Monday, March 1, 2010

My Auber Temperature Controller Arrives!

My temperature controller from Auber Instruments (pictured) finally arrived. (So did my calcium chloride & sodium alginate, but I'm going to wait on those until I get a scale that's accurate to the tenth of a gram).

First off, the Auber PID is sturdy. It's just one of those things that you buy, hold in your hands, and feel like it was worth what you paid for it (around $150 plus shipping). It also comes with a CD rather then an instruction manual, which I'm a big fan of. I plugged the controller into the wall then my crock pot into it and waited for the temperature to creep up to 137 degrees, my target for ribeyes.

This is where all hell broke loose. I don’t know whether my crock pot doesn’t jive with the temperature controller or what, but the crock pot kept kicking off around 130 degrees. I would notice that the temperature on the controller would reach a standstill- around 129 degrees and then stop going up. When I looked at the crock pot, I saw the power light mocking me- if in a cadence saying, ‘stupid....dumb.....moronic....purchase.’

I tried changing the crock pot settings, I tried my old strand by for fixing electronics (turning everything off, unplugging it, then turning it back on- I know, genius, right?), and I even called the crock pot companies for tips. They told me how to do a system reset, which I tried about 54 times, all to no avail. After extensive research (a google search), I found out that it’s a pretty common problem with this breed of crock pot. In the end, I had to hold down the button that turns the crock pot on to force it to stay heated.

Of course, this was a nuisance and exactly the sort of baby-sitting that I hoped my $150 sous vide investment would avoid, but I still needed to get through dinner that night. Given the severe case of nintendo thumb that I developed on my index finger from holding down the button, I only had the ribeyes at a buck 37 for around an hour- less then I hoped for. Given how much marbling there is with ribeyes, I wanted a good long cook so the fat would turn buttery rather then gristly. Oh well, I made it through, but the forced button pushing made the temp. ride high a little bit so it was less then perfect. I bitterly ate what was still a good steak, and vowed to get a rice cooker.