5 Stars By Gadget Guy on 2017-01-31
This thing is Awsome!
I have been Sous Vide cooking for a while using a Paragon. While it worked just as well as this one it required a lot of space to store. This new Joule is smaller than I imagined and it really gets the water to temp quick. I purchased the LIPAVI container and tailored lid...they fit like a glove! I like Sous Vide since it only takes 5 minutes to set up and 5 minutes to clean up everything when done...does not disrupt my workflow and I eat better...win win!
Just dropped in a Flat Iron steak...mouth watering already.
Just purchased a second one so I can do steaks at two different temps...these things ROCK!
5 Stars By 2DayDeliver Customer on 2016-11-23
If new to sous vide, separate reviews and marketing of sous vide as a technique from pros/cons of Joule as a sous vide device
I have changed my review for this product from 4 to 5 stars due to the extensive support Chefsteps has provided for Joule, including frequent and substantial updates to the app that have improved functionality and reliability. Shortly after my original review, Chefsteps released a firmware update for Joule. I have not experienced any unexpected device shutdowns since then, and the connectivity seems to have markedly improved. I still believe that buyers should explore the full range of sous vide options out there to separate the technique from the product, as there are several competitive sous vide devices on the market worth considering. I am thoroughly pleased with my purchase.
As many other reviewers, I was among the early adopters and received my Joule several months ago after a lengthy waiting period and significant delays. Looking at the other reviews, I would caution potential buyers to consider how much of each review is actually a review of Joule as a product, rather than a review of sous vide cooking as a convenient technique. The same goes for Joule’s marketing. Sous vide is awesome: it can be convenient, it offers precision and guaranteed results where traditional methods can be tricky (making hollandaise, achieving perfect doneness in meats, etc.), and it opens the door to a lot of fun experimenting in the kitchen. In my case, I buy a lot of meat in bulk to freeze, and also prepare and freeze a lot of foods. Coming home from work and throwing a frozen vacuum-sealed steak in a pot to cook perfectly via sous vide is incredibly satisfying. A quick sear and some pre-made sides from the fridge can have my family well-fed with only minutes of actual effort. All of that is the product of sous vide, though, and there are several competitive products on the market to consider.
As far as Joule itself goes (I have not used any other sous vide devices myself), my experience has been almost entirely positive. It heats fast, the temps are very accurate, it is quiet, it takes up very little space in the kitchen, I can fit it on almost any pot or container, and it generally does what it is supposed to do. The biggest drawback buyers discussed when Joule was in production was the lack of manual controls or display on the device. Everything is controlled via Joule's app, which I use on my cell phone. The app itself is great. Chefsteps has taken the production quality they are known for and really put it on display in the app. The recipes and guides included were fairly limited on release, but I have faith the library will continue to grow as Joule continues to sell.
My only problem with Joule thus far, and it might be more than a minor irritation for some, is the device losing sync with my phone on several occasions. I believe Joule is supposed to keep running and maintain its temperature when it loses pairing to the device controlling it, and it has done that every time I lost connection to it except one. Typically I use Joule for quick protein cooks, 1-2 hours with steak or pork chops, etc. In those instances I leave the phone plugged in on the counter across from Joule and check it periodically. Most cooks go without issue, but maybe one in three or four uses I will pop downstairs to check the app and it will be disconnected from Joule and unable to reconnect immediately. Most of the time it reconnects eventually, but I have finished a few meals without being able to reconnect (and trying regularly for an hour or so). In those cases it is frustrating to have no controls or readings on the device. It is not too difficult to drop in a probe thermometer with a temperature alarm, but having to monitor it takes away some of the convenience of sous vide. Only once have I experienced Joule shutting off in one of these situations. Fortunately I had been keeping an eye on the food and it came out fine, but there was no indication or warning that would have alerted me otherwise. It could have been a much more frustrating experience.
That said, I have completed a few dozen cooks with Joule, ranging from an hour to 36 hours. During 24 and 36 hour cooks I have let Joule run through the night, spent the day at work cautiously peeking at the app from time to time, and never experienced a single issue. I love my Joule, and I trust Chefsteps as a company. Based on my experience I would rate Joule as a 4.5 if 2DayDeliver would allow it, but I think the flood of 5 star reviews might be focusing too much on sous vide itself. I think a lot of the early reviewers are also early adopters that are probably also long-time followers and supporters of Chefsteps (as I am). I know there are many happy purchasers of competing sous vide devices, so potential buyers should consider the alternatives as well (J. Kenji López-Alt of Food Lab and Serious Eats fame has a thorough Joule review and comparison worth reading). With this being an entirely new device, and seemingly the company's first foray into manufacturing, the longevity and warranty of the device may also be something for new buyers to research in the future.
Had I never experienced Joule shutting off, I would probably rate it at a 5 despite the periodic lost connections. Having researched other devices on the market thoroughly before purchasing Joule, I can say that I have no regrets in buying it. If I ever purchase a second sous vide device, I may try one of the competing products (currently two Joules cannot be paired to the same device), but Joule would still be my first choice if purchasing a sous vide device for the first time.
5 Stars By Duane L. on 2016-11-22
Cooking sous vide is amazing. Cooking sous vide with Joule is amazing-er.
I'm thoroughly blown away by the build quality and performance of the Joule. I also own a Sansaire and have experience with an Anova as well and find the Joule to be far superior to both.
PROS of Sous Vide cooking
* Consistent results every time
* More succulent proteins
* Preparing 1 steak is just as easy as preparing 10 steaks
* Proteins have a lot of wiggle room on timing, your sides aren't ready yet? No problem, your steaks are ready with little effort once everything else comes together.
* It's not just for steaks. The juiciest chicken breasts you've ever had. Perfect eggs. Dead simple Hollandaise! Infused booze! Pre-buttered corn on the cob!
Cons of Sous Vide cooking
* Some people don't use Sous Vide and you'll have eat it anyway, and pretend to like it.
* You'll have more time for cocktails while prepping dinner, which can get expensive
PROS vs. other Sous Vide devices
* Significantly smaller than anything else on the market
* The most powerful immersion circulator without paying for a pro model
* App makes it dead simple to use with picture guides, allowing you to pick what you want your finished product to look like by pictures
* Build quality - The fit and finish feels like something designed by Apple.
* It will attempt to resume after power failure. Sansaire and Anova have no resume functionality, if you have a power outage or surge, you can end up ruining a cook. The Joule attempts to save the day!
CONS vs Other Sous Vide devices
* No display. You can't look at it and know the temp, or set the temp from the device. This is a very minor drawback. No you can't look at the device in your kitchen to determine the current temp like I can with my Sansaire. But I no longer have to go into the kitchen to check on it. I don't even have to go into my home to check on it. I can do so from the grocery store while picking up more supplies since Aunt Helen is now gluten free apparently. Might want to pick up some more wine while you're there, apparently Tammy has hit a rough patch with Mitch but is bringing him to dinner anyway.
5 Stars By JFei on 2017-03-02
ChefSteps, you got me
This kitchen gadget is totally worth the hype. My husband and I have been watching ChefSteps videos on PBS for a long time. They have been flogging the Joule since they debuted it last year. We have been intrigued for a long time about the prospect of cooking sous vide, but the price tag was a lot to swallow. The price dropped $20 and that was all the motivation we needed to jump on it. ;)
Since purchasing Joule we have made several cuts of steak, hamburgers, chicken, pork chops, and salmon. I cannot believe how delicious the food is. This truly is the best way to cook steak indoors. I have not had a better steak except for a few fancy restaurants. It cooks them through perfectly, you can leave the steaks in there after they are done without worrying about overcooking them. That gives you some time to roast some veggies or make whatever side you want. Then all you need to do is sear them quickly in a hot pan and dinner is served.
We love the app. It is young and witty with the descriptions of doneness and the alerts for when the water is ready and when your food is done. The visual doneness is a great tool that takes all the guesswork out of sous vide. The app interface is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. ChefSteps has really made sous vide cooking accessible to the masses and for that I commend them.
As far as recipes we are waiting to try, we are looking forward to making a pot roast and creme brulee in the near future!
So we have had Joule for 3 months now and the limits of this tool are endless! We made creme brulee and well as chocolate pot de creme in the last month. OMG guys. I felt so fancy eating restaurant quality creme brulee at home. I couldn't believe how perfect and delicious it was. And the Joule app keeps coming out with more guides. Definitely worth the money for how much the app provides.
5 Stars By Kevin Doyle on 2017-04-09
Simply superior food...and a great device, app and recipes...thanks Joule!
I am not one who is easily impressed. While I admit a lifelong love for cooking, and the associated collection of kitchen tools, I can tell you I have sent a number of supposedly high-end items back because they did not live up to the hype.
I got my Joule 3 weeks ago, and I am compelled to write this. On the day it arrived, and anxious to try the new toy, I scavenged the freezer and came up with a rather sad, most likely somewhat freezer-burnt pair of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I religiously buy meat fresh from the butcher, so these had been sitting there so long I did not remember when. They were in a ziplock, not vacuum sealed, so I did not expect much. What the heck I just want to experiment. I grabbed the 6qt stainless liner from my Instant Pot, filled it with hot tap water, clipped the Joule on the side and plugged it in. I had already loaded the app on my phone, so I followed the tutorial and got Joule renamed and running on my WiFi. It had me do a control test and heat some water from the phone, worked great and quite fast. I then selected the app’s Guide (their term for recipe) for chicken breast and followed the steps. I selected the “juicy” temp setting of 149°F, looking at the visual doneness videos to choose. I described the breast to the app as frozen and about 1.5 inches, and from that info the app chose the cooking time, and Joule began to heat the water. A few minutes later, my phone notified me the Joule pot was up to temp, and I could put the food in to cook. Since this was an experiment, I took one rock hard frozen breast, dropped it into a 1 gal Ziploc freezer bag, and dumped in some Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and olive oil. I then slid it into the pot, evacuating the air from the bag by submersion, and zipped it shut. I took the other breast, and left it to thaw, so I could try other things like pounding it to equal thickness, and trimming to shape before cooking. I then left the kitchen and Joule to hopefully do something impressive.
My phone alerted me that Joule was done, and also that I could leave it for up to 2 more hours without over cooking. I got back to the kitchen and set my trusty cast iron skillet on to preheat for searing. I waited for my smoking hot pan, threw some olive oil in there, and opened the Ziploc, fresh out of the Joule. I patted the breast dry, seasoned, dusted with flour, and pressed it into the hot pan. I gave it about 2 minutes, and I had a great crisp brown crust. I transferred it to the cutting board and made a half-dozen bias slices. I noted almost no juice loss from cutting, but when I picked up a slice in my fingers, it was soft and a slight squeeze produced glistening juice. I popped it in my mouth and was treated to an exceptional mouthfeel of soft juicy chicken and crisp skin. Literally amazing…I enlisted 3 more family members to taste and they were all completely impressed at how perfectly this was prepared. My son put it best, he said, “I would be impressed if I tasted this at a fine dining restaurant, to taste it in our kitchen with you experimenting with a new toy you have no experience with…just crazy good.”
Since then I have cooked probably 20 sous vide meals, my favorite was a dinner party for 4 using Chefsteps Filet Mignon guide with broccoli puree and radicchio salad stack. Plated with puree, then salad, and topped with the meat, cutting down through it all for one great bite is astounding! Puree is silky smooth, flavored with English cheddar, the shredded salad is balsamic, oil and dijon with fresh chives and blue cheese microplaned frozen into perfect flakes of flavor. The sous vide method IMO is the optimum method to do justice to a fine filet, finished with a roaring hot cast iron pan sear in butter and fresh herbs. My guests raved and I just can’t see the point of going to a spendy steakhouse when I can guarantee these repeatable results with sous vide.
Probably the most impressive thing I have done so far is cook a 3lb, 2in. thick chuck steak for 48 hours sous vide. I finished it with a sear like the filet, and this cheap chunk of $5@lb meat had a mouthfeel like $45@lb tenderloin, plus a superior beefy taste tenderloin would never have. Understand, the chuck looked red and juicy, not grey like pot roast or beef stew. I may buy a second Joule just for long cooks like this…
In conclusion, after 40 years of gourmet cooking, and an extensive knowledge of food chemistry and techniques, literally thousands spent on training, all manner of gadgets to major high-end appliances, I have found something that I am really excited about. I can legitimately say that cooking a protein by any other method will probably not be as good, and absolutely not as reliably consistent. I love the fact that instead of fretting over expensive meats using high heat methods, then having to let them rest, etc.; you can let Joule go past the done time by a couple of hours with no ill effects. It is just holding the meat at a consistent finished temp of say 129°F, waiting for you to finish by a quick sear and serve. Sous vide steak does not need to rest because it is already at temperature equilibrium, and its juices have not migrated…they have remained in place and keeping every morsel equally and perfectly juicy. You have to try this, the results speak for themselves.
OK, I will go so far as to say if you are not cooking sous vide, you are not getting all the goodness you paid for in your food…and constantly putting your food at risk of cooking errors by traditional high heat methods. Plus, it is difficult if not impossible to duplicate the exquisite mouthfeel of sous vide. Remember this technique was invented in France in the 70s, initially to cook foie gras with less waste. It resulted in a 20% savings and a much higher profit for the restaurant, given the Rolls Royce pricing of foie gras. French cooking has always been about an obsession with perfection…sous vide cooking is exactly that.
One other thing, I have read a number of comments with people concerned about cooking in plastic. My reaction is the sous vide results are so good, I would consider the risk for myself and my family mitigated. There is currently no documented hard corollary between cooking in BPA-free food safe plastic bags and direct health risks…UNLIKE the direct connection that charring food, especially meat, is carcinogenic. Now beyond government regulation, food purity and safety is always a personal choice…For me, I’ll chance my black grill marks and crisp corners…and I demand the thrill of eating sous vide.
4 Stars By G. Hall on 2017-02-11
First time cooking anything sous vide. Grill and PBC a lot. First cook was two one lb NY Strip steaks from Whole Foods. Trimmed of fat, rubbed with EVOO, and then coated with Memphis Dust (amazingribs.com). That is how i normally would prepare any meat for grilling or the Pit Barrel (pitbarrelcooker.com). Followed the recommendations of the app and cooked @ 129 for one hour. Then fired up the grill and seared the meat for about 45 seconds a side X 2. Love those grill grates (grillgrate.com) for the perfect hash marks. I am not a paid promoter for any site or product. I just like to pass on information for products that I have purchased and highly recommend. I have since cooked homemade teriayki chicken breasts, homemade teriyaki haddock, eggs, and green beans. Joule is an incredible addition to any kitchen and so far, one month, has worked flawlessly. The only reason I can't give it five stars is the app. It works, is adequate, but needs some polishing. That would have to be another review in itself. Highly recommend this cooker! It has really changed cooking for me and opens whole new ideas for different recipes.
1 Stars By Kindle Customer on 2017-10-30
Worked great for a while
Worked great for a while, then wouldn't stay connected to bluetooth and then started having issues maintaining temperature. Called Chef Steps directly and because I bought it from 2DayDeliver they cant help me and because 2DayDeliver return period has passed, I guess we are SOL.
5 Stars By Andrew D. Rodney on 2017-02-06
Amazing, get one!
This product is insanely great! I've had it now about 10 days and have done a number of tests and man, I'm keeping it. First test was Ribeye's. One I cooked conventionally on my grill, the 2nd using Joule then searing it on the same grill. We did a blind taste test and the one made in the Joule was much better in terms of texture and tenderness. Flavor was as expected, very similar. I tried eggs and they came out pretty well (I'd up the time a tad so they would be less runny). The big test was doing a Brisket. I got a grass fed Point cut so I didn't want to waste $60 worth of beef but at this point, I had faith in the product. I followed the recipe on the ChefStep web site more or less. Brined for 36 hours and injected the meat. 155 degrees for 24 hours in a 2 gallon freezer bag. Then I dried off the Brisket with paper towels, rubbed it lightly with oil and used my regular rub. It went into my Cookshack smoker at 255 for three hours. It was outrageously good. Super moist, super tender. Easily the best Brisket I've ever made or smoked, and actually some of the best Brisket I've even eaten. All thanks to Joule. What I love is, I don't have to mess or worry about internal temperature of meat. Set it, forget it. My steak was perfectly medium rare. The one on the grill was too because I've grilled hundreds of them but I still needed to check temp. Not with Sous Vide. The texture is superior too. I have absolutely no issues running this product from either my iPad or iPhone and see little need for any kind of display on the unit. One of the best products for the kitchen I've purchased in decades. Get one!
Update. I've been using this product nearly once a week. It's absolutely fantastic. I purchased a 2nd one. The new software version supports the use of more than one Joule at the same time. And I need a spare; if something happened to the original, I'd be beside myself. We made Ribeye steaks from the freezer the other night, adjusted for the meat being frozen (the app does all this), they were out of this world. So yeah, frozen to Sous Vide with Joule works wonderfully as well as fresh. I've done 3 more BBQ Brisket's since the first, each was perfect after 24 hours in the Joule, couple hours in the smoker. And the people at ChefStep's support have been absolutely fantastic!
2 Stars By howard on 2017-09-01
Cooks great. HATE the app.
This review is going to separate out the sous vide cooking method (which I love) from the ChefStep Joule immersion circulator (which I'm learning to hate).
I've had the Joule for about three months now. Before buying it I read the reviews, did my research, and decided on either the Anova 900W or the ChefStep Joule. My brother-in-law was advocating the Anova because it could be controlled directly from the device without a phone app. I smiled, called him a Luddite for dissing the app, and bought the Joule (which seemed to barely edge out the Anova on the reviews).
Do you know how painful it is to admit to my brother-in-law that I was wrong and he was right?
In the three months that I've had the Joule, I've made rib-eye steaks, fillet mignon, chicken stroganoff, beef stroganoff, country style pork, chicken thighs, salmon, cheese cake (absolutely fantastic), coffee, yogurt, and probably more things that I've already forgotten about. Almost everything has turned out excellent.
So, if almost everything is turning out excellent, why am I learning to hate the Joule?
1. The only way to control the device is through a phone app. In my case, Android – and the app is PAINFULLY slow. When you first click the icon to launch the app, it takes 12 seconds before you have anything more than the Joule splash screen. Why? Does it phone home and check for something new to download every time? When I launch the app it is because I want to control the Joule – not because I want to wait 12 seconds before I can even start getting something useful.
2. Once the first non-splash screen comes up, the app takes an incredible amount of time to find the Joule. Okay, I've already waited around 12 seconds to get here, I *really*don't want to wait around another 30 while the app tries to find the device ("Patience grasshopper." Sigh). Note: I have both Bluetooth and the wireless interface turned on.
3. When I finally get to the point that I can control the device, I punch in the temperature I want (ignoring all of their builtin ivideos, color charts, and other things that I'm sure they're wasting developer time on versus making the app responsive). After the time is entered and the device is purring away, I hit the “back” button to exit the temperature control. I then hit the back button to exit the app. Nope. Doesn't exit the app, it goes back to the temperature control (what?!?). I start hunting around for a way to kill the app and there's no “exit app” or “quit” option.
4. Okay, so you can't exit the app, who cares? Well, my battery cares. With the Joule app in the background, it must be constantly waking up to do something (Checking on the temperature? Searching Bluetooth? Phoning home?) because the battery starts draining at an alarming rate. Normally I can go three days without charging my phone (even with heavy web surfing). If I don't reboot the phone to kill the Joule app, I'll definitely have to recharge my phone that night or sooner. I would hate to think of what would happen if I didn't have an over-sized battery.
5. When I want to turn the Joule off, I can wait around roughly 45 seconds twiddling my thumbs or I can yank the power cord out of the wall. Oh, bad move. The next time that you start Joule it punishes you by popping up an overlay informing you that the Joule lost power (well, no kidding, I yanked the cord). Now I have to wait longer to start it up again. Sigh.
6. I took the Joule over to my son's house to show off sous vide cooking. Now the app pops up that it can't find the network, prompts if I want to reconfigure it for the current environment, and when I say no, informs me that “this cook will not be recorded”. Really?!? You're recording every time I use my Joule? Maybe it's just me, but I'm tired of devices spying on me.
So I started eyeing my brother-in-law's Anova with undisguised envy and my wife hears me mumbling under my breath about the Joule – so she tells me I should buy the Anova (long story as to why she let me buy another one – I suspect it was to take the sting out of something she bought ...). So now when I go to the cupboard to grab a “sous vide machine” I find I'm nearly always grabbing the Anova. With the Anova, I just put it in the water bath, plug it in, spin the fly wheel on the front to the correct temperature, and I'm done in 5 seconds or less.
To be fair, the Joule does have a few things over the Anova. The Joule can hold a lower temperature which might be useful in cheese making. It also can function with less water (which so far hasn't been an issue for me, but it is a selling point).
Bottom line, if you're only going to be able to purchase one sous vide device, I strongly recommend the 900W Anova over the Joule by ChefStep.
1 Stars By HawkleyFox on 2018-03-13
Over-Designed; Too Many Points of Failure
Our unit failed during its first use. During that first use, we found the lack of any tactile controls on the unit extremely inconvenient. With no controls and hardly any feedback, troubleshooting it was a pain.
It was the butt of many a joke and spawned philosophical discussions on where the world had gone so wrong, such that a complicated electronic device, special software, and the whole networking infrastructure of the internet was neccessary just to set the temperature on an otherwise simple kitchen appliance.
Over-designed and has too many points of failure.
Returned and replaced with an Anova; it has convenient, on-device controls and doesn't feel like a cheap plastic stick.