Smoker vs SousVide vs Instapot - what should I buy


OK, I know the premise is stupid, but this forum rocks and I am hoping you run with it. What cooking tool do you find the most useful for preparing keto meals that may not be in the typical household?

If I had to buy just one, which one would it be? Is there a hands-down favorite?

Happy Friday!

(Tubeman) #2

All of those are good options, but I think more information is in order, mainly, what kind of foods are you looking to prepare?

(Jane) #3

I can’t speak to an Instapot as I don’t have one, but I have a smoker and sous vide.

I LOVE my smoker and use it all the time!

I don’t use my sous vide near as much as my smoker but I make cheese and butter from raw goats milk and my sous vide is the best way I have found to keep the milk at a constant low temp (95F) for an hour or longer without having to change out water baths constantly. For that aline, my sous vide was worth it.

That being said… I think I just need more practice with my sous vide. The last chuck roast I made was amazing and turned out like prime rib!


Thanks Janie, do you also have a BBQ? Does it make sense to have both a BBQ and a smoker? on a recent 2ketodudes podcast Carl said that he was getting a smoker and that got me thinking. I see lots of recipes for meat or fish cooked in sous vide and then finished on the BBQ. And there are tons of recipes as well for instapot.

All 3 seem to be “hands-off” type of cooking… you don’t need to flip or constantly watch for flareups. I just wondered if there was a consensus on which the most useful cooking technology might be for preparing proteins.

(Deborah ) #5

Of the 3 items you mentioned, I only have an Instant Pot, but I LOVE it. I can take meats from freezer to table in minutes, for one thing. Tonight I’ll be making beef short ribs. A favorite is to throw a whole chicken in, cook it up, cool, debone, add some homemade mayo and diced celery, and there’s a week’s worth of chicken salad for my lunches. :slight_smile: .

No desire for a smoker, personally, as the only meat I like smoked is ham (and to me, everything cooked in a smoker comes out tasting like it should be ham!).

Don’t have the sous vida. I doubt I have the patience for it.

It really comes down to what you are looking to make, as someone else pointed out, and what you think you will get the most use out of.

(Banting & Yudkin & Atkins & Eadeses & Cordain & Taubes & Volek & Naiman & Bikman ) #6

I have all three. If I had to ditch one, it would be the instant pot. I would probably keep sous vide first, because of the wide applicability and the fact that we have winter here, which makes outdoor cooking (the smoker) more seasonal. Sous vide is probably the easiest to use of them, as well, though very few things are cooked 100% sous vide. You will want a method to sear things. That said, the sous vide is the most versatile protein cooker of the three.

I also have a grill, what I think you are calling a BBQ. Gas. I combine it with the smoker and the sous vide. Sometimes all three. I do some things where I cook them on the smoker until they are close to done, and then put a sear on with the BBQ. I cook some things sous vide and then sear them on the BBQ. I cook some things sous vide, reheat on the smoker, and sometimes sear on the BBQ. I will even smoke something a bit, bag it for sous vide, and maybe smoke again after the sous vide. Medium rare brisket goes like that.


Awesome information! Thank you everyone.


Never thought of that! I just recently took a class in cheese making, I am gathering all the tools. While I don’t like the idea of cooking foods in plastic is the reason I never considered a sous vide device, I could use an easy way to keep the water baths at a constant temp, so it might just be worth it. You can now get pretty good ones for $100 or less.

We smoke using our grill.

I don’t see a need for an instant pot as I like meats cooked slow and low in a dutch oven. I like to do soup/stews/curries in the slow cooker. Just can’t see adding one to my gadgets/tools collection.

(Jane) #9

Yes, we have both but the BBQ is strictly my husband’s territory! And he grills us steaks, burgers and zucchini on it all the time so wouldn’t be w/o it.

The smoker sat in a box for months. We were still working on finishing the interior of our home ourselves so just a tad busy. I got frustrated one Sat and assembled it in the living room, hooked it to a propane bottle and fired it up. Smoked some meat. It was scrumptious.

But ever since it is “my” smoker! He has never smoked a single piece of meat on it. I enjoy smoking so I don’t mind :slightly_smiling_face:

(Running from stupidity) #10

I’ve got the insta-pot-alike and a sous vide, and I’d be going with the sous vide simply because it would save me the most money while providing awesome food - it turns cheap meat into awesome meat very easily, among other things. (However, I’d also budget for a vacuum sealer as well, as it makes life a whole lot easier when using a sous vide - I kinda bulk buy (4-5kg) of steak at a time, vacuum-pack it, freeze it, then just put it in the sous vide when I want it.)


I have instant pot and sous vide (wish I had a smoker!). Of the two that I use, I would keep the instant pot.

We have kids, busy family, both work etc. so the ability to cook something from frozen to done in 30 minutes is the biggest benefit to me right now.

(Angie Cummings) #12

I have an Instant Pot Ultra that has a sous vide function (or something that mimics it at least). While it is not as precise as a true sous vide tool it works well enough for me and then I only have one appliance instead of two. I love my Instant Pot and it is the one thing I will make sure my daughter has when she leaves for college in a few years. My husband would love to have a smoker but he is able to mimic some smoke flavor on our grill with packets of wood chips that satisfies us well enough.

(KCKO, KCFO) #13

Angie you may have convinced me to get that model of Instant Pot. I’d like to be able to sous vide occasionally but not enough to buy a device for it, along with bags etc. But if the instant Pot can do that as well as slow cooker and pressure cooking, it is starting to sound like it would be worth it.

We also get by without a smoker, our grill with chips does a good job for us.

(Angie Cummings) #14

The only limitation I can see that would be a big problem for some people is if you wanted to sous vide a very large cut of meat. From my understanding of a sous vide tool you don’t have as much of a limitation because you can place it in a large vessel. My Instant Pot has worked great for steaks and chicken (it even makes chicken breasts juicy with a little butter added in the bag). I already had a FoodSaver (which I also love) but I’ve used just regular Ziplock type bags as well.

One thing I would suggest to keep in mind, if you are interested in the Ultra, is that there are not a lot of recipes available specifically for it. I have found that it takes quite a bit longer to depressurize than the standard Instant Pot (yes, I have one of those too–I may have a problem). Also the sous vide feature is not going to be as quick or precise as a true sous vide so it takes a little bit of a learning curve to figure out. That being said, I would never make hard boiled eggs or pulled pork or bone broth any other way than in one of my Instant Pots.


Ohhh. I didn’t even know my instant pot did sous vide. Which setting on the ultra is it? It can hold me over until I can find an actual one on sale.


If it HAD to be ONE, it would be the InstantPot for the speed and how often I use it. My FAVORITE would be my smoker.

(Angie Cummings) #17

It is the Ultra setting. You need to dial in the temp and I have found that the timer function doesn’t work the greatest (i.e., it says that it has come up to temperature before it actually has and then starts the countdown) so what I do is set it to the temp I want and then go back and check it to make sure it is actually that temp with a thermometer and then set the timer after that. Once it comes up to temperature it stays at the temp pretty consistently throughout the cooking time.

(Bunny) #18

SousVide is the best!


Thank you! I bought the ultra cause I liked the looks of it better but now I am super excited to try cooking my ribeye in it!

(Casey Crisler) #20

I have nearly every kitchen gadget imaginable. Including an IP, SV, and had a smoker box on my grill (I ended up giving it to my dad. The whole grill).

My recommendation of the three, the IP is the one to get. It’s versatile and quick and easy. However, I’d like to add a 4th option into the mix…an air fryer. Since I bought that, the IP hasn’t been touched. Except to move it out of the way. I love the quick cooking and easy cleanup. Wings, sausages, bacon, steak roll ups (I just finished a 36 hour fast and am really thinking of food right now). Tons of stuff.
Definitely worth a look.
Sous vide is okay. But I really haven’t gotten a lot of use out of it. Takes too long and lots of water wasted. I’m always underwhelmed by my SV steaks. Salmon comes out perfect though. And I’m still nervous about eating chicken that isn’t cooked to the “right” temperature. Regardless of what they say.