Over the past few years, more and more home cooks have joined the sous vide revolution, utilizing temperature controlled water baths to prepare perfect meat, seafood, vegetables, and more with very little oversight. Even better is the addition of smoke and flame to the process via what we at AmazingRibs.com refer to as Sous-Vide-Que in which foods are prepared to perfection in the sous vide water bath then finished on the smoker and grill in order to take the taste over the top. You can check out all of our Sous-Vide-Que recipes and tips here.
While there are countless sub-$200 sous vide immersion circulators currently available in the market, one of our favorites is the Joule by Chef Steps, a sleek unit that not only performs extremely well, its compact shape (11 inches tall and weighing just 1.3 pounds) fits easily in a kitchen drawer versus larger commercial sous vide circulators.
WiFi and Bluetooth enabled, the Joule works in conjunction with the Chef Steps app for iOS and Android devices (note that some features do require an internet connection), making it simple to monitor as you select the temperature and cooking time at the outset then let the device do the rest until cooking is complete! Joule also works with Amazon Alexa devices, allowing you to set the temperature and timer with a simple voice command.
The device comes with a clip that mounts it easily to the side of most pots or sous vide containers so the only special equipment you need is the container, a resealable bag or vacuum seal bag for the food, and water in order to get cooking. With 1100 watts of power, the Joule heats water faster than most sous vide machines and is precise to 0.2°F / 0.1°C.
The only thing lacking with the Joule unit is the ability to manually adjust the temperature on the device, something that is offered on our other favorite immersion circulator, the somewhat larger Anova unit which is reviewed here. Otherwise this is the perfect inexpensive addition to any modern kitchen!