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Sous Vide + Smoke Resources/Tips

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  • cscheib
    Club Member
    • Apr 2017
    • 43
    • GPW, MI

    Sous Vide + Smoke Resources/Tips

    What're some good resources to look at for combining sous vide + smoking techniques? I see some posts in here, I saw Meathead's Sous-Vide-Que technique article...

    Looking for pros/cons of combining the techniques, order-of-operations, effect of cook temps/times under each technique ... ex: could you actually get a decent bark out of something that you sous vide'd first without overcooking? Are there scenarios where you'd want to smoke first?

    I'm already pretty well practiced in the art of sous vide, have a vacuum sealer, etc...

    After a 12 hour 225F pork butt smoke yesterday, I'm interested in "shortcuts." I will probably attempt the Texas Crutch next time, but I'm certainly interested in researching how Sous Vide could help improve overall cook time, for days when I can't be/don't want to be chained to my smoker all day.

    Thanks in advance guys!
    Last edited by cscheib; May 28th, 2017, 09:47 AM. Reason: typo
  • Thunder77
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 2664
    • Halethorpe, MD
    • Weber 26.75" Kettle with SnS. Broil King Baron 5 burner. Akorn Kamado, and Akorn Jr kamado. Primo Oval Junior. Love grilling steaks, ribs, and chicken. Need to master smoked salmon Favorite cool weather beer: Sam Adams Octoberfest Favorite warm weather beer: Yuengling Traditional Lager All-time favorite drink: Single Malt Scotch

    #2
    You can achieve good bark with sous vide then smoke method. If you shock your meat, and get it pretty cold before smoking it, you won't have to worry about overcooking. I have found through pastrami experiments that I like to smoke it first, then sous vide afterwards.

    Chefsteps.com is REALLY into sous vide; you might want to give their website a look.
    Last edited by Thunder77; May 28th, 2017, 12:24 PM.

    Comment


    • cscheib
      cscheib commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, I'm aware of chefsteps... but they haven't really gone too in-depth into the science of mixing SV and smoke, even though they have a short feature with meathead on the topic
  • EdF
    EdF
    Club Member
    • Jul 2016
    • 3157
    • Atlantic Highlands, NJ
    • Uuni Pro (new kid in town)
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      Thermapen
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      Thermoworks Hi temp IR
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      Various other stuff

    #3
    Seems there's a wide variety of opinion over whether to smoke first, sv, then sear vs SV then smoke.

    I've done the former with good success, flavor-wise, but the bark was less than impressive. I was going to do one the second way today and tomorrow (165 for 24 hours, followed by ice water, frig and 3-5 hours of smoke bringing it back up to about 160 or good bark).

    You should do a search on the forum.

    Comment

    • JCGrill
      Club Member
      • Mar 2017
      • 1457
      • Minneapolis / St Paul burbs
      • Charcoal - 22" Weber Kettle
        Gas - Saber
        Smoker - Green Mountain Daniel Boone
        Portable - Charbroil Tabletop Propane Grill

      #4
      Time saving, not sure. But less time around the smoker, certainly.

      Comment

      • 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)

        #5
        Given time and planning, I am in the smoke-Sous-smoke again camp.

        The real key is to begin with the end in mind. If you want pulled pork, I'd probably smoke to 155 or so, Sous it at 155 for 8 hours, pinch it in the bag to see how pullable it is, then shock it cold and smoke it to firm the bark.

        Comment

        • cscheib
          Club Member
          • Apr 2017
          • 43
          • GPW, MI

          #6
          Originally posted by JCGrill View Post
          Time saving, not sure. But less time around the smoker, certainly.
          active time - I can leave the house during a sous vide for an extended period of time, with my only worry being that I blow a fuse or the electricity goes out. I can't claim the same with a smoker, there's always the possibility (albeit small) of fire, overheat, etc...

          Comment

          • fzxdoc
            Founding Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 4537
            • My toys:
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              Shun Classic 3 1/2 inch Paring Knife

            #7
            If you're looking for good bark and want to sous vide-shock first, then let the rub dry on the meat, uncovered in the fridge overnight and then smoke. The pastrami experiment I did showed a much better bark that way.

            Kathryn

            Comment

            • Ernest
              Founding Member
              • Jul 2014
              • 3108
              • Dallas, Texas
              • Pit Barrel Cooker AKA The Chicken Whisperer, WSM 14.5 AKA Smokey, WSM 22.5 AKA Big Worm, Weber Performer Platinum. KARUBECUE

              #8
              Here's the thing. Sous won't give you a good bark, unless you smoke past the sous vide temp. Which then negates the sous vide.
              I sous vide first. For pulled pork, I sous vide at 155 for 24 hours, chill then smoke at low temperature not to exceed 165 degrees. Thanks to the KBQ, I can hold low temps.

              Comment


              • EdF
                EdF commented
                Editing a comment
                That's be 165 internal, right?

              • Ernest
                Ernest commented
                Editing a comment
                EdF both internal and pit temp.

              • EdF
                EdF commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks Boss!
            • binarypaladin
              Club Member
              • May 2017
              • 261
              • Weber Original Kettle Premium 22 (black)
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                Cajun Bandit Smokey Mountain Upgrade Kit
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                Thermoworks Smoke
                Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo (red)
                Flame Boss 300

              #9
              What's the actual advantage of sous vide in the mix? Reading the comments from the people who have tried it make it seem laborious. Don't get me wrong, I actually love sous vide but I've never considered it with smoking. Maybe I should?

              Is the goal a lower internal temperature in things like pulled pork than I'd get in a traditional low and slow operation?

              Comment

              • cscheib
                Club Member
                • Apr 2017
                • 43
                • GPW, MI

                #10
                Originally posted by binarypaladin View Post
                What's the actual advantage of sous vide in the mix? Reading the comments from the people who have tried it make it seem laborious. Don't get me wrong, I actually love sous vide but I've never considered it with smoking. Maybe I should?

                Is the goal a lower internal temperature in things like pulled pork than I'd get in a traditional low and slow operation?
                The goal is ultimately more consistency along with lowering in-smoker cook time. Also, for some applications (smaller cuts), you reduce the risk of drying the meat out. Since you're technically cooking the meat to completion first, you are only adding smoke and bark with the smoker - you don't really need to be concerned about internal temp of the meat.

                I probably wouldn't use it for ribs, as the cook times there are only like 6 hours... but brisket or pork butt, I'm considering using it.

                I knew I had read a few well-tested recipes that utilized both methods of cooking, found it: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2...er-recipe.html

                J. Kenji usually does a pretty good job of testing his procedures, so I'll use that as my starting point in this endeavor.

                Comment


                • binarypaladin
                  binarypaladin commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Nice. Kenji is how I ultimately ended up here. Thanks.
              • Robert R
                Former Member
                • Jun 2016
                • 13
                • El Dorado Hills, CA

                #11
                Kenji's recipes are great and well tested. I did his Sous Vide pulled pork the other day and then smoked it for 4hours and it was the perhaps the best I had. Not dried out at all.

                Comment

                • abandonedbrain
                  Club Member
                  • Jul 2016
                  • 122
                  • Lower Peninsula, MI

                  #12
                  Piggy-backing off binarypaladin 's question "Is the goal a lower internal temperature in things like pulled pork...", why wouldn't we want to sous vide a pork butt to just about the stall point, then take it right out to the smoker after a quick rub, to "power through" to the normal probe-tender point of 200F+? Does the time in the water bath negate the need for breaking down the fats/collagen (which happens on a smoker above 160F)?

                  Mind, this is coming from a guy who likes to keep those butts on the smoker, no crutch. Don't know if I'm missing something in the process here. I've got an Anova 900W, and I'd love to cut down the time the butt's on the smoker. Starting it SV the day before smoking, then only having to hit the smoker for a few hours would be a dream on a hectic weekend with kids in sports! That would open up more varied smokes for me, as well; I can easily throw a few split chix in first (into my PBC), then swap them out with the pork butt to get a smoke ring and to firm up the bark, and STILL not burn through the basket of briquettes.

                  Comment

                  • RobertC
                    Club Member
                    • Mar 2017
                    • 150

                    #13
                    Originally posted by abandonedbrain View Post
                    Piggy-backing off binarypaladin 's question "Is the goal a lower internal temperature in things like pulled pork...", why wouldn't we want to sous vide a pork butt to just about the stall point, then take it right out to the smoker after a quick rub, to "power through" to the normal probe-tender point of 200F+? Does the time in the water bath negate the need for breaking down the fats/collagen (which happens on a smoker above 160F)?
                    Collagen conversion doesn't require a threshold temperature (it does occur at room temperature, albeit slowly). We typically use higher temperatures because the conversion is faster. There's a trade-off between temperature and time and although we think of 225-275 degF as "low and slow", if you sous vide a brisket at 150 degF for 48 hours it'll be pretty tender even though it never gets above 150.

                    When we talk about bringing a pork butt up to 203 degF for the right tenderness, that's really an artifact of the temperature in the pit -- 203 deg typically is in the ballpark of 3 or 4 hours after the butt reaches an internal temperature of 160ish for a pit in the 225-275 range. The butt didn't reach the desired texture at 203 deg, it reached the desired texture after a certain amount of time at a certain rate of collagen conversion and, in the normal range of pit temperatures, that happens after 3 or 4 hours. You don't have to SV at 203 degF for many hours to get to the "probe tender" point; that's the temperature that previous cooks have measured at the "probe tender" point when using a "low and slow" pit.

                    So think of the pit and the SV approaches as points along a continuum, where you trade off temperature and time, and some other characteristics (like smoke flavor vs. juiciness vs. bark). Then if you understand those parameters and how to manipulate them, you can mix-and-match the two methods to achieve the flavor profile, the texture profile, and the timing that allows you to get food on the table at a particular time with the desired result. There are occasions when a combo of pit and SV can be more flexible in terms of timing than either single method alone.

                    Last edited by RobertC; May 30th, 2017, 07:20 AM.

                    Comment


                    • Potkettleblack
                      Potkettleblack commented
                      Editing a comment
                      This.

                      The other thing is, as temp goes up, water comes out. By using SV and never taking it above 160* on the smoker, you are keeping a lot of the juice in the meat. This is why long Sous Vide chuck is like ribeye.

                    • abandonedbrain
                      abandonedbrain commented
                      Editing a comment
                      RobertC Thank you for the clarification! Extremely helpful description. And that's what I tell everyone who's asked me "Why sous vide?": flexibility of timing is important for us. I know when dinner's going to be done.

                    • EdF
                      EdF commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Great explanation. My post below is now redundant!
                  • binarypaladin
                    Club Member
                    • May 2017
                    • 261
                    • Weber Original Kettle Premium 22 (black)
                      Weber Smokey Mountain 18
                      Weber Jumbo Joe
                      Adrenaline Barbecue Company Slow 'N Sear (original)
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                      Adrenaline Barbecue Company Drip 'N Griddle Pan
                      Cajun Bandit Smokey Mountain Upgrade Kit
                      Gateway Drum Smoker Rib Hanger Kit
                      Thermoworks Smoke
                      Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo (red)
                      Flame Boss 300

                    #14
                    Thanks for the input. Looks like I have some experiments for the coming weekends.

                    Comment

                    • 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)

                      #15
                      Beyond the ease of planning with sous vide, the other reason I do it is because I can achieve things that cannot be achieved any other way, like the 72 hour short rib. There is no way to cook a short rib and wind up with what you wind up with after 72 hours in the HTTM.

                      Comment


                      • cscheib
                        cscheib commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Took me way longer than it should have to figure out what HTTM stood for

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