Combining modernist cuisine with “tried and true” BBQ is no easy task. Figuring out how to fuse new world with old world techniques is a great challenge and one I took on this past weekend. Thinking through the best way to use my Sous Vide Supreme with a Brisket Flat has been on my todo list for awhile. Certainly cooking the flat using the sous vide machine would produce moist and tender brisket, but how would I get that traditional smoke flavor? Smoke it first then sous vide or the other way around? Well, this post will walk you through the process and report the results. Now sit back, grab an ice cold Lone Star beer, and enjoy this post for Smoked Sous Vide Brisket Flat.
Smoked Sous Vide Brisket Flat
One of my favorite food blogs is Serious Eats as they give the why along with the how to the recipes and techniques they post. One such article focused on cooking a brisket flat using a sous vide machine. In this article, they cooked the flat in the sous vide machine before finishing off on the smoker. I followed their advice and the recipe below was born.
Trim the flat until you have 1/4″ fat cap on one side and the meat exposed on the opposite side.
Cut the flat into two separate pieces so you can fit them into your sous vide environment.
Pick your favorite rub for brisket and apply liberally to all sides of the flat. For this cook I used the new (and incredibly delicious) Fat Henry’s Classic Rub from Four41 South BBQ.
Once the brisket flat is evenly covered in the rub, seal in plastic using a vacuum sealer.
Preheat your sous vide to 155° and when ready, submerge the brisket inside. To get a traditional brisket texture let the flat cook for 36 hours in this environment.
After 36 hours take the sealed brisket out of the sous vide and place in your refrigerator overnight to cool. When ready take the brisket out, reserve the liquid from the bags, and dry off the halves of the flat while you set up your smoker.
For this cook, the Big Green Egg was set to indirect cooking, preheated to 250°, and filled with chunks of hickory and pecan wood for the smoke. In addition, there was a drip pan filled with water to help keep the environment moist.
After 3.5 hours in the smoker, the brisket flat measured 185° internal temp, it had formed a beautiful crust, and was ready to get pulled. I let the flat rest under a foil tent for 30 minutes before slicing.
The sliced brisket flat was served with some brats smoked along with this cook, baked beans, onions, pickles, and homemade BBQ sauce from the beef drippings.
I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of this brisket compared to others I have cooked before. The sous vide technique did produce a tender brisket flat and the smokey flavor from 3.5 hours in the Big Green Egg was good. I think the next time I try this, I will smoke the brisket first, cool, seal, and then sous vide, and then finish on the smoker for the crust. More to come…
Smoked Sous Vide Brisket Flat
- 5 lbs Brisket Flat
- BBQ Rub
- Pickles onions, baked beans for garnish
- Trim the brisket flat down to 1/4" of fat cap
- Slice the flat in two equal pieces
- Cover with your favorite BBQ rub
- Seal each piece in vacuum sealer
- Preheat sous vide to 155°
- Submerge brisket flat in sous vide for 36 hours
- Remove brisket pieces and place in the fridge overnight to cool
- Remove brisket pieces from vacuum seal and reserve juice for mop and/or BBQ sauce
- Preheat Big Green Egg to 250° using indirect cooking
- Add wood chunks and wait until thin blue smoke is billowing from the BGE (about 30 minutes)
- Place brisket in the smoker and let smoke for 3-3.5 hours until bark forms and brisket measures 185°
- Pull and let rest for 15-30 minutes under foil tent
- Slice and serve
24 comments on “Smoked Sous Vide Brisket Flat”
Wow, I’ve been itching to cook something sous vide and love to smoke meat. Might be time to pick up an Anova and get try this out – thanks for sharing!
The fusion of smoking meat and sous vide is a fun journey! Lots to try and to learn. Let me know how it turns out for you.
I’m getting ready to try a smoked sous vide brisket. I have done ribs many times with excellent results. I’m smoke for 3’hours at 225 and then sous vide for 16-24 hours at 155. I then glaze with sauce on grill or under broiler for a couple of minutes. Great flavor and super tender.
I’ve seen a lot of sous vide brisket tutorials and this is the only one that looks like central Texas brisket. Looks fantastic.. I’m curious if you’ve had a chance to try the smoke>sous vide>smoke yet to impart more smoke into the meat?
No I haven’t and good catch. Now I’m motivated to do this… Thank You!
Why use the sous vide method when you are going to cook it for 3hrs at much higher temperatures to finish? Genuinely curious. Thanks!
Simple answer is to slowly render the fat in that tough cut of meat. This essentially braises the meat from the inside out. After your sous vide the brisket flat you finish it off on the smoker to get that true BBQ flavor.
I’m about to try this and I just realized it said to cool brisket overnight. Is that part necessary or can it go straight on the smoker to finish?
It can go right in to the smoker to finish!
It sure can! I loved how mine turned out. I think I crushed it and I can’t wait to cook another one. I’ve posted a link to the picture of my finished product. Check it out.
Sorry I forgot to give a rating for the recipe. 5⭐️
What temp did you do for 24 hours? Same 155?
I’ve now done this method at least 5 times. Absolutely awesome! I’ve even frozen the meat in the bags after being sous vide and thawed it then smoked it and it came out perfect.
Awesome job my man!
I’m doing a brisket right now, iv got it in the big green egg first at 225 for 3 hours with apple wood, next will be sous vide for 36 hours.
We will be having a big family gathering up camping so I won’t have the green egg to finish so I’m planning on using a charcoal grill for about one hour
First brisket ever.
I using sous vide/ BGE together on steaks and ribs and love the results.
Loved this recipe. I had a 2.5 lb brisket flat with a small layer of fat on one side. I covered with my own rub and vacuum packed. I set the Anova at 155 degrees and cooked for 32 hours instead of 36. The brisket had shrunk and just looked done so pulled it at the 32 hours and dropped into an ice bath. Let it set for awhile and popped it into the fridge until the next day. Hubby got the Big Green Egg up and stabilized at 250 degrees with indirect heat and a pan of water on the pacesetter. He smoked for 2 hours and we swapped in aluminum foil and a towel for and hour. Perfect tenderness!!!
I am so happy this worked for you!
Hey man, thoroughly love your site just for the fact you don’t write a huge 10 pages on how brisket affected your life and whatever else the bloggers feel they must do for sake of “the algorithm” – Came here looking for some answers and think I’m on the right path, but wanted to ask you: Why SV then smoke as opposed to smoke then SV? I tried a 48 SV followed by a few hour intense smoke and the results were good, but not great/no smoke ring… And I saw someone comment above about smoke then SV then smoke again… any feedback on what is best in your experience? Thanks in advance!
Thanks for the kind feedback. I haven’t tried the other way around though I should. The reason I did it this way in the post is to ensure maximum tenderness with smoke flavor. The smoke ring doesn’t correlate too flavor at all, just shows proper technique. So, if you are looking for tenderness and smokiness you have found the right recipe!
Thank you for the article. I have cooked at least three brisket flats at 155 for 36 to 44 hours (sous vide). On all three, I would then refridgerate the brisket overnight (or for a full day – in the bag with all the juices) and then smoke the brisket the next day on a pitboss smoker. I would cook the brisket until the internal tempurature was around 145 to 155F (usually about 1.5 to 2 hours), then rested the brisket in a cooler for several hours afterwards. All three flats had good flavor – but where quiet dry. Any ideas on what I am doing wrong? The brisket is trimmed choice brisket from Costco, so I dont think it is the meat quality. Ive read on other forms you dont want to take the interanl temp of the brisket past the sous vide temp – but could this be wrong? Your thoughts are greatly apprecaited.
Thank you very much, and have a great day!
Well, choice grade isn’t well marbled so that could be an issue. Have you tried this with a prime cut? Flats are typically the leanest part of the brisket so meat grade makes a big difference.
Thank you for the response Chris. No I have not tried it with Prime cuts….I thought process is if I can master choice grade brisket flats (the leanest part of the brisket), then cooking a prime grade brisket should be easy!
I am blessed enough to be able to cook a brisket flat once a week for a work meeting. This last week, I only cooked the brisket at 155F for 24 hours (instead of 36 to 44 hours) – then chilled – then smoked it until the internal tempurature reached 180F. It came out much juicer than the previous briskets. So I was either sous viding the brisket for to long – or not cooking it on the smoker afterwards long enough.
Next week I will cut the flat in half and sous vide one at 24 hours and the other at 48 hours to see if the sous vide time makes a large difference……I will keep you updated.
Thank you very much Chris!
Love to hear more about your various trials!