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Gramercy Kitchen Co.’s under-$100 sous vide machine is great for beginners

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Gramercy Kitchen Co Sous Vide

Amazon

  • Sous vide cooking has become all
    the rage
    in recent years and countless companies are trying
    to capitalize on this underwater slow cooking.
  • Gramercy Kitchen Company is one of the smaller, less-known
    companies to enter the immersion circulator space, but they have
    garnered a 4.6-star rating on Amazon.
  • I liked that the Gramercy Kitchen Co. sous vide
    machine
    was quiet, accurate, and easy to operate and clean.
  • One of the best features of the Gramercy Kitchen Co. Sous
    Vide Immersion Circulator is its price (currently $88 on Amazon), and they offer a
    no-questions-asked refund if you are not satisfied.

When the novice home chef hears
the term


sous
vide


, they often
assume it’s some fancy cooking technique that they could never
possibly grasp. Think again. Despite the bourgeois-sounding name,
which means “under vacuum,” sous vide cooking makes delicious
gourmet meals incredibly simple as long as you have plenty of
time.

Sous vide cooking is basically a
more delicious alternative to using a traditional slow cooker. At its most
basic, you pop the ingredients into a plastic bag, remove as much
air as possible, seal it up, and cook the food in a water bath at
a consistent temperature for several hours.

Gramercy Kitchen Company was
started by a small family looking for a healthier, more delicious
alternative to your typical slow cooker as they tried to make
dinner day in and day out while working 9-to-5 jobs. They sent me
their immersion circulator for free to test out. Below are my
experiences with it.




Gramercy Kitchen Co Sous Vide 1Amazon


What struck me first about the
Gramercy Kitchen Co. Immersion Circulator is its large size. It’s
about 2-3/8″ in diameter and 14″ long. The circulator comes with
a black velvet storage bag, which piques the interest of everyone
who sees it hanging in my kitchen: “What’s in the velvet
bag?”

Without reading the directions, I
was able to have the device up and running in about five minutes.
 The buttons and dial are just that intuitive. First, you
press the temperature button to scroll to the temp you want.
Next, scroll to the time you want, up to 99 hours. Then, press
the play button. Voila!

Thanks to the adjustable clamp,
you can use the Gramercy Kitchen immersion circulator in just
about any container you want. And, it heats up to 15 liters of
water at a time. For maximum affordability and efficiency, I used
an


Igloo Island Breeze
Cooler


and drilled a
hole in the top that was just big enough to fit the sous vide
cooker through. YouTube is full of


great tutorials

on how to do this.

Read more: The best sous vide machines you can
buy

What I like most about sous vide
cooking is that I can take a cheap cut of meat and turn it into
filet mignon… or, at least, a worthy substitute. I started with a
top round beef roast cooked at 132 degrees Fahrenheit for 24
hours. Afterward, I put the vacuum-sealed bag of meat in an ice
bath to stop the cooking. Then, I heated some olive oil in a cast
iron skillet until it was piping hot — turn your fans on and open
the windows — and seared the roast for a minute or so on each
side. The results were tender and juicy.

I had similar tender experiences
with chicken, salmon, lamb, pork chops, and pulled pork. I also
used the sous vide for reheating frozen leftovers I had vacuum
sealed. It did a lot better job than the oven, microwave, or
stove because you didn’t lose moisture in the reheating process.
I’m still trying to master vegetables. I tried asparagus and
carrots with underwhelming results.

Before I get into the
quasi-scientific testing, one other family favorite with the sous
vide was making caramel, or dulce de leche. I vacuum sealed an
unopened can of sweetened condensed milk and heated it at 185
degrees Fahrenheit for 12 hours. Carefully open the can, and it’s
full of delicious caramel.

The Gramercy Kitchen Co.
Immersion Circulator has a temperature range of 104 to 194
degrees Fahrenheit. I found that it stayed within a few degrees
of the target temperature, which is more than the claimed “+/-0.1
degrees Celsius,” but close enough for most cooking jobs.



Gramercy Kitchen Co Sous Vide 2Amazon

The Wirecutter created a
benchmark test for sous vide cookers that I decided to
steal.

I timed how long it takes this
circulator to get 6 quarts of water from 69 degrees Fahrenheit to
135. It was about 21 minutes, which is not bad. I used a kitchen
thermometer probe to take secondary temp readings, and I found
that the readings on my thermometer were almost exactly the same
as what the immersion circulator was showing. So, we can assume
it’s accurate.

This sous vide machine runs
quietly. The ambient noise in my house is about 41 decibels, and
the sound of the unit was 49 decibels when measured from 12″
away. This is similar to what you find with the more popular
models.

Since some meals can take a day
or more, it’s important for an immersion circulator to start
right back up after losing power. I inadvertently tested this in
my kitchen, where running multiple appliances on a single outlet
will trip the circuit breaker. When the power failed, the
Gramercy Kitchen Co. unit picked up right where it left off once
I reset the breaker.


Read more: 30 appliances and tools that we
swear by in the kitchen, from a $6 fish spatula to a $340 Dutch
oven

Some concerns about the sous vide machine

Many of the most popular sous
vide models these days feature Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity.
The Gramercy Kitchen Co. cooker does not have either. It’s not a
“smart” device. There is no app. The connectivity would be nice
for monitoring my meal from afar, but I really didn’t miss it.
Gramercy does this on purpose because they want to keep the
device as simple as possible.

The device allows you to set the
temperature in intervals of 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit, which is odd.
If you want to heat the water to 135 degrees, you can choose
between 134.6 and 135.5 degrees. You can’t set it to anything
between those two. If you switch to Celsius, the interval is 0.5
degrees, which makes a lot more sense. Unfortunately, most of the
recipes I saw were in Fahrenheit. This wasn’t a major problem,
just a minor annoyance.

As with any sous vide, it’s hard
to tell if the food is ready or not. You’re basically going
strictly by time and past experience. Ideally, you could pop a
true wireless meat thermometer into the vacuum-sealed bag with
your food and take readings as you go, but that technology isn’t
quite there yet.

Bottom line

Overall, I really enjoy using the
Gramercy Kitchen Co. Sous Vide Immersion
Circulator
. It’s accurate, reliable, quiet, and simple to use
and clean. Though some of the more popular models have wireless
connectivity and smart apps, they usually cost as much as
$200
, and the extra features can be a bit overwhelming for a
first-time user.

Therefore, I recommend the Gramercy cooker as
a good beginner immersion circulator for any home chef interested
in trying sous vide.


Buy the Gramercy Kitchen Co Sous Vide
Immersion Circulator on Amazon for $88


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