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Looking to dip your toes in the sous vide cooking craze sweeping the internet? Sous vide cooking system Joule may be right for you.
Of course, the concept of boiling things in bags doesn’t exactly conjure thoughts of delicious food. In fact, it’s downright Dickensian. You don’t picture French chefs. You picture British scullery maids and a kitchen reeking of cabbage. Someone tell Mrs. Patmore her pud’ is done.
In practice, sous vide cooking is pretty awesome. It’s as foolproof as any cooking medium can be. Using water to circulate and keep precise temperature cooks tricky food like meat, eggs and even veggies to perfection. I want to underline the word perfection here.
Joule is one of many sous vide sticks on the market, and has slowly risen to one of the most talked about options. Made by ChefSteps, it was made to allow even casual foodies to make restaurant quality grub from their home kitchens. As a complete foodie weirdo (I have three kinds of stock in my freezer), sous vide isn’t new to me. Joule however, made the whole concept new again.
Unlike most other sous vide sticks, Joule doesn’t need to clasp to the side of any pot or tub. Sure, it has a clasp if you so choose to use it, but you’re going to want to take advantage of the flat magnetic base. As a 20-something bachelor, my largest cooking pot isn’t very big. My old Anova sous vide stick always sat in my cooking pot at an awkward angle. Joule stood straight up in my medium-sized pot with no hassle.Instead of manually punching in a temperature, Joule is operated from your smartphone through an app. Not only will you set the cooking temperature and time, but you can scroll through a pretty solid collection of recipes. For my test run I figured I’d make a rib-eye steak and cheesecake in a jar.
After filling a pot with warm water, Joule set the temperature for the cheesecake to cook at. It was able to bring the water up to temperature pretty quickly, which gave me plenty of time to actually mix up the recipe. After cooking these mini jar cakes, I let them chill while I worked on the main entree.
The recipes ChefSteps offers are more thorough than any other sous vide recipe I’ve come across, especially for steak. Sure, you can pick your desired cooking temperature, but it even allows you to select a steak thickness, making your cooking that much more precise. When cooking steaks with other models, I always set my aim for rare, knowing the meat would overcook once I finished them with a sear. I assumed Joule would be the same.
I assumed wrong. The temperature was set for rare, and when it was ready to plate, I got a rare steak. It wasn’t the temperature I normally enjoy, but it was insanely buttery nonetheless. Future steaks will be set to medium-rare without any overcooking qualms.
Dessert was equally tasty. Cheesecake in a jar sounds like a obscene idea, but it turned out amazing. It was just as fluffy as a cheesecake that takes all day to make, without the pain of having to deal with a hot water bath or a springform pan.
Joule also connects to your network, so you can command it to cook from anywhere. If you’re Siri or Alexa inclined, you can even chat with Joule and ask it questions via Facebook Messenger. A little too wonky for me, but it’s a welcome feature. I can’t wait to operate it with my voice when my hands are full of raw chicken germs.
Cooking with Joule is nearly foolproof and doesn’t require vacuum bags or special containers. Plus, it’s so small you can slide it into a utensil drawer so you’ll actually use it at least a couple times a week. Not to mention, it’s one of the most affordable models on the market starting at $179.99 on Amazon. If you’re jumping into the sous vide game, I can’t think of a better model to start with than Joule.
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Jaime Carillo is a writer for Pure Nintendo and a plucky YouTube cook. He specializes in writing about console gaming and kitchen gadgets. It comes naturally, considering he's either wielding a massive cleaver or Switch Pro controller at any given point. When he's not cruising through a drive-thru at 2am, he's baking shokupan or whipping up a big pot of Japanese curry. He enjoys retro gaming, geopolitics, and Vic Berger videos.