Preparing a sous vide brisket is 1000 times easier than the traditional, smoked brisket. With this method, you can make a sous vide brisket that’s tender, juicy, and delicious – every time. It does require more time than chicken or regular steak, but the results are succulent and irresistible.
Many sous vide brisket recipes are impossible for the average home cook. They are too complicated and take too much time. Some recipes call for as much as 100 hours of cooking time. Others require special equipment and additional time – like several hours in a smoker. Do you have a smoker at home? Do you have several extra hours to spare? Most of us don’t have either of these. Sure, normal sous vide brisket recipes are great. They produce some yummy yields, but they are just impractical. And impractical = impossible for most of us.
That’s why we developed some shortcuts that simplify the process. Let’s be honest. These shortcuts are compromises and tradeoffs. They will not produce the perfect brisket. Perfect brisket is difficult, complex, and time consuming. But do you need the perfect brisket? Are you preparing for some big event or special occasion? If the answer is yes, these shortcuts are not for you. However, if you are cooking brisket to enhance your everyday meals, these shortcuts will help. We will list shortcuts first. You can use these to substitute steps in other recipes you may like. Then, we will include our own simplified recipe.
Sous Vide Brisket Shortcuts
Use liquid smoke instead of a smoker to save several hours. Liquid smoke is an excellent compromise. Clearly, it is not as good as hours in a real smoker, but the flavor enhancement is outrageous for the ease and convenience. If you have a smoker and several hours of free time, use them. If you are like most of use, you can get a very decent smoky flavor with liquid smoke. Our Favorite is from Stubbs.
Use a simple rub. Many recipes call for a complex cocktail of herbs and spices. And some even ask you to grind your own. Again, this step can be replaced with a pre-made rub or a simple mix of salt and pepper. The sous vide process will bring out the natural, savory flavors of the brisket. The rub is less crucial than it is for BBQ. Our favorite is Butt Rub. We love the silly name most of all, but the spice blend is tasty. It adds a little smoky flavor as well.
As you probably know, a brisket is cheaper because it is a tougher cut of meat. This toughness is both the bad news and good news about brisket. The bad news is that brisket is riddled with a network of sinew and connective tissue. This is why it takes so long to cook and breakdown these tissues. The good news is that when they do breakdown, the tough tissues release a savory flavor that makes brisket so delectable.
How can you reduce the required cooking time? Inject brine directly into the brisket. The salt will both internally season the meat and breakdown the sinew faster. If you don’t have a marinade injector yet, we suggest the Norpro baster / injector combo. It is the best of both tools. It is a normal baster with an injector needle attachment. You can inject the liquid deep into the brisket. We recommend injecting several locations. This will shave hours off of the required cook time for your sous vide brisket.
Torch for Bark
Use a sous vide torch to get a bark. Many recipes call for several additional hours in a broiler or some similar method of developing a bark. These are effective, but they take a lot of time. We use a torch to get a decent bark. In a few minutes, you build up the color and texture you want in a bark. Again, is it perfect? No, we admit that it’s not as good a bark as that made in a smoker. But the bark is still pretty good, and it takes 10 minutes instead of 10 hours. The Searzall torch attachment is the absolute best for large items like sous vide brisket.
Simple Sous Vide Brisket
1. Inject brine. Several locations all around the brisket.
2. Apply Butt Rub.
3. Put Brisket into Sous Vide Bag. (Double bag for extra security due to long cook time.)
4. Add 2 tsp. Liquid Smoke to Sous Vide Bag with Brisket.
5. Seal Bag. Use Vacuum Seal or Water Displacement.
6. Cook at 160°F for 18 hours. This is a relatively long
time, but it’s considerable shorter than most sous vide
brisket recipes. Check water evaporation levels every
7. Remove bag from cooker and brisket from bag. Let
set for 20 minutes.
8. Use sous vide torch to build up a bark.
9. Slice and Serve.
There you have our Simple Sous Vide Brisket Recipe Shortcuts. Enjoy the brisket and use the time you saved to do something fun.