Originally Posted by bwarbiany
Not true. Collagen starts melting down in the 120s... It just takes forever. This is why you can sous vide a brisket at 135 for 72 hours and end up with a tender medium rare brisket.
Fat won't render at 135, of course, but collagen will melt.
The rest of your advice I agree with. Foil and then bump the temp. But I wanted to set the record straight on the connective tissue (collagen).
Great. A chance to learn something new for me:
From many sources:
1. When you cook, collagen begins to melt at about 160F and turns to a rich liquid, gelatin. This gives meat a lot of flavor and a wonderful silky texture. When cooking it is important to liquify collagen.
2. After a bit of time at 70ºc, the collagen cells start to dissolve into the gelatin that you’re after. (70C is 158F).
3. 154°F / 68°C: Collagen (Type I) Denatures. An animal's connective tissues provide structure and support for the muscles and organs in its body. You can think of most connective tissues-loose fascia and ligaments between muscles as well as other structures such as tendons and bones-as a bit like steel reinforcement: they don't actively contract like muscle tissue, but they provide structure against which muscles can pull and contract.
4. 160-205°F (71-96°C). Tough collagens melt and form luscious tender gelatin. The process can take hours so low and slow cooking creates the most gelatin. Dehydrated fibers begin to fall apart and release from the bones. Meat becomes easy to shred. Even though the fibers have lost a lot of water, melted collagen and fat make the meat succulent.
I was off by 10-16 degrees.
I will also admit I've never used the sous vide method of cooking, so I looked it up.
Sous vide: Sous-vide (/suːˈviːd/; French for "under vacuum") is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam environment for longer than normal cooking times—72 hours in some cases—at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55 °C (131 °F) to 60 °C (140 °F) for meats and higher for vegetables. The intention is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside, and retain moisture.
I don't have time this morning to explore the physics of sous-vide cooking in an airtight, plastic bag, but I wouldn't recommend it on a smoker.