Char siu is one in every of my favourite dishes to organize sous vide, as a result of it’s so straightforward and scrumptious. As a result of the pork is cooked for twenty-four hours within the marinade, I had at all times assumed there was no use in marinating earlier than sous vide cooking. However I wasn’t positive. And once I’m undecided, I’d love to do an experiment to seek out out if I can style the distinction.
For this experiment I used two items of pork neck (pork butt) of about 150 grams (5 oz) every. And I used char siu marinade from a jar; one of many few exceptions to my rule of creating every thing from scratch.
I weighed each items of pork precisely and used 50 grams of marinade for every bit. The primary piece I vacuum sealed with the marinade after which allowed to marinate for twenty-four hours within the fridge earlier than sous vide cooking. The second items I saved within the fridge throughout these 24 hours, after which vacuum sealed it with the marinade simply earlier than cooking each items sous vide for twenty-four hours at 57C/135F.
After sous vide cooking I reserved the liquid from the baggage in a saucepan to make a sauce, patted the pork dry with paper towels, after which weighed it. The pork that had been marinated for twenty-four hours earlier than sous vide, had shrunk from 152 grams to 128 grams, a los of juices of 16%.
The pork that was cooked sous vide proper after combining it with the marinade, had shrunk from 144 grams to 111 grams: a lack of juices of 23%. So the distinction between marinating earlier than or not was clearly measurable and bigger than I had anticipated!
On the within the distinction was clearly seen: the marinated pork (on the left on the photograph) had extra shade and seemed extra moist. And extra importantly, the distinction is also tasted very clearly: the marinated pork was positively extra moist.
I have no idea the precise scientific rationalization, however apparently the marinate penetrates extra simply within the meat when it’s nonetheless uncooked, in comparison with throughout the cooking course of. And so it makes a distinction to permit meat to marinate earlier than you prepare dinner it sous vide. (Notice that many substances of the marinade won’t penetrate deeply into the meat, however not less than the salt positively does.)
Years in the past I carried out an experiment with salting meat earlier than sous vide that I ought to repeat with a decrease focus of salt, as a result of with the expertise I’ve gained since, I now count on that with a decrease focus of salt, I’ll come to completely different conclusions then I did again then.