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Smoked Brisket Sous Vide: Wow wow wee waa!

Posted on November 28, 2016

Smoked Brisket Sous Vide

This article comes on the Monday after Thanksgiving. As always, we enjoyed celebrating our favorite holiday with family and friends. Between Thursday and Sunday, we feasted on three turkey dinners and had three other meals of leftovers. That makes for a ton of turkey.

When tasked with supplying an entree for a raucous Friendsgiving on Saturday, we accepted the job on one condition: no turkey. We’d had enough white meat. It was time for some red.

The mission provided an ideal opportunity to make something that we’d long contemplated. If you follow this website, you know that we at G@H have an unhealthy infatuation with kitchen appliances. We own many. They clutter our basement. Actually, no, they don’t. We installed bookshelves where we neatly and proudly display our collection.

Right now, our Instant Pot ranks as our favorite. But, trailing at a close second and third are the SousVide Supreme and Bradley Digital Smoker. What is better than using one kitchen appliance to make Friendsgiving dinner? Incorporating two kitchen appliances. (Don’t nitpick here and challenge whether a smoker is a kitchen appliance.)

Sous Vide Supreme

Have you heard of cooking sous vide? It’s a damn miracle. You vacuum seal food in plastic bags, which you immerse in a temperature-controlled water bath. You set the bath for the exact temperature that you want the food to reach. The food cooks over several hours. It cooks precisely and evenly. And, the bag locks in the food’s natural juices—and any butter that you’ve added.

We refuse to cook steak by any other method. It makes perfect scallops and can poach an egg in its shell. We’d heard about using sous vide for slow-cooked meats, such as pork shoulder, ribs, and brisket. That, though, seemed strange because to us, these meats belong in a smoker. Much of their flavor derives from burning wood. Water could never replicate that.

But, again, we don’t reside in a mutually exclusive world. We need not choose one kitchen appliance over the other. We can achieve the tenderness and succulence of cooking sous vide while delighting in the taste and aroma imparted by smoking.

Smoked Brisket Sous Vide

We can have it all. At least for one night, Friendgiving 2016, we did have it all, and we shared it with friends. They, in turn, showered us with praise and adoration. Smoked brisket sous vide is splendid. Delicate. Fragrant. Juicy. Flavorful. It delivers everything that one could ask of a brisket. And, the tastiest bits are those crispy fatty scraps left on the chopping block. Wow wow wee waa!

If you have a sous vide machine and a smoker, you must make this meal. Your life otherwise will be incomplete and somewhat empty. Be warned. The process spans several days. It requires foresight, which some of us gentlemen dearly lack.

Smoked Brisket Sous Vide

Smoked Brisket Sous Vide

Ingredients

  • One beef brisket, five to seven pounds
  • Water, enough to immerse brisket
  • One cup of water kosher salt
  • One cup of brown sugar
  • Six to eight ounces of rub (For this, we used Cowtown All Purpose Barbeque Seasoning, but here is our go-to blend.)

Directions

Smoked Brisket Sous Vide

Brine the brisket for 24 hours in a mixture of water, kosher salt and brown sugar. Keep it in the refrigerator. Remove the brisket from the brine. Pat it dry. Apply half of rub.

Smoked Brisket Sous Vide

Vacuum seal the brisket in a plastic bag. Cook the brisket sous vide at 155°F for 36 hours. Remove the bag from the water bath. Remove the brisket from the bag, but reserve the juices in a separate bowl.

Let the brisket cool. After it cools, pat it dry. Apply the remaining rub. Place the brisket in the smoker at 220°F, and smoke it for 3 to 3.5 hours. The purpose of smoking is two-fold. First, it infuses the meat with the smoky flavor. Second, it develops the external bark. The brisket, though, is already cooked on its inside, so it need not be further cooked in the smoker. Using a meat thermometer, monitor the internal temperature. Keep it between 140°F and 175°F to avoid drying out the meat. Every hour, inject the brisket with the juices that you had set aside.

When the bark looks sufficiently dark, remove the brisket, and let it cool. Then, slice it for serving.

Smoked Brisket Sous Vide

Pro Tip: Have your butcher leave on the extra fat to build flavor.

For inspiration, we thank Serious Eats, Amazing Food Made Easy, and Sous Vide: The Cookbook.

Smoked Brisket Sous Vide

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