When it comes to picking out accessories for the sous vide cooking process, you’ve got a bunch of options. Vacuum sealers, food bags, and other containers are perfect for your water bath. But when it comes to sous vide rack dividers, do you need them?
The only time getting a sous vide rack is necessary is if you don’t like floating bags in your food. Racks enable your bag to hover in the boiling water, allowing all sides to be evenly cooked with greater focus.
This article will delve into the subject of sous vide racks. We’ll also teach you how to use them on your device.
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What is a Sous Vide Cooking Rack?
A sous vide rack is placed inside of your cooking pot to hold up the food. This device is suitable for preventing them from floating around, potentially getting water in the bag.
While floating bags by themselves isn’t a problem, it can lead to uneven cooking. This can be a problem if your plastic bag is less than secure.
Sous Vide Rack Example
A good example is the Geesta Stainless Steel Sous Vide Rack. This tool works best for 12-quart containers, which is enough for most sous vide cooking processes.
This rack can be adjusted for both small and large containers. Just make sure you account for the dimensions when measuring what you need to fill your water bath.
What You Need To Know Before Buying A Rack
Before buying a rack, keep the following in mind:
Racks are better suited for use with sous vide immersion circulators. Immersion circulators are connected to the side of your container, enabling you to boil the water over a long period with this cooking method.
Racks are also best suited for use with specific containers. Some of them already have racks included, so be sure you check the product description of any container you buy.
Pay particular attention to the dimensions of your rack and measure out your container to be sure it will fit. Most racks need large containers or pots to work.
When buying any sous vide accessories, always be sure you can actually use them. For example, if you don’t have “sous vide bags,” make sure that any bag you use is temperature-resistant and BPA-free.
How To Use A Sous Vide Rack (Step-By-Step)
If you are still confused about how to integrate sous vide bags as part of your process, check out this detailed step-by-step guide:
Step One: Establish What Size of Bag You Are Using
Before you can use the racks, you need to be sure they are adjusted. The rack mentioned above is an adjustable example, but not all racks are adjustable.
Typically, the difference between a large vacuum-sealed bag and a small bag depends on what you are cooking. Vegetables you sous vide will require mostly smaller bags while more giant steaks to sous vide will require larger bags.
Make sure your food is entirely submerged in the water bath regardless of what you use. You will more likely do this with a combination of similarly-sized bags.
Step Two: Place The Rack Inside Of Your Cooking Area (and Remove It)
Whether using a sous vide container or a random pot, you’ll want to place it inside the container before filling it with water. This is because additional objects inside of the water typically cause the water level to rise.
If you know anything about immersion circulators or pots, they can only handle certain water levels. Going above that water level will either cause the preheating time too long or cause your circulator to malfunction.
Many immersion circulators come with water level sensors to tell you about this before it becomes a problem. Anova’s line of circulators is particularly good at this.
You’ll want to remove the rack and not the water level before moving on. If you boil with the rack already in there, you won’t be able to remove it. You don’t want to cook your hand.
Step Three: Start The Immersion Cooker and Replace the Rack
The immersion cooker will need to start to boil before you can place any food inside of it. This prevents you from overcooking your food, turning the inside to mush.
Once your water is ready, you’ll want to start clipping food bags. Typically, you’ll want one of two cups per food item (depending on the weight). If you have a vacuum sealer, use it. Otherwise, any old freezer bag will do.
Once all your bags are firmly clipped, give it a good shake to ensure your rack divider is good to go. After you know it’s firm, place it in the pot and waits for the standard amount of time you need for it to finish.
Step Four: Pull the Food Out
How you pull the rack out will depend on your system. Some racks are connected to the “roof” of the container. Others can be removed with a hook. Whatever you do, don’t boil your hand.
Once the food is pulled out, allow the rack to help you rest the food. Resting meat is a great way to let the juices settle on the inside.
If cooking stake, pull out the cast iron pan to give it a nice sear. Some people prefer to do this step beforehand to seal the flavor.
Regardless, your rack of food is ready to go once you can safely remove food from plastic.
The only bad news about having a sous vide machine rack is that you can’t put it inside a pressure cooker. Pressure cooking your rack using an instant pot will lead to exciting results—the kind of results that remind you not to try this at home.