I came, I saw and in a first, I finally gave some rump steak the Inkbird Sous Vide treatment. But has this oversized wand made me the next Gordon Ramsey or is bath time for the dinner meat largely over rated? Let’s find out!
Who or what is Inkbird?
My first experience with this company was way back in 2018 when I still had my terrific sense of smell and elbow deep into the world of home brew beer. Thanks to some suggestions on a home brewing Facebook page, I went and ordered an Inkbird 308 temperature controller.
In layman’s terms you put your home brew beer in a fridge, then you plug the fridge into this temp controller (and the unit’s temp sensor somewhere near your beer) and then the temp controller into the nearest power outlet. From then on the Inkbird 308 will monitor the temp you set and turn the fridge on and off as needed when things either got too cold or too warm for it’s liking.
Did it help? Absolutely. While I only used it once before things in life got really busy, proper temperature control helped me with my greatest home brewing success, a truly well drinking Munich Helles.
So when I saw there was an Inkbird Sous Vide appliance, I figured why not? I’ve been interested in this style of cooking for a while and since the 308 helped me create a wonderful beer for a Christmas lunch, surely this oversized wand could do the same with a steak or some chicken? Plus when I get back into home later this year, I will be using this to brew up my next batch (this should be so much easier than the BBQ wok burner..) So come Boxing day and sales on Amazon..
So what’s Sous Vide cooking then?
It is as the title suggests, giving meat a nice warm relaxing bath (or in more technical terms: Low temp long time cooking). Only the meat’s been sealed in a bag first full of seasoning and doesn’t actually get bathed per se by the water, more warmed up gently at a predetermined temperature.
The handy part of this style of cooking is that you don’t need to do it on a stove top as as pictured above (thanks Wikipedia), it doesn’t have to be in a pot and even better if you follow instructions, it’s pretty difficult to stuff things up here.
By doing things this low and slow way you get incredibly flavoursome stuff and it looks like you know how to cook. Which is handy if your culinary skills need a firmware update like mine on occasion.
I’m a wizard Harry! The first go around notes with the Inkbird Sous Vide
-You will need time. Oh god, will you need time. Not just for the water to heat up for the exact temp required but also to come to grips with the truly terrible app that the Inkbird Sous Vide comes with (more on this in a sec.) Then there’s the cooking time of course too here – my rump steaks got a hour long bath and then a two minute sear. There’s no hard and fast way of doing it in this style.
-This unit is big and chunky, you’re going to need a big pot. And so I dug out the biggest one we had and it worked out just fine with the wand clipped to the side. Also whatever you do, don’t remove the plastic bit at the bottom of the Inkbird Sous Vide or the metal element sheath, that’s not necessary. It was noisy at the start as the fan at one end scraped the bottom of the pan but then I realised the plastic guard should not be removed and after I put it back on, the noise level dropped dramatically. Excellent!
-It’s when you’re preparing the meat in the zip lock bags as the water heats up that you suddenly realise you need more herbs and more spices. The recipe I read suggested sage but the only thing growing in the garden here is wild mint, so that’s a no. Still, I had a few spices on hand and the meat got a smattering of salt, smoked paprika and garlic powder to keep it company. Next shopping day I might start to invest in a herb garden..
-The Inkbird Sous Vide app works great…once you wrestle with it trying to take control of your house. No seriously, it wants you to run your life with Inkbird products and getting it just to handshake with this tool took quite some time due to finding it and then putting in my WiFi details. However once that was done and the meat was sealed and ready to go for bath time, I wandered off for a workout while it slowly bathed away, occasionally checking on the app that things were behaving themselves. Lovely. (Remember that give yourself time warning above? That’s this app in a nutshell.)
-I was tempted to cut into one of the steaks as soon as bath time was over but I refrained and followed instructions instead, giving each side a one minute sear (no more, no less) before it was good to go. Yes while the steak will be perfectly edible straight out of the water, it’ll look so much nicer with a bit of cooked color.
Now to serve up!
First experiment with the Inkbird Sous Vide
It’s bizarre to think that after an hour in the water and two minutes in the pan, the meat still came out a gorgeous medium rare. But the proof was in the pudding…er slicing.
And how did it taste? Juicy. Tasty. Tender. Plenty of moisture on board, a nice seasoning flavour on the outside (probably could have done with a bit more but hey, good to know for next time!) and almost at that melt in your mouth texture. The gristle part of the bargain rump steak I bought to put the Inkbird Sous Vide through it’s paces was still gristly obvious but the rest, delicious. I can’t wait to try with some herbs, butter, all that good stuff in the next time I break this thing out!
Inkbird Sous Vide – where to get one
I bought the 100w version on Amazon.com.au through a boxing day sale for $75 bucks delivered, so if you’re a bargain hunter you can always wait until it drops to this price again.
If you prefer to buy your kitchen toys through Amazon.com, here’s an affiliate link to the same model over there. Clicking this link may generate some revenue for me via Amazon at no cost to you.
Both sites have the slightly more powerful 200w models as well as everything else you need to get into meat bathing. No wait, sous vide. Enjoy!