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on January 31, 2017
I have been Sous Vide cooking for a while using a Paragon. While it worked just as well as this one it required a lot of space to store. This new Joule is smaller than I imagined and it really gets the water to temp quick. I purchased the LIPAVI container and tailored lid...they fit like a glove! I like Sous Vide since it only takes 5 minutes to set up and 5 minutes to clean up everything when done...does not disrupt my workflow and I eat better...win win!
Just dropped in a Flat Iron steak...mouth watering already.

Update:
Just purchased a second one so I can do steaks at two different temps...these things ROCK!
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on April 9, 2017
I am not one who is easily impressed. While I admit a lifelong love for cooking, and the associated collection of kitchen tools, I can tell you I have sent a number of supposedly high-end items back because they did not live up to the hype.
I got my Joule 3 weeks ago, and I am compelled to write this. On the day it arrived, and anxious to try the new toy, I scavenged the freezer and came up with a rather sad, most likely somewhat freezer-burnt pair of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I religiously buy meat fresh from the butcher, so these had been sitting there so long I did not remember when. They were in a ziplock, not vacuum sealed, so I did not expect much. What the heck I just want to experiment. I grabbed the 6qt stainless liner from my Instant Pot, filled it with hot tap water, clipped the Joule on the side and plugged it in. I had already loaded the app on my phone, so I followed the tutorial and got Joule renamed and running on my WiFi. It had me do a control test and heat some water from the phone, worked great and quite fast. I then selected the app’s Guide (their term for recipe) for chicken breast and followed the steps. I selected the “juicy” temp setting of 149°F, looking at the visual doneness videos to choose. I described the breast to the app as frozen and about 1.5 inches, and from that info the app chose the cooking time, and Joule began to heat the water. A few minutes later, my phone notified me the Joule pot was up to temp, and I could put the food in to cook. Since this was an experiment, I took one rock hard frozen breast, dropped it into a 1 gal Ziploc freezer bag, and dumped in some Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and olive oil. I then slid it into the pot, evacuating the air from the bag by submersion, and zipped it shut. I took the other breast, and left it to thaw, so I could try other things like pounding it to equal thickness, and trimming to shape before cooking. I then left the kitchen and Joule to hopefully do something impressive.
My phone alerted me that Joule was done, and also that I could leave it for up to 2 more hours without over cooking. I got back to the kitchen and set my trusty cast iron skillet on to preheat for searing. I waited for my smoking hot pan, threw some olive oil in there, and opened the Ziploc, fresh out of the Joule. I patted the breast dry, seasoned, dusted with flour, and pressed it into the hot pan. I gave it about 2 minutes, and I had a great crisp brown crust. I transferred it to the cutting board and made a half-dozen bias slices. I noted almost no juice loss from cutting, but when I picked up a slice in my fingers, it was soft and a slight squeeze produced glistening juice. I popped it in my mouth and was treated to an exceptional mouthfeel of soft juicy chicken and crisp skin. Literally amazing…I enlisted 3 more family members to taste and they were all completely impressed at how perfectly this was prepared. My son put it best, he said, “I would be impressed if I tasted this at a fine dining restaurant, to taste it in our kitchen with you experimenting with a new toy you have no experience with…just crazy good.”
Since then I have cooked probably 20 sous vide meals, my favorite was a dinner party for 4 using Chefsteps Filet Mignon guide with broccoli puree and radicchio salad stack. Plated with puree, then salad, and topped with the meat, cutting down through it all for one great bite is astounding! Puree is silky smooth, flavored with English cheddar, the shredded salad is balsamic, oil and dijon with fresh chives and blue cheese microplaned frozen into perfect flakes of flavor. The sous vide method IMO is the optimum method to do justice to a fine filet, finished with a roaring hot cast iron pan sear in butter and fresh herbs. My guests raved and I just can’t see the point of going to a spendy steakhouse when I can guarantee these repeatable results with sous vide.
Probably the most impressive thing I have done so far is cook a 3lb, 2in. thick chuck steak for 48 hours sous vide. I finished it with a sear like the filet, and this cheap chunk of $5@lb meat had a mouthfeel like $45@lb tenderloin, plus a superior beefy taste tenderloin would never have. Understand, the chuck looked red and juicy, not grey like pot roast or beef stew. I may buy a second Joule just for long cooks like this…
In conclusion, after 40 years of gourmet cooking, and an extensive knowledge of food chemistry and techniques, literally thousands spent on training, all manner of gadgets to major high-end appliances, I have found something that I am really excited about. I can legitimately say that cooking a protein by any other method will probably not be as good, and absolutely not as reliably consistent. I love the fact that instead of fretting over expensive meats using high heat methods, then having to let them rest, etc.; you can let Joule go past the done time by a couple of hours with no ill effects. It is just holding the meat at a consistent finished temp of say 129°F, waiting for you to finish by a quick sear and serve. Sous vide steak does not need to rest because it is already at temperature equilibrium, and its juices have not migrated…they have remained in place and keeping every morsel equally and perfectly juicy. You have to try this, the results speak for themselves.

OK, I will go so far as to say if you are not cooking sous vide, you are not getting all the goodness you paid for in your food…and constantly putting your food at risk of cooking errors by traditional high heat methods. Plus, it is difficult if not impossible to duplicate the exquisite mouthfeel of sous vide. Remember this technique was invented in France in the 70s, initially to cook foie gras with less waste. It resulted in a 20% savings and a much higher profit for the restaurant, given the Rolls Royce pricing of foie gras. French cooking has always been about an obsession with perfection…sous vide cooking is exactly that.

One other thing, I have read a number of comments with people concerned about cooking in plastic. My reaction is the sous vide results are so good, I would consider the risk for myself and my family mitigated. There is currently no documented hard corollary between cooking in BPA-free food safe plastic bags and direct health risks…UNLIKE the direct connection that charring food, especially meat, is carcinogenic. Now beyond government regulation, food purity and safety is always a personal choice…For me, I’ll chance my black grill marks and crisp corners…and I demand the thrill of eating sous vide.
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on March 2, 2017
This kitchen gadget is totally worth the hype. My husband and I have been watching ChefSteps videos on PBS for a long time. They have been flogging the Joule since they debuted it last year. We have been intrigued for a long time about the prospect of cooking sous vide, but the price tag was a lot to swallow. The price dropped $20 and that was all the motivation we needed to jump on it. ;)

Since purchasing Joule we have made several cuts of steak, hamburgers, chicken, pork chops, and salmon. I cannot believe how delicious the food is. This truly is the best way to cook steak indoors. I have not had a better steak except for a few fancy restaurants. It cooks them through perfectly, you can leave the steaks in there after they are done without worrying about overcooking them. That gives you some time to roast some veggies or make whatever side you want. Then all you need to do is sear them quickly in a hot pan and dinner is served.

We love the app. It is young and witty with the descriptions of doneness and the alerts for when the water is ready and when your food is done. The visual doneness is a great tool that takes all the guesswork out of sous vide. The app interface is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. ChefSteps has really made sous vide cooking accessible to the masses and for that I commend them.

As far as recipes we are waiting to try, we are looking forward to making a pot roast and creme brulee in the near future!

*Update*
So we have had Joule for 3 months now and the limits of this tool are endless! We made creme brulee and well as chocolate pot de creme in the last month. OMG guys. I felt so fancy eating restaurant quality creme brulee at home. I couldn't believe how perfect and delicious it was. And the Joule app keeps coming out with more guides. Definitely worth the money for how much the app provides.
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on February 11, 2017
First time cooking anything sous vide. Grill and PBC a lot. First cook was two one lb NY Strip steaks from Whole Foods. Trimmed of fat, rubbed with EVOO, and then coated with Memphis Dust (amazingribs.com). That is how i normally would prepare any meat for grilling or the Pit Barrel (pitbarrelcooker.com). Followed the recommendations of the app and cooked @ 129 for one hour. Then fired up the grill and seared the meat for about 45 seconds a side X 2. Love those grill grates (grillgrate.com) for the perfect hash marks. I am not a paid promoter for any site or product. I just like to pass on information for products that I have purchased and highly recommend. I have since cooked homemade teriayki chicken breasts, homemade teriyaki haddock, eggs, and green beans. Joule is an incredible addition to any kitchen and so far, one month, has worked flawlessly. The only reason I can't give it five stars is the app. It works, is adequate, but needs some polishing. That would have to be another review in itself. Highly recommend this cooker! It has really changed cooking for me and opens whole new ideas for different recipes.
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on February 6, 2017
This product is insanely great! I've had it now about 10 days and have done a number of tests and man, I'm keeping it. First test was Ribeye's. One I cooked conventionally on my grill, the 2nd using Joule then searing it on the same grill. We did a blind taste test and the one made in the Joule was much better in terms of texture and tenderness. Flavor was as expected, very similar. I tried eggs and they came out pretty well (I'd up the time a tad so they would be less runny). The big test was doing a Brisket. I got a grass fed Point cut so I didn't want to waste $60 worth of beef but at this point, I had faith in the product. I followed the recipe on the ChefStep web site more or less. Brined for 36 hours and injected the meat. 155 degrees for 24 hours in a 2 gallon freezer bag. Then I dried off the Brisket with paper towels, rubbed it lightly with oil and used my regular rub. It went into my Cookshack smoker at 255 for three hours. It was outrageously good. Super moist, super tender. Easily the best Brisket I've ever made or smoked, and actually some of the best Brisket I've even eaten. All thanks to Joule. What I love is, I don't have to mess or worry about internal temperature of meat. Set it, forget it. My steak was perfectly medium rare. The one on the grill was too because I've grilled hundreds of them but I still needed to check temp. Not with Sous Vide. The texture is superior too. I have absolutely no issues running this product from either my iPad or iPhone and see little need for any kind of display on the unit. One of the best products for the kitchen I've purchased in decades. Get one!

Update. I've been using this product nearly once a week. It's absolutely fantastic. I purchased a 2nd one. The new software version supports the use of more than one Joule at the same time. And I need a spare; if something happened to the original, I'd be beside myself. We made Ribeye steaks from the freezer the other night, adjusted for the meat being frozen (the app does all this), they were out of this world. So yeah, frozen to Sous Vide with Joule works wonderfully as well as fresh. I've done 3 more BBQ Brisket's since the first, each was perfect after 24 hours in the Joule, couple hours in the smoker. And the people at ChefStep's support have been absolutely fantastic!
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on October 30, 2017
Worked great for a while, then wouldn't stay connected to bluetooth and then started having issues maintaining temperature. Called Chef Steps directly and because I bought it from Amazon they cant help me and because Amazon return period has passed, I guess we are SOL.
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on August 17, 2017
TL;DR: Cook perfectly every time, can't mess up. Easy to use, great app & controls, great support, heats up fast. Little cleanup (you throw bags away). Doesn't need much water for small cooks. Get it!

I never thought a kitchen appliance will change my life. But Joule changed my life. Let's get the Pros and Cons out of the way:

Pros:
Magnetic Base
Amazing App
Bluetooth & Wifi
Alexa supported
App has great recipes and Visual Doneness temp guide
Great support & community
1100 watts, temperature accuracy of 0.2 °F / 0.1 °C.
Minimum water depth of 1.5 inches
Alarms set in the Joule app go off across all devices with the Joule app.

Cons:
Clip that comes with Joule is... just sad. (you can buy a Big Clip from chef steps but that's another 24 bucks)
Plastic
QC could be higher
Alexa skill can't do timers (yet - more limitation of Alexa itself than Chefsteps).
Android app video clips don't load smoothly. Sometimes just stationary image for a long time before loading - happens on both wifi and LTE.

Joule:
Let's talk about the Joule. Joule connects via Wi-Fi to the internet, so you can use alexa and messenger to set temperatures. But it also has bluetooth, and the Joule app seamlessly switches between the two! Joule also has a powerful heater, it heats a cambro 10L from room temperature to 175 in 20 minutes or so, during which you can prepare some fantastically smooth creme brûlée following the recipe and videos from the app. Basically anytime i'm cooking with joule, i'll start off preheating the water. Before i'm even done preparing the food to go in the bath, the water will be up to temperature.

Joule has a magnetic base, a feature none of the other competitors have. You don't even need the clip if you're cooking in a steel container or a cambro + a sheet of metal under it. You just plop it down and it'll stay upright. (Though i'm worried overtime it'll lose magnetism since heat makes magnets lose magnetism...) It also doesn't need much water to work. When I make ramen eggs, I just use a small pot because the minimum water depth is only 1.5 inches - saves a lot of water.

App:
The app has lots of recipes, and generic temperature suggestions for items with no recipes. The recipes come with detailed instructions and videos on each step, and visual doneness. Visual doneness is basically clips of videos tied to a temperature that shoes you what it will look like when cooked at the temperature. (I've attached some pictures of the creme brûlée one). Back to the Wifi & Bluetooth switching. I was cooking a steak via Wifi when my comcast internet had an outage, and when I checked the app to monitor my cook, after 2 seconds on an "looking for joule" screen, it was automatically connected to Joule via bluetooth - with no intervention on my part, at all. (If your phone can't connect to Joule at all, you can also hold the top button for a few seconds and it'll stop the cook - sometimes I use it because I don't want to reach for my smartphone with wet hands.) The app could be a bit more optimized and faster, and there are some small bugs here and there, but the chef steps team seems to fix them quickly and i've had three updates since I bought the thing. Timers on the Joule App are great. It goes off on all devices that have the Joule app installed and logged onto, and across platforms. (requires wi-fi cook). If I set up a cook & timer on my Android phone via the app, the timer and up to temperature notification will also go off on my iPad and iPhone.

Customer Service:
When I first got joule, it made a weird sound when cooking and the water stream didn't come out straight from the spout (it shot to the right). I emailed chef steps with a video and they replied promptly saying their engineers listened to the video and that they agreed it didn't sound right, and will process an exchange - but since i purchased on amazon, they requested that i contact amazon - and it was painless. I had a replacement the next day that had burrs on the plastic body, but i cut it off with a razor blade and it's been flawless. (QC could be a bit higher, so i didn't need to contact CS or cut off excess burrs myself).

Food:
Oh my god. Cooking with water at precision temperatures is freakin amazing! You put food in a bag with salt and pepper, and when the timer goes off, it's perfectly cooked. you want rare? you get rare. you want medium rare? you get medium rare. Sear it on a hot pan for a few minutes each side and it's restaurant quality. Really can't mess up. Never have i cooked food that tasted so good and so perfect. From Steak to Creme brûlée (It's really delicious by the way... i make it every week now). Truly a life changing appliance.
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on March 13, 2018
Our unit failed during its first use. During that first use, we found the lack of any tactile controls on the unit extremely inconvenient. With no controls and hardly any feedback, troubleshooting it was a pain.

It was the butt of many a joke and spawned philosophical discussions on where the world had gone so wrong, such that a complicated electronic device, special software, and the whole networking infrastructure of the internet was neccessary just to set the temperature on an otherwise simple kitchen appliance.

Over-designed and has too many points of failure.

Returned and replaced with an Anova; it has convenient, on-device controls and doesn't feel like a cheap plastic stick.
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on January 8, 2017
If this is your first time with Sous Vide this is a must have.

I have been doing Sous Vide cooking for 5+ years, but find I do it more often with the Joule. It is much easier to use and more convenient.

The other day I was on my way home from work, I was able to turn on Joule. Once the water was up to temp I callled my wife and she dropped in the steak.

Because this is a higher watt unit it gets the water temperature up to temp much quicker than some of the other ones on the market. This doesn't seem like a big deal, but you don't want it to take 30 min to get up to temp and then another hour to cook.
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on February 6, 2017
This is the first sous vide circulator that I've owned, but it has lived up to he hype already. I've already done steaks, burgers, chicken, pork chops, and Flank steak. All of them have come out perfectly and exactly how the app shows the finished product. I'm not sure why people feel that the app is a negative, but I don't see it that way. It seems to be building its library of recipes, but it's just as easy to program it manually. Can't wait to try doing some longer cooks.
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