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I am going for a smoky and tender beef brisket cooked to ~200 degrees.

Sous Vide roughly calls for 5-6 hours of time for the brisket to come to temperature, however, I also want it to sit on the smoker (most recipes seem to call for liquid smoke).

My question is, should I put it on the smoker first and THEN Sous Vide it? My assumption is yes since the smoke will have an easier time penetrating the meat.

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Smoke first, then sous vide.

There are a few reasons as to why you could smoke first:

(i) It has been shown that cold food/meat will take on smoke flavor better than warm meat (Source: AmazingRibs)

(ii) If you do sous vide and then smoke, you might risk overcooking the meat since the temperature in your smoker can run higher than your sous vide. Doing sous vide last helps ensure that you have a meat that is at optimum temperature throughout.

(iii) You'll smoke early and while the meat is cooked sous vide, you can prepare other dishes for the meal. Could be quite messy if its the other way round!

p.s the brisket sounds delicious! Have fun! :)

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    +1 for all three very valid reasons. And and think real smoke is by far the right choice. Liquid smoke might be a lot easier, but I have never found anything made with it remotely edible. – dlb May 16 '17 at 12:21
  • @dlb cheers. I haven't had the chance to try anything added with liquid smoke (didn't notice any of it being available where I live.). How is it like when compared to a piece of meat smoked normally? – Jin May 17 '17 at 2:45
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    To me, liquid smoke is a very harsh, metallic, medicinal taste that has no place in my food. Some people have a lighter hand and get things to turn out to their taste, but it is just not my cup of tea at all. – dlb May 17 '17 at 19:44
  • The only thing it belongs in is BBQ sauce, and even then. Liquid smoke is cheating. – Taylor Ackley May 18 '17 at 21:46
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I have to disagree, sous vide first 129F 72 hours. It will be cooked and edible. Next cool down the brisket with cool water in the sous vide tank, remove wrapper, dry off and then prep as you would a raw brisket. Season with preferred rub and then place on the smoker. The bonus here is you do not have to get it to 200 as it is already cooked so you only need to get to 150 or so.

Method reference: http://sousvideresources.com/2017/06/18/sous-vide-beef-brisket-flat-sous-b-q-style/

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Short answer as already stated...definitely smoke first....and I agree on avoiding the liquid smoke as much as possible...

But I am curious. I assume you are only cooking a flat, and not a full brisket, unless you are planning to do this in a tub. And I also assume you are going more for a slow cooker style brisket, rather than a true BBQ brisket.

If not I don't know how you are going to get that delicious bark without the low and slow process. Either way I think you will wind up with some delicious meat....just to me they are completely different end products. And in my opinion, you can never go wrong sitting for the long haul and waiting...albeit impatiently... for the final product of a true 16 hour full brisket, melt in your mouth, dry rubbed goodness.

That said, if it is a time issue, there are some guys I know that will smoke a brisket at 350 degrees for about 3 hours, wrap and return for about another 2 until it gets to an internal temp of 205 then they take it off the smoker, wrap in a towel and let it rest in a cooler for up to 8 hours. It's still nice and toasty when it is served. In my opinion a little mushy, but so delicious!

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