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Jan 30, 2012 08:45 PM

Sous vide to reheat BBQ?

Have you ever tried or heard about using sous vide to reheat bbq? Thought it would be able to bring the meat back up to temp without drying it out. Any thoughts? Would it work? Approximate temps and time for ribs? Chicken?

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  1. It should work just fine for reheating. As far as temps, I'd go 5-10 degrees below the original "done" temp, so for example if you're doing your chicken (sous vide) to 140 (yes people this is below the recommended temp because it is held at that temp for a longer period of time - but that is a different thread) then I would reheat to say 135. The length of time will depend on what you are reheating - whole breasts - bone in - etc. I know not super helpful.

    Just know that any crunchy exterior bits from your BBQ will not necessarily be so crunchy after reheating sous vide - though reheating in general has a tendency to ruin crunchy bits.

    1 Reply
    1. re: thimes

      Maybe drop it under the broiler for a couple minutes after to get the crunchy bits... Good point. Thanks!

    2. A simpler way to do it -- with the same idea as sous vide -- is simply to put your bbq in a ziploc bag and run it under some hot water from the faucet.

      Quicker, simpler and just as effective as sous vide.

      6 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Excellent. But make sure that bag is tightly sealed.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          I've tried this and never got the meat warm enough--how long do you do it? Do you know what temperature your hot water is? I always felt bad letting the water run for that long. I've thought about heating up water in a crock pot and putting the meat in the zip lock bag in that.

          1. re: chowser

            Hey, that's a good solution, chowser. A microwave is another good bet: but lay the bag flat and pierce with a fork; cover with a wet paper towel.

            1. re: mamachef

              I have one of the food saver vacuum machines. I frequently use it to package leftovers (including barbeque) to freeze and just throw the bag into a pot of boiling water to reheat. It works very well.

            2. re: chowser

              Most home kitchen have tap water with max temp between 100 and 130 degrees. Easiest way to know for sure is to check it with a thermometer. Mine seems to average around 115.

              To warm food under running water, keep it in a bowl or pot, completely submerged (in its bag), How long depends on the thickness of the food in question. You are generally correct that one downside of this option is that you wind up leaving hot water running for a fairly long time.

              1. re: chowser

                Let the meat come to room temp first and it works like a charm.

                But your method, chowser, of dunking it in a pot of warmed-up water would work well also.

            3. I've reheated many many pounds of pulled pork sorta that way. I seal it in foodsaver-type bags (different brand, heavier plastic, compatible and cheaper) and freeze. Then to reheat I let them mostly thaw in the refrigerator, then toss the bags in a huge vat of boiling water.

              Nothing dries out and since I'm not holding it for hours and hours it doesn't overcook.

              I've also done that a few times for ribs but ribs need a little time under a broiler or on a grill grate to firm up the bark.

              1. You can indeed use SV to reheat BBQ meats. One downside of this approach is that if you've managed to create and maintain much of a crispy bark, SV is not ideal for keeping that. A low temp oven might be better. SV is quite good as bringing meat up to temp without drying it out.

                As to what temp: that depends. You're reheating, not cooking, so technically most meats that have already been cooked through (be they chicken, beef, pork, etc) register as hot enough to enjoyably eat warmed to 125 at center. If OTOH you want to re-pasteurize for whatever reason, 131 is the minimum temp to do so.

                If you want to really mimic the exact internal warmth of a meat coming right from the BBQ, then you'd cook chicken to maybe 160, ribs to at least 180, brisket to 190, etc. But that seems like overkill to me since most people let their meats rest and cool a bit before eating em anyway.

                How long to cook it depends on whether or not your bath is circulated and the thickness of the meat in question. Keep in mind that you don't have to pasteurize (unless you want to). You can extrapolate warming times to the center of foods by thickness by looking at Douglas Baldwin's pasteurization tables in 'A Practical Guide to Sous Vide.'

                You're probably best off just pretending that bone conducts heat at the same rate that the rest of the meat does (it doesn't). But anyway - for ribs 3/4 inches thick, they'd warm through fully in about 45 minutes. After 25 or 30 minutes, I doubt most people would notice any problem - the center of the bone might still be a little cooler is all. Chicken - depends on thickness - 30 to 70 or so.

                ETA: I wouldn't use SV to reheat a whole, intact chicken BTW.

                1. Interesting thread!

                  Made some beautiful texas brisket a week or two ago; ate lots, froze the rest in roughly 1/2 lb amounts, packed fairly flat into vac-sealed bags.

                  I'm guessing that per bag, it should go from freezer to completely heated up at about, what, 30 mins at 150F? Only occurred to me today that the SV might be the best reheater on the planet. Good thing that I'm extraordinarily good looking; I'm certainly not the brightest tool in the shed.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: biggreenmatt

                    Depends on thickness and whether the brisket is still frozen when you put it in the bath. If not frozen, I suspect 30 minutes will be plenty of time to for most ways you could cut 1/2 lb chunks of brisket. If frozen, you might have to double the time to guaranty even heating. In either case, the temperature of the bath will only have a minor effect on how long you need to reheat, since you're not trying to pasteurize.