Good Meat is a comprehensive guide to sourcing and enjoying sustainable meat. Whether for environmental reasons, health benefits, or the astounding difference in taste, consumers want to know that their meat was raised well. With more than recipes for pork, beef, lamb, poultry, and game, stunning photos of delicious dishes, and tips on raising sustainable meat and buying from local farmers, Good Meat is sure to become the classic cooking resource of the sustainable meat movement.
Because sustainably raised grass-fed and pastured meats are naturally so lean, they must be cooked differently from conventionally-raised grain-fed meats. In GOOD MEAT, Krasner not only provides consumers with more than delicious recipes for cooking this leaner meat, but also encourages and facilitates direct purchasing from local farmers. Krasner gives consumers detailed, easy-to-follow directions for ordering directly from the farm, enabling individuals or groups such as meat CSAs to affordably purchase good meat in any quantity.
Much more on that below. So how do you cook sous vide without a vacuum sealer? Cooking with plastic can seem intimidating. We totally get it—there have been some alarming reports about heating some types of plastic, and the studies, which sometimes conflict with one another, are also often oversimplified in the news.
At ChefSteps, we cook food sous vide all the time. We use the technique in our development kitchen and at home when we prepare food for our families. And we feel safe doing so. After all, the CDC reports that food poisoning kills 3, Americans every year and hospitalizes , And foodborne illness is overwhelmingly caused by preventable unhygienic handling of food.
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Sous vide cuts the risk of contamination drastically by preventing this dangerous handling. Virtually all sous vide bags are made from these plastics. The inner layer of nearly all sous vide bags is polyethylene. And most name-brand food-storage bags and plastic wraps are also made from polyethylene. This is a very active area of research, and reputable plastics manufacturers have demonstrated the increasing safety of their products. Now, other plastics that may be in your kitchen, such as inexpensive, bulk plastic wraps still commonly made from polyvinyl chloride or polyvinylidene chloride , can contain harmful plasticizers that have been shown to leach into fatty foods such as cheese and meat.
We do not recommend using these, ever. Legitimate concerns exist about food exposed to these plastics at higher temperatures—when you microwave food wrapped in plastic, for instance. All that said, prevailing wisdom has a way of changing. Remember when eggs were considered unhealthy and everyone ate white bread? Or when low-fat, sugar-laden cookies were supposed to help you lose weight?
From nonstick pans to soup cans, all kinds of kitchen products have come under question. And in the end, we can know only what we know. And we know we love to eat meats, seafood, and vegetables—all wholesome , fresh foods —cooked gently to bring out awesome flavor and lovely texture.
And if you still feel funny about using plastics, fear not. And adventurous eaters are well acquainted with the possible pitfalls of fresh oysters, sushi, tartare, and certain delicious cheeses. To get started with sous vide, regular old ziplock-style bags will do just fine. In fact, in some applications they are preferable to vacuum-sealed bags.
Plus you can use high-grade bags intended for vacuum sealers without sealing them. More on that below.
That said, when you cook vegetables with Joule, we strongly recommend using a vacuum sealer. This is the only way to guarantee the fantastic results that make sous vide vegetables the best you will ever try. Properly cooked, vacuum-sealed veggies will also be fully pasteurized, so you can store them in the fridge for weeks at a time or freeze them without fear of freezer burn.
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We recommend sealers that range in price and will all work wonderfully. With sous vide, you can get restaurant-quality results at home using less energy than it takes to heat a pot of pasta water—and only one bag. To us, the benefits of cooking sous vide at home outweigh the drawbacks. A lot of people also ask about wasting water. You can also use that water to cook sous vide several times, if you have the space to keep it. Our own Douglas Baldwin changes his sous vide water every few weeks at home. Everything you need to know about sous vide packaging, from ziplock-style bags to canning jars.
The gallon-sized sacks are large enough that you can cook several servings of food in the same bag. Where to find them: You can stock up on ziplock-style gallon freezer bags on Amazon. Remember, look for high-quality bags. Steak , fish , pork chops , chicken breasts , burgers —the works. Obviously, nobody wants that. Instead, opt for some heavy-duty sous vide bags.
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In a pinch, you can double-bag with two ziplock-style bags, but sous vide bags are preferable. Read on for more on those. Simply drape the opening of the bag over the side of your pot and clip it there or secure it with the lid. Where to find them: You can get sous vide bags on Amazon too.
The stuff you use to cover a Tupperware container after you lose the lid. Where to find it: Pick up high-quality wrap at your supermarket or on Amazon. Remember, buy the good stuff—off-brand, bulk, or otherwise sketchy plastic wrap may not be safe for sous vide cooking.
When to use: We use it to help shape and contain foods that need to set—like sous vide roulades such as our Hi-Tech Veggie and Mushroom Burgers. Another great use for plastic wrap: Cover your sous vide bath with it to cut down on evaporation. This is especially worthwhile with long cook times. When not to use: Generally, ziplock-style and sous vide bags are a way better option for packaging foods to cook in water. Where to find them: Buy some on Amazon , at the grocery story, in thrift shops, etc.
We distribute these foods among the wee jars, then leave them to do their thing in the water. When not to use: A lot of curious cooks have questions about cooking meat and other foods using jars in lieu of plastic bags. Provided you cover the food with oil or another cooking liquid, you can do this safely, but keep in mind that your food will likely take a whole lot longer to cook than it would in plastic.
And if you plan to serve food cooked this way, be sure to run trials ahead of time so you can hone timing and doneness well before the moment of truth. Perfectly beautiful food is in the bag with these simple packaging tips and tricks. When cooking proteins sous vide, you always want to add oil to the bag.
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Adding ample oil is especially important with delicate foods or small pieces. What kind of oil, you ask? We often use olive oil, but for delicately flavored fish and other proteins, you might opt for something more neutral, such as a good-quality canola oil. Butter works too. You can often cook several portions of food in one ziplock-style bag, cutting down on cost and waste.
Allowing a little room for the pieces to move around will prevent them from fusing freakishly together and help preserve the pretty edges we love to see on our chicken breasts and fish filets. To prevent your bag from floating—which can result in uneven cooking—slip a knife or spoon into the sack with your food before adding it to the water. Sous vide—cooked filets are so delicate that they need to be treated with TLC. This will prevent the fish from catching on its edges.