Like probably many of you on this board, I have a secret fantasy of one day opening up a bbq joint. In my particular deluded fantasy world, it's a mobile BBQ stand, more like a carnival concession than a food truck, but in a semi permanent location.
The one thing that's always bugged me (and plagues actual restauranteurs apparently, judging by the offerings in many bbq joints) is how to hold things like ribs and brisket at safe temperatures without severely impacting their quality. I've seen many methods from steam tables to keeping ribs in the fridge then heating on a grill. In most cases, the quality goes way down by the time they hit the table. In the case of the steam table, they tend to dry out. In the latter case, where the product is kept cold and quickly reheated, the norm is a very hot grill which chars the outside while leaving the inner meat lukewarm. Other options usually take too long to be realistically considered for food service.
Then I started reading about sous vide, the water bath method of cooking things in vac bags. It occurred to me that if one were to smoke ribs normally, then quickly bag and chill, they could be held almost indefinitely with no loss of quality. At the start of service, you could place whatever number of bags were necessary in a 140˚ water bath, then as needed, grab a bag, open it up, put the meat on a grill for a minute or 2 on each side just to firm up the crust and serve. Throughout the shift the bags could be replenished as needed, with of course some sort of provision for "first in first out".
Other than the obvious labor issues involved in bagging all those individual portions, and the cost of the equipment and bags, are there any other pitfalls I'm overlooking? Would a couple of hours at 140˚ in a sealed vac bag have any ill effects? Would the meat get mushy?
Thanks for any input!!