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Home > posts > 2023 > 01 > 2023-01-22_Smoked_Brisket.html

Smoked Brisket -- Two Ways Sunday, January 22, 2023, 06:25 PM


Fully Smoked Sous Vide

My friend gave me his old pellet smoker and I finally got around to testing it out. I wanted to compare doing it 100% on the smoker vs sous vide then finished on the smoker. I trimmed a full packer brisket and then cut it length wise. I sous vide the first half and then I did the second on the smoker.

BLUF1: I am almost certain I messed up with the smoker and it universally ran too hot. Everything about how they both came out fits this possibility. It is possible it is just observation bias but I do not think so. I think I messed up.


I followed the Sous Vide Smoked Brisket Recipe [Serious Eats] to make a simple rub of just kosher salt and pepper. It was 3 oz of peppercorns and 3.5 oz of kosher salt. I cut them both on Saturday. The priced weight was 15.74 lbs though I didn't confirm it. I trimmed off 2 lbs 13.125 oz. I did not weigh any liquid or the bag.

Sous Vide

On Saturday, the day before, I coated the brisket (6 lbs 8.75 oz) and vacuum sealed it. Since I have been kind of unhappy with the sealer, I did two seals (each a double) on both sides of the bag. I also made it super large to give myself lots of room.

I sous vide cooked it at 155°F for about 25.75 hrs.

I then put it on the smoker (see note about the smoker below) at 175° around 3:00pm on Sunday and then moved set it to 215°F at 4:00. I took it off around 5:30 pm. I wrapped it and let it sit in the cooler for an hour

It was pretty cooked at this point. You can see it in the photos above.

Fully Smoked

I followed Smoked Brisket [Traeger]

This was a struggle. On Sunday morning, I started the smoker around 7:15 (after going nuts trying to understand the setup. It just could not get to temp. I set it at 225°F and it couldn't climb above ~170°F. Fast forward, it was probably on the direct heat mode meaning it was actually much hotter but wasn't reading properly.

Anyway, while this was heating up, I coated the other half. This was a mistake according to the guide. I should have done it the night before when I did the sous vide one. Oops. Still, it got to sit for about 1.5 hours while I waited for the grill.

I finally gave up and decided to start it on the smoker and I could always do the post-wrap in the oven since thats less about smoke. Putting a towel over the smoker about an hour later which also helped a bit.

The meat temp climbed and climbed fast:

I wrapped it at 11:15 and put it back in until 1:00pm where it then was left to rest in the cooler until 6:30pm


Cutting and serving

Smoker ones Sous vide then smoked. Too cooked!

Again, it could be observation bias but I think it was too hot.

The sous vide one was way overcooked on the outside. Beyond bark. You can see it in the photos. I needed to use a serrated knife and it still didn't cut well.

The regular cut well, had a nice smoke ring, but was dry.

The Problem

In the guide book, it turns out it that it says something about the holes of the tray and a direct flame. I think I have them open. Not only that but cleaning it was insanely hard! Then my friend told me to wrap that in foil to cover the holes and make cleanup easier! I think everything ran way too hot and with some amount of direct flames.

Next Time

First of all, I will wrap the tray in foil to make clean up easier and avoid issues with direct flames!

I am interested in comparing sous vide again but honestly, for the sake of simplicity, I may just do the smoked one whole. I will also be trying other meats first so hopefully I will have all of the kinks worked out.

  1. Bottom Line Up Front 

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