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J. Kenji Lopez-Alt does sous vide brisket & some ask, "Who's the snob?"

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  • Harry
    Charter Member
    • Jun 2015
    • 268
    • Wash DC & environs
    • Weber One-Touch Platinum (the discontinued 4-legged, dome hole in the middle model plus a Smokenator when smoking); ThermoWorks TW 3628 & Kintrex IRT 0421 for briskets & other long cooks; Taylor Weekend Warrior (for the lanyard, not the cooktemps) & several ThermoPens for all others. I fully embrace the Minion Method and use Kingsford classic briquettes & Cowboy hardwood charcoal exclusively. Dry woodchips, of course. Beer - Devils Backbone Vienna Lager; bourbon - ALL but Bonded is preferred.

    J. Kenji Lopez-Alt does sous vide brisket & some ask, "Who's the snob?"

    Washington Post food writer Tim Carman - no slouch when it comes to food IMHO - comments on a Kenji experiment in which he prepared a beef brisket via sous vide. DISCLOSURE - we have done a chunk of flat in a crockpot with pretty good results so we're not as skeptical as some of the 40+ commenters are. I put this in the category of "yet another technique to try when I crave brisket but it is 20 degrees outside, and there's too much snow to drive to Texas Jack's ".

  • richinlbrg
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 1812
    • Leesburg, VA. (Northern, VA)
    • We have two weber kettle grills (one LARGE and one small/average), the SnS and the Weber Smokey Mountain 18" smoker. We use both natural lump charcoal and KNB for smoking and measure our temps with a Maverick 733, thermopen and MK4. Favorite beer depends on what is cooking (alt answer is yes).

    Snob? Neither.

    To me, the writer is a bit closed minded. There are some good points in the comments section.

    Some folks can't barbecue, but that shouldn't keep them from enjoying good food. If Lopez-Alt has a good technique that comes close in taste to the methods we prefer to use, GREAT!

    Most of us enjoy the time and work of our cooks. Not everybody has that time or ability and they want the food we cook. COOL!

    Whatever floats your boat. No rules, right?


    • Harry
      Harry commented
      Editing a comment
  • fzxdoc
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 4740
    • My toys:
      Weber Summit Charcoal Grilling Center (WSCGC) aka Mr. Fancypants
      Pit Barrel Cooker (which rocks)
      Weber Summit S650 Gas Grill
      Weber Kettle Premium 22"
      Weber Jumbo Joe Premium 22" (a weird little 22" kettle mutant on 22"-long legs) (donated to local battered women's shelter.)
      Camp Chef Somerset IV 4-burner outdoor gas range

      Adrenaline BBQ Company's SnS, DnG and Large Charcoal Basket for WSCGC
      Adrenaline BBQ Company's Elevated SS Rack for WSCGC
      Adrenaline BBQ Company's SS Rack for DnG
      Grill Grate for SnS
      Grill Grates: five 17.375 sections (retired to storage)
      Grill Grates: six 19.25 panels for exact fit for Summit S650 gasser
      2 Grill Grate Griddles

      Fireboard Extreme BBQ Thermometer Package
      Fireboard control unit in addition to that in the Extreme BBQ Package
      Additional Fireboard probes: Competition Probes 1" (3) and 4" (1), 3 additional Ambient Probes. 1 additional Food Probe
      2 Fireboard Driver Cables
      Pit Viper Fan (to pair with Fireboard Fan Driver Cable)
      Pit Viper Fan new design (to pair with Fireboard Fan Driver Cable)
      Thermoworks Thermapen MK5 (pink)
      Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 (pink too)
      Thermoworks Temp Test 2 Smart Thermometer
      Thermoworks Extra Big and Loud Timer
      Thermoworks Timestick Trio
      Maverick ET 73 a little workhorse with limited range
      Maverick ET 733
      Maverick (Ivation) ET 732

      Grill Pinz
      Vortex (two of them)

      Two Joule Sous Vide devices
      VacMaster Pro 350 Vacuum Sealer
      Instant Pot 6 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker
      Instant Pot 10 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker
      Charcoal Companion TurboQue
      A-Maze-N tube 12 inch tube smoker accessory for use with pellets

      BBQ Dragon and Dragon Chimney

      Shun Classic 8" Chef's Knife
      Shun Classic 6" Chef's Knife
      Shun Classic Gokujo Boning and Fillet Knife
      Shun Classic 3 1/2 inch Paring Knife

    Right on, richinlbrg .

    I've never used Liquid Smoke, though. Serious Eats describes it as

    Liquid smoke really is made from smoke. Chips or sawdust from hardwoods such as hickory or mesquite are burned at high temperatures, and particles of the smoke are collected in condensers. The resulting liquid is concentrated down for a stronger flavor.

    Cook's Illustrated says that Liquid Smoke is fine to use as long as you buy the kind without additives such as vinegar, molasses, and salt. They say it should only have 2 ingredients, smoke and water.

    So I guess I could give Kenji's method a try, but would hate to miss out on all the fun of smoking on my PBC or WSCGC. I'm lucky to have the equipment and the code allowances that allow me to smoke food over charcoal and wood.



    • richinlbrg
      richinlbrg commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you, Kathryn! I'll look for it!

    • Danjohnston949
      Danjohnston949 commented
      Editing a comment
      fzxdoc, richinlbrg, Harry, Thanks for the Liquid Smoke Tutorial, Kathryn like You I have never used it! I might change my Mind what little I have left!
      From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan

    • Histrix
      Histrix commented
      Editing a comment
      I have been using this stuff for a few years sans complaints https://www.amazon.com/CedarHouse-Ul...ag=amazi0a8-20
  • Meathead
    BBQ Whisperer, Mythbuster
    • May 2014
    • 1267
    • Chicago area
    • Remember, no rules in the bedroom or kitchen

    Liquid smoke is a distilled product. So if you hate the idea, put down that Bourbon.


    • richinlbrg
      richinlbrg commented
      Editing a comment
      Well, THAT was a low blow, Meathead! LOL

      I think I'll try getting the better liquid smoke and learn how to use it correctly, first.

    • mgaretz
      mgaretz commented
      Editing a comment
      And put down the tomato sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, any dried spice etc., basically anything but raw ingredients. Wait, you made brisket and you didn't start with a cow?

    • PaulstheRibList
      PaulstheRibList commented
      Editing a comment
  • Nate
    Charter Member
    • Apr 2015
    • 3802
    • Quarantined
    • INFO
      ~Known as: Nate
      ~Location: Cornfield in Southwestern Indiana
      ~Credit Manager for an Agriculture Coop.

      ~Grilla Original Grilla
      ~Char-Broil Commercial Tru-Infrared Gas Grill
      ~Pit Barrel Cooker
      ~Brinkmann Trailmaster Vertical Offset Smoker
      ~Weber Kettle 22.5" Original
      ~Weber Q1000

      ~Thermoworks Thermapen MX4
      ~Thermoworks Thermapen
      ~Thermoworks ThermoPop
      ~Thermoworks ChefAlarm TX-1100-XX (Orange and black)
      ~Thermoworks DOT TX-1200-XX (Black)
      ~Thermoworks IR-Gun-S Industrial Infrared Thermometer
      ~Maverick ET-733
      ~Maverick XR-50

      ~Stanley T-Stak mobile tool box for BBQ Supplies
      ~Slow 'n' Sear
      ~Drip 'n' Griddle
      ~Weber Rapid Fire Chimney Starter
      ~Pro-Series Probes for Thermoworks
      ~Humphrey's Rib Spatula

      ~Sweet Tea
      ~Craft Beers or whatever is in your fridge

    Once again SV causes another fight. SV is the new battle in the BBQ world... Even in the Pit here it can get heated! I honestly think it could be a bigger fight than politics and religion combined in here from some of the stuff I have read lol.

    Remember the good old days when the battles were between Charcoal and Gas... then the stick burners came in and shut them both up... (except for KBQ... those guys don't count) lol...

    Then the battle with the boiling rib terrorist was waged and is now being won. Always funny to see AR Pit Masters and Followers troll the online videos and articles that have someone talking about boiling ribs.

    Or when we finally progressed to the war of Beer Can Chicken when Meathead launched an attack on that school of thought.

    Don't forget the war of whether or not things like BBQ Guru should be allowed as well...

    Our fights to hold on to some sort of heritage and tradition in BBQ are always advancing as technology advances.

    I have not yet jumped on the idea of calling SV done stuff BBQ however I do see the merits of SV cooking indoors especially since I live in an area where it can dip into the negatives in winter but I still want an awesome steak... etc.... That being said I am anxious to see what comes of Meathead's trip to Washington to do some SV to Grill development. However, I still know very little about it and haven't studied it too much.

    I agree there are different ways to cook things and that Kenji doesn't call what he is doing BBQ (disclosure: I own the food lab book and like a lot of his work)... I'm also not a fan of when people do a pork roast or ribs in the crock pot, toss some BBQ sauce in there and call it BBQ... just not the same... I've read Meathead's article on "real or traditional bbq" and know there is not a definitive answer so to speak but SV seems to be the newest in a long line of debates.


    • EdF
      EdF commented
      Editing a comment
      Well, you know what Mose Allison said: "Moderation in all things. And Moderation is the first to go"!

      I've used SV in conjunction with real BBQ for a big cook, and it was awesome. But this is about the right tools for the effect you want.
  • Mosca
    Charter Member
    • Oct 2014
    • 3038
    • PA
    • Large Big Green Egg, Weber Performer Deluxe, Weber Smokey Joe Silver, Maverick 732, DigiQ, and too much other stuff to mention.

    People always lose sight of the goal. The food either tastes good or it doesn't. How you got there is interesting, but in the end the goal is good food, not perfect process.


    • Dewesq55
      Dewesq55 commented
      Editing a comment
      Exactly, Mosca ! I was thinking that when reading through the thread. It doesnt matter what you call it. It matters what it tastes like. I really like sous vide. I don't call it barbecue. It makes the best steaks I've ever cooked.
  • ribeyeguy
    Charter Member
    • Jun 2015
    • 1287
    • S. E. Wisconsin
    • Weber Platinum Performer, 18"WSM, Smokenator, Slow 'n Sear.

    To me it sounds like drinking a Diet Coke. Artificial ingredients are added to make it taste like the real thing but in the end it falls short, even if by just a hair. My guess is that sous vide brisket would be the same, might be close but I'll always choose the original.


    • Atalanta
      Club Member
      • Jul 2016
      • 430
      • Barnsley's Ford
      • Grills: 22" Weber (wood handles) (another Weber on the way), Lodge Sportsman "hibachi"
        Smoker: None yet, part of why I joined
        Thermometer: 10+ yr old Taylor digital thermometer with remote
        Sous Vide: Anovo Imersion Circulator (1st gen)
        Coffee Roaster: Hot Top Coffee Roaster
        Adult Beverages: Fighting Cock Bourbon, Leinny Shandy, Troegs Mad Elf

      Believe it or not, some of the best smoked food I have on the street where I live (and I haven't even started smoking yet!). The couple down the street, the main reason I go to their picnics is for some of her smoked whatever (though I'm not crass enough to just follow my nose when she fires up her smoker). And the other way is a great german restaurant. You would not expect them to be fantastic smokers, but their chef Edith (from Germany) makes a melt in your mouth brisket (I want her to teach me how she does it). And the smoked trout, fresh out of the smoker, incredible. Those two ladies are part of why I'm here.

      I too am a fan of Kenji (read his book from the library). He's my go-to for sous vide info. I don't agree with the use of liquid smoke (never tasted right to me) but I do concur that cooking meat that way has its advantages. But it's a TOOL to go with all the other TOOLs we use to make yummy food.


      • Potkettleblack
        Club Member
        • Jun 2016
        • 1887
        • Beautiful Downtown Berwyn
        • Grill: Grilla Original / Weber Genesis EP-330
          Thermometers: Thermapen / iGrill 2 / Fireboard
          For Smoke: Chunks / Pellet Tube / Mo Pouch
          Sous Vide: Joule / Nomiku WiFi
          Disqus: Le Chef - (something something something)

        I actually made the ChefSteps Brisket last year, which is a bit more involved that JKLA's method.

        It came out great.
        Click image for larger version

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        This is the rub, pre-blend. I think BBBR is probably better, but this has a lot of smokiness in it to make up for the fact that this is smokerless.

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        These are my brisket pieces, glazed and then rubbed, ready for the oven.

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        direct from the oven. Steam blurred the picture.

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        Side view. I probably could have let this go longer, but it was smelling really good and it was the culmination of a somewhat frustrating week of a cooking vacation (the ChefSteps Ribs did not come out that well, but I think it was my fault to some extent, and the insanity of turning onions and garlic to coal as an ingredient of the rub... Meathead diplomatically said that he prefers a sweeter rub on ribs), so I was looking for a success.

        Click image for larger version

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        Different level of probe tender, but had all the jiggle/wobble/of any brisket I've ever had.

        Click image for larger version

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        If I just posted this pic, you'd never know, would you? You'd see a well defined, deep smoke ring, a beautiful glisten to the meat, a reasonable bark, and you'd never know it never saw wood smoke, save for the liquid smoke. Smoke ring gotten with curing salt in the brine.

        To be honest, I've had better brisket. Not moister, but better smoke, better bark. Now that I'm a lot further along with the gasser, and have the community here for how to butcher the brisket without butchering it, I think I could find the perfect synergy to make the perfect Sous-B-Cue brisket. But this was a great first run.

        Now, based on my signature, you can probably tell that I'm a bit more serious about sous than smoking. City boy, apartment, condo patio, and so on. But, here's how I see it. BBQ folks like to talk about low n slow, maybe 18 hours at 225*. If I go lower, say 155* and slower, say 36-48H, while it's not stick burning, it's plenty low and plenty slow. I've always loved 'Cue. School in Austin, grad school in St. Louis, some months working across the street from Jack Stack in KC, and more, but sous spoke to something in me, the precision and the results. And sous brought me back to 'cue. At the end of the day, we're all low and we're all slow.


        • Potkettleblack
          Club Member
          • Jun 2016
          • 1887
          • Beautiful Downtown Berwyn
          • Grill: Grilla Original / Weber Genesis EP-330
            Thermometers: Thermapen / iGrill 2 / Fireboard
            For Smoke: Chunks / Pellet Tube / Mo Pouch
            Sous Vide: Joule / Nomiku WiFi
            Disqus: Le Chef - (something something something)

          On a related note:



          • GadjetGriller
            Club Member
            • Dec 2015
            • 730
            • Lubbock tx
            • I have 3 outdoor devices (plus a couple indoor items) Starting with the PBC, Faux Kamado Kooker,(Akorn metal Kamado) & Oklahoma Joe offset grill and smoker. I use the FireBoard WiFi Thermometer. IQ110 (heat control device for akorn) recently acquired a Char-Broil Big Easy TRU-INFRARED 3-in-1 Roaster, Smoker and Grill, I also have A Anova & Joule Sous Vide Wands and The Steakager ( a unit for Dry aging big hunks of meat!)

            I Think that you can have the best of both worlds! I have not tried it yet but great pit masters like Jerod Broussard have S/V Brisket for 24 to 36 hours and then finish it on the smoker for the bark and smoke flavor. I think it may make a lowly Select grade Brisket (IE: Cheap meat) Juicy and Tender all you need is time, Granted a lot of time but it does seem to be worth it cause guys keep doing it.


            • Jerod Broussard
              • Jun 2014
              • 9431
              • East Texas
              • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
                Weber One Touch Premium Copper 22" Kettle (gift)
                Slow 'n Sear for 22" Kettle
                Weber One Touch Premium Black 26" Kettle (gift)
                Slow 'n Sear XL for 26" Kettle (gift)
                Weber Smokey Joe Gold
                Weber Rapid Fire Chimney
                Maverick ET-732 White
                Maverick ET-732 Copper
                2- Auber SYL-1615 fan systems(Awesome!!!!!!!!)
                Thermoworks Thermapen w/ Back light (gift)
                Thermoworks Timestick
                Cambro Model 300MPC110 w/ Winco SS Pans
                B & B and Kingsford Charcoal
                B & B Pellets

              I'd be surprised if you could sous vide a Select and smoke it and still have a moist product. Kinda hard to make something that it is not.

              I do want to try wet-aging a Select for 40 days and then try it and see because I've never been able to wet-age one that long.

              And the two Choice I did were out the park awesome.


              • GadjetGriller
                GadjetGriller commented
                Editing a comment
                So what do you mean by Wet aging? is that just leaving it in the cryo Bag it came in for 40 days or do you take it out and put in some sort of brine? ( I know some like to leave the meat in the cryo bag for a few days even weeks before they cook it suppose to break down connective tissue)

              • Potkettleblack
                Potkettleblack commented
                Editing a comment
                Interesting idea. But you could warm age it for similar results in a much shorter time with the sous-er.

                With the select, if I were worried about moisture retention, I would use a lower temp and a longer time. Lower temp expels less juice.



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