I Tried a $250 Sous Vide Cooker and the Perfect Steak Is Worth Every Penny

Meat. Fish. Eggs. It sounds like a caveman’s diet, but I’m totally here for it. I don’t own an egg cooker for nothing. That being said, cooking meat isn’t my favorite thing to do in the kitchen. I hate touching it raw, and under my watch, it often ends up too dry, burnt, or I have to cut into it five times to make sure it’s properly done. (I won’t be voluntarily giving myself salmonella, thanks.)

I feel like I miss out on a lot of cooking adventures since I haven’t mastered the art of the perfect juicy, medium-rare steak. I ultimately aspire to grill dad status, but as a 27-year-old woman, I am still just starting that journey and looking to surpass amateur status when it comes to cooking a filet mignon.

Fortunately for me (and folks like me) I found a *chef’s kiss* kitchen appliance that changed my relationship with handling meat (admittedly a strange statement): the Breville Joule Turbo Sous Vide.

For context for the unfamiliar (aka people who aren’t fine dining aficionados or cooking nerds), “sous vide” is a cooking technique that involves sealing food in a bag and cooking it in a hot water bath, resulting in tender, evenly cooked, flavor-infused food. French chefs Bruno Goussault and George Pralus supposedly invented the technique in the 1970s and are referred to as the “fathers of sous vide.” Fast forward to 2023, and now the kitchen appliance retailer Breville—known for its dope espresso machines and pizza ovens—has a gadget specifically designed to perfectly perform the technique and take out the guesswork. Pretty cool. I gave it a spin, and was super impressed—here are my thoughts.

How does it work

The Breville Joule Turbo Sous Vide heats water with a “set it and forget it” user experience for perfectly cooked meat, fish, eggs, or whatever your heart desires. It’s shaped like a slim cylinder, so it’s very compact and can be easily stored in a drawer. You place the Joule Turbo Sous Vide upright into a water bath and it precisely heats the water to the needed temperature for your dish of choice. (Proteins first need to be vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag in order to evenly cook.) It has pressure cooker vibes, since—like a pressure cooker—you can just place your bag in the water, input the settings, and step away for a bit by setting it on autopilot. A pouch of steak can soak and slow-cook to perfection in the bath for up to three hours—think of it as a spa day for your ribeye. After sitting in the sous vide bath, the interior of the meat should be spot-on, doneness-wise, to your specifications—but you’ll need to “finish” the meat by searing it in a pan (at least, that’s what I did—more on that later) to give it that savory, umami crust exterior.

First impressions

I’ve never used a sous vide cooker before, so I was intrigued by the process. I’m pretty decent at cooking in general, but when it comes to checking if meat and fish are done, I’ve always had to cut into the middle to check the color and texture (I’m all about aesthetics, and it ruins the visual aspect of the dish, especially if I’m serving a meal to someone), so cooking in a vacuum-sealed bag sounded both appealing and intimidating. It’s also easy to overcook protein (I’m definitely guilty of dry chicken, sadly). Having a device to do all the work for me sounded like a true blessing in the kitchen. The Breville+ app makes this device a game-changer. For a visual guide, you can see how your protein will look when the water is set to a certain degree in order to reach your desired doneness (rare, medium, or well done). No more predicting!

My experience

The Breville Joule Turbo Sous Vide proved that cooking steak to perfection is a true art. The process takes patience and taught me how to respect my expensive hunk of meat. First, I prepped my steak by vacuum-sealing it in plastic, but for what it’s worth, if you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you can definitely go the more affordable route and use a Ziploc bag. Next, it was bath time—I was truly treating this steak as if it was my baby. I filled a container specifically designed for the sous vide with water set to 129 degrees Fahrenheit (the Breville+ app gives specific temperatures for every level of doneness). The sous vide has a magnetic base that holds it steady when upright, so you could also do all of this in a steel pot.

Compared to a traditional sous vide cooker, this model uses a turbo feature to shorten cook times by nearly half. For example, my steak reached the right level of doneness after cooking in the bath for about 30 minutes, compared to the hour it would take with other sous vide devices. Thanks to the aforementioned Breville+ app, there’s no more guessing (or cutting slabs of meat open) when your protein is properly cooked. Once my meat baby was done, I was ready to sear it in the pan, but if you’re not ready to chow down quite yet, the Primetime app feature allows the food to rest and hold temperature for your chosen time while still keeping it fresh.

I fired up my pan with a pat of butter and seared the steak to perfection for about four minutes on each side. I’m still getting the hang of this, but I’d like to think Goussault and Pralus would be proud of the results, which were absolutely delicious.

The steak was juicy, tender, and a perfect pink color. It seriously could pass for something straight out of a Zagat-rated steak house. The kitchen reeked of garlic butter from the searing process, but I was definitely delighted. I blew out my pumpkin spice candle and indulged in the luxury smell of fine dining.

TL;DR: Cooking meat to just the right level of doneness and retaining juiciness can be a tedious process, but the Breville Joule Turbo Sous Vide makes the process bearable. I feel like I’ve finally got the potential to become as much of a steak master as the boomer dads at their grills. BRB, while I let my steak rest.

You can buy the Joule Turbo Sous Vide at Breville.

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