==== Sous Vide Experiment Results ====
I wrote a post here about wanting to do this, earlier in the week [ https://goo.gl/bVT0k8
I got 6 14oz Ribeys for about $12 a piece. Brought them home, bagged them each in quart bags, and sucked the air out with a straw (remember we're doing ultra redneck/poor-man's here).
You can see the picture of the Charbroil Brand Meat Probe. That thing is exactly the SORT of thing you want; so the probe can stay in the closed lid (the cord is about 3 feet long). But you want Maverick Brand as THAT one has better reviews and updates automatically/instantly. The Charbroil brand is a piece of crap and takes 6 seconds between "ticks" to watch the temperatures go up, NOT jump to what it is at the time, the thing ticks up. I'm taking it back after this.
So the temperature was an issue. You start with hot tap water, and on average it's supposed to be about 130F out of most taps (mine was 120F). You then should only need to add a little bit of semi-boiling water to raise the temperature to 135-145. After futzing with it, and because of the tick-lag, I raised it to 175 at it's highest. I let the meat set at that temp for a time, but then realized I could add ice and cold water to drive the temperature back DOWN (yeah it took me about 10 min for this to dawn on me).
If I did this again (and I am going to) I'd get a smaller cooler (you don't need such a huge cooler for 6, quart sized, steaks), and I'd get a more precise thermometer.
The outcome? Even though I made the temperature flux, I chose to scale the time back from 1-hour 45-min, down to 1-hour 10-min (remember cooking meat you have three variables: time, temp, and thickness). This is because for a time I let the temp get too high. If you get the temp in that 135F - 145F range, the cooler is VERY well insulated, and you can let the meat set for up to 3 hours if you have the time. The longer, the more tender and buttery the steak will be. Remember: the temp can only go DOWN, you can't overcook these.
When it was time to take them out, I then melted some butter, Old-Bay, salt, and Worcestershire together and used that as a grease on a hot griddle to sear the steaks (I left mine unseared in the name of science). I LOVE nearly raw meat, so i didn't think I'd mind, but I had a bite of the wife's and the sear DOES make all the difference.
This was THE most tender meat I've ever made. This was $30 restaurant prime-rib good. Everyone was commenting how good it was, even the Mrs. who was skeptical to start.
Keep in mind you can do this with Fish, Chicken, Pork... Oh, I also did some button mushrooms in a bag and they were amazing. The guests were asking what all I added to the mushrooms, but it was just them, in a bag, they were amazing and juicy.
Better Thermometer, Smaller Cooler, and asking the guests to chip in some cash for meat, that's all I'd do next time.
I'm making a note here, huge success.