Sous Vide Pork Loin Banh Mi Buns feature tender, juicy lean pork cooked in a sous vide bath. Learn what sous vide cooking is, the equipment used in sous vide cooking, what sous vide works best for, and food safety using sous vide. Sponsored by Hamilton Beach.
Have you heard of sous vide cooking? It’s a new way of home cooking that has been used in restaurants for a while. I’ve been cooking using the sous vide method after participating in a one-of-a-kind Culinary Exploration Workshop at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone several years ago.
Recently, Hamilton Beach sent me their Professional Sous Vide & 6-Qt. Slow Cooker to test out. Having made a number of sous vide recipes using an immersion circulator, I was curious how this self-contained sous vide water oven would compare.
I have to say that I love the convenience of having a self-contained sous vide unit that doubles as a slow cooker. It eliminates the need for a separate pot on my countertop and pulling the immersion circulator out of my storage closet. Since I use my slow cooker a fair amount during the cooler months, this is a big plus. The only application where an immersion circulator would work better is if I needed a deeper pot to cook larger quantities.
To make sous vide pork loin for these Sous Vide Pork Loin Banh Mi Buns, I seasoned the meat first. Then I sealed it in a food-safe bag using a vacuum sealer. Since I made a single large piece of pork loin for these Sous Vide Pork Loin Banh Mi Buns, I simply placed the bag directly into the water bath The Hamilton Beach Professional Sous Vide & 6-Qt. Slow Cooker does come with a sous vide rack to place small individual pouches of food but I did not use it.
I set the temperature on the sous vide cooker to 135 degrees for 3 hours, which resulted in a pork loin that was juicy and soft, slightly pink inside. After the pork loin was done cooking, I seared it in a hot cast iron skillet with a little oil.
These Sous Vide Pork Loin Banh Mi Buns are a leaner version of a pork belly bun. Served with pickled daikon radish and carrots, cucumber slices, cilantro and black garlic mayonnaise, they are reminiscent of Vietnamese Banh Mi except served on steamed Chinese buns.
What is Sous Vide Cooking?
Sous vide is a cooking technique that means “under vacuum.” It’s a method of cooking where the food you are cooking is placed in an airtight bag and submerged in a precise temperature-controlled hot water bath. Food is cooked to the desired internal temperature. The result is food that is cooked consistently and evenly throughout. There are no overcooked or undercooked parts because the entire piece of food is cooked to the same temperature.
Sous vide cooking was actually developed by chefs for use by professional chefs in restaurants. Sous vide is great for producing consistently cooked foods in large quantities. It’s almost impossible to overcook anything using sous vide cooking technique.
What is Sous Vide Equipment?
When sous vide cooking was first introduced, it required commercial immersion circulator and vacuum sealers that can cost thousands of dollars. Today, sous vide cooking is much more affordable with home options that cost substantially less. Currently, there are two home options for sous vide cooking: (1) Stick immersion circulators that require just a large pot to cook sous vide and (2) Self-contained sous vide water ovens which is a self-contained water bath.
In addition to an immersion circulator or sous vide water oven, oftentimes, you will want to seal the food in a heat-safe bag, that is BPA-free and PVC-free. This can be achieved using either a home vacuum sealer or a resealable, food-grade plastic bag with the water displacement method. The reason you want to eliminate as much air as possible in the bag is to ensure efficient heat distribution from the water bath to the food for even cooking.
What is Sous Vide Best For?
I’ve found sous vide works best in a variety of situations:
- Turning tough cuts of meat into tender meat (not stringy), e.g., short ribs, anything you would normally braise
- Cooking less expensive cuts of meat to a texture that mimics more expensive cuts of meat, e.g., chuck roast
- When you want softer textures for meat and fish, e.g., chicken, turkey, pork salmon
- When you want to make amazing poached eggs in quantity
The texture of the pork loin for these Sous Vide Pork Loin Banh Mi Buns was evenly soft and juicy throughout the entire piece of meat, a texture that would be very difficult to achieve if cooked conventionally.
Is Sous Vide Safe?
Sous vide typically involves cooking food at lower temperatures, so one might wonder if sous vide is safe. Food safety is a function of both time and temperature, so as long as food is cooked at temperatures for a long enough period to achieve pasteurization, it is safe. Generally, food that is heated and served within 4 hours is considered safe. Pasteurizing food cooked sous vide requires a minimum cooking temperature of 126.1 degrees that varies depending on the food you’re cooking. Although the pork loin I made for these Sous Vide Pork Loin Banh Mi Buns was pink inside, it was cooked at 135 degrees for 3 hours, so it is considered pasteurized.
Note: Unpasteurized food is not suitable for people who are pregnant or those with weaker immune systems.
Hamilton Beach is providing one (1) Sous Vide 6-Qt. Slow Cooker to giveaway to my readers.
Sous Vide Pork Loin Banh Mi Buns Recipe
- 2 pounds boneless pork loin
- Chinese five spice powder or your favorite spice mix
- sea salt
- ground black pepper
Daikon Carrot Pickles
- 2 cups daikon julienned
- 1/2 cup carrots julienned
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons organic sugar
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
Black Garlic Mayonnaise
- 3 cloves black garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- steamed Chinese buns
- English cucumber thinly sliced
- leaves cilantro
- steamed Chinese buns
Sous Vide Pork Loin
Season pork loin with five spice powder, sea salt and black pepper. Seal in sous vide bag or in a Ziploc bag.
Fill sous vide cooker with water and set temperature of sous vide cooker to 135 degrees. Place bag with pork loin in water bath and cook for 3 hours. When ready to use, open bag, pat pork loin dry with paper towel. Sear in hot pan with a little oil. Slice thinly.
Daikon Carrot Pickles
- Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan until sugar melts. Turn off heat and cool.
- Place julienned daikon and carrots in a medium bowl and toss with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes; rinse and drain well. Add cooled sugar water and let sit for an hour. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Black Garlic Mayonnaise
- In a small bowl, mix together black garlic and mayonnaise. Set aside until time to serve.
Steam Chinese buns until hot. If they are defrosted, it will only take 5 minutes. Spread a little Black Garlic Mayonnaise inside bun. Lay a slice of pork loin inside bun. Top with two cucumber slices, some (drained) daikon carrot pickles and a few cilantro leaves.
*Nutrition facts do not include steamed Chinese buns.
Codlo Sous-Vide Guide & Recipes, Grace Lee
Sous Vide Cooking Times and Temperatures, MolecularRecipes.com
Disclosure: I received a Hamilton Beach Sous Vide & 6-Qt. Slow Cooker to review for this post, and Hamilton Beach is providing a free unit to one of my readers.