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Sous Vide: Indoor/Outdoor Barbecue Chicken

Newcomers to sous vide are always surprised to discover that the technology can improve this old school, home style favorite.


Chicken, one each, cut into sections: 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 breasts, 2 wings.
Salt, 2 teaspoons/lb/8g


Paprika, 2 Tablespoons.
Ground black pepper, 1 Tablespoon.
Sugar, 1 Tablespoon.
Garlic powder, 1 Tablespoon.
Onion powder, 1 Tablespoon.
Oregano, 1 Tablespoon.
Fennel seeds, 1 Tablespoon.


Ketchup, 1 cup.
Tamarind paste, 2 oz/50 ml.
Red Boat Fish Sauce, 1 oz/25 ml.
White vinegar, 2 oz/50 ml.
Garlic powder, 1 Tablespoon.
Stock, unseasoned (or water), 1 cup/200 ml.


Equipment requirements

Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Heat rated container, minimum of 2 gallons/8 liters.
Heat rated sous vide bags or Ziploc freezer bags (Foodsaver, etc.)
Channel or chamber vacuum device–unnecessary if you use Ziploc freezer bags.
Flat bottomed skillet, 12″/30 cm.
Standard home stove oven or outdoor smoker.


Level of difficulty: 2.5


Stage the chicken segments in single layers into dedicated vacuum bags. There is no need to separate white meat from dark meat. If you want to use self sealing plastic bags, remove the air from the bag using the water displacement method.

Sous vide processing temperature settings can be adjusted to accommodate specific time requirements. People who plan to spend the day in the kitchen usually prefer shorter processing intervals. People who work outside the home favor intervals that allow them to start the process in the morning. They can then return in the evening to add the finishing touches. To accomplish this, sous vide gives us two choices for processing chicken.

Sous vide process the chicken at
140F/60C for 4 hours


Sous vide process the chicken at
132F/56C for 9 hours

Preheat your sous vide bath to the desired temperature setting that meets your timing needs. Process the chicken as per the options described above.

Combine all the ingredients in the rub. Set aside.
Combine all the ingredients in the baste/glaze. Refrigerate until use.

After processing, submerge the packages in cold tap water for fifteen minutes so that they can achieve

Refrigerate the chicken for a minimum of two hours to achieve 40F/4C. This prevents the chicken from exceeding the original target temperature and/or drying out during the subsequent roasting process.


Preheat oven (or outdoor smoker) to

Dip the bags of chicken in hot tap water for one minute to melt the surrounding gel. Remove the chicken pieces from the bags. Drain, but do not pat dry. Spread the chicken segments out on a sheet pan, skin side down, Sprinkle with the salt on both sides. Sprinkle generously with the rub mixture on both sides until well coated–some rub will accumulate on the sheet pan–no worries. Make sure the skin side is up. Allow the rub 5 minutes to cling. Drizzle with a few drops of oil or spray with PAM, etc.

Roast the chicken in the 450F/235C oven for one half hour. Remove from oven, and use a pastry brush or ladle to coat the chicken with the basting sauce. Use tongs to turn the chicken over and repeat the process if desired. Always make sure that the chicken is skin side up.

Continue roasting for another one half hour. Remove from oven and allow to sit for ten minutes–this makes the chicken easier to handle. Use tongs to arrange the chicken on a large platter, and use a spatula to remove the sauce and rub accumulated in the pan.

This combination of the caramelized rub and reduced glaze makes a flavorful concentrate with a very intense flavor. Dilute it with water (or unseasoned stock) to make an excellent dipping sauce/coating for wings, onion rings, French fries, etc.!

Always garnish with something GREEN!

Happy roasting!





People newly introduced to sous vide feel a rush of creative energy. They eagerly proceed to revamping their approaches to steaks, chops, burgers and even meat loaf. Skinless boneless chicken breasts are promptly integrated by those especially interested in convenient, healthy life style eating habits. But there is a lot more to sous vide than these obvious candidates.

Traditional barbecued chicken recipes handed down from generation to generation are all too often plagued with either pink along the bone or dryness of the white meat. Sous vide eliminates these challenges by offering uniform and complete pasteurization from surface to center.

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