Discussion in 'Beef' started by djsmokesupreme, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. Went to dinner at a friend's house.  He had purchased an immersion circulator and sous vide a beef tenderloin, then grilled it to finish it off.  I have to admit, it was restaurant-quality tender and juicy.

    For those who aren't familiar with the technique, sous vide involves sealing the meat in a vacuum bag with seasoning and then immersing it in a water bath at between 135 and 165 degrees for a very long period of time. It is becoming popular as a home cooking technique because quality equipment is now available at a reasonable price and because its a "set it and forget it" style of cooking.

    Anyway, this buddy, who is a good cook but not a hard core smoked meats kind of guy, swears you can make tender delicious brisket every time by sous vide-ing the brisket, vacuum-packed with your standard injection marinade for 24 hours at 155 degrees, then traditionally smoking it for only 4 hours, to develop the bark and the smoke ring.

    I'm curious if anyone has tried this technique, and how it turned out.
  2. okie362

    okie362 Smoking Fanatic

    I have an Anova circulator and have loved ALMOST everything I've used it for but have yet to try a brisket.  I did however ruin a bottom round roast by keeping the temp too low for a long period of time.  The idea was to keep it very rare yet make it tender.  Not sure what I was thinking (Head up and locked) as I was at 130 for 36 hours (Not safe at all).  Took 2 days to get the smell out of the house!!
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    That should not have been an issue. Something else went wrong. The meat was on the edge maybe a handling issue at the store...JJ
  5. jirod

    jirod Smoke Blower

    That is my common way for doing flats anymore.  I generally do them for about 26 hours at 142-145 degrees.  Basically the 26 hours is just how timing works out for me, get up around 5 in the morning anyway, so start the immersion ciruclator, it's usually up to temp by 5:30 or so.  Drop in the meat and finish getting ready for work, then the next morning start the smoker when I get up, that is usually ready to roll around 7-7:30.  Throw it on for about 4 hours, comes off at 11:30-12, just at the right time for lunch.  

    As dirtsailor said there have been a number of posts about this, lots of good info here on how to do and how to do it safely.
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    This is something that I have been wanting to get into for sometime.

    It certainly is getting less expensive to get started, than it used to be.

  7. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I cook regularly using sous vide - but there is more to it than setting the water at a low temperature and leaving the meat in for a long time. Firstly let us deal with the "safety" issue that you refer to. As JJ alluded to in his previous reply, from a bacteria perspective what you did was actually quite safe for beef. The safe temperatures that we learn and abide by are geared towards cooking methods where the meat may only be at temperature for a short period of time. The ability for temperature to kill bacteria though is actually a factor of both temperature and the length of time that the meat is at that temperature. At 130 F (54 C) the bacteria that was on the surface of the meat would have been killed in under 120 minutes.

    The 36 hours I think is not a good idea though as it is possible to overcook food using sous vide where after a certain period of time the structure of the food itself start to break town resulting in the loss of texture and it becoming unpaletable. The challenge is finding the right balance of temperature and time. A good example of this is if you want the following results with different cuts of beef then you need to end up with meat at the following temperature for the given time.

    • Rare - 129 F (54 C) for 1 hour 30 minutes
    • Medium - 136 F (58 C) for 1 hour 30 minutes
    • Well done - 158 F (70 C) for 1 hour 30 minutes
    • Rare - 133 F (56 C) for 7 hours
    • Medium - 140 F (60 C) for 6 hours
    • Well done - 158 F (70 C) for 5 hours
    Tough cuts
    • Rare - 136 F (58 C) for 24 hours
    • Medium - 149 F (65 C) for 16 hours
    • Well done - 185 F (85 C) for 8 hours
    Each type of meat (e.g. chicken, pork etc.) will have different ideal cooking profiles. Although the temperatures are important obtaining the desired end result the times actually fall into a range but these ranges do have a sweet spot. For the steaks this would be from about 45 minutes to 3 hours - with the ideal being 1 hour 30 minutes.

    A group called Chefsteps have done a lot of work with sous vide and if you want to see their guide for each of the meats then you can find it here.
  8. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This correlates with the Chefsteps guidelines who recommend the tough cuts of beef to be cooked at ~149 F for between 16-24 hours.
  9. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

    I've had an Anova immersion circulator for a couple of years and have cooked brisket (flats) sous vide a number of times. Depending on the outcome your looking for, a brisket can be cooked sous vide using various time and temperature guidelines. When looking to replicate the texture and tenderness of traditional BBQ style brisket, I have found that cooking at 155F for approximately 36 hours hours produces the best results.

    When finished, I refrigerate the brisket for several hours, or overnight, then smoke it for 4 hours at 200F.

    Great results every time.
  10. Thanks for all the info.  I hadn't realized that this was so popular.  I also should have searched for the other threads.  Thanks again to all.
  11. What size flats are you using in your 26 hour sous vide?  I'm getting ready to try my first one.

  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Send a PM. You will get a faster response...JJ
  13. jirod

    jirod Smoke Blower

    I usually buy a whole packet and break it down into 2 flat pieces and the point. So I'd guess 3.5-4.5 pounds per flat. Just a guess. Don't generally weigh them, and pre-cut/trimmed brisket pieces are insanely expensive. At time can just about buy the whole packet for the same price.
  14. Thanks

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