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1st sous vide Q pork butt – success and failure

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    1st sous vide Q pork butt – success and failure

    First sous vide Q pork butt was both a success and a failure! Where did I go wrong?



    Got a 5 pound pork butt and dry brined with kosher salt overnight. Then added Memphis dust and sous vide 155/46


    saved all Juice to add back when pulling; shocked in ice water for one hour then refrigerated overnight. Next day added more Memphis dust to 40° meat then lit my egg and stabilized around 230° with some apple and Hickory chunks; smoked for about three hours until internal temp reached 155°.

    Simmered leftover juice and started to pull and it was absolutely delicious!
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    Tasted juice and it seemed fine so started adding to pulled pork and kept adding for some reason? Before I knew it I realized my pulled pork tasted way too salty!




    Perhaps I should sous vide without any salt or seasonings and just season after SV and refrigerate overnight?

    The purge was way too salty and if I want to use juices in future I must be smarter.




    Any tips on what I should do with future Sous Vide Q pork butts would be much appreciated, Including SV times/temps as I’ve read 165/24 can be ideal.

    #2
    This is what I use, comes out tasty


    Pork blade roast or pork butt
    Dry brine with salt over night
    Apply rub
    Cook 2 hours at 225 flash cool or
    SV at 135 for 48 hours
    Chill, scrape purge and save, Re season, cook at 350 to internal temp 195-205 fork tender.
    Boil purge, run thru filter, add back to pulled pork

    Comment


    • Blind Egghead
      Blind Egghead commented
      Editing a comment
      Certainly appreciate yourdetails as I am a novice to sous vide however been smoking pork butts for some time. Doesn’t it defeat the purpose of sous vide to finish a pork butt up to the 195–205 ° range, especially when you cooked sous vide to 135°? I thought the purpose of sous vide was to pasteurize, cook evenly and keep it tender using lower temps? I don’t mean any Disrespect, I’m just trying to become educated on the best ways to combine sous vide with smoking/grilling.

    • Brewmaster
      Brewmaster commented
      Editing a comment
      You want to form a nice bark, the 195-205 makes it a pull apart tender butt

    #3
    I had similar consecutive experiences, and pinned it back to purposely reusing the salty purge. I did not try before re-integrating all elements the first time. Now, I give it a try first before re-integrating, and have opted to only use a little bit of the au jus, when the purge is too salty. Have also changed initial salt content and essentially dropped it to just about 1/4 of what I typically use when not cooking it sous vide.

    Hope this helps.

    Ricardo
    Last edited by Ricardo; June 3, 2020, 04:50 AM.

    Comment


      #4
      Ok. I may be off with some assumptions and perhaps it’s best to go into some additional details and clarifications.

      In my opinion and personal experience, I’ve found pork shoulders to have a unique level of forgiveness when cooking. So there is some flexibility which we can use to our advantage.

      When combining sous vide and bbq, I tried different cooking times and techniques; however, I always “smoked” my pork shoulders first, then finished them sous vide. I have not tried sous vide first, then smoking to finish it off.

      Why? Well, my thinking has been and continues to be that starting with a cold seasoned shoulder enhances opportunity for a good smoky flavor, nice smoke-ring and overall exterior color. I essentially smoke a pork shoulder from raw, until I get a nice looking deep color. I remove it well before it starts to stall, but not before it gets color and exterior texture so to speak. Then, instead of wrapping and placing it back in the smoker to finish, I would then proceed to vacuum pack it and finish it off sous vide.

      That’s how I’ve done several Boston butt pork shoulders and pick-nick cuts, with the former being my family’s preferred cut.

      To answer your original question, I made several mistakes by saving the purge from the sous vide bag, and reintegrating that au jus back into the shredded pulled pork, without tasting first, and found it too salty. Later on, I learned to not re-integrate before giving it a taste test.

      I haven’t sous vide first, then finished off smoking, Why? It’s counter intuitive to me, to smoke an essentially already cooked shoulder, which I don’t believe is capable of absorbing much smoke, specially after that initial cold temperature window has been closed. Remember that starting to smoke a cold shoulder will enhance your smoke taste, color and smoke-ring while encouraging or allowing smoke absorption. What I’m trying to say here is that I recommend you smoke first for color, till it looks nice and ready, in your smoker. Yes, we know it’s not ready, but it looks like it is. Then, you move it and finish it off sous vide. Give that a try.

      Thats how I’ve done them. Not saying it’s the proper way, nor the only way, just the way I’ve done them.

      Today, I’ve given up on a combined (smoke first and sous vide last) method. We love sous vide and love traditional bbq, and have found easier and more consistent results by not combining both methods. This again is just my personal preference, and that of my family, which enjoys both technics, but unanimously prefers pulled pork from smoked pork shoulders done from start to finish in a smoker. In the end, we have found it to be much faster too. Smoking a pork shoulder the traditional way, that be using a stick burner, KBQ and/or pellet cooker, is faster and less gyrations as compared to combining both cooking methods.

      Hope this helps to clarify things.

      Cheers,
      Ricardo

      Comment


        #5
        I guess some salt falls away with the juices when cooking traditionally?

        when using SV purge as a sauce the sauce itself can get too salty but seems to me just starting with less in the dry brine phase will allow you to utilize all the purge.

        I go 135x72 for pulled stuff, but that’s just me.

        traditional texture you can go much higher and it’s ok.

        Comment


          #6
          Originally posted by Polarbear777 View Post
          I guess some salt falls away with the juices when cooking traditionally?

          when using SV purge as a sauce the sauce itself can get too salty but seems to me just starting with less in the dry brine phase will allow you to utilize all the purge.

          I go 135x72 for pulled stuff, but that’s just me.

          traditional texture you can go much higher and it’s ok.
          Agree with you definitely going to use less salt during Dry Brine so I can use all The purge!

          Curious when you sous vide to 135° how do you finish for pulled pork? Do you Ice chill then smoke to an internal temperature of 135°?

          Comment


          • Polarbear777
            Polarbear777 commented
            Editing a comment
            Chill then smoke to no higher than 135. Correct.
            Sometimes I smoke pre-SV in addition to (but never as a substitute for post-SV) to no higher than 135.

          #7
          I've tried several SVQ methods for pulled pork, here's my favorite so far...

          >SV without any salt or seasoning, 158x24. (No salty purge)
          >Shock in ice bath for at least 30 min. I am usually doing this in advance of a party or tailgate, so then it's straight to the fridge (or freezer if more than a few days).
          >Salt, season and smoke to internal temp of roughly 150F. Make sure meat is cold when it goes on smoker.
          >Pull and add desired amount of purge. Pork purge does not need to be filtered/strained as does beef purge.

          Here's my latest SVQ using this method. Nice bark and smoke ring. Very moist and tender. Great flavor. See here for original post and some commentary that you might find useful:
          https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...29150-svq-butt


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          Last edited by BourBonQ; June 3, 2020, 10:17 AM.

          Comment


            #8
            Just did my first Sous Vide pork shoulder this weekend. Used recipe from "Sous Vide Everything"on YouTube. Rubbed with Myron Mixon's "Only Rub" and smoked it on my mini-wsm for 3 hours. Took it off the smoker and vacuum sealed it and put it the sous vide at 145 for 60 hours (yes I know it sounds insane). Also drained the juice from the bag before removing the shoulder. It looked really good so I didn't chill it or put it back on a smoker or grill, just pulled it. It was the best shoulder I have ever cooked and at 67 years of age I have cooked a lot of pork! My wife took a piece and dipped it in the bowl where I had put the retained juice from the bag and said, "Wow you have got to try it like this!" She took a piece and dipped it in the bowl and gave it to me and it was outstanding. So she poured, a little at a time, while I mixed it into the meat. We kept tasting it as we went (not sure if it was to get the flavor right or just and excuse to keep eating it) until we felt like it was done. Then I put the bowl in the refrigerator to allow the fat in the juice to rise to the top and harden so I could de-fat it and add it to barbecue sauce. Next morning checked the bowl and there was less than a teaspoon of fat in the bowl, all the juice had set up as gelatin with no appreciable fat at all, and we had cooked it with the fat cap on!

            Anyway check out the video on youtube and give it a try. We have a fairly large sous vide container with a lid so we didn't have to add water or make any adjustments to the sous vide. This made the cook amazingly easy, just a long wait. Now that we know how good it is the wait for future cooks will be almost unbearable!

            Comment


              #9
              Originally posted by BourBonQ View Post
              I've tried several SVQ methods for pulled pork, here's my favorite so far...

              >SV without any salt or seasoning, 158x24. (No salty purge)
              >Shock in ice bath for at least 30 min. I am usually doing this in advance of a party or tailgate, so then it's straight to the fridge (or freezer if more than a few days).
              >Salt, season and smoke to internal temp of roughly 150F. Make sure meat is cold when it goes on smoker.
              >Pull and add desired amount of purge. Pork purge does not need to be filtered/strained as does beef purge.

              Here's my latest SVQ using this method. Nice bark and smoke ring. Very moist and tender. Great flavor. See here for original post and some commentary that you might find useful:
              https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...29150-svq-butt


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              Looks fantastic and certainly appreciate the simplicity of this process.

              Curious do you salt and put in fridge for a couple of days or only prior to putting on the smoker? I’m thinking dry brining could help, of course AFTER Sous Vide (to protect the purge from becoming too salty!)

              very interested to know why pork purge does not need to be filtered/strained as does beef purge?

              Comment


              • BourBonQ
                BourBonQ commented
                Editing a comment
                Blind Egghead , I seasoned it with Killer Hogs rub, which contains salt, before the fridge, so a couple of days with seasoning. Not sure how much it would change by seasoning just before smoking - try it and give us a report!

                Somebody way smarter than me will have to chime in as to why pork purge doesn't need to be filtered, but it just doesn't. I think it has something to do with different protein content or something. Pork purge comes out as a relatively clear "broth" right off the bat.

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