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Cook Your Meat in a Beer Cooler

By this point, there is absolutely no question that the method of cooking foods at precise low-temperatures in vacuum-sealed pouches (commonly referred to as "sous-vide") has revolutionized fine-dining kitchens around the world. There is not a Michelin-starred chef who would part easily with their Polyscience circulators. But the question of when this technique will trickle down to home users—and it certainly is a question of when, and not if—remains to be answered.

The Sous-Vide Supreme, introduced last winter, and of which I am a big fan, is certainly a big step in the right direction. But at $450, for most people, it still remains prohibitively costly. In an effort to help those who'd like to experiment with sous-vide cookery without having to put in the capital, a couple weeks ago I devised a novel solution to the problem: Cook your food in a beer cooler.

"a beer cooler is just as good at keeping hot things hot as it is at keeping cold things cold"

Here's how it works: A beer cooler is designed to keep things cool. It accomplishes this with a two-walled plastic chamber with an air space in between. This airspace acts as an insulator, preventing thermal energy (a.k.a. heat) from the outside from reaching the cold food on the inside. Of course, insulators work both ways. Once you realize that a beer cooler is just as good at keeping hot things hot as it is at keeping cold things cold, then the rest is easy: Fill up your beer cooler with water just a couple degrees higher than the temperature you'd like to cook your food at (to account for temperature loss when you add cold food to it), seal your food in a plastic Ziplock bag*, drop it in, and close your beer cooler until your food is cooked. It's as simple as that.

How to Clean Your Beer Taps

One of the best options for cleaning your beer taps is to use a cleaning kit. A beer tap cleaning kit comes with all the equipment and chemicals you need to clean your system, and they come with easy-to-follow instructions. Instead of cleaning the taps themselves, many bar owners choose to use a cleaning service. Services are quick and convenient, and they ensure that your system is cleaned efficiently and regularly.

How Often Should Beer Lines Be Cleaned?

How regularly you should clean your beer tap system will depend on the volume of your business. High-volume nightclubs, sports bars, and banquet halls should clean their beer tap lines every week or two. Lower volume establishments only need to clean their draft lines every 2 or 3 weeks.

How to Tap a Keg

Beer Keg is an essential skill for bartenders. Here is how you can tap a keg in three easy steps:

  1. Attach the coupler to your gas cylinder. Make sure that you have the correct coupler for the beer you're serving, as using the wrong coupler can affect the gas pressure and how your beer pours.

  2. Open the gas valve and adjust the gas pressure. Most light beers, ales, and lagers should be dispensed at 10 - 12 PSI. Darker beers like porters and stouts should be dispensed at higher pressure levels, closer to 25 - 30 PSI.

  3. Take the dust cover off your keg. Attach your beer tap to the keg, ensuring that it is securely locked in place.

Common Problems and Solutions for Beer Tap Systems

Is there an issue with your beer tap system? Most issues with beer tap systems are a result of improper temperature, improper pressure, or cleaning issues. So before you call a technician next time you have an issue with your beer lines, check out this list of common problems and solutions.

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