Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Paragon of Brisket Goodness

I bought a sous vide circulator. It's an Underground Circulator Stealth. It's decent, and seems well made. I particularly like that it's made in the US and comes with a one year warranty; warranty info on other circulators seems a little lacking. I also like that it is tested to 40L, whereas the next comparable model is $800 and only good to 30L.

I seasoned and vac-packed my brisket, and put in a 137F bath for 48 hours. That is some seriously slow cooking. And utterly worth the wait.

Here is the brisket bag just out of the bath. Not really much to look at.

For that long cooking, despite the low temperature, it is surprising just how little liquid is lost.

This is what the brisket looks like just out of the bag, but before the sear. Still not really too appetizing looking.

Salt-crusted and seared for all that Maillard reaction yumminess. Now we're getting somewhere.
A broiler and cast iron pan perform the role excellently. I have used a propane torch on other smaller meats with good results, too.

Now, if any of you are still clinging to the myth about searing meat seals in juices, let me disabuse you of that nonsense right now. The vapor pressure of evaporating water at cooking temperatures is way too high for anything like organic tissues to hold back.

Steamy, sliced, meaty goodness, just waiting to be devoured. You have no idea how hard it was to be patient and take pictures.

Breakfast is finally served.

But how was it? Excellent texture and juiciness, great crust from the sear, and just excellent flavor. Easily the best brisket I ever had. The next three pictures demonstrate it best.

That's right, fork tender. And juicy! I could still slice the brisket as thinly as my kitchen knife would bite, too. So the meat was not falling apart, yet still super tender. I don't think any cooking process can even come close.

The next step will be a hybrid process with a dry rub, two hours of cold and hot smoke before vac-packing, sous vide bath, and then sear over mesquite. I'll let you know how that goes.

It may seem like a lot of money and time just for a cut of meat. But if you like to eat meat, you seriously owe it to yourself to at least experience some meat that has been cooked sous vide. It is a singular, exceptional experience. Most importantly for me, though, the results are readily reproducible and repeatable.



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