I have a 20lb +/- brisket currently cooking at 155° for 30 hours. My timing is a little off as it will finish at 6pm before I can finish in the smoker. Can I sous vide today and smoke tomorrow? I cant find a recipe for a 20lb brisket so the 30hr was based on a smaller brisket.

Chris, thank you for demonstrating for the Community the importance of reverse-planning SV cooking for large items. That’s planning your scheduled times of cooking steps back from finishing and service.

If you left that brisket whole, that’s one challenging hunk of meat to cook in water. Could that explain the dearth of recipes?

To answer your question, you can cook today and smoke tomorrow if you do it safely to prevent any food born illness. i would never recommend a two-stage cook for any thick piece of meat, particularly with an overnight time out interval. You don’t reveal your plan for the brisket between SV cooking and smoking, but it deserves serious thought about what could happen to your meat during that interval. If you don’t have a plan, i’d rather not consider the potential consequences.

It’s important for food safety reasons to limit the time your meat is in the food temperature danger zone. The US Food Code requires food can only be between 41F to 130F for less than 4 hours in total.

Here’s what i recommend you do.
Skip the interval between cooking techniques.
At your 6 PM finish, don’t finish.
Keep your circulator operating but drop its temperature setting to 132F. That maintains your brisket at a safe temperature while only marginally increasing its tenderness without altering your planned degree of doneness.

In case you think i am unduly messing with your planned cook too much Chef Thomas Keller of The French Laundry restaurant and SV cookbook fame SV cooks his briskets at 147F for 48 hours. Unless you grievously oversleep tomorrow your brisket will be just fine.

I’m sorry. I did split the meat in 2 pieces before I did the bath. After 30 hours, I decided to finish it in a smoker. I dont know what finish temp should be achieved.

Chris, you never have to apologize here for doing your best.

By finish temp i’m guessing you are referring to your briskets’ internal temperatures when smoking them is completed. I haven’t cooked even a half brisket in quite a while. When it comes to brisket i prefer cooking just a piece of flat or two as the points can be challenging to cook because of their uneven shape, particularly when you go to smoke them. The flats make you look like you’ve been doing a lot of Championship Texas BBQ, while the points requiring constant monitoring and will still make you look like a rank novice.

Splitting your brisket means you are now cooking two significantly different items. I hope you left the fat caps on. I usually smoke first, then cook. For your SV cook, reapply rub and smoke brisket pieces at 225F to 250F for a couple of hours achieving 160F internal. I hope you don’t expect those pieces to reach 160F at the same time. About 2 hours makes them smokey enough for me so i double foil wrap and finish them in a 275F oven to 180F internal and then let the meat rest awhile to achieve temperature equilibrium for attractive slices.

If you’re seeking that traditional Texas texture you need to get that internal temperature up to over 200F. It’s all a matter of your personal preference.

I hope you have and use some remote thermometers to monitor temperatures without opening your smoker. Without them BBQ cooking can be a matter of luck and guesswork. There’s an old saying among serious Q-cooks that, "if you’re a lookin’, you ain’t a cooking’.

Please advise Community on your technique and outcome.

According to the US Food Code, perishable goods must be kept at temperatures between 41 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit for no more than 4 hours. woodoku

Hi Lee, thank you for that point. Like most things in cooking, it all depends. Are you referring to food storage, or processing standards, or cooking? Please note that it’s a total cumulative maximum time of 4 hours in that temperature range, and less time is more safe.

In SV cooking, solid cuts of meat or poultry are generally considered safe at cooking temperatures above 130F. I advise limiting thickness to about 3-inches to have a reasonable total cooking time as the product’s temperature passes through the Food Danger Zone.

Fabricated cuts like rolled cuts or stuffed roasts have more safety problems as they can easily become internally contaminated during processing. That’s when the 4-hour rule should be adhered to during cooking.

Consider that the thermal death point of most harmful pathogens is about 128F. Thus the surface bacteria on solid cuts are quickly killed in SV and the food is safe during cooking time longer than 4 hours…

Hope that helps.