solution to my problem: sous vide cooking.

I did some extensive research on sous vide precision cookers, vacuum sealers, plastic bags and other accessories needed in the process and got my very first precision cooker: the Anova Culinary Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker, which I still use today. I began experimenting for smaller cuts of beef (filet mignon, ribeye, etc.) over shorter periods of time (6 to 12 hours). I then started experimenting on roasts (tri-tip, brisket, etc.) over longer periods of time (12 to 48 hours). At first, the way the meat looked right after the bath made me feel a bit discouraged. It looked like I dipped my expensive piece of Wagyu in a mud puddle overnight! But I knew the bath was only part of the journey and I still had to sear the meat. At first, I used a cast iron pan and then I began using my PK360 to get that woodsy finish I like so much. It took a little bit of practice to figure out how to get that perfect crust at the end but once I got the hang of it, I was amazed by the results every time! Sous vide did everything it promised to do: it tenderized the meat to perfection, rendered the fat over long period, and increased the natural flavor of the meat.

How to use your sous vide precision cooker to get the best barbecue?

Now that you know all about sous vide precision cookers, you might be wondering which one is right for you.

Here is my TOP 3 sous vide precision cookers list, available on Amazon:

Anova Culinary Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker:

The Anova Culinary Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker is a great and affordable option if you are new to cooking sous vide or if you are looking for a new, compact, and easy to use sous vide precision cooker. I have used mine for a couple years now and it has met all of my needs.

Some of the PROS of the Anova Culinary Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker include:

Affordable price point;

Easy to use both when operating manually or through the Anova app;

-Anova gives its clients access to Anova Culinary via desktop or through their app, which is a great feature, especially if you want to take advantage of the the bluetooth mode or the WiFi mode. First, connect your precision cooker to the app. Then, pick a recipe your want to try (there are plenty to choose from) and vacuum seal your meat. Last, press START and relax until your meat is cooked.

Easy to store and to travel with. I always take mine on vacation and not only does it make cooking easier but it is a success guaranteed, no matter where we end up staying.

Some of the CONS of the Anova Culinary Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker include:

-It does not come with a water container, which is essential to the process, so you will have to use a bucket or buy one separately;

-It is bluetooth only (not WiFi). This has been a problem for me since, occasionally, the connection gets lost, which resets the timer. It is not too much of an issue as I always make sure I write down the start/end cooking times, but if you do not want to deal with the issue, I recommend getting the Anova Culinary AN500-US00 Sous Vide Precision Cooker (WiFi) instead. It is equivalent to the Anova Culinary Nano, but with the WiFi option.

Instant Pot 800W Accu Slim Sous Vide Precision Cooker:

The Instant Pot 800W Accu Slim Sous Vide Precision Cooker is very similar to the Anova in most aspects. It slightly stronger (800W instead of 750W) but this has never been an issue for me. The main difference with the Anova Nano is that it operated manually (no bluetooth/WiFi).

Some of the PROS of the Instant Pot 800W Accu Slim Sous Vide Precision Cooker include:

Affordable price point – slightly cheaper than the Anova Culinary Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker;

Easy to use;

Easy to store and to travel with.

Some of the CONS of the Anova Culinary Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker include:

-It does not come with a water container, which is essential to the process, so you will have to use a bucket or buy one separately;

-It does not use an app.

Dash Chef Series Stainless Steel Sous Vide:

The Dash Chef Series Stainless Steel Sous Vide Precision Cooker is a great option for those who are looking for a sous vide precision cooker that comes with a water container. This cooker is made of stainless steel, making it durable and long-lasting. Additionally, this cooker is very easy to use and comes with clear instructions.

Some of the PROS of the Dash Chef Series Stainless Steel Sous Vide Precision Cooker include:

-Made of stainless steel, making it durable and long-lasting-Easy to use;

-No need to buy a water tank separately;

-Programmable with a timer function.

Some of the CONS of the Dash Chef Series Stainless Steel Sous Vide Precision Cooker include:

-The water tank is very small, so you will need to refill it often.

CONCLUSION: I personally favor the Anova Culinary Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker. It is affordable and powerful enough to get all of my roasts cooked over up to 48 hours. I mostly operate it manually but I find the free access to Anova Culinary via bluetooth very useful, which the Instant Pot 800W Accu Slim Sous Vide Precision Cooker does not have. I have tried many recipes from the app and saved a lot of recipes for poultry or fish on my account. I purchase my accessories at additional cost but it has allowed me to get larger water containers and to replace broken accessories which I would not be able to do with the Dash Chef Series Stainless Steel Sous Vide.

Now that you know all about the best sous vide precision cookers on the market, you can choose the one that is right for you.

So, click on one of the hyperlink above and GET YOURS NOW!

DISCLOSURE: I am a proud affiliate for some of these products, which means that if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help me finance new purchase and continue testing new products for you. That being said, keep in mind that all of my recommendations are based on deep experience and knowledge of these companies and their products, and I only recommend them because I would genuinely use them myself in my cooking. All opinions expressed on my blog are my own only. Please, do not spend any money on these products unless you believe that they will help you improve your barbecue.

Now that I got mine, what’s next?

STEP 1 – Learn how to cook using a sous vide precision cooker on my blog;

STEP 2 – Pick a recipe to try out;

STEP 3 – Visit the meat market and try out Wagyu. There is not better meat to use with your sous vide precision cooker.

How will using these amazing little devices help you improve your cooking?

There are many benefits you will get from using sous vide precision cookers. But, to me, these are the main ones:

  1. the inside and outside of your meat will always get cooked to perfection without you having to spend every hour of your day sitting by your grill or smoker. You will not be able to accomplish such a feat without a sous vide precision cooker.
  2. sous vide is the most effective way to tenderize your meat and to give it an incredible flavor, which no other cooking tool can give your meat. Your sous vide precision cooker will guarantee perfect control of your selected temperature cook over long period of time as no other tool can.
  3. there is no easier process than cooking sous vide. You are guaranteed to get your meat cooked to perfection by the time you want it done, no matter if you are planning a big barbecue party, a little treat during your weekend getaway, or a regular everyday meal.

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s a sous vide cooker on this list that’s perfect for you! So, what are you waiting for? Get cooking!

Knowing that, can you really not get yourself a sous vide slow cooker?

Sous vide precision cookers are relatively inexpensive in comparison with most cooking tools on the market. Still, it is only fair to wonder whether they are worth the investment? After all, it’s not like you could not barbecue without one.

Well, I must say that it took me a while to explain to my wife what was sous vide cooking and to convince her that my sous vide precision cooker was not another useless gadget I wanted to try. But that was back then, before our Anova Precision Cooker became part of the family. Of course it took us a while to get used to it, to try out new things, and to make a list of our favorite recipes. But now, we use it almost everyday, for pretty much anything: beef, chicken, fish, etc. We also take it on our little weekend getaways. And it has made our weekend family barbecues not only delicious but also incredibly low stress.

So, are sous vide precision cookers worth the investment? To me and to my family, the answer is “absolutely!” Without it, daily cooking and weekend gathering would become a lot more complicated and a lot less flavorful. And because I am cooking a lot of Wagyu beef, my sous vide cooker is also essential, as there is NO OTHER tool on the market that can render fat as a sous vide precision cooker. But that is because we are taking full advantage of this amazing machine.

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