July 24, 2020 Rodney Cowled

Anova Precision Cooker Review: Smart Sous Vide

What is a Sous Vide cooking?

Sous vide is a method of cooking which was once limited to professional kitchens. The term “sous vide” is French for “under vacuum”.

Sous Vide cooking refers to a cooking method which involves vacuum-sealing food, in a bag & cooking it in a water bath at very precise temperatures.

This method of cooking achieves perfectly precise results, repeatably.

What are the advantages of Sous Vide cooking?

There are two major advantages:

  • The first: is precise & perfect results, every time.
  • The second: flexibility & convenience.

While the meticulous temperatures used in sous vide cooking sound difficult, the actuality is the complete opposite. The precision used in sous vide cooking brings food up to an exact correct temperature & holds it there. There’s no worry about overcooking it.

Want a medium-rare steak? The sous vide cooker will heat your steak to the temperature required to reach medium-rare & hold it there. When you’re ready to eat, you quickly sear the steak. & enjoy.

Get distracted bathing your kids while cooking some salmon. No worries your salmon will wait. Sitting at there a the perfect temperature until you’re ready to eat. Plus you can prepare ahead of time.

Anova Precision Cooker Review

The Anova Precision Cooker Review: A Smart Sous Vide Machine.

My wife and I have been cooking using the sous vide method for many years now. The Anova Precision Cooker has become our go-to device.

Why? Read on.

Size & Power

When is comes to sous vide cooking devices you can go two ways. Either a sous vide cooker which attaches to a pot (like the Anova) or a sous vide device which is pot & water heater in one.

My recommendation is always, the former. The stick-blender shape of takes a LOT less space & does the same job. Also it comes with the flexibility of being able to alter the amount of water you use. Doing one steak? A small/medium-sized pot will do. Doing a whole turkey? You can use something a bit bigger. As a side, not the pot is ONLY to hold the water, it doesn’t need to go onto another heat source. The sous vide device, is the heat source.

Fun fact: One thanksgiving (we lived in the USA for a couple of years), friends of ours did a whole turkey, sous vide, in an Esky. It was a funny sight, but man was a tasty…& not dry (which is my usual gripe with turkey).

In regard to size, the Anova Precision Cooker’s slim stand-up design is a winner. Here’s what it looks like in action.

Anova Precision Cooker Sous Vide

We’ve got the standard size. Anova also has a smaller version called the “Nano” & a larger version called the “Pro”. Just keep in mind that some of the smart features vary between the models; specifically, the Nano is Bluetooth only, not wifi. So it does not have the ability to monitor & control the device from outside your home.

Smart Features

When I initially got my hands on the the Anova Precision Cooker, I didn’t think too much about the smart features (yes, I know I’ve changed.).

Now, I think they are a defining feature of the cooker. There are some frustrating limitations, but overall the impact is positive.

The Anova Precision Cooking & Cooker Pro both come with wifi connectivity. This seemed strange and unnecessary initially, but soon we came to love it.

The Anova Precision Cookers, have a companion app which is one part guide & one part control centre. The control app allows you to easily set the cooking time and temperature…from anywhere.

Why might you want to turn on your cooker from anywhere? Well for busy parents or when your household is out at work all day, it can be a magical feature.

How We Use The Anova Precision Cooker

My wife and I have gotten into the habit of preparing a number of sous vide meals in advance. When we’re preparing one steak, we prepare several. We cook one & the others go into the freezer ready for another day. In each bag goes a thick steak, a knob of butter, & some sage or rosemary. Then into the freezer.

One morning in the future, we set up our Anova Precision Cooker, fill the pot with water, & place the still frozen & raw steak (salmon, cod or whatever) into the water bath. We then head to work.

The frozen steak defrosts in the water bath during the day. Mid-afternoon, we fire up the Precision Cooker & it begins cooking our dinner.

When we arrive home dinner is 95% complete. We fire up the BBQ, & while it’s heating up, we make a salad. Once the BBQ has reached peak-searing temperature, we quickly sear the steaks, finish with butter & enjoy.

Steakhouse quality steak in 15mins!

NB: In the summertime, we add some ice to the water bath in the morning, to keep the meat at food-safe temperatures while it defrosts. If you’re planning to do something like the above, make sure to keep food at safe temperatures.

The Issue with the smart features?

The one limitation is that the wifi functionality only supports 2.4GHz wifi & will not connect to your wifi if your router shares the SSID between both 5GHz & 2.4GHz.

Why does this matter so much?

In my opinion, someone shouldn’t have to understand, the frequency bands behind wifi to setup & use a smart home device for their kitchen. They (you & I) want to cook, not mess with router settings.

Ultimately, this shouldn’t be an issue for everyone, but if you have issues connecting the Anova Precision cooker to your wifi, this may be the cause. Adjust those settings & you should be good to go.

Guide & Recipes

The Anova Precision Cooker companion app also contains a bunch of fool-proof beginner’s guides. You can’t go wrong with these. The guides contain pictures which guide you through each step & decision.

There’s not much more to say other than, they are invaluable as a beginner. If you’re more of an old hand at cooking, there’s a whole world of smart kitchen tech for you to explore.

Anova Precision Cooker Review: To Buy or not the buy?

The summary: we’re happy & have been for several years.

The longer version: we’re happy & have been for years; but, consider the following:

The Anova Precision Cooking is a bit more expensive than others on the market, so be sure to wait for a sale. Many years later we’re still happy with the quality, so it may be worth it.

Think the price is too high? Then check out other brands such as those by Kogan or Westinghouse. I’ve not used these other brands personally, but they look similar. If you go buy one or have one, let me know what you think of them.

You may face wifi issues – if you do hassle a younger person to resolve them for you.

Other than the issues with wifi setup, we’ve had flawless results from the Anova Precision Cooker. So much so that we’ve gifted it to others. If you’d like to get one check out Anova Cullinary’s website here.

What do you think of sous vide cooking? Have you tried it or would you like to? Is there anything you’d like to see added to my review of the Anova Precision Cooker?

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