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Ice bath After Sous Vide?

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    Ice bath After Sous Vide?

    So, in a number of QVQ, SVQ posts, particularly for long SV cooking, folks drop the food into an ice bath after the SV portion. I guess I do not understand why. I mean, if you cook a brisket for 30+ hours at 155, why does it need a cooldown before smoking? There is no carryover cooking going on, so I'm not getting it. Not a science guy either, so maybe some smoking thermodynamics this mortal is missing. Thanks!

    Cold meat takes on smoke better. Even without sous vide it’s recommended to put the meat you are smoking in the freezer for 30 mins.


      Meathead has notes that more smoke is attracted to cold meat, which is why we move our meat from the fridge direct to the smoker. Same deal here to add more smoke flavor and time in the smoke as you'd only be smoking the meat to 155.



        After your project has spent the necessary amount of time to have become pasteurized, it should be cooled to no hotter than 70 F/21 C as quickly as possible. Putting it in the refrigerator or freezer will NOT accomplish this because air is a notoriously bad conductor of thermal energy. In fact, putting food that is warmer than 70 F/21 C in the refrigerator puts the OTHER food in there in jeopardy because of exposure to unsafe temperature. The best way to achieve 70 F/21 C right out of the bath is to plunge your product in at least twice its volume of cold water, preferably with ice. Hence the term “Shocking.” Do not pack it in ice alone–again, this will cool the food too slowly. The bag needs to be in direct contact with water to chill, just as it needed to be in direct contact with water to cook. Once that has been accomplished, refrigerate the package at 40 F/4 C. Why? See below…
        For short sous vide, like steaks, shocking helps you build a sear without overcooking the interior.

        For longer SVQ projects, smoke adheres better to things that are cold, things that are wet, and things that are rough. So, a shock in an ice bath helps you make the item more smoke adherence friendly. Additionally, starting with a cold piece of SV meat on a smoke project gives you more time on the smoker to adhere smoke and form bark.


        • GolfGeezer
          GolfGeezer commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the detailed response. I’ve done a lot of steaks SV, never shocked them, and then seared with either FT or IR burner. Never noticed much overcooking, but I’ll give it a try. I have not done SV then smoke, but looking to do a brisket I have that way. This helps with the plan. Maybe after back surgery.

        Originally posted by GolfGeezer View Post
        mean, if you cook a brisket for 30+ hours at 155, why does it need a cooldown before smoking? There is no carryover cooking going on, so I'm not getting it. Not a science guy either, so maybe some smoking thermodynamics this mortal is missing.:
        I don't quite get this comment. If you are cooking it Sous Vide at 155 and then adding it to a smoker that is presumably operating at a temp above 155, the internal temp of the brisket will absolutely go above 155. This isn't carryover cooking, this is cooking.

        The ice bath for the brisket is to bring it down to a low enough temp that you can smoke it and leave it on the smoker for a long enough time to absorb the smoke, come up with serving temp without going over 155 degrees. If you ice bath it, you'll have 2-3 hours before you start approaching 155 degrees, if you take it out of sous vide and go right into the smoker you have about 5 minutes.


          shify My question stems from a post recently (I don’t recall the poster’s handle) wherein he followed Kenji’s rub for SV brisket. He then SV’ed the flat for 30 hours at 155. Then into an ice bath for 30 minutes, then smoked at 275 for 3 hours to get the bark he wanted. Also to get to the usual brisket finish temp of 203* or thereabout. So I was confused about the need for the ice bath. At 155, which is usually below the beginning temps for the “stall”, and since coming out of the SV bath without drying the meat would certainly be wet, I did not quite get the need.
          Last edited by GolfGeezer; July 14, 2021, 10:01 AM.


          • shify
            shify commented
            Editing a comment
            Ah, now I get it. Whoever wrote that post is confused. SV at 155 negates the need to take it to 203. If you are doing that, you are pretty much ruining any benefit the SV cook provided. The actual Kenji recipe has you SV to time/temp and then cool to room temp and smoke to set the bark. So you should SV, ice bath and either smoke or hold in fridge in fridge until you are ready to serve. Then smoke for 2-3 hours until you get a nice bark but don't exceed 155 degrees internal temp

          I remember that post and was confused as to why they SVed if they went to 203 and they responded that they needed a more predictable finish time, I think. So SV made sure t was tender, the smoke was for flavor.

          I'd not SV unless that was the case OR you wanted a less well done brisket.


            Three reasons to chill.
            1. Allow more time for searing without affecting internal temp (more critical for thin things, as a 2 inch steak can go direct to a hot searing surface).
            2. Get temp down so bacteria doesn't have time to grow
            3. Get temp down before stashing in the fridge if you aren't ready to cook that day because you don't want to heat up the fridge (food safety for the stuff in there).

            Also, you should almost never smoke the food to above your finishing SV temp or you lose a lot of the advantage. (except for schedule).


              It is also the safest way to do it if you are going to smoke it at a later time. And starting with cold meat allows for more time in the smoke and smoke is attached to cold, wet surfaces.

              You also do not want to smoke the meat over you SV temp, as there is no need cause the meat has already been tenderized by the SV process.

              Here is more information if you are curious.



                Thanks for a very timely post and all the informative responses. I'm less than 3 hours away from ending my first SV (beef short ribs, 131 for 48 hours) cook and shocking. I will be holding them in the fridge for a day or several until I do the final smoke.


                  Well now i am really screw up. (please no cracks). i have just bougth one of those new-fangled sv thing and i thought you just throw it in the water and then throw it on the smoke and your done. looks like i am going to have to find assistant with a little bit of experience to get me start. Spinaker are you available?


                  • Spinaker
                    Spinaker commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Always try to be!

                  • Planner47
                    Planner47 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    GREAT i am in pittsbugh pa . my new -fangled sv will be here tomorrow so i will see you around 5pm!

                  • Old Glory
                    Old Glory commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You can just SV then sear. I do it all the time for steaks, chops, and chicken. Comes out perfectly. I have been cooking with a Joule for a couple of years now. I only chilled after SV once when I cooked a thick steak at home. Chilled and kept it on ice until I got to camp. Then I fired up the grill and seared it. Most of the answers are saying they do it to improve smoke adherence on longer cooks, which makes sense.

                  I cold shock after SV but before the sear. Works awesome for steaks! Don’t forget to pat dry with paper towel!
                  Attached Files


                  • bbqLuv
                    bbqLuv commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That looks amazing.
                    Thanks for pic and "Char-Crust garlic peppercorn. Our all time favorite!!"
                    You Done Good!

                  • scottranda
                    scottranda commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Polarbear777 bbqLuv it really is the BEST. Doubt it seals in juices though, haha.

                  • Potkettleblack
                    Potkettleblack commented
                    Editing a comment
                    scottranda thanks... Chicago's own... thought it was that or Carne Crosta, which I'm currently plowing through (SO GOOD).

                  guys i found this on smoking and sv a brisket to med rare. (51) Medium Rare Brisket VS Traditional Smoked Brisket! - YouTube


                  • willxfmr
                    willxfmr commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I haven't done it with a brisket, but medium rare chuck roast is a favorite around here. That alone it is a good enough reason to get a SV machine IMO.

                  • Potkettleblack
                    Potkettleblack commented
                    Editing a comment
                    131x24 seems like it's not gonna get it where they want to get it. That's tender, but it's not full collagen breakdown... go 48-72, until it pinches tender.

                  This is the Post I was referring to: Sous Vide Brisket - HOLY COW!!! 😳 - Pitmaster Club (amazingribs.com)

                  SV'ed at 155 for 30 hours. 30 minutes in ice bath. Smoked for 2.75 hours at 275* to IT of 191. He says he pulled it at that IT due to fear of overcooking, but it was not.

                  His guide was this article from Serious Eats: How to Cook Sous Vide Smoked Brisket | The Food Lab (seriouseats.com)


                    Here’s mine. I cook pastrami and brisket the same way.



                    • fzxdoc
                      fzxdoc commented
                      Editing a comment



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