recipes sous vide

Thanksgiving Turkey with Kikkoman & the Sous Vide Supreme

Kikkoman Sous Vide TurkeyKikkoman-brined Sous Vide Turkey

I don’t think I’ve ever written a post on this blog that directly promoted specific products, but my attendance at BlogHer Food ’10 a couple months ago in San Francisco netted me a couple opportunities from Kikkoman and Sous Vide Supreme that I couldn’t really pass up. Writing about Kikkoman products wasn’t a problem for me because I was raised on Kikkoman soy sauce, and it’s also the only shoyu my wife allows in the house.

Longtime readers of this blog know that I’ve been sous vide cooking for a few years now and that I’ve had issues with the immersion circulators I’ve owned. I’ve been in the market for a replacement since my latest stopped circulating and the Sous Vide Supreme is an option I’ve been considering. I recently received a demo unit of their new Sous Vide Supreme Demi and decided to sous vide some turkey that was brined using Kikkoman’s soy-sauce-based recipe.

Instead of buying a whole bird, mainly because I didn’t want to break it down into parts, I bought separate turkey pieces: two each of legs, thighs and breasts. I deboned the thighs and breasts and removed the skins so I could make turkey chicharrones. That’s right…turkey chicharrones.

Turkey ChicharronesTurkey Chicharrones

If you’re curious, I basically followed the same method I used in my fried pork rinds post to make the turkey chicharrones. They’re not as crispy and delicate as pork chicharrones, but they’re still tasty.

After brining the turkey overnight, I turned on the Demi and set the temperature to 65C. As the Demi was heating up, I rinsed the turkey pieces and then bagged and sealed them using the Sous Vide Supreme vacuum sealer. Since dark meat takes significantly longer to cook than white meat, I put the legs and thighs in the Demi at around 9am and went to work. At around 5pm, I called my wife and asked her to take out the legs and put them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and quickly bring them to a safe temperature. The legs were replaced in the Demi by the breast meat. Dinner was at 8:30, so this was plenty of time to cook the breast meat.

When I got home around 6pm, I took the legs out of the ice bath, cut open the bag and set aside any juices in the bag for gravy. I put the turkey legs on a rack with an electric fan pointed at it to dry out the meat. My plan was to fry the turkey legs in oil to crisp up the skin, so the legs had to be as dry as possible. The legs sat on the rack for a couple hours alongside the turkey skin that I had been drying out since the morning. (Chicharrones fry up nicely when the skins are completely dry but since I didn’t have a food dehydrator handy, I used the electric fan method.)

When I was ready to get dinner plated, I filled a cast iron skillet with enough oil to fry the turkey legs (about halfway up the side) and heated it to 350F. While the oil was heating up, I removed the thighs from the Demi and finished them by searing them a separate pan with a little bit of oil for a couple minutes on each side until the turkey was nicely browned. When the frying oil for the turkey legs reached 350F, I fried the legs for about five minutes—turning them as necessary so they didn’t burn—until the skin was brown and crispy. The legs and thighs were more than enough to feed the five of us, so I didn’t bother finishing the breast meat and saved it for later. While the turkey legs were frying, I assembled the gravy heating up the bag juices in a small pot then mixing in a little butter and flour until it thickened.

Turkey Breast with GravyWe saved the breast and ate it two days later after reheating it
in the Sous Vide Supreme Demi.

The finished turkey was juicy and the flavors were well balanced. The soy sauce didn’t overwhelm the turkey but merely enhanced all the other flavors around it, and it helped give the turkey a nice brown color. I think the goal of Kikkoman’s marketing campaigns the last couple years is to show that soy sauce can break out of its Asian sweet spot and be used to enhance the flavors of any genre of food, and this turkey brine is proof of that.

So if you haven’t figured out how you want to cook your turkey or you want to try something new this year, Kikkoman’s soy sauce turkey brine is easy, and you can cook the turkey any way you want—fry, roast, sous vide—the choice is yours. Here’s the brine recipe to get you started. :)

Kikkoman Turkey Brine

2 gallons cold water
10 ounces Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons dried sage
2 tablespoons dried celery seed
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

beef musings recipes sous vide

A Sous-Vide Christmas

Another Christmas has come and gone and the deep-fried short ribs and “dismantled” prime rib were big hits.

The short ribs were cooked in a 135F/57.2C waterbath for 48 hours and then deep fried in 360F vegetable oil for a few minutes to crisp up the skin.

Deep Fried Short Ribs

I probably could have fried them a bit longer to get an even crispier skin, but overall, they were great. Here’s how they looked on the platter.

Deep Fried Short Ribs

The dismantled prime rib was a lot of fun to put together. My butchering skills definitely need some fine tuning, and I know I’ll do better next time. The calotte (cap meat) was separated from the ribeye and they were placed separately in the same water bath as the short ribs about 2 hours before service. Here’s what the cap meat look like when it came out of the bath.


I seared the calotte in a grill pan for a couple minutes a side. The ribeye roast was browned on all sides in oil. Then butter and thyme was added to the pan and then meat was basted in butter for a few minutes before resting and carving. Here’s what they looked like together on a plate.

Dismantled Prime Rib

The meat was soft and tender and even though it was medium rare, it had a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture, which is why sous vide cooking is so great. You can’t get that texture when you do a traditional roast. I also liked doing the calotte and the ribeye separately because you can finish them in different ways. We served it with my wife’s bacon garlic mashed potatoes, mushrooms sauteéd in butter, and green beans.
Garlic Bacon Mashed Potatoes


We had cookies and apple pie for dessert, although no pictures of those because we were so full that we couldn’t really move. Apologies also for the lack of prep pictures. It’s hard to think about stopping to taking pics when you’re focused on the task at hand. I’ll try and do better next time.

Merry Christmas! (if this applies to you! :-P)

sous vide

30, 30, 30 More Hours to Go…

…then we’ll eat some short ribs.
(to the tune of “I Wanna Be Sedated” by The Ramones)

I put some short ribs in a 135F/57.2C water bath at around 5pm last night, and as of December 23 at 10am, they’ve got 30 more hours to go before I pull them out and deep fry them. Water temperature holding pretty steady (between 57.1–57.2C) thanks to the immersion circulator.

Short Ribs in Water BathShort ribs in water bath…

I also separated a 3-bone standing rib roast and will be adding those pieces to the water tomorrow. More on that later. :-)

beef musings sous vide techniques The French Laundry Thomas Keller

Contemplating Christmas Dinner

I’m in charge of Christmas dinner again, and I’m still a little torn on what I should make. The adventurous part of me wants to take a rib roast and separate the cap meat (i.e. calotte, deckle) from the actual ribeye…kinda like this:

ribeye-partsFrom left: ribs, eye, cap.
Picture from

Then I can cook the cap meat sous vide to a nice medium rare in attempt to partially recreate this dish:

Calotte de Beouf GrilléeThe French Laundry’s Calotte de Beouf Grillée (12.08.08)

For the center cut, I would oven roast it to medium rare and end up with a sort of deconstructed prime rib cooked two ways.

The other part of me wants to go old school and roast a nice beef tenderloin or standing rib roast. I’ve been successful with rib roasts before but have never tried a tenderloin. But as old school as a tenderloin roast might sound, I’d probably endup cooking that sous vide anyway.

Aside from the main courses, Yorkshire puddings are definitely on the agenda, and I think my wife is going to make her garlic bacon mashed potatoes. I am extremely tempted to make this Macaroni and Gravy recipe by fellow food blogger Lainie as a second entree, and I know my cousin Cristy, who hosted Thanksgiving, has something up her sleeve.

If you’re looking for some Christmas recipes, you might want to give these a try:

I’m not sure if I’ll be posting again before Christmas, but if I don’t, I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season!

eggs Filipino musings sous vide

“Deviled” Eggs

I forgot that I had the day off today, so after driving all the way to work and back, I needed something to do. After talking to Alien J about the eggs we had at Ad Hoc’s Easter Brunch yesterday, I thought that I would do an egg experiment and use the results to top the Chicken Adobo Fried Rice I planned on making for lunch.

ad hoc egg porn
Ad Hoc egg porn

My wise idea? Cook the eggs in a 66.6/C water bath to make…Deviled Eggs! 66.6…devil…get it? :-)

The final results were interesting. Normally I like runny eggs on my fried rice, but these eggs were much different. The whites were very delicate since they hadn’t set up yet, but they weren’t too runny. The yolks were set enough that they maintained their shape, but when you put them in your mouth, they were creamy and delicious. Here’s some pictures.

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I don’t know if I’d do this every time I make fried rice, but next time I’ll probably lower the temperature so the yolks are runny.

I’ll write more about the chicken adobo in the next couple days. :-)

gear sous vide techniques

Back in Business

Well, that didn’t take long. I picked up a new circulator last Friday off eBay (the seller was in San Francisco, so he let me save on shipping and pick it up from his house). This one is a Lauda MS and it’s a lot newer and more powerful at circulating water than my old Julabo circulator. It’s also a few inches taller, so I stopped by Kamei Restaurant Supply in San Francisco to pick up an 8-inch deep steam table pan.

Lauda MS Circulator and Bath

The best part is that the Lauda came with a custom mounting plate that helps it fit perfectly in the opening of my hinged half-size lid, so when both half size lids are on the pan, it’s completely covered.

If you’re wondering, those are some pork belly pieces in the water bath. I’ll write more about those later. :-)

musings sous vide techniques Thomas Keller

Sous Vide Adventures on Hold…

My heating immersion circulator died today. I was trying to make some sous vide spare ribs for dinner and my wife told me that it just died. No alarm, no warning…just a dead circulator. I knew this was always a possibility when we bought it off of eBay six months ago. I mean, this thing was so old, it still said “Made in West Germany” on the back.

Julabo heating circulator and water bath

I’m trying to weigh my options at this point. I really liked having the versatility of the circulator because it allows me almost any vessel for the water bath, and I had three Cambro steam table pans that I used exclusively for sous vide. It’s easier to cook for a group when I can pull out one of the bigger Cambros and fill it up with short ribs, chicken and flank steak. There are some other solutions out there that I’m going to be investigating, as well, but in the short term, I think I’m going to be keeping an eye on eBay to see what’s available.

Or maybe Thomas Keller’s oft-rumored home sous vide kits will finally be released? Anyone out there with inside information? ;-)

Ad Hoc beef chicken fried chicken soul food sous vide Thomas Keller

A Comfort Food Christmas

This year, instead of a traditional Christmas dinner, we decided to do meal composed of comfort food, i.e. fried chicken, beef short ribs, flap steak, mac and cheese, bacon smashed potatoes, and chocolate cake. The fried chicken and short ribs were inspired by the food we’ve had at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville, and in fact, the fried chicken recipe is based on the Ad Hoc version that was published in Food and Wine magazine in October 2007.

What this actually means, of course, is that we cooked all the entrees sous vide. I got a 60C/140F water bath going and started the beef short ribs on Dec. 22 so that it would cook for 48 hours. I added the flap steak, which I found really cheap at Costco, to the water bath about 12 hours before serving. The chicken was brined overnight as specified in the recipe and then placed in the water bath about two hours before we started frying. The 140F temperature is a little low for chicken, but we were still going to fry it so getting it up to the “safe” temperature of 160F wasn’t too much of a concern.

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Overall, these were the best sous vide dishes I’ve made to date. After getting some tips from Nick, Ad Hoc’s general manager, on a trip to Ad Hoc the day after Thanksgiving, the short ribs we produced were perfect. I might try them at a lower temperature next time so they’re a little more rare, but I stuck with 140 because we were working with chicken, as well.

The flap steak was initially a stop gap in case we didn’t have enough food, but they ended up being one of the stars of the dinner. After removing from the water bath, I seared them really quickly on one side for appearance’s sake and then cut them on the bias for presentation.

The chicken probably didn’t need to be cooked sous vide, but I’ve been doing it this way to ensure that the chicken is really moist and tender when it’s finally served.

I’ll post the recipes for the mac and cheese and smashed potatoes later, but in the mean time, you can see what they looked in the slideshow. My cousin brought corn and salad (not pictured) and the delicious chocolate tunnel cake that finished the meal.

It’s been a couple years since my wife and I took over the cooking duties at major holidays, so the main goal is to make sure that my mom likes the food. So far she’s been impressed, but I’m trying to figure out if we should do something more traditional next year, or should we start a sous vide short ribs and fried chicken tradition for the holidays?

What do you think?

musings techniques

My First Cookbook

My First CookbookOn my last trip home, my parents made me take a stack of old cookbooks off their hands. Some of them were mine (a couple Martin Yan cookbooks), and some of them were relics from the 70s and 80s. One of these was The Micro-Range Cookbook. Published in 1978, The Micro-Range Cookbook came with the Admiral microwave my parents bought, and it became an easy way for me to learn how to “cook.”

For example, instead of breaking out a frying pan, I could grab some bacon, sandwich it between some paper towels and cook them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on HIGH, and VOILA! A nearly instant and “safe” way to sate a childhood bacon fix.

Or I could make scrambled eggs in a Pyrex measuring cup. Simply microwave on HIGH for 40 seconds, stirring the eggs “outside in” and then cooking on HIGH for another 30 seconds. Let stand for a minute or two to complete cooking.

Micro Pork Roast

Ad Hoc fried chicken recipes sous vide

Ad Hoc Fried Chicken (Sous Vide Version)

UPDATE 2/25/08: This recipe is now just a proof of concept. It works, but I think the original recipe, which I’ve modified to include sous vide steps and other tweaks, is a lot better, and taking the time to make the brine makes a huge difference. I’ll leave this recipe up for archival purposes, but for best results, see the original post.

Last week, we made Ad Hoc’s Fried Chicken by following the recipe to the letter, and it was beautiful, juicy and crispy. However, the entire process was a bit complicated because the brine has to cook and then cool completely before using it. A friend suggested cooking the chicken sous vide to ensure its juiciness and allow the flavor of lemon and herbs to be infused into the meat as it’s cooking in the bag. After removing from the water bath, simply dry off the meat, then dredge and fry it to finish it off.

Fried Chicken (sous vide)

1 gallon cold water
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar

1 lemon, thinly sliced
ground black pepper
3 large rosemary sprigs
1 small bunch of thyme
1-3 pounds of chicken thighs

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 cups buttermilk

Vegetable oil, for frying
Rosemary and thyme sprigs, for garnish


  1. Simply mix 1 gallon of cold water with 1/3 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of Kosher salt. Add chicken to the brine making sure chicken is completely submerged and store in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from the brine, rinse the chicken and pat dry. Lightly pepper both sides of the chicken.
  3. Add two pieces of chicken to each vacuum bag. Place a slice of lemon on the skin side of each thigh.

  4. Fried Chicken (sous vide)

  5. Place a sprig of rosemary and thyme on the bone side of the each thigh. Vacuum seal the bag.

  6. Fried Chicken (sous vide)

    • Process the chicken at 160F/71.1C for around two hours.
    • Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and dry them off.
    • Dip the chicken pieces in buttermilk and then dredge them in flour.
    • Fry in 350-375 degree oil until skin is brown and crispy.