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on August 5, 2012
I first learned of the Sous Vide Supreme when I read its impressive 5-star review in Cooks Illustrated months ago. The claims of reliably cooking super-tender meats and the virtual impossibility of overcooking enticed me, but I hesitated to purchase it because of the high ($429) price tag. As I'm trying to cut back on unhealthy and financially draining restaurant eating, I decided to order my Sous Vide Supreme last week. Startup was easy. I opened the box Thursday evening, read the instructions, filled the oven with warm (100 F) tap water, and plugged it in. It took about 30 minutes to bring the tap water up to 165 Fahrenheit, and the temperature has remained remarkably steady. The only confusion I experienced was in changing the display from Celsius to Fahrenheit. (I mistook the tiny button for an indicator light, but glancing at the instructions quickly cleared that up.)

My first meals from the Sous Vide have been effortless and excellent! I cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, roughly following the recipe in the provided booklet. I patted each breast dry, and lightly seasoned each with dry seasonings (e.g. Cavender's Greek Seasoning and Paul Prudhomme's Barbecue Magic). I then put each breast in a FoodSaver bag, added a thin pat of butter to each side, and vacuum sealed the bags. (I have the advantage of already owning a FoodSaver vacuum sealer. In my opinion, it's a necessity. The Sous Vide instructions allow for use of Ziploc bags, but I can't imagine getting the same results, since vacuum sealing assures even heating inside the bag.) With the Sous Vide Supreme set at 146 F, I dropped the bags in the water and walked away. The book indicated a minimum cooking time of 2 hours, but I removed the first bag after 5 hours of cooking. I cut the bag open, seared the breast in a hot skillet for about 30 seconds on each side, and plated the chicken with a simple Buerre Blanc (white butter) sauce. Spectacular! The meat was flavorful and tender, yet with a lightly stranded texture (as though the meat breaks down differently at the lower Sous Vide temperature.) I had read some reviews that indicated chicken would be unpleasantly overcooked after a few hours, so I left one of the chicken breasts in the Sous Vide for 24 hours just to see. I just ate it for lunch. (This time, I added capers, lemon zest, and roasted garlic to the Beurre Blanc sauce.) Unbelievable! The stranded texture was gone, the chicken was very tender, and the original dry seasoning had lightly infused through the whole chicken breast. To my palate, the chicken was even better--not worse--for the extra time. That's great news for me, since weeknight meals never seem to occur as planned!

The other extremely pleasant surprise was how quickly the Sous Vide Supreme will reheat frozen leftovers that I've stored in FoodSaver Bags. A single-serving bag of last week's roasted vegetables defrosted and warmed to serving temperature after about 10 minutes at the 146 F setting! I'm seeing lots of possibilities for easy, healthy, weeknight suppers!!!

The DVD provided with the water oven is brief, but it's clearly presented and provides all the essential information I needed to get started. The booklet contains more information and several recipes. Even though I purchased a separate cookbook, it certainly wasn't necessary for getting started.

I can see that the Sous Vide cooking technique has its limitations, but the convenience of being able to leave cuts of meat in this water oven until it's convenient for me is worth every penny of the $429 price tag.

My next adventure is to let the Sous Vide work its magic on some cheap, tough steaks I just bought. Can't wait!

I do have one suggestion for the Sous Vide designers: Instead of providing us a rubberized insulating mat to put on top of the oven, incorporate the insulation into the lid! I realize that will add to production costs, but I would suggest that a premium product like the Sous Vide Supreme deserves a more elegant design! I suspect that the black mat will show dust and look faded over time.

Update (8/10/13). The cheap, tough "mock tender" steaks I cooked in the Sous Vide were very flavorful and tender. A brief sear in the skillet was all that was needed to turn them into a perfect entree! I'm definitely sold!
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on May 1, 2011
For 3 weeks my SVS worked like a charm. I cooked and enjoyed everything, duck confit, steak, short ribs, pork tenderloin, fish and shellfish, chicken, eggs, fruit, vegetables and desserts. Not everything was a huge success, but most of my experiments were either satisfactory or sublime. Two days ago the digital display indicated wide swings in temperature. I had set the temperature at 183 for several packages of vegetables after a few minutes it started to climb dramatically (well beyond 200). I dropped a probe into the tank to see what was going on, but my read was 136. It did the same thing the next day, so I just packed it up and shipped it back. I'm so disappointed, but wary of ordering another one.
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on April 9, 2012
Fantastic while it worked, but died after about 18 months. Since the warranty is only one year, probably worth considering whether it's worth the cost. Or at least be sure to purchase with a credit card that provides an automatic extended warranty.

Having said that, I'll probably buy another one - once you get used to using it, it becomes an essential kitchen tool.
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on June 7, 2012
Pros:
Easy to use - while most practitioners of sous vide are likely obsessed with cooking, I can easily give a temperature to my wife (who is disinterested in cooking) and she can produce great results. I use 140 F for chicken, 133 F for beef, and 146 F for eggs (1 hour on the eggs).

Easy to clean - just pour out the water. I hit it up with Windex occasionally as well. Obviously, do not immerse the appliance.

Accurate - according to my thermapen, this thing is within a degree of what I've set it to when it's up and running. The display on the front shows the small variations in temperature occurring.

Reasonable size - Yeah, it's kinda big, but, I use it more than my oven, which is much bigger.

Notes on all of the above: you can do sous vide without this water oven, probably even do it better with immersion circulators, can do it cheaper using a cooler, or a PID controller - however, this is easier to use and easier to clean than those options, it's also has a great internal/external size ratio. It doesn't look out of place on a countertop, which is where I store mine, whereas a beer cooler, rice-cooker/PID controller or immersion circulator likely would.

Has overtemp protection. I feared I had killed it one time when I powered it on when it was empty. There was a burning electronic smell through my kitchen. However, an hour later when I dared to try to turn it on again, it worked just fine. Has continued to work fine for the 9 months that followed.

Spectacular service - you get an English speaking person if you call on the phone, you get same-day responses via email (same hour on Sunday for me). I haven't had better luck with any other company contacting their tech support.

Cons:
It takes a long time for the power button to engage.

Flat foods (I pre-cook taco meat, vacuum seal it, flatten and freeze, and reheat in water oven - it's great for that kind of thing) and very large items can cause the oven to "cycle" - to cause it to think that it has gone so far away from the proper temperature that it needs to approach that temperature from scratch. I normally wouldn't care about this, the temp isn't actually varying all that much, but, when it happens all-night-long, and beeps every time it comes out of the warm-up phase, it becomes annoying.

The silicone seal between the water bowl and the chassis is both ugly and poorly made. My unit was "leaking", just as some other people had mentioned, but, it seemed clear to me that this seal was the problem - it only leaked when it was hot, which, is to say, when there was condensate at the lid level. This condensate accumulates at the edges of the bowl and, if not gasketed correctly, leaks out. Easy solution: reseal the unit. Purchased non-toxic silicone sealer, and was able to easily reseal this seam. Used this stuff: Dap 00688 Household Waterproof Adhesive Sealant, 100% Silicone, 2.8-Ounce Tube

Overall:
I don't know of a better solution at this time. It does an incredible job on meats, and has minor foibles. I've been able to cook an entire turkey breast in it (the challenge was with sealing it, not fitting it in the machine), which was adored by everyone at a pre-thanksgiving gathering, and have had some of the best steaks of my life from it. Eggs are transformed into a spreadable gel, exceptional over buttered toast. It has great utility in reheating foods as well, bringing them up to a temperature to kill pathogens, without over-heating them.

This being said, while pressing the button and letting it go is easy, the devil is in the details (which are the responsibility of the cook). I heavily lean on Douglas Baldwin's pasteurization tables for poultry - to fail to do so is to ask for food-borne illness. Most recipes require deconstruction to utilize sous vide in a meaningful way. Vegetables and meat do not cook at the same temperatures, so, that really complicates things.

I would definitely purchase this item again. I'd probably pay more for a unit that had the issues listed above fixed, but, there's no competition in this market apparently, and, what _is_ being offered isn't bad.
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on May 24, 2014
I've had this for about 5 years now and it still sees regular use. (It's seeing way more regular use since I got a VacMaster chamber sealer but that's another review.) I doubt it holds temp quite as accurately as a Polyscience immersion circulator, but that kind of precision isn't necessary for fantastic results.

It's particularly great b/c of the hours I work - I tell my husband what temp to set the water bath & which previously sealed frozen packet I want him to toss in - when I get home at 2am I have a hot meal with no effort on my part. He also uses it frequently - set the temp, toss in the baggie, go for a run or do errands & when he gets back dinner is ready.

My only complaint is the seal around the top isn't fantastic & the condensation can leak down the sides onto the counter top. So I have some dishtowels underneath it to catch the water. The people at SVS told me to buy some clear silicone to re-seal the edges which I have done 2x in the last 5 years & it does work. I just think something which costs this much money shouldn't have to be periodically "fixed."
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on July 24, 2010
I got my Sous Vide Supreme yesterday, and within 15 minutes of taking out of the box I was warming up the water for my first test: frozen filet mignon. I put a little bit of salt and pepper on the steaks, then put them in ziploc's vacuum bags. 2 hours at 138F and we had the best steaks I've ever made in my life. They were perfectly uniformly cooked all the way through, and a quick sear in a cast iron skillet gave them the browned crust that makes a steak even more delicious. My wife said it was the best steak she's ever had, and she usually orders her steaks medium-well at restaurants because she wants to make sure they're not undercooked in the middle.
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on June 30, 2015
This water oven is great. I've used it 3-4 times in the week I've had it already and everything from pork chops, pork tenderloin, chicken breasts, and cod has come out great. There is some fiddling I will need to do with the temp and times that I cook my food in this water bath, but that's because of personal preference, not the machine. Once I figured out that cooking cod at 132F for 30 minutes (as one internet recipe suggested) turned the fish too rubbery for my tastes, I now cook it at 129 for 15 minutes for tender, juicy cod that is not rubbery at all.

The same applies for everything else. I despise dry chicken breast so much that I NEVER order chicken breast in a restaurant for fear of that dry, choking texture that is so typical of commercially prepared chicken breast meat. With this water oven, I've determined that 145F boneless, skinless chicken breasts is nearly perfect, especially with a 1 minute sear on each side afterward. Every time, they come out juicy and easy to eat.

The interface was extremely easy to use and I'd made my first meal before I ever read the instruction manual. It really is as easy as pressing the Set Temp button, toggling the up or down buttons to move to your desired temp, then pressing the Start button. The timer works independently of the water oven. By that, I mean that it doesn't control when the oven turns on or off; it is just a convenient way of timing your cooking.

This was one of the most expensive appliances I've ever bought and I consider it more useful than my oven. I anticipate using it a lot and will certainly get my money's worth. We actually prefer to dine in with something sous vide rather than go out to eat...how many kitchen appliances can honestly say that?
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VINE VOICEon January 16, 2012
When the Tivo came out, most people hadn't heard of them. If you explained to someone what it did they just didn't get it. But once you used one, you couldn't imagine watching TV without one. The Sous Vide is like that. No one's heard of them, if you explain it to them they think is a crockpot, but once you get one you'll never cook the same way again.

Before Christmas, I read about Sous Vide. They sounded like a great idea so I put a SousVide Demi on my Christmas list. My wife bought me a Demi for Christmas from Amazon. Most new kitchen gadgets I've had, take a few tries to get it right. This one was a bit different - I happened to have a Tenderloin in the fridge so we fired it up and then pan fried the steak to finish it and is was fantastic. I've never had such a good steak at home and the results were similar to what I've had (and paid dearly for) at a high-end steak house.

Since I got it, we've tried cooking pretty much everything you can think of in it. Some things work great (like meats), some things are better and faster cooked other ways (like veggies).

My first Demi arrived with a defect. The temperature was stuck on Celsius. I tried to exchange it, but for some reason Amazon would only accept returns. I tracked down a local store that carries Demi's, to buy a replacement. They had a Supreme and a Demi side-by-side. Though the Demi worked great, it is a little too short to accept the typical Food Saver sealed bags without putting it in at an angle. The Supreme is taller - tall enough to take a Food Saver bag without having angle it in. It also comes with a nice rack. So I plunked down the extra $100.

The Supreme is definitely better than the Demi. It holds more, works better with Food Saver bags and the temperature settings toggle between modes correctly (though I'm sure a replacement Demi would have toggle the temperature mode correctly).

The bottom-line is a Sous Vide will change how you cook at home. It noticeably improves the quality of home cooking. It reduces the amount of preparation time. We've also been buying larger amounts of meat at Costco and our local butcher shop and making ready to cook packages. This has resulted in a significant decrease in food expense and waste. I suspect that if we continue to do this, the Sous Vide will pay for itself in less than 6 months.

The Sous Vide is the Tivo of kitchen appliances. It's unknown by most, it's hard to related to when explained, but it will change how you cook when you get one.
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on December 26, 2010
This thing does what it says it will do. Heats up quickly and maintains temp well enough with about a 1.5 degree swing over a long cooking time. It holds an amazing volume of food.

Some tips-
Watch meat thickness carefully. Doubling the thickness at least quadruples the time at a given temp.

I don't vacuum seal things that I'm going to cook and eat right away. Fancy vacuum units are needed to keep a marinade around meat without sucking the marinade out with the air. A regular old Food Saver won't cut it. You do have to get nearly all of the air out for even cooking, but absolute vacuum is only needed if you are going to store the food once cooked. A zip top bag works great if you then immerse it in water up to nearly the top. The water acts to press out all the air in the bag, which then is pressed closed.
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on February 11, 2016
I purchased this unit about 5 years ago directly from the manufacturer, and have been using it regularly ever since. In short, I love it. It's perfect for my needs, and it works exactly as promised. I've had lots of amazing food come out of this device, and I've never experienced any kind of failure to cook to my satisfaction. I do not try to combine several foods into one bag or try to cook foods that require different cooking temperatures, but I have been known to load it up with three days worth of proteins (a slab of ribs, a package of steaks, and a package of fish) and pull the foods when I'm ready to use them. I definitely use a vacuum sealer to prepare each item, a FoodSaver vacuum sealer. When I bought my unit, it came bundled with the SousVide vacuum sealer, but I found it to be cheaply made and did not seal bags properly and have since tossed it. You must not have any air left in the bag when you seal it, otherwise the foods may float, and the unexposed areas may not cook properly. I've had some packages try to float over the years, and in those cases I've used a small serving bowl filled with water to hold the item down to ensure it was properly submerged.

Seasoning foods for cooking is easy... but you must remember that all of the seasoning will be trapped within the bag, so use less than you would for other cooking methods. If you want to include a liquid seasoning, I recommend pulling out and old ice cube tray and freezing "cubes" of liquid seasoning that you can drop into the bag... that way the liquids aren't removed during the sealing process. The liquid will permeate the food during the cooking process.

When I pull something (like a steak) from the bag I always have to "finish" it. In some cases I use a cook's torch to sear it, in others I may do a quick sear in a pan, a few minutes on the grill, or a few minutes in the broiler. While the food is perfectly cooked, most people like some sear to make the food more appealing.

I've read some complaints about the quality of the lid, and the fact that it doesn't contain a built-in drain. While the lid is lightweight, it does not hamper the process of maintaining the proper temperature. I have the "mouse pad" insulating pad some mention, and it simply sits on top of the oven when in use. My lid and pad still look like brand-new... in fact, then entire oven still looks just as it did when I took it out of the package. The lack of a drain isn't a big issue to me... it's very simple to just tip it an drain it into the sink. Since no food comes in contact with the oven, cleaning is as easy as wiping out the oven to ensure it's dry before putting it away.

Many talk about the newer residential-grade circulator-style immersion heaters... I've not tried one yet, but perhaps one would be an effective secondary solution if I was trying to cook multiple items at different temperatures at the same time. I do know that this device is extremely easy to use, easy to set up, and works completely silently. It's also very well insulated, so I can put it anywhere while I'm using it. It does require some space on the counter when in use, but not really that much more that a large cooking pot. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this oven to anyone who is seriously interested in sous-vide cooking. It's by far the safest, easiest and most affordable way to cook proteins that I've found. When you pull out a flank steak that's been cooking for 24 hours and it virtually falls apart with your fork, you'll see what I mean. One time I was tasked by some friends to "fry" some 1 1/2-inch thick pork chops... they were seasoned and spent 24 hours in the sous-vide, then were dipped and quickly pan fried to add a crust, and served: they were judged 'perfection' by my friends... fork tender, perfectly cooked, and juicy through and through.
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