Like a mosquito in a nudist colony, I’m not sure where to land first. Things are happening really quickly in SV, along with the inclusion of a new variant of the model that we are calling Sans Vide™ . This paradigm processes in an unsealed bag, all other components remaining the same. A simple procedure is employed to prevent water from entering the bag. First, however, the growing popularity of barbecue demands that we address the tremendous potential of Sous Vide processing as it applies to beef brisket. We are calling our version Sous-B-Q™, and you will see it mentioned more as we delve into this thing we do.

Brisket.

  • Kosher Brisket. BBQ Brisket. Texas Brisket. Carolina Brisket. Boiled Brisket. Corned Brisket.
  • Purists and authenticists go crazy trying to define and undefine briskets until they are blue in the face.
  • “Sure, that’s a brisket, and it was made in Texas, but it’s not a REAL Texas brisket.”
  • “That’s not bad, but it’s not an AUTHENTIC California brisket.”
  • PFFFFT.
  • There is no scientific definition that will satisfy everyone, we should know this by now.
  • If it was cooked in Texas, how can it NOT be Texas brisket?
  • Therefore, we are making Oregon Brisket.
  • May God help us all!

They called Galileo a heretic too!

  • It’s supposed to be called slaughter or butcher.
  • When people see my novel, Sous Vide dedicated approaches to dissecting primal cuts of meat, they occasionally use the term “Culinary Anarchist” or even “Botcher.”
  • One guy even suggested I might be a Gastronomic Dadaist. I had to look that up.
  • That being said, brisket is actually two distinct muscles, the point and the flat, workable references to their shapes. The textures of the two cuts are completely different, as you can see above.
  • The point has been cut into 6 pieces, on the left side of the pic.
  • Even though many cooks enter SV with the idea of processing larger and larger cuts of meat, the fact is that SV is really size oblivious.
  • Unlike traditional smokers, for example, SV will give you the same results with a 3 lb. package as a 13 lb. package.
  • Even the duration varies only slightly.

Back to the brisket.

  • Lots of fat, and marbling, but don’t let that fool you.
  • The point is quite tough.
  • We’re going to turn it into Sous-B-Q, hope it works.
  • The flat has been cut into 4 pieces, on the right.
  • It is extremely lean, even tougher than the point, and has the habit of turning out dry.
  • We’re going to cure it into pastrami, next time ’round.

  • On the left, you see the trim, and there’s going to be quite a bit.
  • This was Prime grade, which is frequently available cheaper than Choice, for this very reason.
  • Again, a subject for another post, we diced all that fat, cured it just as one would a ham or pastrami, and packed it into a press. Right now it’s enjoying a long cure, then we will hang it to dry.
  • It’s gonna take a while.
  • Not for the faint of heart.

  • Just so, and we purposely left some meat on there to speckle the spackle.
  • It’s hard to explain.

140Fx36+ gives you brisket. Shock, shock, shock, always shock!

  • Wait!
  • Didn’t we start with 6 pieces?
  • Why are there only five now?
  • Guilty as charged, I ate one right out of the bag with mustard, right there on the prep table.
  • Cooks are known to do this.
  • It was good.

  • And this is why I mentioned meteor in the title.
  • The sort of gossamer, fishnet pattern of the membranous fat that covers this cut of meat does make the finished product look somehow otherworldly, like Ray Orbison’s voice.
  • You can see how coarse the grain for the point really is. SV processed, rubbed, and rendered, this is what makes brisket so unique in its texture.

  • The purge from the 5 lb. point alone was almost a full cup.
  • We will save that for another application down the road.
  • Reduced stock is not typically part of the standard BBQ sauce.
  • It would ordinarily occur in the drippings, sunk in a puddle of sinful yet delicious fat.
  • Not to worry, we will still get some when we increase the heat and do the oven finish.

Rub, Roast and Rest. 350Fx 1 hour in an oven or smoker.

  • There are a lot of rubs out there, and I don’t really attempt to catalog the recipes for mine.
  • If the meat has NOT been cured, they consist of Salt, Paprika, and some form of sugar as the basic treatment.
  • After that the supplement of the ever present garlic powder, and other aromatic herb seasonings.
  • Personally, I’ve been using Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and Black Cardamon a lot.

Yikes. Brisket.

DOUBLE YIKES. are those grits?

They are! They’re Grits with Brisket!

  • I don’t know how many people realize that Hominy is not actually a grain unto its own. That being said, hominy, and hominy grits are corn that have been nixtamalized.
  • The hull, which is not digestible by humans, is removed by exposing the grains to an alkali. That’s right, lye, the same stuff they use to make soap and drain cleaner. Don’t try to use Red Devil, though, the solution is quite weak. It is also used to peel garlic and do many important things in food preparation. It does the things that acids won’t, AND, it is antibacterial. Baking soda is also an alkali, for example.
  • Anyway, plain ol’ grits is the same as the chi chi dish, polenta, except the latter has not been nixtamalized. I love that word. It is derived from the ancient Aztec language called Nahuatal. Just the idea that we’re using a process that was discovered by an extinct Mesoamerican tribe, and not some Renaissance aristocrat, is really cool to me.
  • Grits are really quite versatile. They can be upscaled by adding butter without separating, not to mention cheese and garlic and herbs.

The Lentil Milagro…IT’S A MIRACLE!

  • Sous Vide is great for many things, and it’s not just my job to say that.
  • It has BECOME my job to say that, but it is true nonetheless. I never really explored cooking dried beans via SV, even though people asked me about the potential of the practice. Without really looking into it, I reasoned that the gasses emitted by the cooking of the beans would probably make the bag burst, and I really didn’t think much more about it.
  • I mean, it’s a bean. No matter what you do, it’s still gonna be a bean.

  • I’m here to tell you, the scales have FALLEN from my EYES!

  • I bought some lentils by mistake.  I decided to use them to prove that Sous Vide wouldn’t make a difference.
  • You may have heard me mention Sans Vide™ , a new variant on Sous Vide. This method uses unsealed bags hung on special racks to prevent the introduction of water, and to prevent debris from getting into the vessel and circulator.
  • I just happen to have a complete set of those racks! Bless you, Lipavi Gear!

183Fx2+++

  • An amazing thing happened. Look at the pictures. The lentils didn’t dissolve.
  • Beans ALWAYS dissolve, it’s almost part of the charm of beans, sort of making their own thickening agent.
  • People expect it. Heaven help the cook that tries to cook beans without any of them dissolving.
  • Even if it was possible, it would be because the beans didn’t fully cook, and that defeats the whole purpose.
  • These beans are fully cooked. No stopwatch, either. I followed the directions on the package, 4/1 H20, 183F and just let it ride all day.
  • It really only took a couple of hours, but, once they were done, they just remained in that intact state. I still have some in the vessel. After three days, still fine. Haven’t dissolved. Yay!
  • There’s a terrific Lebanese salad, Salta Adas, that utilizes lentils, which are also served as relishes in Indian cooking.
  • The flavors are always delicious, but if not done perfectly, the lentils are either mushy, or too crisp for the American palate.

  • All thrown together, you know, it looks pretty good.

  • This is a thing. This is THE thing. Brisket thing.

  • That’s no meteor. That be some BRISKET! If it fell out of the sky and landed in Dallas, could we call it Texas Brisket?

  • That distinctive pattern of the point, you just don’t see that in any other cut.

  • And then, after some more simmering, we get the shredded, machaca, taco meat effect, so good.
  • At some point, our concerted efforts should transcend purism, authenticism, regionalism, and all the other -isms.
  • If the flavors are balanced, if the accoutrements provide complementary textures and colors, there is no need to assign a moniker, or some exotic foreign name.
  • Ask not for whom the Brisket beckons — it beckons for thee!