UPDATE: (The conclusion of...) Sacrilege, Brisket, and Time.

Discussion in 'OT: Trivial Pursuits' started by Mr.Lucas, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Mr.Lucas

    Mr.Lucas Member Who Talks

    I live in a small suburb just outside of New York city called New Jersey. It's quaint and not without character. I'm a transplant here and have staked out a small plot of land to call my own. I have just enough acreage to justify my purchase of a used plug-in electric lawn mower that gets the job done in 7 minutes when the wife is away - 45 when she's home, and I have other stuff I'm meant to be doing.

    My work schedule is mercurial and both my free time and income can easily be described as 'Feast or Famine.' Fortunately, my current streak leans toward the former. With that work comes a lack of time which leads me to my question.

    Have y'all ever used a Sous Vide to cook a brisket?

    I appreciate the very thought of this will send some of you, justifiably, to your shed to fetch a pitchfork and google where New Jersey is but hear me out.

    I have "retro-fitted" a cooler to fit my Sous Vide and have a proper "Food Sealer" to vacuum seal the meat in a cooking bag. The plan is to use a simple Salt and Pepper rub and MAYBE an injection of some type (suggestions here are welcome.) After it has been in the water for 72 hours, the plan will be to use indirect heat for several minutes a side to get the bark.

    I'm headed to the butcher in a few hours to purchase a brisket to make this maiden cook.

    If any of you have done this or have tips, I would be grateful.

    __________________________ UPDATE _____________________________

    72 hours is a long time. Most of the recipes I looked at while researching this project suggested a cook time between 30- 48 hours with 72 being the max at 155 degrees.

    Ultimately, the meat was in the bath for 70 hours before I pulled it. The meat sat a room temperature for a little over an hour, still in the bag. The objective was to eat this at a music festival my small town was putting on. My buddy had preheated his grill and was waiting for the brisket to throw on to brown.

    Before we did that we took all, and there were a lot, of the remaining juices from the bag and reduced them on the stovetop to a sauce.

    Taking the brisket out of the bag was a delicate process. The collagen has almost completely broken down, and the fat on the top was gelatin. We seared each side for about 2 minutes, wrapped it in foil and waited about 40 minutes to open it up.

    A knife is wholly unnecessary. The meat pulled apart with the gentlest of suggestions. We did use a knife to cut even pieces for everyone. The texture was almost stringy.

    The flavor was pretty mindblowing. Again, we just used a 50/50 salt and pepper rub. The biggest question people were asking was how I flavoured it. You really could taste the subtlety of the meat and the collagen. The moist bits with the fat melted in your mouth. I was very happy with the final product.

    Some things I learned -
    - The sauce reduction is not necessary (ended up scrapping it)
    - Be prepared to have loads of water to refill the bath I had a lot of evaporation
    - while indeed outstanding, I do think 70 hours is over kill and will shoot for something more like 48 next time.
    -This was not pre-cooked before going into the bath in any way like @DC Horn suggests below. As a result, there is no smoke ring, and the bark was almost entirely a non-existent.
    - Having now done both methods, smoking and sous-vide I think a hybrid method is likely the optimal option. Again, what @DC Horn has laid out looks ideal.

    -Lastly, it was fun. I posted quite a bit about this on my Instagram (@instalucas), and the commentary, feedback and interaction with people was so surprisingly positive and fun. People were properly engaged. I really enjoyed that.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
  2. scout3dave

    scout3dave Member Who Talks (A Lot!)

    We will pray for your soul!

    If any of us knew where New Jersey was we would come and have an intervention.

    Since we don't, report back about how it turns out.
  3. dmatx

    dmatx Member Who Talks

    I, too, once thought of this but never dared to utter my thoughts to another soul.

    Anyway, give us a report including pics afterwards.
    ATX_Horn and Eric Nahlin like this.
  4. Eric Nahlin

    Eric Nahlin Recruiting Editor

    Am curious to see the results too.
  5. ATX_Horn

    ATX_Horn Member Who Talks (A Lot!)

    Woah! The balls on this guy.


    LOL! Good luck, bro! I'm definitely interested in hearing about and seeing the results.
    Horns Up in St Louis likes this.
  6. Mr.Lucas

    Mr.Lucas Member Who Talks

    @ATX_Horn @Eric Nahlin @dmatx @scout3dave

    We are about 16 hours into the cook and so far so good. As the heat is reacting with the proteins, some gasses have filled the bag. Coupled with the contraction of the Myosin and Actin in the muscle fibers this gas has created some air and there is minor "bag float". But, so far - so good.

    I'm a bit nervous because of the paradox of slow cooking at this temperature (155 degrees). A traditional "smoke" is around 255.

    At 155 the Mysosin and Collagen sure to be denatured, but it is the Actin that makes me nervous. The Actin protein begins to denature between 104- 122. It is denatured actin that makes the meat tough and chewy. I hope that with the brisket being a pectoral muscle wrought with collagen it will overcompensate any toughness once it turns to gelatin (around 154 degrees) or else how could it work being smoked at 255?

    I'm learning here, y'all.

    If you are interested, I am doing a Instagram story on the whole experiment. @InstaLucas
    Eric Nahlin, dmatx and ATX_Horn like this.
  7. scout3dave

    scout3dave Member Who Talks (A Lot!)

    Sounds scrumptious! :)
    dmatx likes this.
  8. Sneezybeltran

    Sneezybeltran Member Who Talks (A Lot!)

    Gave you a follow. I don't know what you're talking about with half of it, but find it interesting. It's more interesting than these computer screens or this rig drilling outside anyway.
    RepOfTexas, scout3dave and dmatx like this.
  9. Mr.Lucas

    Mr.Lucas Member Who Talks

    Honestly, @Sneezybeltran I only get about a tenth of it. I'm a big fan of figuring out how stuff works to see if I can find a different way to do stuff.

    For anybody that ever wants to cook meat and understand what is happening this is a good article.

    Sneezybeltran likes this.
  10. Horns Up in St Louis

    Horns Up in St Louis Member Who Talks

  11. scout3dave

    scout3dave Member Who Talks (A Lot!)

    I'm planning on denaturing some myosin tonight on the grill. It is interesting, thanks for sharing and do let us know how your experiment works out.
  12. DC Horn

    DC Horn Member Who Talks (A Lot!)

    Ive used the sous vide a few times while smoking, some great success, some, well, dog was happy.

    The best result was this:
    - 2nd cut brisket (cap)
    - salt on brisket 18 hours before smoke time
    - rub minutes before putting in smoker. Main point is keep refrigerated until the moment it goes into smoker. The lower temp, 37F, produces better smoke ring (for show and ego) but more importantly smoke absorption
    - prep smoker with fuel (hickory wood chunks and charcoal briquettes) in the snake. I have a backwoods chubby upright, smoke chamber up top, fuel chamber down low.
    - put meat in smoker
    - light fuel and let it go
    - smoke at 200F. I try to slow smoke chamber temp as much as possible so most of smoke is absorbed at low temp
    - smoke until brisket hits 145F, 2-4 hours depending on rate of chamber warming.
    - pull brisket out, vacuum seal.
    - put in sous vide at 155F for 18 hours.

    At this point the brisket is a soggy mess, but I couldn’t help myself. I put on cutting board and sliced a few pieces. OMFG, it was fantastic.

    Another time I did this same recipe/process, I put the brisket on Weber has grill at high heat for about 3 minutes per side to help dry and crisp the bark.

    If you haven’t yet, read through amazingribs.com. Lots of great information, plus science behind smoking. Here’s the page for their smoked brisket: https://amazingribs.com/tested-reci...ket-texas-style-ultimate-technique-and-recipe

    Good luck!
    Mr.Lucas likes this.
  13. scout3dave

    scout3dave Member Who Talks (A Lot!)

    Interesting, it is a hybrid of the old cooking pouch and crock pot. I would think having a final top off on the grill would be helpful as long as the meat doesn't totally fall apart.

    The technique isn't far from the process of smoking the meat then wrapping in aluminum and putting in an ice chest for hours. Same theory of slowly breaking down the meat tissue to tenderize it.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
  14. RepOfTexas

    RepOfTexas Member Who Talks (A Lot!)

    lol. You're reading my mail.....except for the electric lawnmower part.
  15. Mr.Lucas

    Mr.Lucas Member Who Talks

    Just bout to try this method.
    DC Horn likes this.
  16. DC Horn

    DC Horn Member Who Talks (A Lot!)

    Best of luck!!
  17. Boogieman

    Boogieman Member Who Talks (A Lot!)

    Spend less time in the sous vide and finish up with more time in the smoker. I like the smoke ring and burnt ends. I really much more prefer no sous vide and taking the necessary hours in the pit.

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