Saturday, February 20, 2010

Beef Brisket Sous Vide

By Diana Hsieh

I made beef brisket in the Sous Vide Supreme for dinner last week.  It turned out great, so I thought I'd post out what I did.

Mostly, I used the instructions from Douglas Baldwin's uber-helpful Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking.

I brined the brisket in saltwater for a few hours, then seared it in a pan.  I added the meat to the bag, then some garlic powder, dried thyme, some fresh-ground pepper, a bay leaf, a bit of ground cloves, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, and one ice cube of beef stock.  I vacuumed it up, then cooked it sous vide for about 28 hours at 165 F.  When ready, I drained the juice, reserving about 2 cups (!) for later use, then reduced the remaining 1/2 cup in a saucepan to make a sauce.  For thickness, I added some frozen blueberries to the pan, cooked them a bit, and then smashed them with my potato masher.

The meat was well done, yet flavorful and tender.  Paul gave it two thumbs up.

A few notes: 

  • I'm not sure the searing was helpful; I'll skip that next time.

  • The cube of beef stock definitely wasn't necessary, as it released lots of juice on its own, probably due to the brining.

  • The "Practical Guide" recommends 176°F (80°C) for 24–36 hours.  However, it notes that the French Laundry does 147°F (64°C) for 48 hours.  I split the difference, but I think I'll try the French Laundry way next time.
Dr. Eades aptly summarized the process of learning sous vide cooking in a comment on Richard Nikoley's post on cooking ribeye sous vide:
The pain-in-the-butt part about sous vide cooking is that you have to experiment a little to find how to cook things exactly as you like them. Once you do, though, the advantage kicks in, which is that you can repeat ad infinitum and always get the same result.
That's exactly why I try to keep good records of what I've done sous vide, whether it works well or needs some tweaking. P.S. If you want to acquire the fabulous device that is a Sous Vide Supreme.... Special Offer: Easy Sous Vide Demi Promo Package. Shop Now!

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