Even though cranberries are a staple for turkey (I love this sauce when I do sous vide Thanksgiving dinner) they are often overlooked for more traditional sauces. Their combination of tartness and mild fruitiness is a great complement to many BBQ sauces. I like to serve this BBQ on a smoked and sous vided brisket but it's also amazing on sous vide turkey.
BBQ brisket is traditionally smoked for several hours over low heat until the meat is fall-apart tender. I usually don't have the time to smoke a brisket for that long so I turn to sous vide. I smoke the brisket for 30 to 60 minutes ahead of time, then seal it in a sous vide bag and cook it for up to 3 days. You can dive more into how best to combine smoke and sous vide.
The temperature and time you sous vide the brisket for depends on what texture you want the final dish to have. For a melty, steak-like texture, cook the brisket at around 131°F (55°C) for 36 to 60 hours.
A more traditional, fall-apart texture will occur when cooked at 175°F (79.4°C) for 12 to 24 hours. A good in between texture is achieved at 150°F (65.6°C) for 18 to 36 hours.
The longer the brisket cooks, the more tender it will become so an 18 hour cook will be firmer than a 36 hour cook at the same temperature. For a smoked brisket like this one served with BBQ sauce I will usually do 150°F (65.6°C) for 18 to 36 hours.
You can smoke the sous vided brisket for as long as you want, some people go up to 2 to 4 hours. Just make sure when you smoke the brisket the internal temperature doesn't go above what you will be sous viding it at.
If you don't have a smoker you can add some liquid smoke to the sous vide bag. It can't replace a real smoking but it works great when you're in a rush!
As I said, I also love this cranberry sauce on a sous vide turkey breast or sous vide turkey leg as well.
The cranberry sauce is thickened with xanthan gum but you can also cook it for longer to thicken and reduce it, if you do not have xanthan gum on hand.
This sous vide brisket is great on sandwiches, over macaroni and cheese, or just by itself with a side of coleslaw or potato salad!
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Ingredients for Sous Vide Brisket with Cranberry BBQ Sauce
- 2-3 pounds beef brisket
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Because they use modernist ingredients, these amounts for this component are given in metric by weight. Learn more about how to measure modernist ingredients for more information.
- 170g fresh cranberries
- 180g orange juice, 3/4 cup
- 230g water, 1 cup
- 100g ketchup
- 75g brown sugar
- 20g balsamic vinegar
- 28g garlic, 5-6 cloves chopped
- 5g ancho chile powder
- 1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce
- 0.9g xanthan gum, 0.2%
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Arugula or other bitter greens
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Cooking Instructions for Sous Vide Brisket with Cranberry BBQ Sauce
At least 18 to 36 hours before serving
Prepare a smoker over the lowest heat it works at. Preheat a water bath to 150°F (65.6°C).
Mix together the spices in a bowl. Lightly salt and pepper the brisket then coat with the spices. Place the brisket in the smoker and smoke for 30 to 60 minutes, ensuring the temperature of the meat stays below the temperature you will be sous viding it at.
Once the smoking is done place the brisket in a sous vide bag and seal. Cook the brisket for 18 to 36 hours, until it is tender. For more information on the cooking times you can read my detailed article which addresses why is there a range in sous vide cooking times.
At least 15 minutes before serving
Combine the cranberries, orange juice, and water in a pot and bring to a boil, let simmer until the cranberries have popped and released their juices. Blend in the remaining ingredients with an immersion blender until thoroughly mixed and the sauce is smooth. Let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes for the flavors to meld then remove from the heat. The Cranberry BBQ sauce will keep in an airtight container placed in the refrigerator for at least a week.
Remove the cooked meat from the sous vide bag and pat dry. Lightly salt the outside then quickly sear it until the meat is just browned. Cut the brisket across the grain into thin slices.
Place some arugula on a plate and top with several brisket slices. Drizzle the cranberry BBQ sauce over the top then sprinkle with the salt and parsley. Add the coleslaw then serve.