I received yesterday my temperature PID controller so called SousVideMagic 1500B from Fresh Meal Solutions. I experimented some hours later cooking sous vide with a 400 gr beef fillet at 58°C (136.4°F) for 1:45 hours.
SousVideMagic 1500B is definitely not an aesthetic cooking equipment but the finishings are ok and everybody who buys such machine knows that your kitchen will look a bit messy with all these cables…
My first problem was to read the 25 pages manual (available on Fresh Meal Solutions’ internet site)! If your are not comfortable with English and usually not enjoying reading manual then…back luck for you! Sousvidemagic’s manual is only available in English and gives you headache since you start looking at PID tuning!
It took me some minutes to understand how to shift the SousVideMagic from °F to °C. Trust me this was not a ”push one button” function key.
The major issues I had to face with were contained in the Fresh Meals Solutions’ manual warnings:
- “Use listed cookers with heaters rated accurately for their power wattage and with their own thermal cut off protection (thermostatic or thermal fuse) in case of any SVM failures. Do not use it with electric cook tops or hot plates. SVM is designed to control the cookers recommended by Fresh Meals Solutions only. Using it to control cookers not on the recommended list can be dangerous and cause fire hazards. Fresh Meals Solutions is not liable for damages caused by misuses of SVM”.
- “Always place the SVM sensor in the cooker’s water bath before turning it on. Leaving the SVM temperature sensor outside of the water bath while cooking will form an open loop operation. This way the sensor is measuring ambient temperature and not the actual bath temperature, as a result SVM will allow the cooker to heat at full power indefinitely. It will not only overheat the controller, but also damage your cooker, and may even cause a fire”.
After reading the manual it was not clear for me if my rice cooker was “listed” by Fresh Meal Solutions as a recommended cooker. Nevertheless I went further and wired the one I purchased in China Town for EUR 45.
The second warning (“don’t take the temperature probe off the rice cooker”) is easy to manage nevertheless I consider this to be a major failure in terms of excess temperature protection. No excess temperature protection switch is provided in this case. This machine will burn, that’s all! In otherwords no kids should go around the SousVideMagic pulling on wires and no scatterbrained people dealing with this machine.
Fresh Meal Solutions also recommend using hot water to fill cooker’s water bath or pre-heat the water close to set temperature first, before hooking Sousvidemagic to the cooker.
I took for you some nice pictures to show the rear view of the SousVideMagic 1500B (I like taking pictures). As you’ll see this is a very simple appliance. You’ll also see the kind of socket adaptor you’ll need to purchase for European users.
I also verified if Fresh Meal Solutions’ temperature probe was as precise as mentioned on their site. I took a glass of water and immersed the SousVideMagic probe and the Mastrad one together. I made the test in °F and the result was excellent: 1°F of difference! The response time of the 2 probes is also very good.
Now lets talk about my first experiment cooking sous vide with SousVideMagic: a beef fillet at 59°C for almost 2 hours.
I verified during the 2 hours cooking period if the temperature mentioned by the SousVideMagic 1500B was actual (you’ll see on the picture that I switched to °C). In fact I think I would have never trust the SousVideMagic would be so steady and accurate if I would not have made this test. I confirm this sous vide cooking equipment is precise and steady!
Here the result: a fantastic colour for that beef fillet, very tender and juicy. I loved it!
For food safety please visit this link.
While checking if a gas or a halogen stove could be used for sous vide cooking at low and constant temperature we used the Mastrad digital thermometer. I didn’t purchase Mastrad external probe to determine the core temperature of a product but to verify the temperature of the water contained in the pan only. For this specific purpose Mastrad probe was perfect except that I learned to one’s cost that Mastrad’s probe is not waterproof! I didn’t know that you should not immerge the probe above a specific point indicated on the picture below.
Then my thermometer became crazy and indicated a temperature 30°C higher than real. This dysfunction remained until I put the probe (including the metal cable) to soak in demineralized water for 30 minutes and dried the probe in the oven. Mastrad probe works perfectly again.
In order to complete my basic equipment for sous vide cooking at low and constant temperature I had to find a digital thermometer with an external probe. Here is my choice: a Mastrad thermometer that I purchased EUR 29 on internet. I was amazed to see how reactive the sensor was. You just have to put it in the water and you can see the temperature moving on the spot and reaching the correct temperature in 1 or 2 seconds. This precision will be necessary when measuring the temperature variation with the different techniques of sous vide cooking.