Guess I know what I'm doing for dinner tonight.
BLTs (and sandwiches in general) are where sous vide bacon shines. Nice and tender - a great combination between crispy and chewy.
Great article and just the other day I was pondering how underrated iceberg lettuce is as a sandwich topping. The crunch and subtle sweetness is absolutely perfect.
Layering & overfilling BLTs is my problem. It's prime tomato season here in NJ and while awesome tomatoes make for awesome sandwiches, they also make for sloppy eating.
@sarah...since your results sound very similar to mine, I'd guess that yes, a minimum amount of marbling (or at least thickness) is needed for the 24 hour cook at 155F. My brisket was slightly under 6lbs but it was select grade, pre-trimmed (only a small layer of fat cap), and relatively thin across it's entirety.
I'm guessing that smaller/thinner, lean, or pre-trimmed briskets can only get by with a lower temperature cook or with a shorter cook at the higher temps. To be honest though, the results of my first try were so bad that I'll wait to see if anybody else can provide some specific guidelines before trying this one again.
Awesome recipe...serving with togarashi is key though. It really helps to balance out the sweetness of the broth. Lacking that, I'd probably look to finishing salt or a maybe a splash of vinegar.
@Bigfoot - I've cooked enough meat via sous vide, smoking, and traditional roasts/braises that I can tell when a tough piece of meat just needs to be cooked more and when it's been cooked far past done. This was by all means the latter.
@maztec - I totally agree but that's my point. The write up and recipe give no mention of or qualification for time/temp relative to meat quality. In fact, the write up implies if not explicitly states that this recipe will cook any flat close to perfection. This is clearly not the case for the type of cut that the bulk of the readership would have readily available (smaller, trimmed flats of select grade) and I think it might be a good idea to retest this one with a few new variables thrown in or at least to caveat with a recommedation to stick to the lower temps or shorter cook times for really lean or smaller cuts.
@fireandsharp - my brisket was of similar quality to yours. I'd love to hear results from lower temp and/or shorter cook.
I wrote a larger comment with the article, but I cooked this one over the past weekend. 155F for 27 hours with a 2 hour finish in a 275F convection oven. Started with a ~6lb. flat from my local grocery store.
Recipe fail. Meat was sawdust dry and crumbly though flavor, tenderness, and bark appearance were dead-on.
If you don't have a source for thicker/larger flats, can't get your hands on a point cut, or can't get prime grade meat, I'd skip this one.
Whether sous vide or traditional smoking, I just don't think there's any saving those smaller & leaner briskets traditionally available at chain grocers.
Cooked this over the weekend. 155F for 27 hours, cooled/rested in fridge overnight, and finished in a 275F convection oven for 2 hours. I used a small 6lb. flat from my local grocery store.
Recipe fail. Meat was like sawdust. Flavor, tenderness, and bark quality were dead-on but the meat was the kind of dry that sucked moisture out of your mouth. In fact, the meat was so dry it crumbled apart towards the end where it was a little thinner.
I don't think it was a matter of finishing too long in the oven as the meat was already very firm coming out of the initial cook. I didn't weigh results, but did end up with something between 2-3 cups of liquid from a piece of meat that started slightly below 6 pounds (likely something around a 30% loss in weight).
I think the big variable is brisket quality/size and feel like the recipe/write-up should be retested/amended to reflect suggested time/temp changes accordingly. I'm guessing that smaller/thinner flats (less than 8 pounds) or those graded below prime should only be cooked at 135F (or perhaps 155F for a much shorter time). Prime graded or really thick flats can go for the entire 24-30 hours at 155F (as can point cuts).
I don't know if it's on the agenda but it'd be great to have this one revisited if time/inclination exists. Otherwise, maybe pull it down or revise the write-up to reflect that it's not necessarily the brisket panacea that we're all looking for.
Oh well, this is the first Food Lab overpromise I think I've ever seen. Still a great track record by the numbers!
@ goatboay - why not seal the second half in a bag and freeze without cooking first? It'll keep just as long as any other raw cut of meat (that is, pretty long since its vacuum sealed).
I'm from NJ and can honestly say that I've never had a smoked brisket that I would consider good. I'm not sure if it's because I don't favor the cut myself, or if it's because I've never encountered one that was cooked properly. Given my feelings towards smoked beef ribs, I have to assume that it's the latter.
I have tried a couple of briskets on my smoker but they generally come out a bit meh...enjoyable but nowhere near the effort/cost involved. Could be the fact that I can only get choice flats from my local grocery/Costco, nobody sells the point or higher quality flats.
In fact, I've stopped trying them altogether given how much work they are to do, and the low likelihood of ending up with a product I'm thrilled with.
This recipe could be the game changer! I guess I know what I'm doing this weekend!
I agree that NYC in general doesn't rate on the best hot dog scale. IMO
Haven't tried New England dogs so I can't opine but I have a feeling that they're probably one of those things you have to grow up with to appreciate.
Snow leopard vodka. 65% of the time it works every time...
So obvious and yet I've been doing this for a long time by only folding the sheet in half. Needless to say, my covers were pretty sad...deformed and uneven like a snowman on the first warm day after a snowstorm.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is awesome! I think I'm going to try out the various menus next week.
That said, the tofu scramble recipe has been killing me since you first published it. It looks amazing. I don't think I'll be able to wait to Wednesday for it and will have to give it a go this weekend.
Probably not the right place, but congratulations to Kenji on the James Beard nomination for The Food Lab.
Honestly, with all of the buzz the book has gotten thus far I would have been surprised had it not been nominated!
My very guiltiest pleasure...roasted chicken goes best with Stove Top 'stuffing'.
Also, you can keep your stinkin' biscuits! Fried chicken demands macaroni and cheese and southern style greens.
It may sound like I'm being terribly lazy but how about putting together an illustrative one week meal vegan plan for those of us who know nothing about how to switch over in a healthy way?
I love the notion of creating rich and flavorful vegan dishes but also know that I'm the type that will jump on pasta as the easy out and will likely not do a great job of making sure I'm getting adequate proteins, etc.
I used to date a girl named Allie until 2008 when she left me for some schlub she met while studying abroad in Italy...
I'm sure it's a different girl though.
Agreed that pulled pork generally doesn't hold more than a couple of days. I'll generally use leftovers to make an improvised Chinese bao filling by stir frying with onion, garlic and a little rice wine, hitting it with a good dose of hoisin, and finishing with chopped scallions. Delicious with homemade or store bought steamed buns. Hoisin has such a powerful flavor that it doesn't really matter if the pork is already mixed with a sauce or not. Vinegar or sweet sauce doesn't matter either, as they're both flavors that work in this context.
You may want to keep your pants on while preparing this meal due to the potential for splattering bacon grease, errant melted cheese, and inadvertent contact with hot oven bits. Feel free to remove your pants prior to consumption.
Also, nachos for one? nachos eaten without pants? What is the SE team trying to imply about those of us who love nachos?
Looks good. I think I'll add this to the Super Bowl menu.
Any recommendations for cooking the shrimp in a water bath? 130F or so for 20 minutes-ish?
Oof. Greasy potato chips drenched in butter. I don't even want to know what this feels like on the way down/out.
Still, it will likely make an appearance on my super bowl table.
@MrsSell - you might just need to find a new supermarket. Split chicken breasts (bone-in and skin on) are by no means uncommon. All of the supermarkets by me carry them.
Check to see if they might be kept on the lower shelves with the whole chickens and bulk packs. They're not usually kept with the boneless/skinless stuff.
I absolutely love tongue but admit that the texture can be a little disconcerting once you know what it is.
Once people know they're eating tongue, it's very hard not to notice that the texture...is exactly like a tongue.
This is why I think that people find lengue tacos or sandwiches more acceptable than most other preparations despite the fact that tongue is absolutely glorious in a stew-like braise. The small pieces and tortilla/bread help to provide some contrast to the texture of the meat.
@pamelalund: freezer to plate is a huge benefit of sous vide. I'll load up on meat, etc. from the warehouse store and vacuum seal in individual servings for this purpose. An added benefit is that having everything in bags makes freezer organization really easy (just make sure to label your meats so you remember what is what!).
Also, don't forget about the fact that a water bath is one of the best ways to reheat or hold food.
Meats can be reheated straight from the fridge to a perfect 130. They'll be as juicy and moist as they were when first cooked and there's no risk of overcooking or drying out. Leftover prime rib reheated in it's own jus is my favorite way to do a french dip.
Things like mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, stove-top mac and cheese, etc. can all be made hours ahead of time, plopped into a bag, and held in a water bath. Transfer to a bowl for service and they'll be as good as freshly made. No drying out or risk of burning and you'll get to reclaim your stove space. Really helpful if you do big menus for holidays, etc.
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