It's been awhile since I last wrote an article and wanted to change it up a bit and talk about one of my other passions.......BBQ! It's the end of summer and I know a lot of you have put down some delicious BBQ and I wanted to share a hack that I think everyone BBQ'er or cook needs to know about!
Time is precious so make the most out of whatever you're doing! My family consists of three small children, my wife, and I, and for the longest time I only smoked what we could eat that day and have some left overs for another meal or two. We'd continue eating it for like 3 days straight and then we had to change it up. I hate wasting food in general, but it hits even harder when you spent hours and hours on it just to throw some of it away. Then one day someone made a post in one of the boards I'm in about a Sous Vide and it caught my attention, but not to cook food. What I was interested in was reheating frozen BBQ without it drying out. I immediately went to Amazon and searched for a Sous Vide and all kinds of them came up. I knew I didn't want to spend a lot of money because I wasn't going to use like most people, so I settled on one for $69.99.
I'm sooooooo glad I found and bought this little gadget! I had known about Souv Vide's for awhile, but had zero interest in cooking something in a bag regardless of how tender it could come out. That's just out of the realm of how I think about cooking. I know that there are tons of people that love slow cooking using this method and one of my buddies said he can make the most tender tri-tip, he even went as far as saying it would be the best tri-tip I'd ever have (Shawn, I'm still waiting to try it ;)). Again, I was only interested in reheating food so as soon as it came in I started planning my next cook!
I should back up here and say that I already had a vacuum sealer that I mainly used to buy bulk meat to freeze, so you will need to purchase one if you don't already have one because freezer burn will ruin what you're trying to accomplish.
I'm pretty sure my first smoke I did to test this out was pork shoulder, 2 of them because I knew I was going to freeze a lot. I usually use yellow mustard as a binder on all of my pork then apply my rub(s). I have used a ton of rubs and my favorite pork rub was R Butts R Smokin' Cherry Habanero and I still love that rub, but I just discovered Meat Church Honey Hog and that rub is delicious!! I smoke at 225-250 until internal temperature hits at least 165, but more importantly I make sure I have the bark I want (sometimes it will take up to 175 IT). Then I place it in a foil pan on a rack so it's not sitting in liquid, add in a little apple juice, cover with foil and let it ride until I start probing at 195 IT. It could go well over 200 until it probes tender, but historically 203-205 has been the sweet spot.
After we ate, I put all of the leftovers in a zip lock and put it in the fridge (meat needs to fully cooled down before vacuum sealing). The next day I broke out the vacuum sealer and started portioning out meal sized portions, vacuum sealed, wrote what it is and the date, then placed it in the freezer. Fast forward 3 weeks later and we're pressed on time to make dinner after coming home from work late so I pulled out the Sous Vide (had to read the directions to understand how to use this thing), grabbed a big pot, and a bag of pulled pork from the freezer. It could not have been any easier, just add warm/hot water in a pot, drop in the Sous Vide, the pork, and set for 190 degrees. It took a total of 45 minutes and it ready to eat! All of the meat reheated in it's own juices....mmmmm. Grabbed the Hawaiian rolls we had and made pulled pork sliders.....it tasted exactly like when I first made it!!! Kids devoured it and I knew right there I needed to change my BBQ game.
Having the Sous Vide has opened up all kinds of options for us even outside of my BBQ, basically all of our leftovers are portioned out, vacuum sealed, and put in the freezer. We do this so often that we had to buy a separate freezer!
I told my wife, from now on every time I'm going to smoke something I'm doing a big cook!
Here are some examples that I think everyone can relate to:
We sheltered in place at my buddies house in Clearlake and I loaded up my Yeti full of already cooked frozen BBQ/meals so we didn't have to go out to eat. After work every night the whole family went out on the boat to either fish, swim, or both, and before we left I put whatever we were eating into the Sous Vide and set it to run for like 5 hours so I didn't have to worry about it. The beauty of the Sous Vide is that it won't over cook your food, it will hold it at whatever temperature you set it at so when we come back home and everyone is starving all we had to do was cut open the bag, make a side, and grub!
For Labor Day we went to our friends family cabin for the long weekend and our turn to make dinner was on the second night. So a day before we left I smoked 6 racks of ribs. I gave a rack each to two of my neighbors, ate some for dinner, and then vacuum sealed and took the rest with us to the cabin. We played in the pool all day and let's just say drinks were flowing all day. When it was dinner time the Sous Vide did it's thing with the ribs and we quickly made some rice, salad, and garlic bread. A dinner for 8 adults and 10 kids was done in about 30 minutes (I didn't freeze the ribs) and of course it was delicious!
Using a microwave or the oven to reheat my BBQ is a thing of the past at the Malinao house so if you're like me and hate dry reheated food I'd strongly advise picking up a Sous Vide.
Right now, my wife and I are eating healthy and focused on losing weight. One of the things I'm working on is cooking our meals in large batches and vacuum sealing them the same way a frozen meal you'd buy at the grocery store where everything is compartmentalized. If I can figure that out without getting freezer burn we're going to be eating quality healthy meals that take 30-45 to Sous Vide reheat! Stay tuned. Keep grilling my friends!