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The Big Chill sous vide technique

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  • bixatx
    Former Member
    • Dec 2015
    • 3

    The Big Chill sous vide technique

    I'm planning to cook a couple of nice thick filets for me and the wife this weekend using the techniques in this article http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_tech...big-chill.html

    Am planning to smoke the chilled filets on the Big Green Egg to get up to 115 as the article indicates, then direct sear for the finish.

    Question is, has anyone done this? Am looking for a rough time estimate for taking the filets from refrigerator to 115; will most likely set the egg up for 250 for the indirect smoking phase...
  • LifebyC
    Charter Member
    • Mar 2015
    • 14
    • A galaxy far, far away...

    Probably about half an hour. Obviously you use the thermometer, not the watch. And as Meathead always suggests, follow the directions EXACTLY the first time around, then riff on it. My two cents: I don't think butter or olive oil in the Sous Vide bag helps. My biggest concern with Sous Vide is lost moisture (remember, tender and juicy are NOT the same thing). As I read elsewhere, tender is the amount of work your teeth have to do, juicy is the amount of moisture that you get while your teeth are working. I love BOTH! Meathead mentioned the moisture lost in the bag, and guessed it was minimal and close to what you lose on the grill. We need the scientists (Hey, Blonder!) to run tests. If we sous vide, then chill, then smoke, then sear, are we losing 2x 3x 4x moisture? It doesn't taste like it... Bear in mind I'm really proud of where I've gotten to grill wise, but I'm a sous vide rookie. I did steaks side by side, one sous vide and sear only, and one reverse sear only, and the whole gang agreed the smoky reverse seared steak was superior all around. That said, the sous vide, chill, reverse sear is probably the best of the best IF we don't lose too much moisture. Is it possible that butter or olive oil is pulling out MORE moisture in the sous vide process, or does it just appear to because of the presence of X amount of melted butter or oil? For now, I'm sticking with dry brining the meat well in advance, dry seasoning (like pepper and garlic powder) sous vide, chill, then reverse sear - indirect with smoke and then afterburner sear. Long disorganized answer to a short question. Pretty sure you're going to have an epic supper!


    • Potkettleblack
      Club Member
      • Jun 2016
      • 1835
      • Chicago, IL
      • 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)

      At 131x90m, you should not have a ton of purge in the bag. It's a gentle temp, so should keep the water and myoglobin where it belongs. If you were cooking hotter or longer, then purge volume can be a bigger issue. I get a lot when I do short ribs at 131x72h or when I do a chuck at 131x48 or something at 165x5h.

      Shocking does not extract more liquid. smoking shouldn't extract much, and the quick sear should be on an already dried surface... reverse sear tends to produce a very fast sear due to the drying effect of the low temp cooking.

      At to when you are putting butter or olive oil in the bag, it really depends on what your final process is going to be. If you're going to make a pan sauce or a reduction or something out of the purge, then flavor it up. If you are going to feed it to the dog, there's no real reason to butter/oil and certainly good reason not to herb.


      • fuzzydaddy
        Charter Member
        • Nov 2014
        • 4940
        • Near my cookers...Pensacola FL
        • Hardware
          Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado.
          Weber Kettles: 2-22" & 1-26".
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        Welcome bixatx! We'd love to get an intro from you over in the Introduce Yourself channel when you get a minute. Thank you!


        • DWCowles
          Founding Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 9760
          • Smiths Grove, Ky
          • Hi, my name is Darrell. I'm an OTR truck driver for over 25 years. During my off time I love doing backyard cooks. I have a 48" Lang Deluxe smoker, Rec-Tec pellet smoker,1 Weber Genesis 330, 1 Weber Performer (blue), 2 Weber kettles (1 black and 1 Copper), 1 26" Weber kettle, a WSM, 8 Maverick Redi Chek thermometers, a PartyQ, 2 SnS, Grill Grates, Cast Iron grates, 1 ThermoPop (orange) and 2 ThermoPens (pink and orange) and planning on adding more cooking accessories. Now I have an Anova sous vide, the Dragon blower and 2 Chef alarms from Thermoworks.

          Welcome bixatx


          • lschweig
            Former Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 983
            • Oswego, Il

            A hearty welcome from Illinois.


            • Michael Brinton
              Club Member
              • May 2016
              • 263

              I agree with no oil in the bag, I just don't get good results, (see Kenji on this...). I'm big on pre searing, most of the chemicals in the maillard reaction are water soluble and flavor the steak. A lot like searing meatballs your putting into sauce, it adds flavor. Don't go crazy because your going to sear in the end as well, but it won't take as much time and your crust will be that much thicker. With the big chill I would be sure not to flirt with too high of a temperature or it would defeat the purpose. Your cooking it twice so nailing the exact temp would be good but going over is like reheating leftovers over temp.


              • bixatx
                Former Member
                • Dec 2015
                • 3

                Thanks for all the good comments; I'm likely going to skip the oil for the hot tub portion of the cook; probably going with Meat Church's Holy Cow for seasoning...we've really liked that. will post comments on results.


                • Lowjiber
                  Former Member
                  • Nov 2016
                  • 315
                  • Las Vegas, Nevada

                  I have dumb (maybe "uninformed" is a better word) question regarding SV/chill/grill technique. I've only been SVing for three months, but have had a lot of success with rib-eyes at 131o for two hours, then seared on a Kettle. Since "dinner time" often varies based on my working wife's (my pumping oil well) work schedule. I've tried to push the time in the water bath past the aforementioned two hours, and the choice steaks start to get a little mushy when the total time is over four hours... still good, but mushy.

                  When I read Meathead's "The Big Chill" article, http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_tech...big-chill.html, it seemed to be my answer. Just do a two-hour cook in the morning (I'm retired); chill that puppy; pull it out of the fridge when she arrives home; and throw it on the Kettle or Grill Grates for finish. Perfect! I can do my kitchen work in the morning and have the rest of the day to play poker.

                  I've read the above article carefully, but still have my "uninformed" question. (I'll add that I vacuum seal my steaks for SV.) So, here goes...

                  After two hours, when I pull my vacuum sealed steaks out of the water, do I remove them from the bag before chilling them in the ice-water bath for thirty minutes, or can I just throw bag-and-all in the cold water? That may really sound dumb, but I don't want to un-bag the steak; pat it dry; chill for 30 minutes; pat it dry again; and reseal once more before popping it in the fridge... that's more work than it's worth in my opinion.

                  I'm looking forward to everyone's comments. Thanks!


                  • EdF
                    EdF commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yep, leave them in the bag!

                  • Meathead
                    Meathead commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Please notice that the byline on The Big Chill is our new Lead Writer, Clint Cantwell. He is doing a DEEEEEEP dive on sous-vide-que and there will be more.

                  • Clint Cantwell
                    Clint Cantwell commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Rapid chilling then refrigeration is an amazing tool when you need flexibility in dinner time as I do with three kids who are coming and going at all times!
                • Mr. Bones
                  Birthday Hat Master
                  • Sep 2016
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                  lLowjiber I'm far less enlightened an' informed re: SV than you.

                  That being said, I'd leave it sealed in th' plastic.

                  Jus' my ¢2 worth.

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                  Casey Ryback: Nah. I'm just a cook.
                  Jordan Tate: A cook?
                  Casey Ryback: [whispering] Just a lowly, lowly cook.
                  Jordan Tate: Oh, my God, we're gonna die.


                  • freddh
                    Charter Member
                    • Jul 2015
                    • 112
                    • Port Orchard, WA

                    Wow! Just finished my first Big Chill SV Cook. I read and reread all the comments on this thread prior to the cook. I also had re and reread the original post from Clint Cantwell which started this whole process, or at least refined it. I think my results turned out OK, but I may further tweak on the next one. I dry brined, then bagged and SVd at the proper temps of 131F and 144F. The latter temp because it was a double cut Berkshire pork chop. The other two were 45 day dry aged, the smaller one was an American Wagyu. Shocked for 30 minutes then put in freezer for another 10 as I wanted to make sure that it was thoroughly chilled. Fired off my grill using the leftover coals from previous PBC cooks. Used mesquite chunks with a little leftover kiawe. Then I put the SNS and grill grate to work. I was definitely satisfied with the smoke color, but next time I will season with salt and pepper before using the grill grate. I was a little disappointed in the eveness of the char, but I typically under salt do that I can add a finishing salt at the table.
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by freddh; January 31st, 2017, 05:00 PM. Reason: Wrong time for first shock.


                    • Clint Cantwell
                      Clint Cantwell commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Glad it turned out well! Quick question. Are you sure about the 10min ice bath/10 min freezer did enough to rapidly drop the core temp of the meat to a safe range of 34-38°F?

                    • vandy
                      vandy commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Clint, how long would you recommend in the ice bath, I was thinking more like 30 minutes to an hour then in the fridge at 37 degrees until I am ready to finish them on the grill, which would be same day or next day at the most.
                  • EdF
                    Club Member
                    • Jul 2016
                    • 3157
                    • Atlantic Highlands, NJ
                    • Uuni Pro (new kid in town)
                      Karubeque C-60
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                      Thermapen Air
                      ThermaQ (or its predecessor)
                      Thermoworks Hi temp IR
                      BBQ Dragon & Chimney of Insanity
                      Various other stuff

                    They look really good, thought. Just the seasoning an issue for you?


                    • freddh
                      freddh commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Yeah I think so. Maybe I was a little premature in my self assessment.
                  • fzxdoc
                    Founding Member
                    • Jul 2014
                    • 4508
                    • My toys:
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                      Adrenaline BBQ Company's SnS, DnG and Large Charcoal Basket for WSCGC
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                    They look awesome, freddh . I agree with you that a little finishing salt can help an underseasoned cut of meat. Better too little to start with than too much.



                    • Potkettleblack
                      Club Member
                      • Jun 2016
                      • 1835
                      • Chicago, IL
                      • 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)

                      How was the pork chop? I prefer a lower temp on those. 135-137 or so.

                      You might consider a dry brine before the sous vide. You could also salt prior to sear. That sear is a thing of beauty.


                      • freddh
                        freddh commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I did dry brine the pork chop and both steaks. That's why I had a relectance to add salt before searing. Next time I will try a lower temp for the chop.

                      • Potkettleblack
                        Potkettleblack commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I find wet brining pork chops to still be worth while. Meathead recommendation and I haven't looked back.
                    • bixatx
                      Former Member
                      • Dec 2015
                      • 3

                      Wanted to circle back on this thread; this method turned out amazing results, and will be our go-to for that "special" steak celebration. It took about an hour to get the bigger filet from refrigerator temperature up to 115 in a 230-245 degree egg. Used a chunk of cherry for smoke and it was perfect. The steaks spent 90 minutes in the hot tub at 131, seasoned with Meat Church Holy Cow. At the end, seared direct on cast iron right over the coals. This was the best sous vide/egg combination cook we've ever done. Highly recommended. Click image for larger version

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                      • Clint Cantwell
                        Clint Cantwell commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Awesome results!

                      • freddh
                        freddh commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Double down on awesome!



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                    Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?

                    The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it's easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado. Beautifully designed and completely portable. Meathead says it is his preferrred grill.

                    Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

                    Click here to order it direct from PK and get a special deal for AmazingRibs.com readers only

                    Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

                    fireboard bbq thermometer

                    With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.

                    Click here to read our detailed review

                    Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker

                    Green Mountain Davey Crockett Grill

                    Green Mountain's portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

                    Click here to read our detailed review and to order