Anova Precision Cooker: What is it and is it any good?

An Anova precision cooker allows you to cook Sous Vide. Sous Vide, means “under Vacuum in French. If you are unfamiliar with this cooking technique, it uses precise temperature control to give you consistent restaurant style results. This technique has been used by high end restaurants for a while now, to cook food to the exact level required. Now, you can do this at home with an Anova Precision cooker.

How does cooking Sous Vide Work?

Cooking Sous Vide is the process of vacuum-sealing food in a bag and cooking it to a very precise temperature in a water bath. The results of using this are impossible to achieve with any other form of cooking. Check out the short video below.

Advantages of Cooking Sous Vide

When cooking sous vide with something like an Anova precision cooker, you will experience certain benefits.

Consistency

You will get the same results every time you cook using the sous vide method. This is because you use precise set temperatures for a very precise period of time.

Flavour

As the food you are cooking is sealed in a bag, it cooks in its own juices. This keeps the food juicy, tender and full of flavour.

Less Waste

Food cooked in the traditional way dries out, which can be perceived as wasteful. For example, when you cook a steak, you lose 40% of its volume. But, with the sous vide method, you lose nothing.

Convenient

With certain types of cooking, you need to give it you undivided attention. Cooking sous vide brings your food to an exact temperature and keeps it there. This means you can keep it warm until you are ready for it without the danger of overcooking it. 

The picture below is from the Anova website. It shows the difference between a steak cooked sous vide to one cooked with traditional methods.

The steak on the left is one cooked sous vide. As you can see it is consistently cooked throughout the meat. This is because it has been cooked at a low heat for a long time. This makes to super tender, while keeping all its flavour and juiciness.

Anova precision cooker

What is an Anova Precision Cooker?

Anova precision cooker

An Anova precision cooker is a cylindrical device that sits in a pan of water. It has a heating element and a fan that is immersed in the water. This is what does the precision cooking. At the top of the Anova precision cooker, there is an LCD display showing the current temperature and a smaller one showing the required temperature and the cooking time.

Verdict

4.5/5

The sous vide way of cooking, the Anova Precision Cooker is a nearly foolproof way to ensure any meat you cook comes out perfectly tender. But, it can be used to cook many other foods too.

Pros

  • Cooks meat perfectly
  • Easy to use
  • Doesn’t take up much space in kitchen
  • Serious Eats recipes included in app
  • Works with Amazon Echo

Cons

  • Needs a large pots for the clamps to work
  • Need to sear meat afterwards

Using the Anova Precision Cooker

The best way to control the Anova precision cooker, is to use the app. The app is very good, especially for home chefs new to sous-vide cooking. There is a section of the app with time and temperature guides for various foods, such as chicken, burgers and steak.

All you need to do, is select the type of food you want to cook within the app. It will automatically set the perfect  temperature and time on your Anova precision cooker. The app also includes recipes from top chefs, which are well worth trying.

But, if you know what you are doing and  know what time and temperature needed to cook your dinner, the app lets you select it all yourself. Your Anova precision cooker will run for the correct time and temperature. However, you need to remember to leave to leave the app open during cooking. This is because there it loses the settings if you close and then re-open the app.

 

You need quite a deep pan for the Anova precision cooker to safely clip on to the side of it. By all accounts, this is the best way of cooking sous vide. As other precision cookers come with their own pan, which are difficult to store.

Voice Control

Another way of controlling your Anova precision cooker, is with an Alexa Skill through your Amazon Echo. Simply set it up and tell Alexa what you what to cook. It will also work with a Google Home smart speaker.

The Alexa voice integration will also work with an ice bath setup, Simply fill your pot with ice and water, with your Anova in place. The idea of this, is that your Anova will make sure you have enough cold water to safely chill food until you’re ready to cook it. The Anova will send you an alert if the water gets too warm, at which point it will start cooking.

Cooking Steak

anova precision cooker

When cooking a steak with the Anova precision cooker, you set the time and temperature listed in the app. A great feature of the app allows you to specify the thickness of the meat and how you want it cooked. This means the app will adjust the cooking time and the temperature to make it perfect.

In addition the Anova app gives you all the steps you need to  finish your steak perfectly. It tells you how to give your steak, either  on the grill, on the hob or even with a blow torch.

Having said this, the way to get a good sear on your perfectly cooked steak, take it out of the water bath, dry it with a paper towel, then quickly sear it on both sides in butter.

This gives you a perfectly cooked steak with a dark caramelised crust on the out side.

What else can I cook with the Anova Precision Cooker?

Steak isn’t the only thing you can cook with the Anova precision cooker though. It is actually very versatile. The sous vide technique  of cooking also lets you cook other foods to perfection such as:

  • Pork – As with steak, you get perfectly cooked pork with ultimate tenderness
  • Fish – Consistently cooked all the way through. Salmon is perfectly pink, flaky and moist every time
  • Eggs – Never have overcooked poached or boiled eggs again
  • Fruit and Vegetables – Cooking fruit and veggies sous vide style means that you get all the nutritional value from them.
  • Desserts – Cookies cooked in the Anova Precision cooker are moist and rich. The added bonus, is that you will never burn them in the oven by accident.
  • Cocktail Infusions – Use your Anova precision cooker to add extra flavour to your cocktails ready for your party.
  • Grains – Quinoa, bulgar wheat and other grains can be cooked to light and fluffy perfection.

Should you buy an Anova Precision Cooker?

If you want to cook top chef style food an Anova precision cooker is a great way to do it. When you cook steaks, you need to remember to sear it after you have cooked it sous vide style. Therefore, if you are a perfectionist, an Anova is something you will love to use in the kitchen.

For preparing large meals in batches, or for cooking foods that aren’t easy to cook perfectly. The Anova Precision Cooker is easily one of the most accessible, intuitive products you can buy for the kitchen.

It is one of those things, that if you use it enough, you will change the way you cook.

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