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Precision-Cooked Protein

The Secret is Out. Sous Vide Cooking is How Wild-Game Gourmets Achieve Precise Perfection

Wild game is lean meat. Because of that quality, it can very easily be overcooked and then suffer from a tough-and-dry reputation. However, venison can always be tender and juicy, if cooked right.

Sous vide is a trendy cooking technique anyone can master right out of the box. The first time we tried it was on deer chops, served with a simple, homemade steak sauce. My family and I were left wide-eyed and speechless by how flavorful it was. The next night, we precision-cooked pronghorn taken during a recent hunt on a wide-open Wyoming prairie. And we eventually sous vided our way through every other game meat in the freezer. The results were always amazing.

Sous Vide Defined

The popularity of this cooking method among home cooks has recently exploded. The appeal of this method lies in a hands-off process that yields foolproof, perfectly cooked meats, eggs, seafood, and vegetables. This is done using a simple machine called an immersion circulator (IC), also known as a sous vide device, a large pot of water, and sealed bags stuffed with meat.

Sous vide is a French phrase, meaning “under vacuum.” Restaurants have used this method of cooking for years, typically vacuum-sealing food within plastic or silicone bags. The sealed package of food is then submerged in a precisely temperature-controlled water bath. The type and thickness of meat determines the temperature and length of time needed to safely produce ideal results, and slow and low cooking breaks down the collagen in them to render tender, juicy meats.

Since the temperature is precisely controlled to your specific settings, it’s never too low or too high, and your results are always consistent. And, if you have a crowd coming for dinner, large quantities can be cooked hours in advance and kept at the perfect temperature until serving, again without the risk of overcooking. Taken straight out of the bath, red meat will look unappealingly dull brown or gray. As a finishing touch, quickly sear steaks and chops to enhance their flavor and give them an appetizing visual appeal.

Device Considerations

There are several options to think about when selecting an IC device and cooking bags. Some are Wi-Fi enabled with mobile apps for control. The main benefit of Wi-Fi enabled devices is that you can monitor the timer, temperature, and water level from anywhere. This comes in handy for recipes that take many hours. For those who want control of the device at their fingertips, there are many devices that have manual controls or both Wi-Fi and manual controls.

ICs have minimum and maximum water levels that the water level must stay between. The wider the range, the easier it is to use for longer cooking times as the water level will decrease while cooking due to evaporation. When you cook a tougher or larger cut of meat, which takes longer to get tender, you’ll want a greater range for water level.

Size of the IC device is another feature that sets them apart. Smaller yet powerful ICs top most reviewers’ lists as they take up less valuable space in your pot, leaving more room for your food. Smaller units (2.5 pounds or less) are also easier to store.

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