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My friend Jesse got me hooked on the idea of cooking sous vide (briefly: using a temperature-controlled water bath to cook food precisely the right amount), and after helping him put one together, I decided to make my own setup.

Rather than duplicating good information that's already out there on the web, I'll just say I (roughly) followed instructions here. I acquired a PID controller, temperature sensor, heating element, and dug around the project closet to find a solid state relay and a switch. Some soldering and assembly, and voila!

Sous Vide setup

I will say that I tried using an aquarium power head as a circulator, with unimpressive results — beyond 50 °C, it stops working. The air pump worked much better (since the motor isn't submerged) and kept the temperature of the water bath within a degree of the target.

There's plenty out there on the web on cooking sous vide, notably this fantastic resource. And if initial experiments go well, I might spring for the dead-tree bible of sous vide as well.

Cooked beef