AmazingRibs.com is supported by our Pitmaster Club. Also, when you buy with links on our site we may earn a finder’s fee. Click to see how we test and review products.

Sous Vide And Smoke Ensure Texas Beef Brisket Nirvana

Share on:
Sliced sous vide and smoked brisket

Create mouthwateringly tender smoked BBQ brisket every time with this sous-vide-que method.

As a native Texan, I have always had an affinity for smoked brisket. Properly smoked, it is the food of the gods; cooked poorly, however, it is no tastier than dry dog food.

For a well-practiced Texas pitmaster, transforming this tough cut of beef into a masterpiece requires nothing more than a simple salt and pepper rub, some post oak smoke (or another favored smoking wood), and 12+ hours of low heat and TLC. On the other hand, for those who only cook one or two briskets a year, adding liquid injections and using the “Texas crutch” (foil-wrapping) are commonplace strategies that ensure moist, tender, and flavorful results. You can read more about these practices in Meathead’s article “BBQ Beef Brisket Texas Style, the Definitive Guide”.

With both ends of the brisket spectrum in mind, I recently set out to create a recipe that ensured mouthwatering results without relying on injections or wrapping. To do so, I turned to one of the hottest emerging trends in BBQ — sous-vide-que. To begin, the brisket is seasoned with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper before being sous vided in a 145°F (63°C) water bath for 30 hours, a time and temperature devised based on our sous vide que cooking guide here. This low and slow cooking process breaks down the brisket’s tough muscle fibers and connective tissue. Once the water bath cooking is complete, you rapidly cool the brisket in a 50/50 mix of water and ice. Cooling it down ensure that the meat can be smoked on the grill without drying it out. Or, if you want to make it ahead of time, you can refrigerate the cooled-down brisket for a day or two or freeze it for several weeks. Note that there will be approximately one to two cups of flavorful liquid left in the bag after sous viding the meat. I recommend reserving and reheating this liquid to drizzle over the sliced brisket or to make a sauce for other beef dishes.

Explore the world of Sous Vide Que, the ultimate marriage of water and smoke, by clicking here to download our ebook “Sous Vide Que Made Easy” for $3.99 on Amazon (free Kindle app runs on all computers). Or get the book and others FREE as a member of the AmazingRibs.com Pitmaster Club. Click here to join.

To complete the brisket, you only need to smoke it briefly with your favorite smoking wood to add a true barbecue flavor. Since the brisket has already been fully cooked during the sous vide step, there is no need to smoke it beyond an internal temperature of 125°F (51.7°C), at which point it will be pleasantly warm when eaten.

Once smoked, be sure to slice the brisket against the natural grain of the meat to cut across the tough muscle fibers and ensure maximum tenderness for your anxiously waiting family and/or guests. Do note that since the brisket isn’t cooked entirely on the grill or smoker, it won’t have the same heavy bark you’d expect on traditional brisket. That said, you’re sure to love the end product equally if not more!

Sous Vide And Smoked Texas-Style BBQ Brisket Recipe


Sliced sous vide and smoked brisket
Tried this recipe?Tell others what you thought of it and give it a star rating below.
4.20 from 325 votes
This sous-vide-que smoked brisket recipe is smoked briefly with your favorite smoking wood to add a true barbecue flavor.

Serve with: a Lone Star beer.


Course:
Dinner
,
Main Course
Cuisine:
American

Makes:

Servings: 6 servings

Takes:

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Sous Vide: 1 day 6 hours

Ingredients

  • 6 pound beef brisket flat
  • 3 teaspoons Morton Coarse Kosher Salt (approximately 1/2 teaspoon per pound (453.6 g) of meat)
  • 3 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper (feel free to substitute our Big Bad Beef Rub)
Notes:
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works. 
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page

Method

  • Prep. Trim off most of the fat cap but leave about 1/4-inch (6.4 mm). Season the brisket with kosher salt. If you can, refrigerate the brisket uncovered for 12 to 24 hours to give the salt time to be absorbed. The process of salting in advance is called dry brining. The rule of thumb is 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound (453.6 g) of meat.
    Dry brining a brisket
  • Prepare a sous vide immersion circulator, such as Joule by ChefSteps or Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker, according to the manufacturer's instructions and set the water temperature for 145°F (63°C).
  • Place the whole brisket in a jumbo, 2 or 2.5-gallon (7.6 or 9.5 l), sealable storage bag. Alternatively you can divide the brisket into two halves and place each half in a separate gallon size sealable freezer bag. Carefully submerge the freezer bag in the water bath until most of the air has been removed and then seal the bag. Completely submerge the sealed bag, and cook the brisket for 24 to 30 hours (I like 30).
    Sealing a sous vide bag
  • Once the brisket has finishing cooking, remove the bag from the water and submerge in a large container filled with a 50/50 mix of ice and water until the meat’s core temperature reaches a safe range of 34-38°F (1.1-3.3°C), at least 30 minutes. At this point, the brisket can be refrigerated until you are ready to smoke it (several days ahead of time) or frozen for future use. Thaw before smoking.
    Brisket in sous vide water bath
  • Fire up. Prepare a smoker for indirect cooking, adjusting the vents to maintain a temperature of approximately 225°F (107.2°C). If you’re using a charcoal grill, prepare it for 2-zone cooking by placing a chimney full of pre-heated charcoal briquets on one side of the charcoal grate to create direct and indirect cooking zones. Adjust the grill vents to bring the temperature to about 225°F (107.2°C). Add 2 to 3 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal for flavor. On a gas grill, adjust the temperature knobs so that one half of the grill is off (the indirect side) and the other half is heated enough to maintain a temperature of approximately 225°F (107.2°C) on the indirect side, adding wood chunks or chips to the direct side.
  • Smoke. Once the smoker or grill is ready, remove the brisket from the freezer bag and season liberally with either coarse ground black pepper for a traditional Texas-style brisket or Big Bad Beef Rub. Place it on the smoker. The liquid in the bag can be refrigerated for future use. If you’re using a grill, place the meat on the cooler side of the grill as far away from the heat source as possible. Set the lid on the grill with the top vent fully open and positioned directly above the brisket in order to force the smoke over and around the meat. Allow the brisket to smoke until it reaches an internal temperature of 131°F (55°C), about 2 hours. Note that the interior of the brisket will already be perfectly cooked from the sous vide step. The goal is to simply reheat and smoke the brisket without overcooking it.
    Sous vide brisket on a smoker
  • Serve. Remove the brisket from the smoker or grill, slice it against the grain, and serve immediately.

Related articles

Published On: 1/31/2018 Last Modified: 1/5/2023

Share on:
  • Clint Cantwell, Champion Pitmaster - Clint Cantwell is AmazingRibs.com's Senior Vice President of Whatever, charged with creating recipes, writing articles, shooting photos, and a little bit of everything else. He was named one of the "10 Faces of Memphis Barbecue" by Memphis Magazine and was the winner of Travel Channel's "American Grilled: Memphis".

 

High quality websites are expensive to run. If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and a lot of freebies!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for high quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 2,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club. But please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get MANY great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial, and help keep this site alive.


Post comments and questions below

grouchy?

1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

Moderators

  Max

Click to comment or ask a question...

Spotlight

These are not paid ads, they are a curated selection of products we love.

All of the products below have been tested and are highly recommended. Click here to read more about our review process.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our “buy now” links. This has zero impact on the price you pay but helps support the site.


Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat-controlled oven. Click here for our review of this superb smoker.


Amp Up Your Outdoor Cooking Game By Joining The Pitmaster Club

AmazingRibs.com Pitmaster Club
Now the largest membership-based BBQ and grilling community in the world, the Pitmaster Club is sure to step up your outdoor cooking game. Experience the countless benefits — from monthly giveaways, to free products, to exclusive content, and more– by signing up for a 30-day free trial below! Get a free 30-day trial here.


The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy


The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It’s among the best bargains for a smoker in the world. This baby cooks circles around cheap offset smokers because temperature control is so much easier. Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them.


Big. Bold. Flavor.

Meathead's Amazing rubs and sauce

Introduce big, bold flavor to your BBQ and grilling creations thanks to the Meathead’s Amazing line of pork, red meat, and poultry rubs as well as a KC-style BBQ sauce. Click here to read more and to purchase.