Smoke Before or After Sous Vide: Which Way Is Better?

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French for “under vacuum,” sous vide is a culinary style that involves food being kept in airtight bags and bathing it in water at a high temperature. Smoking meat or seafood is the method of hanging it in a smoker while cooking it slowly and at a high temperature. 

So, combining these two extraordinary culinary methods will bring out more unique flavors to the dish. But the question arises, smoke before or after sous vide?

The answer lies in your personal preference. If you smoke the meat before sous vide, you’ll get an evenly enhanced smoky flavor, and if you do it afterward, the meat will have smoky bark as the smoke won’t reach the inner layers. While the former needs inspection, the latter needs high temperature.

Continue reading to know everything about smoking and sous vide and decide on your own which process fits you better.

Can You Sous Vide Before Smoking?

Can You Sous Vide Before Smoking

Sous vide cooking before smoking the meat is the preferable technique. The simplest way to prepare food is to sous vide it until it is perfectly soft, then let it set. It simply can be smoked for a little period to reach the correct temperature once it has cooled. 

While smoking after sous vide, take the meat from the smoker before the temperature of the meat reaches the sous vide level to prevent it from getting too stiff.

When compared to other procedures, particularly the conventional ones, it enhances the flavor of the minced meat. During cooking, you have the freedom to control the heat until the meat is properly cooked. 

One cannot often turn and examine the meat due to the temperature control. You need to follow this procedure to sous vide the meat and then smoke it.

  • Put the meat in the steam water to sous vide at a higher temperature than usual because of the later smoking process.
  • Sous vide the meat for 1 to 2 days. Then keep it in a cool place for some time to lower the temperature of the meat.  
  • Prepare the smoker and the woods and heat them at 225 °F.
  • Smoke the cooked meat for one hour, season it, and serve within 15 minutes.

Smoke Before Or After Sous Vide

Smoke Before Or After Sous Vide

Is It Better To Smoke Meat Before Or After Cooking? Many often ask this question when making smoky flavor meat in sous vide. Both serve well, depending on what you need or your convenience.

The infusion of smoky flavor is done with the smoking process. Oak, Maple, Pecan, Apple, Hickory, etc., smoking woods are used to smoke meats. There are three types of smoking methods.

Because raw meat is often chilly and moist, which facilitates the smoking procedure, smoking before cooking results in enhanced brown and smoke absorption. Smoking after cooking achieves much the same flavor without the flavor dilution issue.

Additionally, managing the pot-smoking process appears to be more straightforward.

Benefits Of Smoking Before Cooking

There are a lot of benefits of smoking meat beforehand. Some reasons are given below.

  • The meat soaks in the smoke, and a new smoky flavor is added to the dish.
  • Another advantage of smoking is that it keeps the juiciness from leaving the meat when the food is being cooked sous vide.
  • It takes less time to infuse the flavor, but maintaining the temperature needs precision; through practice, one can know how to do it. 
  • Compared to the ground or cooked meat, fresh beef absorbs smoke more quickly. Additionally, if you’re preparing food for a party, you don’t need to keep an eye on the smoking meat.

Benefits Of Smoking After Cooking

There are benefits of smoking after sous vide as well. Those are given below.

  • The process of leaving the meat in the steam water until it is ready to eat is a major advantage of this technique. 
  • When compared to smoking raw meats and cooked meat, smoking only slightly alters the smoke flavor since the cooked meat will develop a smokey outer part, but the flavor will likely not permeate thoroughly.
  • It requires a higher temperature than smoking beforehand.

There are many factors and differences between these two processes. But the chefs prefer the smoking before sous vide method. Because it adds more flavor.

Can You Sous Vide A Brisket After Smoking?

Yes! It would be the best decision to sous vide the smoked meat. Both the method mingles and imparts an amazing aroma to the brisket. To do this, you will need sous vide precision cooker. You will also need some ingredients that include-

Equipment and Ingredients
A moderate-sized brisket.
Half a cup of gochujang.
Half a cup of miso paste.

Follow this recipe to sous vide the perfect smoked brisket.

  • Smoke the brisket for five to six hours at 93°C until the internal temperature reaches at least two-thirds of the smoker’s temperature.
  • Set the sous vide cooker at 155°C.
  • Place the brisket in a sealed or zipper bag after removing it from the barbecue. If needed, cut the meat into substantial pieces.
  • Keep it like that for one and a half-day.

Can You Sous Vide Ribs After Smoking?

The sous vide process can be done both before and after smoking the ribs. The difference is that if you smoke then sous vide the ribs, it will have an enhanced smoky flavor. And if you sous vide it beforehand, you will get a better crust.

To sous vide ribs afterward, you need to first cold smoke the ribs. You can try this method if you have a cold smoker available near you.

  • Just add all the spices and marinate the ribs.
  • Then cook the ribs in a lower setting for three hours in a smoker.
  • Now vacuum-seal the ribs and put them in a sous-vide bath for 36 hours.
  • Then, place them on the grill to get a little bit of color and bark.
  • Finally, serve it with special barbeque sauce, and it’s good to go.

Sous Vide vs. Smoking: Differences and Similarities

Sous vide is a process where you bathe the meat at a high temperature to absorb the marination into the meat slowly. It is a slow process of cooking that requires a lot of time. On the other hand smoking, the meat can vary as there are three methods. Hot smoking doesn’t require much time and can be cooked within hours, imparting a smoky flavor and aroma. 

Let’s see the comparison of these two processes to get a more clear idea. 

ParametersSous VideHot Smoking
Flavor and colorSoaks in the marination and spices you add. So you can add whatever spices and herbs you want to get your required flavor. The color doesn’t change much.Provides a smoky and somewhat sweet flavor to the crust. The outer layer gets a nice brown color after cooking.
Time requirementIt might take 2 to 6 hours for vegetables but for meats, the time requirement is 1 to 2 days.It depends on the meats but usually, it takes 6 to 8 hours, but brisket might require more than 20 hours.
Cooks evenly, and internal temperature can be controlled YesNo
Moisture Stays Dries out.

How to Smoke After Sous Vide for the Perfect BBQ

How to Smoke After Sous Vide for the Perfect BBQ

The art of cooking a good barbecue involves two steps. The first is flavor enhancement, and the second is food tenderization to make it palatable.

A fantastic option to combine these 2 cooking methods is to soften the meat using the sous vide procedure and then flavor it with smokiness using the smoker. Cold, wet, uncooked meat usually takes in smoke better.

Since the usual temperature is between 150°F and 180°F and it requires more time for the meat to reach internal temperatures over 120°F. In such a situation, the ability to smoke beforehand means that the meat never rises above the goal sous vide temperature.

The unfortunate issue is that until you finish it properly, you won’t get the classic bark. If you have the time, you may put it in the refrigerator after Steaming and then smoke it again to bring it back to temperature. It involves a bit more effort and time synchronization, but it will give you a killer bark and a greater smokiness.


Simply seasons and smoke the meat for six to eight hours at 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Then sous vide at 132 degrees for one to two days. You can season again as you serve.


  • What are the benefits of smoking food?

The benefit of smoking is that fish and meat can be preserved if they are smoked nicely. The home smoking process can extend the shelf life in the refrigerator, despite the fact that it is not advised as a long-term preservation technique.

Smoking significantly reduces the amount of humidity that germs need for survival. The coating’s acidity also serves as a barrier against bacteria.

The smoky flavor, texture, and aroma are great benefits for making delicacies. And it is super convenient as well as affordable.

  • What are the demerits of smoking food?

The practice of smoking food has various drawbacks. Smoke particles from the smoking process enhance the incidence of tumors or even cancer.

The meat becomes drier throughout the smoking process, which may cause nutrients to be lost. Especially Thiamin and Vitamin C. As the nutrients are lost, and the food is dried out, it doesn’t even rot for months or even years.

Also, learning how to smoke meat or fish is dreadful and requires much attention. 

Final Words

Smoking the meat gives it that mouthwatering smoky-sweet flavor, while sous vide cooking guarantees that the meat is thoroughly cooked and perfectly soft. You may smoke before or after sous vide, and the dinner will always turn out perfectly.

You may merge sous vide and smoking techniques while preparing an extravagant item for an outside BBQ party or a get-together.