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roksmith
04-06-2011, 07:43 AM
I hate to even throw this out there because I think I know what most will think of the cooking method, but I've asked my local KCBS rep and it appears to be a legal cooking method so long as the water is not being kept to temperature via electric or gas.
I've played with the method and the end result is some pretty amazing chicken.
Anybody used the method either in competition or not?
What did you think?
And who would get upset if you were beat in a comp by them?

Big Poppa
04-06-2011, 09:33 AM
I love Sous-vide....Really unbelievable...but for comp I don tbe lieve that you can render the skin properly...if its legal now it wouldnt be after awhile

BBQ Grail
04-06-2011, 09:57 AM
Without electricity or gas how are you maintaining the constant low temperature required. With Sous-vide being able to maintain that temp is critical.

ammoore
04-06-2011, 10:06 AM
It would be interesting to give it a try. Who knows, you may start a chicken breast revolution.

Next thing you know people will be using the cryo-rendering technique on their thighs.

early mornin' smokin'
04-06-2011, 10:07 AM
just so that we're all on the same page, i have a couple questions. Now by sous-vide I can assume you're going to shoot for a 160 degree bath of water, in a 225 degree+ smoker. So you'll be vacuum sealing your thighs, breast, legs, whatever cut you're trying to cook, than place in a bath of water. How do you plan on regulating the temps of the water, and keeping it consistent, ice?

AZScott
04-06-2011, 10:09 AM
The heating element couldn't be electric. For sous vide, if you can maintain that temp in a smoker for a long period of time he'd be good to go from what I know of the rules. I don't believe that there is a rule against putting your meat in a bag, vacuuming it and dropping it into circulating water around 140 for a long time. Technically, it's so far removed from bbq. I think since it's cooked submerged underwater in a bag that all of us know how the ruling would come down on this one.

Ah here we go. I looked at the rules KCBS 2011:

8. Parboiling and/or deep‐frying competition meat is not
allowed.

I really think that rule, while a lawyer may argue it, would cover sous vide.

Alexa RnQ
04-06-2011, 10:14 AM
Technically, it's so far removed from bbq.

And therein lies the rub. While gains may be made on tenderness, how will sous vide chicken approximate smoked chicken in the other attributes?

Never underestimate the power of a judge who knows perfectly well when "that ain't BBQ".

roksmith
04-06-2011, 10:22 AM
The experiments we did with legal methods used a cambro drink cooler to hold the water.
Fill with 160 degree water, drop in the chicken in vacuum sealed bags. The temp drops to about 155 degrees when the chix drops in. Then the cambro only allows the temp to drop about a degree an hour or so. Chicken thighs are done at about 2 hours.. but can sit in there for 3 or 4 no problem. Then finish on high heat for about 15 minutes to dry it out a bit then sauce for another 15 min or so. Thighs end up almost the same size cooked as they were raw and juicy as can be. Breasts would need to be cooked at a lower temp I believe. Probably in the 145 degree range.

There are interesting articles out there using beer coolers to hold the water.. I tried that once, but of course igloo coolers don't hold quite as well as cambro coolers, so I had to add a little hot water part way thru.

The skin is bite thru.. so tender it's almost non-existent.

We're actually experimenting with it more for possible catering gigs.. thoughts are if we can bag chicken for a hundred and cook them in a big coffin cooler hours in advance, then a few minutes on a grill to finish them off, it really makes cooking chicken for a big group easy and the product is awesome.
That's what got us thinking about using it for comps.

roksmith
04-06-2011, 10:28 AM
And therein lies the rub. While gains may be made on tenderness, how will sous vide chicken approximate smoked chicken in the other attributes?

Never underestimate the power of a judge who knows perfectly well when "that ain't BBQ".

It's definitely a balancing act.. and to be sure, something is surely lost by only seeing smoke for part of the cooking process.. but it is similar in that regard to folks braising in foil or pans. The question is can you make it up in seasoning? I guess the judges would have to answer that if/when it hit's their table.
I do like the fact that the smoke flavor that is lost is replaced by the flavor of chicken since little to no juices are lost in the cooking precess.

roksmith
04-06-2011, 10:36 AM
Ah here we go. I looked at the rules KCBS 2011:

8. Parboiling and/or deep‐frying competition meat is not
allowed.

I really think that rule, while a lawyer may argue it, would cover sous vide.

Yea.. and I don't want to really get into an argument over semantics... but boiling can't occur at 160 degrees.. at least on this planet.
But that's the reason I asked my local KCBS rep prior to even considering the cooking method. He did tell me it's a legal method.
I also agree it's certainly not traditional bbq, but neither is building franken-chickens and braising in butter.
What got me looking at it was a conversation on this forum where someone was questioning the butter braise method and it was compared to sous vide cooking. so I thought I'd give it a shot.

If I were to try it in competition I may want to clear the method with the reps for every event I intend on entering. No method is worth a DQ.:icon_blush:

Slamdunkpro
04-06-2011, 10:49 AM
The heating element couldn't be electric. For sous vide, if you can maintain that temp in a smoker for a long period of time he'd be good to go from what I know of the rules. I don't believe that there is a rule against putting your meat in a bag, vacuuming it and dropping it into circulating water around 140 for a long time. Technically, it's so far removed from bbq. I think since it's cooked submerged underwater in a bag that all of us know how the ruling would come down on this one.

Ah here we go. I looked at the rules KCBS 2011:

8. Parboiling and/or deep‐frying competition meat is not
allowed.

I really think that rule, while a lawyer may argue it, would cover sous vide.

People are poaching chicken in oil and poaching their briskets in juice now. Competitors routinely braise their ribs and butts. It's not parboiling since you never hit 212 and the meat isn't exposed to the water.

Sounds like it's legal (until someone complains)

musicmanryann
04-06-2011, 10:53 AM
The experiments we did with legal methods used a cambro drink cooler to hold the water.
Fill with 160 degree water, drop in the chicken in vacuum sealed bags. The temp drops to about 155 degrees when the chix drops in. Then the cambro only allows the temp to drop about a degree an hour or so. Chicken thighs are done at about 2 hours.. but can sit in there for 3 or 4 no problem. Then finish on high heat for about 15 minutes to dry it out a bit then sauce for another 15 min or so. Thighs end up almost the same size cooked as they were raw and juicy as can be. Breasts would need to be cooked at a lower temp I believe. Probably in the 145 degree range.

There are interesting articles out there using beer coolers to hold the water.. I tried that once, but of course igloo coolers don't hold quite as well as cambro coolers, so I had to add a little hot water part way thru.

The skin is bite thru.. so tender it's almost non-existent.

We're actually experimenting with it more for possible catering gigs.. thoughts are if we can bag chicken for a hundred and cook them in a big coffin cooler hours in advance, then a few minutes on a grill to finish them off, it really makes cooking chicken for a big group easy and the product is awesome.
That's what got us thinking about using it for comps.

It would probably work as well to put vac bags in water pan in cooker with a stoker or guru probe dunked in the water, no?

roksmith
04-06-2011, 10:58 AM
yea.. actually that would work just fine as well if you've got a cooker that you can dedicate to it and run it at 150 degrees.
We just use a cooler because we have several of those laying around and cooler holds long enough at temp for chicken.

Smokedelic
04-06-2011, 10:59 AM
...good luck with that!

FltEng
04-06-2011, 12:35 PM
I love the sous vide method of cooking; my favorite is tri-tip cooked for 2 hours at 135 degrees and then reverse seared over a rockin hot grill of pecan wood. I do chicken the same way and it always comes out awesome. As far as using it in a competition if you could maintain the water temperature using wood based fuel there should not be a problem since you are not parboiling (i.e. water never touches the meat and the h2O is not at 212 anyway). The biggest hurdle is the smoke flavor and the bite though of the skin which really should not be too hard to overcome.

MoKanMeathead
04-06-2011, 01:20 PM
It may be leagal but...why? Why not just cook it on a smoker like everyone else?

deepsouth
04-06-2011, 05:17 PM
sous vide = hottubbing?

musicmanryann
04-06-2011, 05:40 PM
sous vide = hottubbing?

Close, sous vide = 'boy in the bubble' hottubbing. :becky:

Scottie
04-06-2011, 06:06 PM
I've cooked chicken that way when I was playing with breasts. Quite possibly the most tender chicken i have ever had. Looks wise, it was not appealing though..... as for my method, I'll keep that under wraps. But it was legal KCBS cooking.... very very tender. As someone said, can't even tell there was skin it was so rendered.

ique
04-06-2011, 06:51 PM
Bad idea, dont bother. :-P :icon_shy

Spruce-Ridge-Smokers
04-06-2011, 06:56 PM
I've cooked chicken that way when I was playing with breasts. Quite possibly the most tender chicken i have ever had. Looks wise, it was not appealing though..... as for my method, I'll keep that under wraps. But it was legal KCBS cooking.... very very tender. As someone said, can't even tell there was skin it was so rendered.

You are certainly correct about the appearance aspect; sous-vide cooking itself is generally straight-forward, but getting things to appear "palatable" can be somewhat time consuming and requires creativity.

This has been an interesting thread that now has me thinking about setting a sous-vide bath on the firebox of my Klose (legal; wood-heat). It would be fairly straight-forward to control the temperature by moving the pan around. I suppose you could even run a thermal-circulator legally if you used just the pump and not the heating element. Great; one more thing to haul to a comp.

Personally, I am not sure sous-vide techniques would truly provide a competitive advantage at a comp given the "smoke" challenge, but I do hope that the KCBS board clarifies the issue before it becomes a "pork collar" ... so to speak.

Brian

boogiesnap
04-07-2011, 12:52 AM
an honest question from the OP, i am on board with, but...
if this cooking method is to be used against me in a competition i can only feel that such devious circumvention of the spirit(and or KCBS rules)of BBQ has been so far bastardized as to take away any pleasure in cooking BBQ as a competitor.

i mean, we cook meat over fire, we're not attorneys looking for loopholes in the law.

at least the parkay bath is heated by natural fire.

anybody practicing this method, legal or not, is not BBQing their food and is a fraud.

really??!!!, cooking chicken in a cambro/cooler at a BBQ competition?????

this makes pork collar a farking parking citation.

as far as catering BBQ is concerned, it is a brilliant idea.

Crash
04-07-2011, 04:08 AM
If it's within the rules, I say so be it! Can't argue with that.

Is it true BBQ....hell no! Sounds like it is acceptable and used in competitions though.

Is competition Que really true BBQ anyways....just saying.

Mister Bob
04-07-2011, 07:27 AM
Legal competition methods include steaming in foil and poaching in pans (even muffin pans), wrapped tight in foil and plastic, etc. to keep the food moist and tender. You can give you chicken a butter bath, so why not a water bath?

BBQ comps have gotten so far away from traditional BBQ with equipment and cooking methods anyway, that I don't think Sous Vide is that far of a stretch. I think it will be considered legal. Good luck with that.

boogiesnap
04-07-2011, 08:03 AM
"fraud" might be a bit harsh.

it just seems to me to deviate just a little too far from the spirit of the thing.

but if it's legal, i suppose the people using it might be the smart ones.:boxing:

farkin chicken.

Spruce-Ridge-Smokers
04-07-2011, 10:29 AM
"fraud" might be a bit harsh.

it just seems to me to deviate just a little too far from the spirit of the thing.

but if it's legal, i suppose the people using it might be the smart ones.:boxing:

farkin chicken.

All excellent points. Hopefully the next version of the KCBS rules will equate sous-vide to parboiling, and this nascent controversy will never grow into a problem. It is a wonderful technique in the kitchen with the proper equipment, but it could be potentially hazardous with a cobbled-up setup at a comp; poisoning the judges is always bad policy. :roll:

Brian

early mornin' smokin'
04-07-2011, 10:45 AM
If you see me with a vac sealer at a comp this year come over and ask questions!

Lake Dogs
04-07-2011, 12:27 PM
is chicken really barbecue anyway?


*ZAP*

brotherbd
04-07-2011, 01:07 PM
Just starting to use my UDS, but I do know mine will hold a low 150-160 temp for hours. I have had problems getting to go out with all air intakes closed and half of my vent holes covered. Seems a pan with water and bird bags would have no problem meeting the coal or wood heat source required by KCBS.

Blessings,

ammoore
04-07-2011, 01:12 PM
Legal competition methods include steaming in foil and poaching in pans (even muffin pans), wrapped tight in foil and plastic, etc. to keep the food moist and tender. You can give you chicken a butter bath, so why not a water bath?

BBQ comps have gotten so far away from traditional BBQ with equipment and cooking methods anyway, that I don't think Sous Vide is that far of a stretch. I think it will be considered legal. Good luck with that.


I couldn't agree more....and I'm as guilty as the next guy.

boogiesnap
04-07-2011, 01:32 PM
Just starting to use my UDS, but I do know mine will hold a low 150-160 temp for hours. I have had problems getting to go out with all air intakes closed and half of my vent holes covered. Seems a pan with water and bird bags would have no problem meeting the coal or wood heat source required by KCBS.

Blessings,



agreed, good point.

i should have thought a bit more before speaking...

my apologies to anyone who does in fact use this method. it does appear quite legal and not that far off from other BBQ deviations we use in competition.

best of luck to all!

Spruce-Ridge-Smokers
04-07-2011, 05:11 PM
In looking at the posts on this topic, at best, sous-vide probably falls into a gray area in the rules (at this point in time anyway). In other words we could all spend countless hours arguing about it to no avail. Leaving the rule issue aside for a moment, I truly feel the bigger issue could ultimately be food safety.

While there are almost certainly more experienced chefs than myself on this forum who could speak more eloquently about sous-vide safety, I do have several years of experience cooking proteins sous-vide, and I utilize a full-blown commercial sous-vide setup. I also have had formal training in commercial (restaurant) food safety.

The potential problem I see is that at a comp, it is going to be challenging to put in place two of the hallmarks of sous-vide cooking, i.e. precise temperature control and water-circulation to ensure that the food is uniformly cooked. By its very nature, sous-vide is an almost perfect technique for growing truly nasty bugs; low temperature and a moist, virtually anaerobic environment. And let us not forget that in some cases "comp" kitchens aren't quite as clean and free of cross-contamination as a well-run home or commercial kitchen. In other words, what you put in the "bag" may already have one strike against it from a food safety standpoint.

With careful temperature monitoring and proper attention to "cold spots", chicken, or any of the other three meats could certainly be cooked safely sous-vide at a comp; my concern is that the safety margin is much smaller than normal given the low-end temps, potentially long cook-times and very low-oxygen environment. In a commercial kitchen, sous-vide cooking temperatures are maintained, literally, to the 10th of a degree; in order to remain "legal" at a comp we have to utilize a much more variable heat source (i.e. wood/charcoal). I just hope that anyone who does cook sous-vide at a comp reads up on the technique, is aware of the potential dangers, and works to minimize them.

Just my .02; I am going to keep cooking my chicken in the pit until I see a "Water-Bagger" walk ahead of me at a comp. :boxing:

Brian

kcmike
04-07-2011, 06:01 PM
I've cooked chicken that way when I was playing with breasts....

:becky: :becky: :becky: :becky: :becky: :becky: :becky: :becky: :becky: