What did you buy today?

GoneToTheDogz

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Picked up a couple small things over the weekend. A bamboo cutting board for the rangetop that adds some much-needed counter space to our small kitchen. I also picked up a 1-burner induction cooktop to use outside with the RecTec when I need a burner for making Au Jus, heating up BBQ sauce or whatever else I might need a burner for.

2019-08-19 09.21.07.jpg
 

Uncle Bob

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One of the handiest kitchen devices I've ever owned is a vacuum sealer. Great for packaging meats that are broken down from larger cuts, home ground beef and pork products, and left over cooked foods from parties and such. Like many people the first exposure to these was the Food Saver brand. The first one I purchased lasted well for near 7 years. Since then I've gone through 4 more that have had much shorter life. My feeling is that Food Saver the company is less concerned about longevity and more interested in coasting on their established name (a familiar refrain sadly). Almost any time I see new ones on a store shelf or in an internet ad, it's never the same model I purchased a couple years earlier. Why the changes if they are so successful? They would probably argue that they are improving/adding features, but in my personal experience some of their "improvements" probably do more for bag sales, and others are of dubious value. So when my latest machine finally pressed my "pissed off" button one time too many (various sealing faults/failures) I vowed to never buy another Food Saver brand sealer/packager. The search was on. And oh, is it a frustrating one. First off, there was no brand I found that had a completely satisfied customer base short of getting up near the $800-1000 range for one of those nifty chamber vac units (sorry, can't justify that much dough...………….even for you guys ;)). Again, online reviews need to be taken too often with a grain of salt. Some are overly enthusiastic without having used the piece of equipment much, if at all. Others on the more negative end are either factory duds or damaged in shipment. Those are often accompanied by comments from people who just don't come equipped with enough wit to operate even basic machinery. Thus it was with vacuum sealers, just not very many slam dunk choices out there. The result was I looked for one that met most of my experience based wants at a reasonable commercial price for a unit that seemed more aimed at light commercial duty rather than purely home service.

The one I ended up with is marketed by Tinvoo. Yeah, not exactly a household name, and very Chinese sounding, but then just about every one of the machines out there are made in China anyway. I don't automatically consider that a negative. I've lived long enough to have been around in the '50s when the same kind of negativity (additionally colored by WWII memories/experiences) was directed at Japanese made products. Some of you younger folks may find that hard to believe, but.........………..

I've been using it for over 5 months with use being anywhere from at least once per week to more often. So far, so good. What I like about it: It draws a strong vacuum, even better/faster if I hold down the lid with extra pressure over the factory set "lock". Part of the brain says I shouldn't have to do that, but it's a small thing that yields terrific results. It makes a double seal at the top of the bag, not sure if it is necessary but seems nice insurance. I like the front top opening sealing chamber lid. One of the Food Saver brand units I had had a "mail slot" opening that was uber frustrating as it only liked perfect bag edges. Arghhhhhhh! The Tinvoo has a pulse setting that allows controlling the rate/amount of vacuum pulled which is useful for more delicate contents that might be crushed by the automatic setting outcome. The removeable power cord helps for storage. The fit and finish is beautiful and functional. The added cooling fan helps keep the machine functioning better in longer packaging sessions. The vacuum chamber is easy to access and clean. It's not very noisy relative to other units I've had, though it's not silent either (noise complaints are probably often based on unrealistic expectations).

If you took the imbedded link above you'll note that the customer ratings are not great, but also very limited. That's the risk with an "off brand" that doesn't get a lot of market push behind it. It's not going to be a choice for everyone, and those without experience may not know what is going to be important to them once they get used to/gain experience. It would be nice to have a roll and slice fixture as part of the machine to make custom sized bags from a roll of material. I almost always make custom sized bags and don't find it particularly odious to just cut from the roll with scissors so that's a feature that I live without. If this commentary sounds somewhat unenthusiastic that's intentional. but it probably would be for just about any other brand out there. They all seem to have their proponents and opponents, with significant numbers on each side. My bigger point is in sharing what I've found as useful features that will guide to a better (hopefully) choice whichever brand. Would I buy this one again? Yup, it's done well, no disappointments so far. And far less annoying than the big box offerings that have been so disappointing the past several years.
 
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dsandersus

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@Uncle Bob As always, your write-ups are very informative. We have a Nesco vac. sealer in our kitchen arsenal, does quick work for sous vide cooking.
 

Buckeye smoker

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I actually have a fairly cheap FoodSaver model that has never let me down, and also has the roll and cut to size feature.. definitely handy machines to have in the cooking arsenal.
 

GoneToTheDogz

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I actually have a fairly cheap FoodSaver model that has never let me down, and also has the roll and cut to size feature.. definitely handy machines to have in the cooking arsenal.
Although @Uncle Bob hasn't had much luck with them recently, the FoodSaver V4840 seemed to have an overall plentiful and positive collection of reviews on Amazon, so I thought I'd give it a try. This thread is going to put quite the dent in my wallet... and I'm looking at you, Uncle Bob.

Unrelated to this thread, I also recently picked up a Ninja Foodi, as well as a Joule Sous Vide.
 

GoneToTheDogz

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@GoneToTheDogz I had considered that as well, but after further research and many reviews decided to hold off for now. It's a mixed bag of reviews, most saying it added a "gassy" flavor to the sear.
That was a concern of mine as well, but Guga from 'Sous Vide Everything' swears by it, so I was torn. The SearZall is quite an investment for what it is, so we'll see how my first few cooks go without it.
 

Uncle Bob

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I haven't joined the ranks of the SV crowd...……….yet...……...though I've given them a look. While the Joule is highly rated by many there have been a couple red flags that gave me pause. First is that it can only be operated via an app, which is fine as long as it is supported and works. The hiccup with that is that the Joule company might have come close to failing until recently when their operation was purchased by Breville. That does put a large and successful company in charge, and should ease some minds......but......…….I'd still be concerned about changes in the future obsoleting the existing units. We suffered through that when Phillips bought Sonicare…………...it took them a few years but they made the originals...…...which had an extremely long life cycle...……..obsolete. Don't know that Breville operates that way, but once burned, twice cautious. Right now, I'd probably buy an Anova which also has a large, loyal following and can be operated without the app as well as with.
 

GoneToTheDogz

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Uncle Bob

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Ha! Funny you reference the (not a) flame thrower, as I was just about to tell @Uncle Bob that I live dangerously with my purchases. I drive a Tesla Model 3, with an investment in Tesla coming with its own risks that far outweigh those of a $199 Joule. :cool:
You be livin' on the edge man...………...………..:ROFLMAO:
 

GoneToTheDogz

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Although @Uncle Bob hasn't had much luck with them recently, the FoodSaver V4840 seemed to have an overall plentiful and positive collection of reviews on Amazon, so I thought I'd give it a try. This thread is going to put quite the dent in my wallet... and I'm looking at you, Uncle Bob.

Unrelated to this thread, I also recently picked up a Ninja Foodi, as well as a Joule Sous Vide.
Vacuum sealer, Sous Vide & searing update...

Well, the Food Saver was delivered along with a healthy supply of bags/rolls, and I was able to give it a try on a variety of things. Overall it worked great, sealing everything I threw at it. However, it took me no time at all to realize that the rolls of bags wouldn't last long, and after a little math, they were costing about $.50 a bag when all was said and done. In the meantime, I was starting to use the Sous Vide more and more, and I could see where this was heading...

So... I ended up returning the Food Saver, and although it was quite an investment up front, I picked up this guy. The bags cost pennies (only $.04 for the 8x10 size I use most, $.07 for the 10x13s), and is simple to use (not that the Food Saver was difficult). It can vacuum seal without me having to worry about liquids getting sucked into machine, which is a bonus. I've probably sealed 50 bags so far, preparing quick meals for cooking in the Sous Vide (NY Strips, chicken breasts, Pork Loin Chops, etc). At the cost of the FS bags, I don't think I'd do the same with the FS. With the up-front investment behind me, I'm more apt to use it quite often, where having to buy expensive bags would probably keep me from using it as often as I might want. That's how my screwed up mind works, anyway. It'll be quite a while before it "pays for itself", but so far I'm loving the chamber vacuum sealer.

As I mentioned, I'm using the Sous Vide often, and have been using the griddle to reverse sear steaks (works great, especially with clarified butter), and tried using the Ninja Foodie's air crisper to brown the crust of some chicken breasts (this method just dried out the breast before a crust could form). So... I did pick up a SearZall and so far it's been doing great with no unwanted propane taste.

Hopefully this is the last of my purchases for a while, at least until @Uncle Bob posts again...
 
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