For Christmas last year my wonderful wife bought me a SousVide machine because I’d been banging on about one every time we watch MasterChef! Well, in the cupboard it sat until recently when I was inspired into action by seeing a friends Instagram feed.
A SousVide is a water bath and it allows you to cook food to very specific temperatures. It allows you to hold the same temperature for long periods of time, with this recipe I cooked the brisket for 24 hours before finishing it off outside of the water bath.
This isn’t a complicated recipe, which was the attraction of it as my first go with the SousVide. It only requires three ingredients – salt, pepper and beef brisket. You want a meat that is quite fatty, as over the hours you need something that’s able to give the meat moisture and sauce. The good thing is that this recipe is very inexpensive, as a brisket is a cheap cut of meet. But through using the water bath allows you to take the meat to new heights and shake off the chewy stereotype.
So, first step on the journey to epic flavour is to set the water bath up ahead of prepping the meat for the SousVide. The temperature for this cook is 68C / 154F and the duration is anything over 24 hours, the longer the better.
While your water bath is coming up to temperature you can go ahead and season the meat with the salt & pepper. You don’t need to add any oil to the mix because, as the meat slowly cooks, it will release its own juice to keep things moist and because it is in a vacuum packed bag, it won’t lose any of this amazing flavour.
Once you’ve seasoned you can place into the vacuum bag, ready to be sealed. Worth noting that when I bought the brisket from the butchers it was rolled and one piece. To make it easier to season and cook, I sliced it in half.
It is incredibly easy to seal the bag with the machine that comes with the SousVide. Just line up the top of the bag with the indicators and then press down until the machine has sucked the air out and heat sealed the plastic. Done.
You’re then ready to pop it into the water bath. Don’t worry if it isn’t quite up to temperature, it will be in there for the next 24+ hours so it has enough time to get there!
Spin forward 24 or so hours, no need to be that precise as long as it is over the 24 hours and take the parcel, or parcels out of the water bath. I used tongs as the water is pretty warm. The first thing you’ll notice is the pouch is filled with all those lovely brisket juices (keep these to one side as you can use them for basting and not wasting!).
Now there are plenty of methods for finishing depending on the time available. You can put onto a smoker for 3 hours, you can bang in the oven for an hour, or you can do what I did – cook indirectly on a BBQ for 30 minutes with the fat facing down (this protects the meat itself). Cooking indirectly simply means only lighting half the BBQ flames and putting the meat over an area that doesn’t have any flames lit.
The method chosen is dependent on the cut of brisket, but regardless you don’t want to serve it medium rare, as with other cuts of beef, because it will be very chewy because of the sinew in brisket.
Towards the end of the time, you want to make sure the fat is nice and crisp, so move the brisket over the flame and sear it until the fat is exactly how you want it. Once done you can carve, let it rest for 10 minutes and then serve.
I hope you enjoy and let me know how you get on.