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I don't get why slow cooking recipes recommend 4-6 hours for chicken thighs on LOW (which is 185F) when Sous Vide recipes for chicken thighs recommend only 1 hour (up to 8 hours) at 160F.

Again, for chicken thighs:

  • Slow Cooking: 4 hours 185F
  • Sous Vide: 1 hour 160F

Does it make any sense?

PS: I sous vide'ed recently chicken thighs, 1 hour, 4 hours, and 8 hours at 160F, not a huge difference between 4 and 8 hour batches, not actually that more easier to shred than 1 hour one.

1
  • the difference in sous vide times will be perceived on the juiciness of the meat, since longer cooking times will allow to render more collagen / fat and squeeze more water out of it
    – Luciano
    Sep 23 '20 at 10:30
6

While both recipes will produce "cooked chicken thighs", the intended texture of the result is different. In the case of slow cooking, the temperature is meant to be high enough to render out fat and convert collagen into gelatin. The texture of the meat itself will be somewhat stringy and shreddable, with some dryness (hopefully compensated for by the fat and gelatin). In the case of the sous vide recommendation, the result is meant to be firm rather than shreddable, with more retained moisture, and no attempt to convert collagen.

For slow cooking, the long cooking time is required to effectively render the collagen. For sous vide, you basically just want to hit the target temperature, so recommended time is lower (but can be extended without affecting things much).

2
  • am I getting it right that slow cooking (185F+) is preferable if shredding is planned?
    – hombre
    Sep 25 '20 at 0:55
  • Probably. You can get quite similar results to a slow cooker from sous vide by using a higher temperature, so it’s partially a matter of preference.
    – Sneftel
    Sep 25 '20 at 7:06

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