Often referred to as the Holy Grail of barbecue, given how hard it is to find good smoked brisket. While it’s possible to find some truly finger-licking good barbecued brisket, most of the time it’s a disappointment.
Souse vide cooking changes all this! An amateur cook can produce brisket that is as moist, tender and tasty as the very best you’ll find in the best restaurants. With this method, you don’t have to go out to enjoy a brisket you can make it right from the comfort of your home while you sleep. Follow these steps and experience the magic!
- 55 grams coarsely ground black peppercorns
- 65 grams kosher salt
- 10 grams pink salt
- 1 flat-cut or point-cut brisket, about 5 pounds
- 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
- Dill pickles, sliced yellow onion, and white bread, for serving
Combine pepper, salt, and pink salt (if using) in a small bowl. Rub 2/3 of mixture evenly over surface of brisket. Reserve remaining 1/3 of mixture. Slice brisket in half crosswise in order to fit into large vacuum bags.
Place each brisket half in a vacuum bag. (Fold over the top of each bag while you add brisket so that no rub or juices get on the edges of bags, which can weaken the seal.) Add 4 drops (about 1/8 teaspoon) of liquid smoke to each bag, if using. Seal bags using a vacuum sealer and let rest for 2 to 3 hours in the refrigerator.
Set your precision cooker to 135°F (57°C) for brisket with a tender, steak-like texture, or 155°F (68°C) for more traditionally textured brisket that falls apart when you pull at it. Add brisket to water bath and cover it with a lid, aluminum foil, or table tennis balls. Cook for 24 to 36 hours at 155°F or 36 to 72 hours at 135°F. Allow cooked brisket to cool at least to room temperature before proceeding (an ice bath can speed up this process). Brisket can be stored in the refrigerator at this stage for up to 1 week before finishing.
Light 1/2 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to medium-high heat, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.
Remove brisket from bags and carefully blot dry with paper towels. (Liquid from bags can be added to your favorite barbecue sauce and simmered down to provide extra flavor.) Rub reserved salt and pepper mixture into surface of brisket. Place brisket on cooler side of grill, fat cap-up. Add 4 to 5 hardwood chunks to hotter side of grill. (If using a gas grill, wrap wood chunks loosely in aluminum foil before placing over hotter side of grill.) Cover and allow brisket to smoke, adjusting vents to maintain a temperature between 275 and 300°F, and adding 2 to 3 wood chunks twice during cooking. Smoke until a deep, dark bark has formed, about 3 hours. Continue with step 7.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 300°F. (If your oven has a convection setting, turn it on and adjust heat to 275°F instead.) Remove brisket from sous vide bags and carefully blot dry with paper towels. (Liquid from bags can be added to your favorite barbecue sauce and simmered down to provide extra flavor.) Rub reserved salt and pepper mixture into surface of brisket. Place brisket on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, fat cap-up, and place in oven. Roast until a deep, dark bark has formed, about 2 hours. Continue with step 7.
Transfer brisket to a cutting board and tent with foil. Allow to rest until the temeperature drops to between 145 and 165°F, about 30 minutes. Slice against the grain into thin strips and serve with white bread, dill pickles, and sliced onion.