Smoke Then Sous Vide BBQ

My family likes my BBQ and when I got my Anova 10 weeks ago I wanted to work Sous Vide into my Q. So far I’ve done Baby Back Ribs Good but need refinement. 4 hours on smoker at 180 and SV 7 hours at 165. Next time I’m dropping SV time to 5 hours.

Boston Butt, 6 hours on smoker at 235 and 20 hours SV at 165. Came out great.

Full packer Brisket. 4 hours smoke at 180 and 36 hrs SV at 155. I pulled the Point out of the SV bath early and put it back on the smoker to make KC Burnt Ends. Both the sliced Flat and cubed and sauced Point met my expectations.

One thing I like is that the bark holds up to SV.

I would love to hear from others interested in this approach.

If you don’t want to smell the place out with smoke you can always sous vide first, chill and then smoke.

Ember, thanks for chiming in. My smokers are outside so I don’t smell up the place. My bride of 55 years lets me know if any smoke gets in the house.

I tried the Sous Vide then smoke method first because that’s how most recipes I’ve found for this method call for. I didn’t get much smoke flavor.and I think I run the risk of overcooking so I reversed the order. I’m in the process of finding what combinations of time and temp for both smoke and Sous Vide give us the taste, tenderness, and texture we prefer. I smoke at 180° F because that’s as low as my smoker will run. My object is to cook primarily with SV but get typical BBQ taste and appearance. I log every cook so I’m slowly building a data base.

By smoking the meat first I can monitor the meat’s internal temp and pull it before it gets to the temp I will SV at. I’m looking for good bark and good smoke on the meat before it goes in the water. 4 hours seems to be work for the cuts of meat that I’ve done so far. I hope that I’m not on a fools chase but if i am I’ll still learn something.

It wasn’t the smoker that was likely to be smoking up the house, but the smoked meat in the sous vide. Definitely needs double bagging to keep the smoky smell in.

Smoke sticks to cold, wet things. So to get good smoky flavour post sous vide, the meat needs to be chilled overnight and not dried off before it goes in the smoker. Smoke it back up to temperature, mopping occasionally to keep that surface damp to attract the smoke.


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I took ribs off the smoker 3 hours ago, vac sealed, and put in the bath. We just got back from lunch and when we walked in I smelled nothing. Don’t know why but I do double seal my Foodsaver bags.

Here’s what concerns me about chilling and re-smoking (and I have done it). The smoker is at a minimum of 180°F. The meat exterior will heat to 180 but the interior temp takes a couple of hours to catch up and my 145° Sous Vide meat is now 180 at the surface and somewhere between 180 and 145 until you get to the temp sensor in the probe thermometer. That’s what happens when hot smoking so how do I prevent that from happening? I smoke it first.

I really appreciate your input. You’re making me think and that’s always a good thing…

The gradient isn’t a problem. It happens with all traditional cooking forms. Strangely, if you sous vide first the appearance of ‘medium rare’ doesn’t change on the inside even if you go over the original sous vide temperature.

I know, it’s a weird concept. I don’t know why it happens that way.

Here’s a write up that does a few side by side tests: A tale of two briskets.

That’s a great article with a ton of information. I have tried all three of his Sous BBQ methods and they all worked but SV first (which I’ve only tried once) didn’t give me stellar results. Today I did ribs but went down to 145 on the SV temp and they were the best yet so I’m working on sequence and temperatures to achieve Nirvana.t. I’ll continue experimenting with the concept and will definitely try more Sous Vide then Smoke cooks.

My wife was skeptical about Sous Vide but after a lot of meals and the juiciest Chicken Breast she’s had in ages she’s now telling me things she would like me to Sous Vide. She’s finally sold on the method. .

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I take a slightly different approach, in that I cold smoke (smoke between 32 and 41 f) then either freeze for use another day or SV then reverse sear on the BBQ. In some cases I like a more smoky flavour so add it during the sear. I too have logged every SV cook over the last 5 years and have experimented with different combinations of SV, Oven and BBQ

I just last week did some baby backs…they were pretty meaty so it may have helped…SV first with yellow mustard and my rib rub for 21 hours at 150F then unbagged and put on smoker at 200F for 2 hours…basting with a little sauce after 1 hour. The smoke level (I was expecting very little) was just about perfect and the ribs were just shy of completely fall off the bone…had a tiny pull when biting it which I think is perfect. I was very happy.

Thank you everyone. I have a lot to think about and experiment with. Tonight I prep a Brisket Flat for another Sous Vide then smoke experiment. May last Brisket was Smoke, Sous Vide and smoke. This is with a recipe found on this site…

I have reached a conclusion on what we like. My wife and I have Midwest pallets so I understand that folks from other places will feel differently. On Fathers Day I cooked a Brisket smoking it first and SV at 155° F. This week I tried a Brisket Sous Vide first at 135° F and then smoke for 4 hours. Both cooks yielded about 3 cups of purge so cooking at a lower temp didn’t save moisture. Both were moist. The higher temp cook yielded texture much closer to traditional BBQ Brisket. Lower temperature gave us texture more like tenderloin. Both ways gave good bark. The smoke first Brisket had a good Beef Brisket flavor whereas the Sous Vide first Brisket was bland. From now on I smoke first and sous vide at a higher acceptable temp. That’s what works for our pallets…

For BBQ style meat, I rub the meat, vacuum pack and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Then I pull it from the bags and cold smoke for 2-3 hours (more if I have cured the meat instead of just a salt/sugar based rub.) I use no real heat. Smoke is produced with pellets in a pan on and electric hot plate in the smoker. After that the meat gets vacuum packed again and chilled in ice water. Then it goes into the fridge until the next morning. Then it goes into the bath for the required cooking time.

My grills lowest setting is 180 to smoke as well… I changed things up and got a little smoke tray… They also sell tubes … that way I can smoke at whatever temperature it is outside. It uses pellets from my grill and I just light it with a torch. I find this adds more smoke flavor to the meat… Probably because of what was mentioned above about cold meat taking smoke better. Sad that my super expensive pellet grill gets mainly used as a smoke container now but so far it’s given me the best results. Just my 2 cents :slight_smile: