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Can Sous Vide save my Christmas Eve Brisket??

drbass

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Joined Jul 25, 2013
Hey guys and gals,

So I was requested to smoke a brisket for Christmas eve this year.  The gathering is out of town this year and I'd be reheating it.  I decided to try and use my sous vide cooker (that I've almost never used) to try and give my family the best reheated brisket I could.  Thinking I was smart(I should never do that 
) I took it out a little early at 190 knowing that I'd be basically recooking it again to warm it up.  For some reason I thought that would be better than over cooking it.  Anyway after cutting a slice off I found that my brisket while tasting excellent, was about as hard to chew as beef jerky.


So here's the big question.  Anyone have any idea how long I'd have to cook this thing for it to come out a little bit more tender... or at least chew-able??  I cut it up into 3 big chunks before vacuum sealing them.

Cooked at 270 for about 12 hours only opening it up for a few spritzes of apple cider vinegar.  Here's some pics from the cook:




Thanks for any advice!

-Drbass
 

ambassador

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Joined Apr 2, 2013
​Drbass,

I think you've essentially gone in the reverse order of the sous vide/smoker brisket recipes I've seen. Typically I sous vide mine at 155 degrees for 24-36 hours and then finish in the smoker at 275 degrees for 3 hours.  I'm not sure if going to the sous vide now will improve your texture any but it certainly won't dry it out like the oven will.  Since its pretty difficult to "overcook" in a sous vide, I'd set it up and let it go for at least 4-6 hours to start and then temp regularly and check for tenderness after that.  Depending on the thickness, it may take you quite a while to bring it up to temp. Bring extra vacuum bags so you an reseal as needed. Once hit the temp and tenderness you want remove and wrap for holding or even leave it in the sous vide bath at your discretion.
 

jcbigler

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How far ahead of time do you have to cook the brisket? And how long is the drive to the dinner location?

I would fully cook and smoke the brisket to 200-205 degrees, then wrap in either plastic or foil and chill it if you have to keep it overnight. Then reheat it when you get to the location.

If the dinner location is not that far away, you can hold the brisket hot, wrapped in foil or butcher paper and a couple of towels in a cooler for up to 6 hours and it will still be nice and hot, well above the 140 degree minimum for food safety.

I have not done a full technically correct souls vide, but I have reheated brisket after refrigerating it in a plastic ziplock bag by putting it in a pot of near boiling water. Came out nice and tender, moist and nice and hot. Just takes a while and you have to be careful,that the bag doesn't melt.

Either way, I would fully cook the brisket ahead of time instead of cooking it part way and then finishing it off later. Then either hold it hot, or chill it fully and then reheat it all the way.
 

drbass

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Joined Jul 25, 2013
Thanks for your help guys. I'm heading down to KC here in a few minutes. Tell me if this is way to long but I'm thinking about putting the frozen brisket in around dinner time and let it go for 24 hours. I hope that if I set it around 140 or 150 that it will make it a little more tender by dinner time tomorrow.

Sous vide to smoker would certainly be the way to go to get some bark on it but what can you do.
 

smokesontuesday

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Joined Jul 25, 2014
Thanks for your help guys. I'm heading down to KC here in a few minutes. Tell me if this is way to long but I'm thinking about putting the frozen brisket in around dinner time and let it go for 24 hours. I hope that if I set it around 140 or 150 that it will make it a little more tender by dinner time tomorrow.

Sous vide to smoker would certainly be the way to go to get some bark on it but what can you do.
Don't think you're going to get the result you want at 140-150. You didn't cook the brisket to a high enough temp to really break down all the connective tissue and fat to get really tender. Without getting it back up to ~200 I just don't think you're going to get there.

It will destroy any bark that's left (not much likely since it's frozen) but I'd foil it and throw it in a 250 or 325 degree oven (depending on how much time you have) to get it up to the ~200 IT needed to break everything down then wrap and rest for service.

If you want to sous vide it to get the IT up to ~150 without losing any moisture that would be fine to get it started but at some point you've got to spike that temp back to break everything down to get tenderness.
 
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dls1

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Thanks for your help guys. I'm heading down to KC here in a few minutes. Tell me if this is way to long but I'm thinking about putting the frozen brisket in around dinner time and let it go for 24 hours. I hope that if I set it around 140 or 150 that it will make it a little more tender by dinner time tomorrow.

Sous vide to smoker would certainly be the way to go to get some bark on it but what can you do.
I suggest that you start the sous vide process, especially if you have no choice but to start with a frozen brisket, as soon as possible, and set your circulator's temp to 160F. You don't necessarily need the more traditional, and much higher, cooking temps to break the connective tissue down. You just need more time when you're at the lower temp.

Good luck.
 

drbass

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Joined Jul 25, 2013
I suggest that you start the sous vide process, especially if you have no choice but to start with a frozen brisket, as soon as possible, and set your circulator's temp to 160F. You don't necessarily need the more traditional, and much higher, cooking temps to break the connective tissue down. You just need more time when you're at the lower temp.

Good luck.
Thanks it's now started at 160°. I appreciate all of your guy's help!
 
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drbass

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Joined Jul 25, 2013
I would just like to thank you guys. The brisket turned out great! The family raved about it. Of course doing it this way you give up on a nice hard bark but it turned out incredibly tender and moist with a ton of au jus left in the bags that I set out for people to use.

I would say that using sous vide to tenderize my brisket was a complete success.

 
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