Top positive review
84 people found this helpful
Had it for 5 years, used regularly, and still works perfectly.
on February 11, 2016
I purchased this unit about 5 years ago directly from the manufacturer, and have been using it regularly ever since. In short, I love it. It's perfect for my needs, and it works exactly as promised. I've had lots of amazing food come out of this device, and I've never experienced any kind of failure to cook to my satisfaction. I do not try to combine several foods into one bag or try to cook foods that require different cooking temperatures, but I have been known to load it up with three days worth of proteins (a slab of ribs, a package of steaks, and a package of fish) and pull the foods when I'm ready to use them. I definitely use a vacuum sealer to prepare each item, a FoodSaver vacuum sealer. When I bought my unit, it came bundled with the SousVide vacuum sealer, but I found it to be cheaply made and did not seal bags properly and have since tossed it. You must not have any air left in the bag when you seal it, otherwise the foods may float, and the unexposed areas may not cook properly. I've had some packages try to float over the years, and in those cases I've used a small serving bowl filled with water to hold the item down to ensure it was properly submerged.
Seasoning foods for cooking is easy... but you must remember that all of the seasoning will be trapped within the bag, so use less than you would for other cooking methods. If you want to include a liquid seasoning, I recommend pulling out and old ice cube tray and freezing "cubes" of liquid seasoning that you can drop into the bag... that way the liquids aren't removed during the sealing process. The liquid will permeate the food during the cooking process.
When I pull something (like a steak) from the bag I always have to "finish" it. In some cases I use a cook's torch to sear it, in others I may do a quick sear in a pan, a few minutes on the grill, or a few minutes in the broiler. While the food is perfectly cooked, most people like some sear to make the food more appealing.
I've read some complaints about the quality of the lid, and the fact that it doesn't contain a built-in drain. While the lid is lightweight, it does not hamper the process of maintaining the proper temperature. I have the "mouse pad" insulating pad some mention, and it simply sits on top of the oven when in use. My lid and pad still look like brand-new... in fact, then entire oven still looks just as it did when I took it out of the package. The lack of a drain isn't a big issue to me... it's very simple to just tip it an drain it into the sink. Since no food comes in contact with the oven, cleaning is as easy as wiping out the oven to ensure it's dry before putting it away.
Many talk about the newer residential-grade circulator-style immersion heaters... I've not tried one yet, but perhaps one would be an effective secondary solution if I was trying to cook multiple items at different temperatures at the same time. I do know that this device is extremely easy to use, easy to set up, and works completely silently. It's also very well insulated, so I can put it anywhere while I'm using it. It does require some space on the counter when in use, but not really that much more that a large cooking pot. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this oven to anyone who is seriously interested in sous-vide cooking. It's by far the safest, easiest and most affordable way to cook proteins that I've found. When you pull out a flank steak that's been cooking for 24 hours and it virtually falls apart with your fork, you'll see what I mean. One time I was tasked by some friends to "fry" some 1 1/2-inch thick pork chops... they were seasoned and spent 24 hours in the sous-vide, then were dipped and quickly pan fried to add a crust, and served: they were judged 'perfection' by my friends... fork tender, perfectly cooked, and juicy through and through.