While my friends turned to sourdough starters and dalgona coffee in the midst of quarantine, I somehow landed on the Whole30, a diet that eliminates processed foods, alcohol, dairy, grains, legumes, and sugar. Meat is a cornerstone of the Whole30 diet, and since I knew I’d be fueling up on protein, I decided to pick up a sous vide circulator to help cook my meals.
I decided on the Anova Precision Cooker, which frequently goes on sale for prices as low as $120. To be perfectly honest, what sold me on this model was that it has Wi-Fi connectivity and an app, which lets me control it from my smartphone.
For those who are unfamiliar with sous vide cooking, it may sound fancy, but to be honest, it’s stupidly easy. It involves dropping your raw ingredients into a vacuum-sealed (or zip-close) plastic bag, filling a container with water, and then submerging the bag in a temperature-controlled bath for a couple of hours. While it takes a little longer than other cooking methods, the Anova Precision Cooker can make any cut of beef, chicken, fish, or pork incredibly tender, juicy, and perfectly cooked.
This cooking tool is a stainless steel and polycarbonate wand that measures 13 inches tall by 3 inches wide. It weighs about 3 pounds and easily attaches with a fixed clamp to any stock pot or container. It’s half the size of other sous vide devices, and it’s compact enough to stow in a kitchen drawer.
The first meal that I cooked with the Anova Precision Cooker was some ribeye steaks. After getting my bath set up, the appliance paired to my smartphone in seconds. I was able to browse recipes right from Anova’s app, and as soon as I found one, the tool immediately got to work getting my water to temp. It took around 20 minutes to heat up.
When the steaks were finished cooking after an hour at 129 degrees Fahrenheit, I finished them off by searing them in a hot cast-iron pan for 40 seconds to achieve the perfect medium-rare doneness.
On a separate occasion, when I cooked some chicken, Anova’s app even alerted me that my pot needed some more water. This Precision Cooker really does make sous vide cooking completely foolproof. It automatically sets timers and sends you notifications throughout the duration. The water temperature is also displayed on an LED readout at the top of the cooker.
I’ve even used this sous vide machine to cook some frozen pork chops — I love that with sous vide cooking you can drop frozen ingredients right into your bag to cook. If you have a busy day and forget to thaw out your meat for dinner, this device offers a super convenient solution for your forgetfulness that still results in a fantastic meal.
Anova does sell cooking containers for submerging the food, but I was able to use my Le Creuset Dutch Oven for these meals without any issues. I plan to invest in some plastic containers — like these commercial-grade ones from Rubbermaid — since plastic retains heat better. And I also recommend that you use some binder clips and a metal spoon to help keep your bag of food from floating in the bath. J. Kenji López-Alt, a chief culinary consultant at Serious Eats, made a helpful tutorial video to illustrate how to keep the food submerged while cooking.
This appliance came in handy for cooking eggs and veggies, and its low-and-slow heat was perfect for breaking down the fatty tissues of a beef roast. The roast fell apart and was the best I’ve ever had. And after years of eating dried-out turkey, I’m now planning on whipping out my sous vide machine on Thanksgiving to make this tender turkey breast recipe, too.
Closing Argument: So, why should you sous vide with the Anova Precision Cooker? For starters, since its Wi-Fi-enabled temperature control function is so precise, you can cook food perfectly without the risk of burning it. I also like that I don’t have to keep checking on the food as it cooks. Not having to babysit a stove pot means that I can spend more time meal prepping without any stress.
Anova Precision Cooker