I've been meaning to put together a thread on my ugly junk/ghetto sous-vide cooker, but I've been too busy. So I'll debut it here.
It may look like crap, but it works great, like any true ugly junk should.
Mine's really simple, the cooler I haul beer around in, a pink foam lid, two oldschool immersion water heater coils, an aquarium pump with an airstone, a DIY thermowell (made with a rigid plumbing tube, some tinfoil and aquarium silicone) to hold the temp probe from my ebay temp controller, an extra thermometer, and a piece of broken racking cane to hold the airstone in place.
here's what it looks like under the hood. I made a lid with 2 pieces of 1/2" pink foam glued together with my favorite adhesive Elephant glue.
I was worried that the aeration stone would just float at the top of the water, and I had a broken mini autosphon lying around. I cut a piece off the bottom and used that to hold it rigidly in place.
The part inside the outer tube.
The heater coils, although I always start with hot tap water in the cooler, I have done tests and the two coils are more than enough to take the waterbath from cold water to cooking temps pretty fast, iirc it was about 1/2 hour to go from cold tap to 130F.
The Ebay temp controller I use to run it, which if you've looked at some of my other threads, I've used this version for a lot of things,. This none is perfect for my sous-vide because it has an always on socket, which I plug the aquarium bubbler into.
A close up of how I've finally figured out how to seal my ghetto thermowell. Basically I fill the bottom with 100% silicone for aquariums which is food safe, then seal it with some tinfoil and paint on some more silicone over the tinfoil to seal it.
My thermowells start out as a 2 dollar rigid supply line from Home Depot. I just use a pipe cutter to cut them down, and seal them as mentioned before.
I've been cooking just about everything in it lately, and then browning in my cast iron grill pan.
Had I not wanted to keep using the cooler for beer (which I might get another one for that) I would have just punctured the lid for all my holes. But I also have a ton of 1/2" pink foam lying around from my keezer build, so I just made a lid with that.
The thing is, it appears to hold heat better with the pink stuff, than the original lid. I cooked some pork chops 48 hours ago. And just now when I lifted the lid to photograph it, the water was still warm.
I've just been doing the slowly lower the 1 gallon opened ziplock bag into the water and seal after it forces the air out of the bags method. I don't have a food saver yet but this has worked for me.
Chicken Breasts with lemon and thyme.
Brined 1" pork chops with garlic and rosemary