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Feeling The Heat

Frozen dinners go high-tech.


It wasn’t so many years ago that an immersion circulator seemed like the pinnacle of modern high-tech gastronomy—the kind of precise, scientific cooking gadget used only at the most forward-thinking fine-dining establishments. Now if you sign up for the new South Bay–based, meat-centered meal-delivery service Firstchop, you can get a sous-vide wand practically as a throw-in with a week’s supply of vacuum-sealed dinners. The company is based on two principles: that a pot of precisely temperature-controlled water is one of the most reliable means of cooking meat, and—less widely acknowledged—that it’s also a great way to reheat food without overcooking it. Each Firstchop meal, whether beef chuck short rib (pictured above) or osso buco lamb shoulder, comes sous-vide-cooked and frozen ahead of time, so all you have to do is reheat it with that wand. The meals aren’t perfect. They don’t come with any starches or sides; each one consists, essentially, of a giant hunk of meat. Several were a few shades too salty. But when the company’s kitchen does manage to hit every note right, as it does with its garlicky, absurdly tender Tuscan pork, it’ll make lazy meat lovers so happy, they might be inspired to learn how to do their own sous-vide cooking.


Originally published in the December issue of San Francisco 

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