Seasoning can make or break a dish, so always think about the types of flavours that you want to put into the bag. For example, if you want a strong flavour we would recommend to use fresh herbs, which have been thoroughly washed, and spices rather than dried, however if you’re looking for a more subtle flavour then we’d recommend using dried herbs or spices.
Our favourite pork seasoning is the simple apple. Instead of chopping the whole apple up and putting it into the bag, peel the apple and add the peel. We don’t recommend using the whole apple as this can dry the meat out. The peel makes the meat more flavourful and there is a greater taste of apple which has been locked in the bag. Make sure that the apple is washed before peeling.
Other flavours which work well with pork is the classic BBQ sauce. This is the perfect pairing for pulled pork! If you go to our recipe page there is a lovely pulled pork BBQ sliders recipe which is perfect for BBQs! But if The Great British weather means that it’s raining, just pop the pork in the oven instead to crisp up and brown and you can still create a showstopper for your guests!
Other great flavour combinations
Rosemary: This evergreen aromatic shrub is a great pairing with pork. Pop a sprig of fresh washed rosemary in with some pork chops or a joint for a flavourful meal with a powerful, yet delicate fragrance.
Maple syrup: The sweetness of the Canadian native will pretty much go with anything, including pork. It’s a great alternative for BBQ sauce when cooking pulled pork, which gives an edgy sweetness and intense flavour. Try marinating the pork shoulder in maple syrup 24 hours before cooking to lock in some extra flavour. This would also work well if you were using BBQ sauce. Just ensure that liquid doesn’t get into the pump when vacuuming the pork.
Cider: For Cider lovers everywhere, the ultimate West Country drink can be used to marinate the pork for a slightly different, but just as delicious apple flavour. It is the perfect flavour combination when making our sous vide pork and cider pie with a mouth-watering meaty apple taste.
Marinades: You can make a marinade out of pretty much anything in your kitchen. Use dried herbs and a little bit of olive oil (don’t use virgin olive oil due to the bitterness), honey or for a Tennessee twist, splash a little bit of bourbon with the toasted herbs. However, most tabletop vacuum sealers are to be used with dry product only. Don’t forget, if liquid is drawn out of the bag, this will ruin your vacuum sealer. As an alternative, you could freeze the marinade in small blocks, and add the frozen cubes to the bag with the meat, which will slowly melt in the sous vide machine and release the flavour of the marinade into the meat during cooking.
Be aware when seasoning with...
Salt: It is best not to put salt in the pouch when cooking with your water bath as all the flavour is locked in, this results in a very salty taste and you’re left with a dried out piece of meat. We’d recommend seasoning the pork afterwards with some sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper.
Garlic: We don’t recommend putting raw garlic to the bag as it will take over the flavour of the dish. If you need to add the garlic, try some dried garlic power or sauté the garlic first instead of adding the garlic clove raw.
Chilli: It is fine to put a few chilli rings in the food pouch when cooking, just be aware that because all the flavour is locked in the bag, that it can be very overpowering if you use too much We’d suggest just putting in a teaspoon of toasted chilli flakes or a few rings of fresh chopped chilli. Don’t be afraid to experiment with this though, as some chilli flavours can be stronger than others.
Pro tip: Ensure that when using the ‘freezing liquid’ method that the meat you are cooking has still reached its core temperature before taking it out of the bath. Visit our safety and food preparation page for more information.