Both smoking and sous vide are cooking methods that work slowly and deliver incredibly tender, flavorful results. But you don’t have to keep choosing between one or the other. In fact, you can combine sous vide and smoking to enjoy a delicious barbecue with your friends and family. Below are some tips that will show you how it can be done so you can get the tenderness that comes with sous vide and the flavor that comes with smoking.
How Does Smoking Work Compared to Sous Vide?
There are some differences that you should be aware of before you tackle sous vide and smoking when preparing your favorite BBQ recipes. Having this understanding can help you make the most of both of these cooking methods so you can achieve the best results.
There are different types of smokers on the market, but they all basically work by cooking ingredients at a low temperature for a long time. Smoke is produced in the process, and that smoke is absorbed by the ingredients so you can taste it when it’s all done cooking.
Although a lot of people like the results that come with smoking, they don’t like the amount of time that it takes. For this reason, they combine sous vide, which can cook your food in a short amount of time, with smoking so they don’t have to sacrifice the flavor.
With sous vide, you cook your main ingredients for a long time at a lower temperature. This helps ensure consistent results every time, and the food comes out tender, juicy, and full of flavor. It’s actually really difficult to mimic the results that you get from the sous vide method, which is why it’s so popular. And because it can give you the opportunity to indulge in restaurant quality meals right at home, more and more people are jumping on the sous vide bandwagon.
The nice thing about the immersion circulator is that it takes the guesswork out of the cooking process. Just set up your circulator in a pot of water. The water will then warm up to the right temperature, and the water will circulate throughout the pot. Also, once the water is heated to the exact temperature that you set, it remains at that temperature for the duration of the cooking time, even if it takes hours. This helps prevent your ingredients from being overcooked.
Cook Sous Vide First, Then Smoke
One technique that you can try when you start combining sous vide and smoking is to cook the ingredients sous vide style first before you smoke them. So, based on the type of protein that you’re cooking and the tenderness and texture that you want to achieve, you would set up your immersion circulator and let it get to work.
Once it’s done, you can take the ingredients out of the bag and put them into your smoker. Leaving them in there for about 30 minutes will likely be enough time to allow the smoky air to infuse additional flavor into your food. Plus, making sure you don’t leave the food in the smoker for too long will also ensure its internal temperature won’t go up too high, undoing the work that your sous vide cooker did.
Or, Try Smoking First, Then Sous Vide
Another method that you can try is smoking first before you cook your ingredients sous vide style. So, you would start by seasoning the protein, and then smoking it for anywhere from 6 to 8 hours. You can set the temperature anywhere from 150°F to 180°F.
It might take a little trial and error at first, but your goal should be to avoid letting the internal temperature of the food go beyond the temperature of your water bath for the sous vide part of the process. Then, depending on the ingredient that you’re cooking and the tenderness and texture that you want to achieve, you would set your sous vide immersion circulator to the appropriate temperature and time.
Give It a Try!
If you love the results that you get when preparing meals with your sous vide immersion circulator, but you miss the smoky flavor that comes from using a high-quality smoker, consider combining the two so you can have the best of both worlds.