To have smokehouse style brisket without ever having to turn on a grill, try this recipe using a sous vide machine and your oven to give you seasoned smoky tender sous vide brisket, perfect for sandwiches!
If you love brisket, but you don’t have a sous vide machine, be sure to check out this recipe.
What is sous vide?
Sous-vide means cooking something at a lower temperature for a longer time. The food is sealed in plastic pouches or glass jars and cooked in a water bath, at a temperature that’s precisely regulated throughout. I use the Anova Pressure Cooker. Not an affiliate link, I just genuinely love this tool! It has bluetooth so you can control it from your phone and it’s such a great way to elevate home cooking, giving restaurant style results.
Why should you sous vide meat?
Because of how precisely controlled the temperature of the water is, it cooks the meat so precisely that it’ll be almost impossible to get overcooked meat. You just follow the time/temperature range based on the type of meat you like, and you’re guaranteed good results. One of our favourite things to eat is sous vide steak- truly steakhouse quality meat in the comfort of your own living room.
How to prep a sous vide brisket:
The beauty of this is the prep work is minimal. Even the ingredients are minimal! You need salt and coarse pepper. That’s it. You’ll rub most of the salt/pepper mix over the surface of the raw brisket, reserving some that you’ll rub on once the brisket is out of the sous vide and going into the oven.
How to make the coarse pepper:
I found it easiest to to take whole peppercorns and grind them in a small spice grinder. You can also use a pepper mill but it’ll take some arm work to get the amount of pepper you need. You could also try using a small blender.
Vacuum sealing the brisket:
Vacuum sealing is so convenient because it removes all the air inside the plastic bag that the brisket goes into. This means the brisket will lie nicely in the water bath without floating up to the top. If the whole brisket won’t fit into the size of vacuum seal bags you have, you can cut the brisket in half and use two bags.
If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, how do you prevent the bags from floating in the water?
There is a great article on this on Anova’s website. There’s a few hacks including getting all the air you can out of the bag, weighing the inside of the bag by adding a few dull butter knives to the bag, and placing weight externally onto the bag.
Temperature settings on sous vide:
I got the recipe and guidelines from Serious Eats, who are experts at technical cooking.
For brisket like that pictured in this post, with a more tender steak like texture: Set at 135°F (57°C) and cook for 36 to 72 hours.
For more traditional shredded brisket: Set at 155°F (68°C) and cook for 24 to 36 hours.
It seems like a long time, and it is, but it’s all completely hands off.
What to do after the brisket has been sous- vided:
Cool the brisket to room temperature. If you want this to happen faster, you can dunk the vacuum bag with the brisket in it in an ice water bath.
After this, you can keep the sous-vide brisket in the fridge for 5-7 days and finish off in the oven whenever you want it. If cooking immediately:
Heat oven to 150 C (300 F) or convection 135 C (275F). Blot brisket dry with paper towels, season with the remaining salt/pepper mix, and cook fat side up on a wire rack lined roasting tray for 1.5-2 hours or until a dark bark has formed.
Rest for 30 minutes before slicing.
What to serve brisket with:
Bread buns, dill pickles, sliced onion, and barbecue sauce.
Want to make your own pickles? EASY. Try this recipe.
To amp up store-bought barbecue sauce, you can use some of the liquid from inside the sous vide bags, reduce it on the stove, and stir in store-bought bbq sauce until you get the consistency and flavor you like.
For a delicious and healthified homemade version of bbq sauce, check out this recipe.
Storing leftover brisket:
Brisket stored (not in gravy) will last up to four days in the fridge.
Sous Vide Brisket
- Anova Sous Vide
- 1/4 cup coarse black peppercorns* see note 1 oz, 28 grams
- scant 1/4 cup kosher salt 50 g
- 1 brisket, 2.25 kg or 5 lb
- Buns, pickles, barbeque sauce for serving
- Combine pepper and salt in a small bowl. Rub 2/3rds of the salt/pepper mix over surface of brisket. Reserve remaining one-third of mixture.
- Place brisket in a vacuum seal bag, if you need to cut it in 1/2 and place in two bags. We managed to stuff ours in one large bag. Seal bags with vacuum sealer and place in fridge for 2 hours to rest.
- Set your precision cooker to 135°F (57°C) for brisket with a tender, steak-like texture that you'll be able to slice, or 155°F (68°C) for shredded type brisket
- Add brisket to a large water bath ( we used a plastic storage container) and cover container with either aluminum foil, lid, or weight the brisket down with something heavy like a wire rack or stainless steel steamer baskets. See post for more info.
- Cook for 24 to 36 hours at 155°F or 36 to 72 hours at 135°F. I know it sounds like a lot, but you basically ignore it on the kitchen counter till its ready! Totally hands off.
- Allow cooked brisket to cool to room temperature before proceeding (you can place it in an ice cold water bath to speed the process up) Brisket at this point can be stored in the refrigerator at this stage for 5-7 days before finishing.
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 150 C (350F), or you can use your ovens convection setting and heat to 135°C/ 275°F instead.)
- Remove brisket from bag and blot dry with paper towels. Reserve some of the liquid from the bag to make amped up barbeque sauce if desired (See post for details)
- Rub the remaining salt-and-pepper mixture into surface of brisket. Place brisket on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, fatty side up, and place in oven. Roast until a deep, dark exterior has formed, about 1.5-2 hours.
- Transfer brisket to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil. Allow to rest until the temperature drops to between 63 and 74°C (145 and 165°F ), about 30 minutes. Slice against the grain into thin strips and serve with bread rolls, dill pickles, and sliced onion, and any other condiments you like.
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