Sous Vide Experiment: Brisket

Sous vide brisket

I’ve been conducting some sous vide experiments lately.  My sister bought me a deep fryer a while back, and I decided to convert it into a sous vide machine.  I guess it can still function as a deep fryer, but I’ve been cooking food in water instead of oil..

I’m pretty new to this, so I expect to have some not-very-good food.  This was my brisket experiment, inspired by some delicious smoked brisket at a recent birthday BBQ.

Here’s the raw cut of meat, about 1.6 pounds.  The other side of the brisket did not have much of a fat cap, I guess it had been trimmed away?  I seasoned it with a bit of salt and pepper and sugar.  I think next time, I will skip the salt.

Sous vide brisket

I put the brisket in the sous vide cooker at 62.2C for 46 hours.  Douglas Baldwin has a couple of suggestions for brisket, and I chose a temperature close to the French Laundry’s.   I elected not to brine, because, well, I didn’t feel like it.  I added 1.5 tablespoons of butter to the bag and put it in the machine.


Here’s the beef after 46 hours.  It shrank to about 60% of its original size.

Sous vide brisket

I saved the liquid left over for gravy: I browned an onion and then mixed the liquid in and let it reduce for a while.  I dried off the meat with paper towels and then seared with a blowtorch.

Sous vide brisket Sous vide brisket

The blowtorch method is new to me, but I think worked pretty well.

Sous vide brisket

The beef was a little grey; I think it was cooked about medium to medium-well.  Some of it was starting to become flaky.

Sous vide brisket

It tasted great, but was a bit dry.  But not too dry.  It was probably comparable in texture to the brisket that I had from the smoker.  Paired with the gravy, it was delicious.


My brisket recipe:

  • Season with salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar before sous vide
  • Sous vide for 46 hours at 62.2C
  • Use the liquid for gravy
  • Dry, then sear with blowtorch

Changes for next time:

  • Try to salt after sous vide – maybe it will be moister?
  • Lower temperature (57C) or higher temperature (80C)
  • Omit the butter next time?

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