Anova Nano review. (One month in)

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mdboatbum

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This review is aimed at people on the fence about trying sous vide.

The wife got me a Nano for my birthday in December. I'd been curious about Sous Vide, but a bit dubious about the wild claims of prime rib tender chuck roast and melt in your mouth chicken. My experience has been that usually such claims are made by people trying to justify their results, and exaggeration helps their cause.

Spoiler alert, they weren't exaggerating.

This little thing is a marvel. It heats up hot tap water in usually 10-15 minutes. The highest I've taken it is 165, so I can't comment on higher temps.

It holds temperature to within +/- .1 degree. I've checked with a Thermapen and it's always been dead on.

So far I've done:
Beef Filet-This was my first try and honestly a bit of a miss. 125 for 2 hours, rested for 10 minutes then seared it in a carbon steel skillet. The result was a lot more of a bullseye effect than I was expecting, and the texture was a bit mealy.

Pork loin- This was amazing! 140 for 3 hours, then seared in carbon steel skillet. It was gushing juice and the texture was absolutely perfect. Wasn't mushy, but was just crazy tender.

Frozen chicken breasts- Another winner! I think I did 147 for 3 hours. I was making chicken salad so I didn't even bother seasoning them. These were IQF all natural breasts from Walmart. The texture was just sublime. They were "done" all the way through, IE: no pink, but so tender and juicy it was like I was eating cured deli chicken. The chicken salad was ridiculously good. It's the wife's recipe and she won't even tell me, so...sorry.

Jimmy dean breakfast sausage- This was a lark and I wasn't expecting great results. I just unwrapped the chub, tossed it in a bag and tossed it in with the French Toast. 145 for 2 or 2 1/2 hours, can't remember. What ended up happening is a little hard to describe. First off, nearly all the fat rendered out. So much so that I expected it to just crumble as soon as I took it out of the bag. Figured it'd be dry and mealy like my early attempts at sausage making. However, it did none of these things. I sliced it into thick slices and browned it off in a stainless skillet with a pat of butter thrown in, since all the fat was in the bag. The result was incredibly tender, moist but not greasy sausage with the most intense flavor I've ever experienced. It was like since there was no fat to dull the taste buds, the flavor was turned up to 11. It held together fine, but literally melted in my mouth. It was still sausage, but different than any sausage I've ever had before. In a good way.


French toast made with Egg Nog and Challah- This. Was. Life. Changing.
Cut the challah to about 1.5", then mixed up a custard of 2 cups of egg nog and 4 egg yolks. I know what you're thinking, the egg nog already has eggs. It does, but it's pasteurized so I figured it wouldn't thicken when cooked. I also added vanilla, the zest of one clementine and a few grinds of nutmeg. Soaked the bread well, then put in bags and poured in the remaining custard. Soaked at 145 for 2 hours, or 2.5, can't remember. Then browned in butter. Custard was soft set in the middle, while brown and crispy on the outside. It was unbelievable.

Chicken thighs- Boneless/skinless. Did them twice, once for tacos and once for Tikka Masala. I think I did 160 for 2 hours. Super tender and juicy.


Chuck roast for beef stew- Just tossed the cryo pak from the store in at 130 for 7 hours I think. I was going to be simmering it for a couple hours in the stew, so I didn't feel I needed to go longer. When it first came out it was about the consistency of a decent strip steak. In the end, it was super tender and the stew was delicious.

Strip Roast- I did half of a 4 lb roast in one piece, then cut the other half into 2 1lb steaks. Did them both at 125 for 3 hours I think. They were both less than great. The meat wasn't very good, lots of gristle and very little marbling, and the consistency was off. I think I'll try a ribeye next.

All my cooks so far have been in ziplock bags since I don't have a vac sealer yet. Only problem child was the French toast. It was incredibly buoyant. ended up having to rubber band it inside a steamer basket and set a heavy saucepan on top of that.

So far I've just used a large stock pot on the counter top. I'd planned to drill a hole in my cooler, but this has worked fine. Haven't had a problem with evaporation, though the longest I've gone is 7 hours.

Hope this helps anyone who hasn't decided yet. I thought it was a fad, but I can see using this thing often. Forever.
 
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daveomak

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bregent

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Nice write-up.

>The result was a lot more of a bullseye effect than I was expecting,

You might try dropping the bag into ice water for 5 minutes after SV and before searing. This will lessen the bullseye.
 

gnatboy911

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Jan 4, 2017
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Nice write up, glad you're enjoying it. On the bulls eye effect....maybe you're sear was too long? I try to get my pan as hot as possible, and sear for as short as possible. You don't go into detail on your searing methods so I'm just guessing. The chicken was a game changer for me. Try bone in chicken thighs, 160/24hrs. let cool for a bit, Then finish under the broiler till the skin is crispy. HOLY COW. (or chicken?) its really good.
 

mdboatbum

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Apr 22, 2011
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Thanks guys!
I might try the ice water bath next time I do a filet. As for the sear being too long, maybe, but It was only about 30 seconds per side. This was a Chateaubriande cut, about a pound and a half, so I seared all 4 sides. Did the exact same thing with the larger half of the strip roast and it was medium rare edge to edge with no bullseye. Maybe the lack of fat in the tenderloin made it cook quicker.

I'll try and remember to take some photos and do a proper write up next time I make something interesting.
 

dr k

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I usually pat dry the SV meat with paper towels so there is less steaming to grow the over cooked band of meat right below the sear.
 

dward51

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Jimmy dean breakfast sausage- This was a lark and I wasn't expecting great results. I just unwrapped the chub, tossed it in a bag and tossed it in with the French Toast. 145 for 2 or 2 1/2 hours, can't remember. What ended up happening is a little hard to describe. First off, nearly all the fat rendered out. So much so that I expected it to just crumble as soon as I took it out of the bag. Figured it'd be dry and mealy like my early attempts at sausage making. However, it did none of these things. I sliced it into thick slices and browned it off in a stainless skillet with a pat of butter thrown in, since all the fat was in the bag. The result was incredibly tender, moist but not greasy sausage with the most intense flavor I've ever experienced. It was like since there was no fat to dull the taste buds, the flavor was turned up to 11. It held together fine, but literally melted in my mouth. It was still sausage, but different than any sausage I've ever had before. In a good way.

1st - Great write up!!!!

2nd - I never even considered doing a JD sausage chub like that. But it makes sense. I've used my SV to finish summer sausage several times (normal temp steps & smoke up to 140'ish range and SV at 152-154 to finish). Works wonders for that, steaks, chicken and everything else I've tried.

Now I have to toss a sausage chub in and give that at try as well, THANKS!
 

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