Author Topic: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question  (Read 18329 times)

Offline Pachanga

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To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« on: February 05, 2010, 10:04:19 am »
To Mop or Not to Mop – That is the Question

JF7FSU asked the following question in a thread titled “I Prefer to Smoke Totally Naked - A Brisket and Ribs Manifesto.”
http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=12455.0

Quote
“My only question is, so you really need to mop in the Bradley since you have a pan of water and it is sealed up?”

Since I have been asked this question several times in PMs, I decided to post this separately. (well Ok, the answer got a little out of hand)

JF7FSU,

Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and for your kind comments.  My writings cause me to reason through my thoughts, solidify them and prove them to myself.  When I put thoughts to paper, many times my thinking is adjusted or changed.   I share these papers with the board for those who are interested.  They are strictly meant to be informative.  I do not intend to target anyone else’s technique as wrong or suggest that my techniques are better.  .   

As far as mopping goes, I too have considered this question and pondered it for some time. I am a theorist and as such I have studied and formed strong opinions on many subjects.  Mostly, I try to think through subjects before I make an ignorant statement that shows my backside (of which I am most capable).  Here are my thoughts on mopping.  I am not trying to say I know it all but I have considered this subject in detail and have formulated some thoughts and theories.  These are just my views as I have fashioned them over time.  It is my opinion and I would enjoy hearing the thoughts of others.

Many definitions of barbeque state specifically that barbeque is a meat cooked low and slow over DRY HEAT (this is part of the official government definition as Caneyscud points out in his comments in the Manifesto thread).  In the early days of mass barbeque, meat was cooked over open pits in a single layer.  Early Q’ing was hot from the ground up and bending over was back breaking.  The only thing nice about the ground level design of the pits was a cotton kitchen mop was perfect for dabbing on the liquids that then became known as “mops.”  This single layer, dry heat method caused the invention of thin liquid concoctions to keep the meat moist on the outside while the inside was coming to temperature.   This “mop” became the art of mopping and led to all sorts of proprietary recipes.  In the day, mops were the top secret ingredient of fine barbeque.


Smaller open grills duplicated this pit design in a much smaller and more sanitary package for the backyard Q’er.  It also added the benefit of being counter height.  But the early grills were still open, uncovered grates over coals.  They were relegated to mostly hamburgers and hot grilling.  Only the brave attempted true barbeque.

The Weber Kettle Grill of the fifties added a domed lid along with top and bottom venting.  This changed things. 

I will digress a little here and state that the Mexicans were (and are) masters of barbeque and their techniques were different when making their famed barbacoa.  They covered the meat in fresh wet leaves (and more recently in wet burlap sacks) in an earthen pit which created a moist environment.  I will stipulate for the Hawaiian Playboy Ka Honu (also known as Blue Writer among Native American Indians) that the Hawaiians used a similar method.  He can enlighten us further on this method.  This was in effect a water smoker.

When Weber came along two things happened for the backyard Q’er.  Water could be added by introducing a water source and the expelled meat moisture, which heretofore had escaped to the winds, was captured beneath the lid.  A moist, closed environment was the result.  Interestingly enough, George Stephen, who worked in buoy manufacturing metal works (Weber Metal) made his grill to control wind and rain for grilling, not for slow barbequing.



Original Weber Grill made from a half of a buoy.

Now we come to the big iron and specifically to the Texas Pit Bosses and what I consider to be their product; Authentic Texas Barbequed Brisket and Ribs (defined in the Manifesto).  I defer to Texas Pit Barbeque because that is the regional style with which I am most familiar.  I would argue that when several pieces of meat are placed in the closed environment of a pit, a lot of moisture is expelled from the individual pieces of meat and a moist environment is created.  The moisture moves and circulates throughout the pit, mixes with the smoke and mops the meat.  While an offset pit produces a dryer heat (which can be modified), this moisture movement is especially true with vertical smokers where the meat drippings and condensation fall down to baste the meat underneath and eventually hit the box floor to sizzle, evaporate and circulate again.  I was fortunate to befriend some pit bosses who operated antique, blackened, well used brick vertical pits with large steel doors and I can assure you that when the pit doors were opened, a thick cloud of moisture came out without the use of a water source.

Now to the Bradley.  After smoking in the Bradley for a while, I realized that the Bradley is a miniature version of a Texas Pit Boss’s vertical smoker.  The more meat placed into the Bradley, the more it simulates a Texas Pit Boss’s method of smoking in a vertical smoker with heavy loads of meat emitting thick clouds of moisture.  Even without a load of meat, the moist environment is easy to control in the Bradley by the addition of a water source. Therefore, the Texas Pit Boss’s moist environment can be emulated with a single piece of meat.  This generates several questions in my mind. 

1.  Have we changed barbeque so much from the open pit days that we would not recognize it as the same product?   
2.  Why do we mop?
3.  Is mopping necessary in a water smoker?

The constant mopping in the original open pits created an envelope of moisture on and around the barbeque.  When a piece of meat is mopped, a light mist is seen around the meat and excess mop hits the coals to sizzle and create a steamy environment.  So even though the definition of barbeque was meat cooked over a dry heat, a lot of moisture and oil were added to compensate for the dryness.  A moist micro environment was created in the area immediately surrounding the meat.  Another benefit of mopping was temperature control (more on this later).  While today’s closed pit barbeque final product may be somewhat different, it is very, very similar to open pit barbeque. The heat source is dry but a moisture envelope is around the meat in both methods; one is introduced by constant mopping, the other is accomplished by introducing moisture in a closed environment.   Heat control is accomplished by flipping and mopping on the open pit while the Bradley has a constant moist environment with a large closed temperature envelope.

I like to mop because it is part of the barbeque I grew up with.  Drinking a cool one, discussing the weather, arguing over who has the best bird dog (Squirt can substitute his cat, or you can insert your monkey, turtle, gold fish, cockatoo, etc. here) while petting your own, smelling the wafting smoke and mopping are all a part of barbeque as I know it.  But why do we really mop?  Mopping does all of the following;

1.  Provides a moisture envelope around the meat.
2.  Adds oil to the meat for a better mouth feel.
3.  Adds flavor to the bark through layering.
4.  Tenderizes the exterior meat with acids and enzymes.
5.  Changes the structure of the exterior of the meat producing a stronger Maillard reaction.
6.  Cools an overheated exterior allowing the interior to catch up and temperature stabilize throughout.

This is an impressive group of attributes.  However, mopping in a water smoker is not an absolute necessity in my opinion.  This is especially true in a vertical water smoker because of the progressive self basting of multiple pieces of meat.  As I stated in the Manifesto above, certain practices carry over because of tradition and lack of understanding as innovation discounts the need for these practices.

However, while not absolutely necessary, I do think mopping can be extremely beneficial in the Bradley.  This is where the art of Q’ing and personal preferences come into play.  After the bark firms up, another layer of flavor can be added to the barbeque and a supplementary moisture envelope can be added to the mix.  Bark is the hallmark of Texas barbequed brisket and ribs.  It is the ultimate condiment for the brisket.  It does not change the beef flavor of the interior of the brisket but adds a separate and distinct texture and flavor to each bite.  Therefore, depending on your taste buds, additional flavor layering of the bark can be favorable.  Sauce is definitely optional with a moist, barked brisket as well as other meats.

Mopping can be especially beneficial when only one piece of meat is in the Bradley and the benefits of progressive downward dripping of other meats is not present for automatic passive mopping. 



A few of the ingredients that can go into a mop.

Mop is always composed of more than water; in fact water may not be used at all.  Fats, products containing enzymes and acids, sweet and savory as well as spices and herbs are all parts of “secret” mop recipes.  Fats lubricating individual meat strands, not water, account for most of the “moist” mouth feel of a bite of meat.  An overcooked, dry brisket is the result of the fat (marbling) being rendered out of the meat, not just water.  While introduced fat is not necessarily absorbed into the meat during cooking, it can be beneficial in retaining fats and moisture already present in the meat.

Science tells us that the enzymes break down collagen that acts as connective tissue in meats.  When exposed to acid, collagen is softened to gelatin.  The collagen fibers exhibit swelling and retain more water. This opens the meat up to accept the flavors of the rub.  The acid, therefore, can help in tenderizing and maintaining moisture.   Consequently, mop reacts with meat in several distinct methods; enzymes and acids scientifically breakdown the meat and change its properties.  The slathers or mops also aid in moisture retention and flavor absorption.  This produces a flavorful, moist and tender meat.  At the same time, it produces a nice crust or bark on the meat.  This enhanced bark is due in part to the physical change of the outside of the meat properties caused by enzymes and acids.  This bark is formed during the Maillard reaction. This chemical reaction is responsible for the browning of meat, vegetables, bread and other products.  It is what produces that unique meaty flavor.  It’s hard to describe the flavor that results from this browning, but is more than obvious when it is missing.  The Maillard reaction normally occurs at higher temperatures, but if there is a high concentration of sugars and amino acids, then it will occur at lower temperatures.  This reaction is further facilitated at low temperatures by the longer cooking times used in barbequing.  Over long periods of time, the Maillard reaction can even take place at room temperature.
 
In addition, at the last of a smoke, mop can be used to cool the outside layer of meat while the interior continues to heat from the middle layer of hangover heat.  I prefer to keep this outside layer below the braising temperature of boiling (explained in the Manifesto).  This can prevent drying of the outside layer. Evaporation is a cooling process (I missed that question on a 7th grade test and throw it out whenever I have the opportunity).  The evaporative cooling provides micro environmental temperature control in the immediate vicinity of the meat.  I usually start with a hot mop and let it cool to ambient temperature for use later in the smoke.

This mopping must be tempered to allow for not removing bark and permit the firming of the bark.  The pit boss does this without thinking. Their experienced eyes and deft touch can quickly judge the need for mopping or flipping.  I have put a lot of questions to pit bosses and many of them they cannot answer.    They have never really thought about their artful motions and instinctive techniques; kind of like the way Grandma makes biscuits or gravy.

As I think about the hundreds of smoking events I have attended at picnics, family reunions, fishing trips, hunting camps, and backyard barbeques where all manner of smokers were used, several thoughts come to mind.  The commonly used open grills and offsets were treated differently than bullet water smokers and other smokers with water sources.  The meat in the dry heat smokers was mopped often and there was a lot of talk about the mops.  The mop was not nearly as popular an issue with water smokers.  Like the pit bosses, these backyard gurus had automatically and instinctively adjusted their cooking style to the smoker style and moisture content.

Depending on the time of day, the phase of the moon, the patterns formed in clouds and in which pitch my dog barks, I may or may not mop when using the Bradley.  But mostly, I find the above align in such a manner that I am compelled to brew up a mop, open the pit and become one with the meat.  I use this thin mop during the latter part of the smoke after the bark has started to set.  I especially tend to mop with thin mops when I am working with just one piece of meat (no progressive drippings), low fat content meats or when I do not have fat trimmings on the top shelf.   I generally use some type of slather when prepping the meat.  I consider this slather to be a thick, high viscosity, long lasting mop.  This “mop” protects and interacts with the meat without opening the door to mop while the Bradley slowly brings the meat up to temperature (Mustard Slather on Brisket and other Meats http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=12112.0.).   Without a slather, I always mop, mop sooner and more often. 

As I conclude these thoughts, I realize, maybe as important, the whole process makes me feel like I am contributing to the tradition of barbeque.  Tending the fire, smelling the smoke, judging the condition of the meat and mopping at just the right time is a deep need that started with the hunter tending his hard earned kill in a far off time under a starry sky.  That ancient primal need is answered by a not so judicious use of time that becomes time well spent.    It is the culmination of the hunt; where a suit and tie are unwelcome.  The hunt may be a ten mile walk in grassy fields carrying a shotgun, a long successful stalk in the mountains, a stringer of fish or it may be the end of a long week at work.  It is time shared with private thoughts, bird dogs, long laughs, a bottle of brew and true compadres.

 It also keeps me off the psychiatrist couch.  Whew, I’m glad I got that off my chest.

Good luck and thanks for asking,

Pachanga

Other posts concerning Brisket in the Bradley

Brisket Pachanga
http://www.susanminor.org/forums/showthread.php?t=532

Photos to go with the recipe
http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=12061.0

Mustard Slather on Brisket and other Meats
http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=12112.0

I Prefer to Smoke Totally Naked - A Brisket and Ribs Manifesto
http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=12455.0

So your brisket doesn't fit - solution here
http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=13080.0

How do you make burnt ends?
http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=14065.0




Offline seemore

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Re: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2010, 10:15:09 am »
Wow.  I always feel like I have read a dissertation when I read a post like this - lots of facts and interesting information.  It was a great history lesson as well.
Mopping does all that as defined in Pachanga's well-worded post.
I also think it adds another layer of flavor to the meat.
Mrs.

Offline MPTubbs

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Re: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2010, 10:20:27 am »
Wow.  I always feel like I have read a dissertation when I read a post like this - lots of facts and interesting information.  It was a great history lesson as well.
Mopping does all that as defined in Pachanga's well-worded post.
I also think it adds another layer of flavor to the meat.
Mrs.

Ditto!

Nice lay-out pachanga!
If your so cool....where's your Tattoo.

Offline SnellySmokesEm

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Re: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2010, 10:43:26 am »
Another great thread!  Thanks for all your help!  :)
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Offline Batman of BBQ

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Re: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2010, 11:43:38 am »
Excellent Post Pachanga!  Well done again!  I mop and drink beer at the same time!  Very talented!
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Offline Ka Honu

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Re: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2010, 11:45:40 am »
Ho hum - yet another of Pachanga's well-researched, well-written and highly informative articles.

Offline MPTubbs

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Re: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2010, 11:51:45 am »
Ho hum - yet another of Pachanga's well-researched, well-written and highly informative articles.

Ho hum??

Sh*t...I liked it!
If your so cool....where's your Tattoo.

Offline Ka Honu

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Re: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2010, 01:41:40 pm »
Ho hum??

To quote the great Foghorn Leghorn, "That's a joke, son! Ah say, that's a joke!"

Offline Caneyscud

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Re: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2010, 04:30:34 pm »
Híjole! ay cabrón - Que huevos!

however

Si montas un camello, no te vallan a salir ampollas en las nalgas.

Mi cuate bueno hit the nail on the head, but a few things need editing!  If my learned colleague

To Mop or Not to MopThat is NOT the in Question

Obligatory prescript:  To prevent any misunderstandings or hate posts, Caneyscud Pachanga and I are buds who have several common interests in our backgrounds and the following is tongue in cheek.

I am indeed honored to have been named in this gustagatorial (I like my new made up word) epistle!  Particularly in light of the peculiar questioning of MY super-impeccable native Texan credentials by intimating some complicity on my part to some “blue (shudder) state”.   Oh the deceitful artifice!  Shame, shame, shame!  Ohh - the puffundary! (another “Caney” word)   I celebrate my connection to the Alamo HEROES!  How could one imagine any duplicity on my part with a part of the country that did this to Pace’s -  Pineapple Mango Chipotle!  If I was dead, I’d be turning over in my grave – I’ll never forgive Dave for selling out.   

I’ll have you to know the  selection of my current stomping grounds was given to me by a former employer but consummated by my beloved and lovely wife.  She said this is where we be and what she says we do!  I am ascared of her you know!  And it had nothing to do with some card game, or twins, goats or tequila – uhhh let me back up on the tequila – it may have had something to do with it – All my exes live in Texas you know!  It did have more to do with an incident of freezing parts of my anatomy to a cold flagpole I was involuntarily tied to in downtown New Dime Box.  Every thing was going OK until the police car showed up!   “Nekkid” brisket has a “special” meaning to Caney.  Anyway, I know you know your brisket and respect your opinion no matter how blasphemous.   ;D


Being endowed with the capacity (i.e. haveing the ancestors needed) to be able to pilgramage to the Hill Country and to the remaining large family ranches and contemplate views of pits much like the above picture, I too ponder the ruminations of the early barbecuers.  Learning at the knees of great-grandpaws and great-uncles as well as others, I quickly picked up the knowledge that mopping was important to this style of barbecue.  However, the "sop" was generally a very thin vinegary sauce, mainly used for moisturizing the surface of the meat.  They didn't call it bark back then, it was "the Goodness!"  Some used such large pieces of meat that the meat would dry out on the upper surface between turnings.  Brisket wasn't something these ranchers worried themselves with - we're talking quarters. 

I will digress a little here and state that the Mexicans were (and are) masters of barbeque and their techniques were different when making their famed barbacoa.  They covered the meat in fresh wet leaves (and more recently in wet burlap sacks) in an earthen pit which created a moist environment. 

I enjoyed a lot or barbacoa in my time or in the US more correctly Barbacoa de cabeza until I started visiting the open air markets of Mexico!  Can we say no refrigeration! 

Smaller open grills did indeed, tried to duplicate the pit design of old, but in a much smaller and more sanitary (codified by the Feds) package for the backyard Q’er........The Weber Kettle Grill of the fifties added a domed lid along with top and bottom venting.  This changed things. ........  Water could be added by introducing a water source and the expelled meat moisture, which heretofore had escaped to the winds, was captured beneath the lid.  A moist, closed environment was the result. 

True, but the grill was generally too close to the coals- therefore too hot for barbecue!

Now we come to the big iron 

Now ya' talking my language!

While an offset pit produces a dryer heat (which can be modified), this moisture movement is especially true with vertical smokers where the meat drippings and condensation fall down to baste the meat underneath and eventually hit the box floor to sizzle, evaporate and circulate again. 

Oh my - now I'm getting hungry! 


I was fortunate to befriend some pit bosses who operated antique, blackened, well used brick vertical pits with large steel doors and I can assure you that when the pit doors were opened, a thick cloud of moisture came out without the use of a water source.

Actually hot enough to scald if you're not careful or a thin-skinned yankee!  Yankee - that sorta all the way up there between Big 'D and Cowtown I think!   ;D

Now to the Bradley.  After smoking in the Bradley for a while, I realized that the Bradley is a miniature version of a Texas Pit Boss’s vertical smoker. 

So true!

1.  Have we changed barbeque so much from the open pit days that we would not recognize it as the same product? - YES
2.  Why do we mop? - Jus cuz!
3.  Is mopping necessary in a water smoker? - only if you want oustanding barbecue!


1.  Provides a moisture envelope around the meat. --- I think minor, but won't belabor the point!
2.  Adds oil to the meat for a better mouth feel. ---- That it does!
3.  Adds flavor to the bark through layering ----THE QUINTESSENTIAL reason according to Caney!
4.  Tenderizes the exterior meat with acids and enzymes ----- uhhh maybe
5.  Changes the structure of the exterior of the meat producing a stronger Maillard reaction. ----I'll grant you this one.
6.  Cools an overheated exterior allowing the interior to catch up and temperature stabilize throughout --- me thinks very important!

This is an impressive group of attributes.  However, mopping in a water smoker is not an absolute necessity in my opinion. 

Very intelligent - and true.  ;D  I also think mopping can be extremely beneficial in the Bradley or any smoker.  The trade off is time.  This is indeed where the art of Q’ing and personal preferences come into play.  After the bark firms up, another layer of flavor can be added and another layer, and another layer of unspeakable goodness, etc... added to the barbeque.

IMNSHO all the above are good - except the sugar, honey, and worssc....worct....worsey sauce. 

My family's simple sauce is beer, CYM, margarine, onions, garlic, lemons, salt, pepper, cayenne.  mixed and heated and kept in the smoker to develop great flavor.   Plus it really softens the onions up and they are a great snack for the 'Q'er.

Yes, mustard is in there!   Yes I am a closet Murstarder!  No slather, but the addition in the sop, allows those layers of flavor to build up and a little evaporation and concentration of flavor and solids to happen.


In addition, at the last of a smoke, mop can be used to cool the outside layer of meat while the interior continues to heat from the middle layer of hangover heat.  [/quote]
Even though a great and MOIST barbecue can be had without mopping, this certainly helps out - as pointed out - especially in a long smoke!

As I conclude these thoughts, I realize, maybe as important, the whole process makes me feel like I am contributing to the tradition of barbeque.  Tending the fire, smelling the smoke, judging the condition of the meat and mopping at just the right time is a deep need that started with the hunter tending his hard earned kill in a far off time under a starry sky.  That ancient primal need is answered by a not so judicious use of time that becomes time well spent.   
Sniff, sniff - The sentiment is profound.  My maxim is that barbecue is more than the product - it is as much the process.  Anyone can cook good - even great, smoked food.  But a barbecuer makes barbecue - and there is a world of difference.


 Vámonos de reventón!


“A man that won't sleep with his meat don't care about his barbecue” Caneyscud



“If we're not supposed to eat animals, how come they're made out of meat?”

Offline JF7FSU

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Re: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2010, 05:14:52 pm »
First of all let say "Wow!"  To honor me with such a response is humbling.  I thank you for the detailed answer and the history lesson.  More importantly, I have now seen the light and I will begin mopping in the Bradley next time I smoke some meat. I will also begin the quest for my own mopping recipe and I think it will involve testing many adult beverages ;D

Thanks for the great post and taking the time to write your opinion based articles which I find fascinating in my newest hobby.
 

From this gringo in Miami: "Estoy feliz que estamos amigos"  (I am happy we are friends).

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Offline MPTubbs

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Re: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2010, 05:41:35 pm »
I will now bow down in front of my piers!

Good posting!
If your so cool....where's your Tattoo.

Offline Quarlow

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Re: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2010, 06:16:51 pm »
Well Ten.5 is going to be pissed at you isn't he. I mean that should have been in the next newsletter. I don't want to be around when he sees what you did. >:( >:( :D :D
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Offline Mr Walleye

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Re: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2010, 05:42:57 am »
Awesome write up Pachanga!  ;)  8)

Thanks for sharing!

Mike

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Offline Ka Honu

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Re: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2010, 09:43:55 am »
I will now bow down in front of my piers!

Please take a picture - I'd be interested to see if you're paying your respects by a lake, river, ocean, or some other body of water.

Offline Pachanga

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Re: To Mop or Not to Mop - That is the Question
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2010, 10:02:49 am »
A few comments,

MPTubbs,  Batman, Mrs., Mr. Walleye, Snelly,

As always, thanks for your comments.  Keep smoking and posting.  Your support in my minor writing endeavors is appreciated.  People like you are an encouragement to continue to post my thoughts.

Ka Honu,

As always, you are a baaaaaaaaaaaaad boy.    And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I understand your comment and appreciate the meaning.  "And that son, is no joke. Ah say, that's no joke!"

JF7FSU,

Thank you for asking the question.  It caused me to think through my techniques and verify their validity.  So many times we blindly follow worn out versions of things we were taught but never think through the reasoning.  Mostly, things stand the test of time. But occasionally, a handed down method can be improved.  If we don’t challenge ourselves, improvement, modification or verification never emerges.  I am a better smoker for your question and certainly more knowledgeable and aware of my pit reasoning.

Caneyscud,

I appreciate your friendship and our common interests.   I recognize that you have a Doctorate in Pontification and you have proved your skills many times on this board.   Without such a degree, some might say that you are so full of crap that your eyeballs are brown.  Of course, that would never come from my mouth.  While I admire your professional, prolific, philosophical, profound, pontifications which you parley into perfect, paternal, parcels of pearls, I am concerned. 

Having two Texans blatantly bloviate boisterously in a braggadocios, blasphemous fashion on the same thread could have serious consequences.  Somewhere in Central, West, and South Texas there is the risk of fissures opening in the ground and noxious gases billowing from the open cracks.  While this will have little to no effect on the locals who are conditioned to such Texas pontification explosions, if the eruption cloud drifts north of the Mason-Dixon Line, the consequences could be catastrophic.  I do, however, assume that you took into account the rouges, rednecks, scoundrels and all around bad actors that frequent this board and decided that this same noxious gas is to be found in and around their homes. 

I understand there are recurrent gaseous clouds near the Playboy Ka Honu’s home in Hawaii and his family is well conditioned so I am not concerned about any ill effects to his Island.  By the way, I have never met him, but I am pretty sure of the color of his eyeballs.  The three of us would look like brothers.

I appreciate your comments and am extremely happy to have you come out of the closet with mustard on your brisket.   I do agree with you on the sweeteners except to be judiciously added to a mop near the end as a very light glaze.  I am also careful with tomato products in that regard. 

I like the way you changed the header of my post; TO MOP IS NOT THE QUESTION.  I would agree that mopping is a big part of turning out great Q and hope I was clear that even though mopping is not absolutely, positively necessary in the Bradley, it is preferred.  I continue to extol the virtues of a slather in the Bradley because it enables you to keep the door closed during the first hours of the smoke.  I may rename the slather and call it a “condensed mop” or  a “mop reduction”.  At any rate, as I stated, if I don’t use a “mop reduction”, I recommend mopping early and often. 

As I study the scientific properties of mop ingredients, I am more convinced that the enzymes and acids of certain ingredients change the exterior of the meat and cause it to produce a nicer bark.  Mustard happens to be one of those ingredients.  I am pretty sure most of the early barbequers did not have degrees in science so anecdotal evidence consisting of mops evolving to similar ingredients (mustard or mustard powder being one) confirms this scientific reasoning.  It is a fact, not a myth, that a more flavorful, thicker, more pronounced bark can be achieved by mopping or using a mop reduction containing certain ingredients.

I am especially pleased that as a scoundrel who has been around many a pit, you agree that that the Bradley is a miniature version of a Texas Pit Boss’s vertical smoker.  This epiphany came to me one day while I was in a smoke induced, barbeque communing trance (alcohol may have been a contributing factor) and I was embarrassed that my preconceived ideas had blocked that knowledge.  As I have related before, the Bradley was a gift and it sat in garage unopened for a year or so before I could bring myself to use it on brisket.  Now I am a preacher writing sermons on its qualities and attempting conversions.  Can I hear an AMEN?

And I knew you, along with other fellow Qers on this board, would understand the last paragraph.

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As I conclude these thoughts, I realize, maybe as important, the whole process makes me feel like I am contributing to the tradition of barbeque.  Tending the fire, smelling the smoke, judging the condition of the meat and mopping at just the right time is a deep need that started with the hunter tending his hard earned kill in a far off time under a starry sky.  That ancient primal need is answered by a not so judicious use of time that becomes time well spent.    It is the culmination of the hunt; where a suit and tie are unwelcome.  The hunt may be a ten mile walk in grassy fields carrying a shotgun, a long successful stalk in the mountains, a stringer of fish or it may be the end of a long week at work.  It is time shared with private thoughts, bird dogs, long laughs, a bottle of brew and true compadres.

Quarlow,

I thought about submitting this to Tenpoint as an addition to his excellent newsletter but it started out as an answer to a board question and I left it at that.  I hope to produce something worthy of his publication in the near future but I am in fear of a rejection letter. 
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 11:54:11 am by Pachanga »