More than just a submersible rack!
Lipavi racks originated to meet the need for better space utilization during home sous vide processing. Care must be taken to make sure that water circulates freely around each individual package to meet quality and safety standards. As sous vide has grown in popularity, vessels have been required to accommodate more and more packages of more and more types of food. Lipavi was among the first to introduce sous vide racks dedicated to this requirement for utilization in the home.
Since the racks are made from high quality stainless steel, they are, of course, water proof. They are also heat proof, oven proof, and rust proof within normal limits. They can be used in the process of hot and cold smoking without becoming permanently stained or damaged. This article and series of illustrations will show a few ways Lipavi racks can be used.
For the purposes of this article, we are processing two slabs of high quality organic pork spare ribs from Carlton Farms in Oregon, USA. The folks at Carlton have been producing pork and beef since the 1950’s. They take great pride in the quality and freshness of their product, as should anyone who uses sous vide technology.
We are also processing thighs and breasts from fresh chickens that we purchased at Costco, the Foster Farms Brand. They are also of high quality, and competitively priced.
In the first slide below, the 3 lb./1.4Kg racks are removed from their packaging. The packaging that meat comes in should NEVER be used to process sous vide, because it is not intended to withstand heat, and is not manufactured to do so.
The meat is then either vacuum packaged or simply staged into Ziploc Freezer bags, which are rated to withstand typical sous vide temperatures. To see how to easily remove the air from a Ziploc Freezer bag, and how to process sous vide chicken, click HERE.
The size of the portion of meat may need to be reduced to fit into the dedicated bags, but sous vide technology is not size dependent. For this project we used extra large sleeves.
After sealing the pork spare ribs in bags, we processed via sous vide @
as depicted in the fifth picture in the slide above.
To see how the chicken was processed, click HERE
Cold shocking is depicted in the sixth and last slide, and it is very important. After processing, all food should be shocked cold to 70F/21C BEFORE being staged into a refrigerator–whether it was prepared via sous vide or not. The typical home refrigerator is not designed to quickly cool hot food. Perishable products in the vicinity of the hot packages can also be temperature compromised by this exposure.
Cold shocking can be done in several ways, but with Lipavi vessels and racks, you can simply remove the water in the vessel. In this case, I used a siphon, visible suspended on the faucet. Then, the vessel can be refilled with cold water and/or ice to achieve the necessary temperature.
Using Lipavi racks for storage.
Once your packages have achieved 70F/21C, they can be refrigerated. Most people leave their improvised racks in the vessel, but the wire handles on each end of Lipavi racks make removable of the whole project very easy. Simply lift out the rack, and allow to drain for a few minutes. Then, the rack, with the food still in it, can be staged into a normal sized refrigerator, as shown below in the second picture.
Hot smoking using Lipavi racks:
On day of service, remove the entire rack, and submerge the rack in hot tap water in order to dissolve the gel that forms around the proteins. This product, that we call Sous Jus™, can be saved for further processing later. For the full explanation of this, click HERE. Lay out some loose Lipavi racks on a rimmed sheet pan so that you can harvest the Sous Jus.
After the chicken and pork have drained, collect the juice from the pan and refrigerate. Lay the chicken and ribs out on parchment, this will save clean up later. Season as desired, I used a very simple rub for both meats:
- Sugar, 2T.
- Paprika, 2T
- Salt, 1T
- Ground Black Pepper, 1 T.
- Parsley, dried, 1 cup.
- Onion, dried, flakes, 2T.
Sprinkle the seasoning over the chicken and ribs on both sides, and arrange on the racks. You can see that I separated the skin from the thighs and breasts, and laid it out on the rack, to get very crisp. This usually goes to the cook later as a guilty pleasure.
Once the racks are loaded, transfer the racks, and the sheet pans below them directly into the smoker. Even though most smokers have drip pans, using the sheet pans reduces the amount of grease and debris left behind. I find it easier to clean the sheet pans than to disassemble the racks and drip pans from the smoker itself.
Some people feel this limits the food’s exposure to the smoke, but my experience suggests that there is no way to avoid the smoke inside a smoker!
To simplify things, and to show the forgiveness of precision, we hot smoked the ribs AND the chicken both at
This was purposely a little bit “hot,” even for hot smoking. Since we are planning on doing a series on these tutorials, I decided to start at the higher range, and work our way down. Temperatures as low as
can provide equally excellent, and probably the best results of all. You will hear Pitmasters chant the mantra “Low and Slow,” which we see also applies to sous vide!
For the hot smoking, we used a RecTec 680 pellet grill that we recently acquired, see the picture below.
The RecTec is well suited for Sous-B-Q because it utilizes a PID controller to detect and manage temperature inside the smoker. These devices are very precise and predictable, and can minimize the amount of time spent “checking” to see how quickly your food is cooking.
Serving your Lipavi Sous-B-Q
After processing using the Lipavi racks, the food is easily and safely removed from the smoker. I recommend turning off the smoker, opening the door, and resisting the urge to dig in! Examine the sheet pans to see how much grease remains. The safest way to remove this is to fold and lay paper towels wherever you see grease accumulated. This prevents the grease from splashing out during transportation.
In a few moments, the racks are much easier to handle, but always use a hot pad. If you are travelling back inside, take the sheet pans with you. If you are staying outside, you can leave the sheet pans and just lift the racks out and deliver them to a covered picnic table!
Once you have arrived at your destination, you will realize just how convenient Lipavi racks made the whole experience. Rather than having disorganized piles of food piled precariously on your table, you are free to remove the food and the adjacent rack in a very systematic fashion.
Have some platters nearby to transfer the food to, and, once you have unloaded the racks, they are ready to wash either by hand or by machine, but, definitely, LATER!
After removing from the smoker, I used my special Sous Vide Barbecue Baste, which is a robust and zesty companion for steaks, ribs, chicken, and many other things too. It is an excellent alternative dip for French Fries and Onion Rings, which we also have an excellent recipe for.
I applied the baste to half of the items, you can see it distinguished in the third picture of the slide. On the left, no sauce, on the right, sauce. The bottom picture on the left has sauce on it. Despite its color, it is non-tomato based.
I hope you found this article interesting and helpful. I keep finding applications for Lipavi racks, and I think I was the first to discover that they could be utilized up side down to help keep certain types of foods submerged during sous vide processing. No matter, you may find your own applications for these extremely versatile devices. Of course, they are freezer proof too!