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Sous vide is great for BBQ?!

I am the proud owner of a custom-built complex of 8 wood-fired ovens dedicated to the intricate tasks of baking, pit-roasting, barbecuing, backburner cooking, rotisserie, ...... etc.

Then why do I turn to sousvide style cooking?
Because, the worst part of wood-fire cooking is heat control. And, this is precisely what sous-vide cooking is good at.

The worst part of sous-vide cooking is that the cooking process does not bring anything to the table, imparting no taste and aroma to the food it cooks. Maillard reactions can not take place if food is packed and simmer inside plastic pouches. Wood-fire cooking enhances taste, appearance and aroma of the food it cooks and there is no substitution.

The solution is to combine the two cooking methods to create the perfect BBQ.

Here is how I would cook BBQ Pork Shoulder.

  • Cut one whole Picnic Pork Shoulder into 4 manageable sizes.
  • Rub your BBQ Mix thoroughly over the pork pieces. You may also use a wet marinade brine. Leave them marinaded at least 24 hours for best result.
  • Grill Pork Pieces over very slow but glowing embers until golden brown and absorbed smokey taste. About 45 minutes.
  • Vacuum pack the pork pieces in four separate bags and immerse them in a 12L bath of a rice cooker.
  • Use SousVideMagic to control the bath at 72°C for at least 12 hours. For softer texture (melt-in-your-feel) use longer cook time up to 24 hours.
  • When the pork pieces are done, let them cool down a bit, otherwise they may be too soft to handle, and BBQ (grill) them again over glowing embers. Make sure to baste them from time to time using the BBQ sauce from the pouches.

    This is perfect marriage made in heaven and nobody knows you have cheated!

    Again sous-vide comes to the rescue to help out BBQ nemesis.

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    • While I do not have the eight wood fired stoves, I do have a Weber 22.5 kettle grill and a Smokenator 1000 on order so I will be able to do some pork shoulders, ribs, chops and so forth.

      I don't know if short cook times will impart the true BBQ and smoked flavor that longer times do, but I think it is worth finding a good balance in terms of smoked flavor but with finish cooking via sous vide so that you get a great balance of flavor and moisture.

      Even if I don't finish with sous vide, I plan to vacuum pack much of what I BBQ so I can reheat and hold via sous vide. A great way to brink food up to temperature and hold it there when feeding a lot of people.
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    • EMPLOYEE
      I’m excited
      Best to sous vide the BBQs again just to pasterize them for storage and future consumption. Extra SV time helps to tenderize the BBQs further too!
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    • Yes, keeping safe, moist and tender are all very good things! When my Weber BBQ and Smoker are here, I will give it a try, hopefully by the end of this month!

      We have been doing a modified rib in a sous vide inspired approach, vacuum packing the ribs with a nice BBQ rub or BBQ marinade, then cooking in a slow cooker full of water on low. But we always had to approximate the time and temperature. We couldn't hit the actual temperatures called for from various recipes from Douglas Baldwin and others. Now with your unit we can go for the exact time and temperature specified. I am very impressed the SVM 1500D and I look forward to enjoying many new culinary adventures with it.
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    • OK Frank, I'm Sold.

      I have 6 different types of BBQ's and Grills. I found a long time ago that the the smoker, even a water smoker, can dry our the meat when doing cuts that require over 4 hours of smoking. And the other problem is constantly monitoring the coals and temperature. And while I love smoke flavor, over-smoking can over-power the taste of good meat.

      So I have been using techniques similar to the Sous Vide. I smoke the meats for about an hour and a half. That is usually enough time to absorb the smoke flavor and color. Then I seal the meat in aluminum foil pouch and set in the oven at 170F for the desired number of hours for the cut of meat. Finishing the dish with a good char over coals and basting is the bomb.

      So I will buy this and try your technique. I like the idea of keeping the meat at a perfect holding temp when there many mouths to feed.

      Jeff Werlwas
      Venice CA
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    • Thanks Jeff for trying the SousVideMagic method.
      Actually, what you have been doing is the exactly the same but more precise and the meat more moist and flavorful due to vacuum packing.
      Since the SVM's sensor are high temperature resistant you may use it to smoke at precise temperature too.
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    • I recently did a cured/brined and smoked pork chop on the Weber. It came out very tasty but too dry. Today I'm doing it again. But this time with the help of my Fresh Meals Magic. We cured 2 inch pork chops in a wet brine of salt, sugar and prague powder #1. I used hickory chips to smoke for 4 hours, then pulled them at 123F internal or so. I gave them a light dusting with a pretty spicy rub and put them in the FMM sous vide setup at 141F. Zero worry about them drying out.

      And I can hold them for hours if my guests are late. Folks showed up and we chatted for almost two hours without a worry. They were probably in there for almost 4 hours total. My little SVM unit bubbling away and holding the pork chops at a perfect temperature.

      So while I unabashedly love my Weber, I deeply fond of my SVM setup as well!
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