Monday 11 August 2014

Sous Vide - BBQ Brisket

Brisket of beef vacuum packed ready for cooking.
Last month I held my annual BBQ, and decided I should have ago at doing something different.  As I now have Sansaire emersion circulator which of recent times had been under used I thought it would be fun to combine sous vide and BBQ.  After careful thought I decided to go with cooking a brisket of beef.  I was limited in size by the max width of my vacuum sealer, next time I may get the butcher to seal it for me so I can go with a larger piece of meat.  The piece of brisket I ended up cooking was about 12" x 16" x 1.5", whilst I could of gone a bit longer any thicker or wider was not an option. Below is how I went about the cooking, its not at all a recipe but it might give you a few ideas.

Four days before I wanted to serve I trimmed the excess fat and any sinew from the meat, applied a dry rub (heavy on the black pepper but with only a small amount of salt at we do not want to cure the meat) and vacuum packed it.  Now whilst this is a cheap cut of meat it is going to take four days to cook, a do over is not an option so I opted to double bag the meat just to make I would not have a bag split.  Once bagged I left the meat in the fridge for 24 hours to let the flavours from the rub permeate the meat.

Beef brisket cooking in water bath.
After the 24 hours were up I transferred the brisket to the water bath, as the cooking time was going to be around 72 hours at 55c I decided to invest in a good quality cooler to try and save some electricity and so I would not need to top it up as often. As the Sansaire is sticking out the top I was unable to fit the lid but I placed it on the best I could.  Despite this I still had to top up the water level every day to allow for evaporation.  In the future I may buy an extra lid and notch it around the Sansaire or possibly opt for a layer of ping pong balls. I'm not sure which will work out best value, ping pong balls may be cheap but I would need a good couple of hundred.

Brisket having just been moved to grill and basted.
After the 72 hours were up I carefully removed the brisket from the bag trying to keep it in one piece and transferred it to the BBQ and cooked it using the indirect method at about 150c for a further 2 hours.  Whilst on the grill I basted it about every 20min with my home made mopping barbecue sauce. After removing from the grill I rested the meat under foil for around 30min and then cut into 3/16" slices and served.

The meat was succulent and tender and full of flavour, but you don't get the smoke ring or as much of a char on the outside of the joint, so it is a trade off. I would also in future reduce the time and up the temperature on the grill as the meat ended up a little more done than I would of liked, either that or maybe finish with a blowtorch? Rather annoyingly I don't have a picture on the final results as I was busy entertaining guests, but I did find one of the shoulder of pork I did for pulled pork :).

Shoulder of Pork after 18 hours.

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