Why You Should Sous Vide Pulled Pork

We should know better than to wade into a question like sous vide and pulled pork. Dishes traditionally associated with barbeque, whether it's ribs or brisket, are notorious for bringing out some hardcore opinions on the "right way" to do them. We won't argue that low and slow smoking isn't the best way to cook most barbecue classics; we won't even claim that sous vide pulled pork is barbecue, but sometimes smoking isn't an option, and sous vide has a lot to recommend on the low and slow front.

Sous vide is pretty simple in practice: it's the process of cooking food in water while sealed in an airtight bag. According to Bon Appétit, sous vide uses a machine to carefully control the temperature of the water the food is cooking in while vacuum-sealed bags contain the flavors, preventing their contact with water. This is unlike a braise, where the water in which the food is cooking takes on the flavors of the foods; for sous vide, the water is just a cooking medium. It's a process popular in restaurants for the amount of control it gives the cook, and it's well known for being a foolproof way to produce excellent steaks and delectably tender vegetables. Sous vide's advantages also happen to line up with almost everything you want when cooking pulled pork.

Sous vide pulled pork is low stress and precise

According to Serious Eats, cooking pulled pork sous vide allows you to easily maintain a precise temperature that is hard to achieve using other methods. This means you can pick the exact temperature you want for whatever texture of pulled pork you prefer, and strike the balance between juicy and pull-apart tender without the challenge of maintaining a live fire. And if you think you will miss that smoky flavor of barbecue, experiment with Liquid Smoke or a smoking gun. What you won't miss is the gut-wrenching experience of ruining half your day and an expensive cut of meat through overcooking. 

Sous vide is also far more hands-off than other styles of pulled pork. With a precisely maintained water temperature, there is no chance your pork is going to overcook, even if you leave it in a little too long. You can also leave sous vide running while you are out of the house, which you can't do when using a grill or oven. It might take quite a while longer to use sous vide, but the process requires almost no oversight, meaning it's easier to fit into a busy schedule. Yup, weeknight pulled pork, or ribs if you prefer them, is now a thing. Barbecue is great, but sous vide makes preparing pulled pork less of a project without losing any of the pleasure.