Power Up Your Cooking Game with this Sous Vide Tool

Photo: Courtesy of ChefSteps

Product reviewed: ChefSteps Joule sous vide tool

I have always struggled with cooking proteins and meats to the appropriate doneness. If I attempted to grill a medium-rare steak, it would end up medium-well. Dried out chicken and pork is my specialty, and I hope you enjoy the ends of your fish crusty, because I have mastered it. When I did research on sous vide cooking, it boasted positive reviews of the juiciest, most tender meat. I was excited and hopeful to test out my protein-cooking abilities. 

Photo: Courtesy of ChefSteps

The ChefSteps Joule arrived at my door and was much smaller and sleeker than I imagined. It resembled a baton used in a relay running race, which makes it perfect for storing. The instructions were simple, and the best part is that it functions using a smartphone app. With the app you get instructions for use, a variety of recipes and the ability to set your Joule to the perfect temperature.

Once I downloaded the app, setup was easy. You determine what foods you are cooking and find the correct size container to use with your Joule. I cooked a pork tenderloin and carrots, and it took me a bit to dig through my kitchen for an adequate sized pot. One cool feature is the Joule has a magnet on the bottom and the option of a clip on the side to keep it secure and able to work with a variety of containers. The Joule communicates with your smartphone about adequate water level, when the water is at the correct temperature and when the food is done. It is important that your container is heat-safe and set on top of a trivet before starting and, if you have children, on a stable surface, away from the danger of being knocked over or touched by little fingers.

You will need freezer bags to place the food in and clips to hold the bag on the side of your container. The app is fool-proof for the home chef who struggles with getting the results they want. It prompts you with visuals of what you want the cooked food to look like, which sets the temperature of the water and length of cook time. Once you place your food in the container with heated water, the Joule takes care of the rest by maintaining the water temperature until your smartphone tells you it’s done with a timer notification. The Joule will hold the food at that temperature for up to three hours after it is done and until you are ready to sear, season and serve.

One thing to keep in mind: Cooking with the Joule is a marathon, not a sprint. My small pork tenderloin took almost 3 hours and I cooked the carrots separately for an additional 45 minutes because they needed to be cooked at a different temperature than the tenderloin. My pork was perfectly pink and not dried out, but I feel I would have had the same results with the carrots in the microwave.

I would recommend this product for special occasions, the home chef who likes to cook the perfect protein and for anyone who does meal prep. 

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Anne Cundiff

Anne Elizabeth Cundiff, RD, LD, FAND, is a retail dietitian in Iowa, author of “I’m a Registered Dietitian … Now What?” and host of Conversations with Anne Elizabeth podcast. Read her blog, Nutritional Noshes, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.