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I am planning on cooking a pork rack (pork crown). I like the precision of sous-vide, but I also like having a smokey flavor by using smoking chips.

So I am faced with a dilemma: Either grill the rack the traditional way, adding smoking chips throughout the process or cooking sous-vide, cooling down in an ice bath and making the crust on a grill for say 30min while also smoking some chips.

Would 30 min on the grill be enough for the smokey flavor? Or should I dispense sous-vide in this situation favoring thoroughly smoking the meat? Or should I try to compromise, by having very low heat in the gas grill, turning on only one burner and using indirect heat to have a sort of slow cook?

I only have a gas grill and smoke chips, I don't actually have a smoker.

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You can either smoke meats before or after sous vide. Of course, smoking before means you have to pay closer attention to the danger zone. As you point out, you are not really smoking, rather you are grill-roasting to finish the exterior of your crown roast. In this case, I would just do it after the cook step. Just add some wood chips to your grill. You will pick up some smokey flavor in even a shorter time than you suggest. Be careful, though. Your challenge will be to achieve the right balance between exterior crust and interior temperature without ruining the work you put in to sous vide in the first place.

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A small shot of liquid smoke added to the bag before cooking the rack sous vide will give it a mild smokiness that captures most of the flavors of real outdoor cooking.

With a grill and wood chips you can still impart some flavor. Try to keep the temperature low (say 300°F) to avoid negating the effect of low and slow sous vide. To avoid drying it out, don't post-sous vide smoke it for more than 3 hours.

If you want the deepest smoke flavor you would want to smoke the meat from raw and could use the sous vide to finish it off (the flavorful compounds in smoke will adhere to and penetrate raw meat much better than they will cooked meat).

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  • I don't have liquid smoke. I take it from your answer, that I can't have perfect smoke and sous-vide simultaneously and should just do a regular grill, if I want sufficient smokey flavor is that correct? – user1721135 Dec 24 '19 at 10:46
  • Flavor is often a personal preference. Just as you can experiment with different types of wood chips to smoking with, I would encourage you to try sous vide + smoking and see if you find a combination that satisfies your palate. – Matthew K Dec 25 '19 at 17:44

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