In this case, we will hot smoke the beef brisket FIRST and then finish utilizing sous vide.
Hot smoke the brisket @225F/107C until it achieves 135F/57C internal.
The process usually takes 3 hours or thereabouts. Monitor the internal temperature frequently after it achieves 120F/49C to avoid exceeding your target.
Once we achieve our target temperature, we pull the brisket and bag it. There is no debate about whether to use Ziploc bags, FoodSaver devices or a Chamber Vacuum. Why not? Because it does not matter. We only seal one end of the bag.
There are heat rated bags wider enough to accommodate a whole brisket. Unfortunately, the brisket is still too long to fit into most chamber vacuum machines. Channel vacuums’ heating strips are not wide enough to seal a bag big enough to contain an entire brisket. We can, however, seal half of the first opening at an angle, and then the other. In the bottom right slide, you can see the open end of the bag draped over the edge of the vessel. This is what we call SANS VIDE, the equivalent of sous vide without the task of vacuum sealing.
Whether the bag is sealed at both ends or not, the brisket MUST be fully submerged during processing, for purposes of safety and uniformity.
Those of you who read the previous article about briskets may be able to guess what comes next…
If you want your brisket to come out well done, the way briskets are usually EXPECTED to come out, you set the immersion circulator or other PID device to
155F/68Cx18 hours, and then use the pinch/poke test.
This is what you will get:
If you want your brisket to come out pink, you remove it from the smoker/oven when it achieves 125F/52C , bag it, set the immersion circulator to
The time required may vary, so start using the pinch/poke test every 6 hours after the first 18.
Now, what do you think about that?
How this affects your back yard event.
I suppose some practitioners get up “way early” in the morning and fire up the Q, hoping to serve their brisket before sunset. This usually requires some serious finger-crossing and even prayer. It need not be so. Sous vide can take the anxiety out of meal service scheduling.
Let us pretend that you want to have a BBQ party on Sunday afternoon/evening, after church or between games, or whatever. On SATURDAY, sometime between the time you get up and noon (those may be the same thing), you smoke your brisket as described above–approx. 3-4 hours. Then, out of your smoker and into the bag overnight.
No alarm will sound, unless you set one. This is another amazing feature of sous vide. The meat does not suddenly turn to pudding if your interval extends for another six hours. At those temperatures, there will be no noticeable change in the texture of the meat. Heck, you could serve it on Monday if you ran out of propane on Sunday. That is how flexible sous vide is!
No matter which you choose, you might want to consider making something like this:
Either brisket is tender enough to cut into a steak, which can then be pan seared. Make it a habit to heat plates in the oven, and put a slice of Humboldt Fog goat cheese on the plate, very sinful. Heart of Butter lettuce, French, yes, FRENCH dressing. I make a version that my wife loves; garnish with avocado, olives, natural juices.
Sigh, SMH. Doesn’t that look good?
Professionally yours as always,