Blog - Sous Vide & BBQ

Sous Vide and BBQ - A Perfect Culinary Pairing

Using Sous Vide to create gourmet meals is currently the biggest trend in cooking. Thanks to the generosity of ChefSteps, I have had the pleasure of using their new, and easy to use, Joule. You (like some others that I know) must be wondering what it is, and how to cook Sous Vide. Hearing terms like water bath and bag can make you imagine some horrific boil-in-a-bag meal. *Shudder. Sous Vide is much more than that. Discover how Sous Vide and Grilling are a perfect culinary pairing, and how to use your Sous Vide unit with your grill for the best meals ever.


Sous Vide Defined

[ soo veed ]

Sous Vide is a French term that means “under vacuum”. When cooking Sous Vide, you seal your food in a plastic bag, or food saver – vaccu-sealer, or even canning jars, submerging them in a water bath. This water bath is kept at a precise temperature by a Sous Vide unit like Joule by ChefSteps. The newest Sous Vide units are controlled by wifi or Bluetooth; they take water in, heat it to a specific temperature, and circulate it out again. This keeps the water constantly moving; gently circulating it around the food you are cooking. Recipe for Sous Vide Turkey

Why is it so amazing?

Are you still thinking that this sounds like boil-in-a-bag? Stop - This is why Sous Vide cooking is so amazing. Smoking food low and slow produces incredibly tender results because the low temperatures allow the connective tissues of meat to relax, stretch out and let water in. You are basically doing the same thing when you cook Sous Vide.

Sous Vide Turkey


It gets better!

When cooking Sous Vide, the water temperature is set to the exact temperature that the food will be finished cooking at. This is the ideal doneness, texture, and temperature. The food cooks to that temperature and no further. This means that you will have to try very hard to overcook your meal. This also makes a Sous Vide cooker, like Joule, the ultimate slow cooker. It is the ultimate set and forget. Food can only get as hot as the water temperature, so if you get distracted by a phone call or something, coming back to your food 5, 10, and even 60 minutes after it’s “ready” won’t be a problem.

Think about it this way. When you cook using your grill or oven, you have to heat the grill, the air inside, and the cooking grids. Sometimes there’s even a pan to heat up too! Not only that, you have to heat these things far higher than the desired finished temperature of the food you are cooking. If you aren’t careful, you will end up with food that is done on the outside before the inside is even cooked at all! (Thank goodness we have recipes to follow!) Now water, it transfers heat much more efficiently. You can slow cook a roast, or reverse sear a steak using Sous Vide. These results are completely repeatable; meals will turn out virtually the same every time.

Sous Vide Pork Belly Sliders


Hey! I thought this was a grill blog!

What does all of this water cooking stuff have to do with your beautiful grill? EVERYTHING!! Cooking Sous Vide will render the tender, but there is no color or crunch from the Maillard Reaction. This browning reaction is what brings the big flavor to the table when you serve your meal. It adds the crunch, the toasty smell, the body, and bouquet to your meal, and makes it look great too. When your meal is finished in the water bath, it needs a sear to finish. That’s where your grill comes in! Preheat your grill to high, the infrared side burner is also a great tool for this part, and sear whatever it is you are serving over direct heat until grill marks form. Add extra-extra flavor by using a PRO Stainless Steel Smoker Tube filled with your favorite Wood Chips. Finishing only takes about two minutes per side over high heat, and you can skip leaving your steak on the grill or resting part. Sear and serve!


What Do I Need?

Sous Vide Cooker like Joule

Pot, Dutch oven, deep container


Vacuum bag, zip bag, mason jars




Don't be concerned about plastic - vacuum bags designed for food, saran wrap, and most popular zipper bags, made from Polyethylene and are used in bio labs, meaning that they are safe for use when cooking. Avoid products made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) found in cheap wraps. You will want to avoid BPA too.


Let’s get started!

Here’s how to use your Sous Vide cooker with your Grill.

  1. Following the directions with your cooker, preheat the water.

  2. Season the food you are cooking with salt and pepper, you can also add crushed garlic, sugar, aromatic herbs, oil, and even rubs or marinades. Rubs and marinades are best used in shorter cooks for things like chops and chicken breasts.

  3. Place the food into a vacuum bag or zip top bag. Remove as much air as possible before sealing

  4. Place the bagged food into your warmed water bath. If food floats, use a spoon inside the bag to weight it down. Clip the bag to the side of the water vessel using a binder clip or similar device.

  5. Go do something fun for a while, just set a timer so you remember to come back.

  6. When the time is up, remove the food from the water bath. Sear your meal on the grill to add that flavor that only your grill can provide. Keep any bagged juices for an awesome sauce.


Vacuum Bag
Water Bath


That is why you should cook Sous Vide and finish cooking your meal on the grill. Check out some of the delicious recipes we’ve been able to come up with while using the Joule Sous Vide cooker by ChefSteps.