A trip down forest paths

Smoking vs. Sous Vide vs. Sourdough

Are you a fan of sous vide cooking, smoking, sourdough or all three? This is a silly question of course. It is easy to see that all of these techniques can turn out good food. Yet I find that they take a different mindset.

Let’s talk about the first two since they are often used to cook meat. Sous vide is all about repeatability, accuracy, and control. The aim is to make the food cook uniformly so that every bit is at the same perfect temperature without the danger of over cooking. It is a conceptually simple means of cooking with very little in the way of skill that owes its consumer success to cheap PID controller technology. Smoking is in many ways the opposite. Even if you ignore the flavoring aspect of the smoke and consider it purely as a low and slow oven cooking there is much more attention required in dealing with the individual conditions involved. Overcooking, uneven cooking, and the uncertain time needed to finish cooking are all risks accepted by the person running the smoker.

These thoughts came about while I was smoking some ribs. Not really profound but interesting connections to muse on

In the end there is also sourdough. Not a cooking method for meat but another older, inherently less controlled cooking method. I mostly included it for the sibilant sound of the s words but perhaps there is another axis to the discussion that would be interesting in how sourdough starts with the idea of wild yeast but then becomes over time a controlled situation as you keep a starter alive