Review: ChefSteps Joule

By Ms. IT Nerd

Today I am reviewing the Joule which is a sous vide device brought to you by ChefSteps. And In this review I will aim more towards the techy geeky side of things. First and foremost I love cooking and admittedly am a lover of kitchen gadgets that allow me to cook more of things I love to eat. I started thinking about purchasing a sous vide device after I tasting Starbucks egg bites. Starbucks has a hit on their hands with that addition to the menu. It is a healthy breakfast option and it is SO delicious that it has made me love eggs all over again. BUT like all things Starbucks it is a pricey proposition at a cost of over $5 so if you were to purchase it regularly for breakfast it can quickly become an expensive habit to pick up. I also had been mulling about other things that I love to make or order in restaurants. Lamb shanks come to mind as it’s one of my favorite things. Typically if you see lamb shanks on a menu you’re looking at $18-30 CDN. When I make lamb shanks at home it takes at least 2 – 3 hours standing by the stove while it cooks. The decision to purchase a sous vide machine was to have restaurant quality dishes made perfectly each time in the comfort of my own home.

My decision tree before purchasing the Joule went like this.

  • The Joule is the most compact sous vide device coming in at 27.9 cm in length the other competitor would be the Anova which measure an additional 9.6 cm. This was an important consideration for me as we have a very tiny kitchen and space is a premium. The Joule stores nicely along side my parchment paper drawer.
  • The Joule has 1100W of power compared to Anova which comes in a 800W. For me I notice it in terms of how quickly the water gets to the right cooking temperature.

Other considerations and advantages that Joule has going for it start with the fact that it’s the only sous vide device that is designed with a strong magnetic base allowing you the option of sticking the device right onto a deep metal pan or pasta pot. It is also the only sous vide device is completely app driven and is operated only via WiFi / Bluetooth available for both Android and iOS. It also works with Amazon Alexa. It has a clean minimalist design as there are no buttons, no dials, no displays on this device and that works for me. ChefSteps has taken a very user friendly approach when they designed the sous vide device and its accompanying app.

The reason Mr. IT Nerd has asked me to guest write this review for you was that the Joule was techy enough to trigger his notice as it is completely app driven. The set up was relatively easy and smooth and Joule was connected to my phone and to my WiFi. But I should note that it only connects to 802.11 B/N WiFi networks. It’s easy to use the Joule app – pick the item you want to make (seafood, beef, poultry, pork, lamb, game, vegetables, dessert, and other) then you go into a visual doneness menu and pick your temperature setting. For some proteins as in chicken and fish the Joule app asks if the item you are placing is fresh or frozen and the approximate weight / size of the item. The results turn out the same whether it is fresh or frozen. Joule essentially calculates and tacks on extra time if it is frozen. Now when I buy fish or chicken that is individually vacuum sealed I just keep it in the freezer and toss it directly from the freezer and let Joule do all the work. During the time that Joule is working I then work on preparing the side dishes and/or sauce.

The cook time for my lamb shanks was 24 hours and the results were better than most restaurants. Mr IT Nerd was curious how this worked and proceed to test out the range of the app, the connectivity of the app. From what he can tell, it is usable both on your local WiFi network or on cellular via the ChefSteps cloud service. That allows you to keep an eye on what you are cooking from work for example, or kick off the cooking process when you leave work.

Cons? There are a few:

  • To date I have not been able to find the controls to customize the temperature
  • You cannot use this device outside of North America
  • At present, it has issues with the whole home routers that come with Bell Fibe Internet. So if you have Bell as your ISP, you may have to hop through some hoops to get this working.
  • It’s significantly more expensive than many other similar devices. The Anova comes in at about $ 128 CDN whereas the white polycarbonate Joule comes in at $229 CDN. It’s also available in chrome for $20 CDN more.

I would recommend The Joule without hesitation. While it is the most expensive sous vide device and lacks the ability to fully control the device, this sous vide device is the best options out there for those who really like food and cooking.

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