Author Topic: Will try brisket this weekend  (Read 9863 times)

Offline OTB

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Re: Will try brisket this weekend
« Reply #30 on: June 27, 2010, 07:02:50 PM »
Thanks.  Will take pictures when I slice it.

Now just trying to figure out if I should serve any kind of sauce or not.  I just posed another thread "sauce or not" since I have about 30 minutes until the dinner guests get here.

I made a quick batch of vaunted vinegar sauce...and have the juices from the pan...but if anyone has suggestions for sauce let me know in the other thread.

Personally I will probably just eat it "as is" so I can taste the fruits of my labor.  :,)

Offline OTB

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Re: Will try brisket this weekend
« Reply #31 on: June 27, 2010, 08:42:33 PM »
So here is the final product.



I served it with the sauces from the pan, as well as the vaunted vinegar sauce.  There were some dry pieces from the end that the sauce from the pan enhanced, and some folks put some of the vinegar sauce on the meat, but just a little.  It just enhanced the meat flavor.

All in all, it turned out great and got rave reviews.  Myself, I just had the meat without any sauce and was very impressed.

Thanks to everyone on this forum for your your help!!

Offline OTB

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Re: Will try brisket this weekend
« Reply #32 on: June 28, 2010, 11:51:40 AM »
Is the line of fat running through middle of the brisket normal, or was I supposed to have somehow trimmed more? 

To me, that was where all the juiciness came from, but the kid was complaining.  :,)

Offline Pachanga

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Re: Will try brisket this weekend
« Reply #33 on: June 28, 2010, 01:48:01 PM »
Is the line of fat running through middle of the brisket normal, or was I supposed to have somehow trimmed more? 

To me, that was where all the juiciness came from, but the kid was complaining.  :,)

I have seen it trimmed out and I have seen it left in.  In my part of the world, briskets are smoked whole and the trimming is done when serving.  Some people separate the flat from the point after smoking to make cutting cross grain on both muscles more manageable. I trim very little and just on the outside. 

Unless otherwise requested, I allow my guests to trim at the table.  I figure if they don't know how to trim, they must have never eaten a steak.  Many times the plate comes back empty (fat and all) which leaves the dawgs more than a little disappointed.

Like you, I believe that fat adds to the flavor and the moist mouth feel.  Well, that is not just a belief, it is a scientific fact.

My theory is that the Good Lord knows his way around a pit.  That's why there is a fat line running right down the center of a brisket; where it does the most good during the smoke.

Good luck and slow smoking,

Pachanga

Offline BuyLowSellHigh

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Re: Will try brisket this weekend
« Reply #34 on: June 28, 2010, 02:51:09 PM »
OTB, Pachanga is the master of the brisket.  My experience is the same as his.  That fat line is, as best I can tell, the one that separates the flat and point segments.  Down here most leave the brisket whole for cooking, then separate the two segments before slicing - at that time they usually come apart very easily.  Most prefer to slice the larger flat section for service and use the point for other things, or slice the point for those who want extra rich and moist slices.  There are, however, some who separate the two before cooking and then treat them separately.  It's a matter of preference.

Pachanga did a superb job of explaining how he preps briskets in this post

The WTS version is here

One other good reference is from the Virtual Weber Bullet, here, that includes both prep trimming as well as separating the two parts and slicing.

Also check out Pachanga guide to making "burnt ends", here

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Offline OTB

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Re: Will try brisket this weekend
« Reply #35 on: June 28, 2010, 04:37:18 PM »
You guys are great.  I should have read that first.  Maybe next time I will remove a bit more fat from between the point and flat, or maybe not.  :,)  If they don't want the juicy meat, that means more for me.

All in all, I would say this was a success for my first brisket.  Thanks again for everbodys help!!!

Offline Caneyscud

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Pontification Danger
« Reply #36 on: June 29, 2010, 09:19:51 AM »
I don't understand people trimming the fat line out before a cook.  I've heard of people trimming all the fat off a brisket, complaining about it being "dry", and then next time draping bacon over the brisket while cooking.  Ok, the fat lines get pretty large sometimes and a little gets trimmed, but it's there to help you.  Basting Au Natural!  I usually slice and serve - expecting my guests/family to cut away what they do not want or eat it as most do.  If they are too lazy to do that after I've smoked the brisket for 12+ hours or so - well I'm not gonna wave bye-bye to them as they take their skanky attitude and slither out the door.

In actuality, some of the inner fat gets cut away during serving,  I typically separate point from the flat before slicing and will cut away some of the more obnoxious looking stuff - you know the stuff - the stuff that looks like the cellulite showing through those tight shorts on that lady who should not be wearing tight shorts who was in line right before you the last time you were in Wally World.  

Now for the obligatory Pontification Warning.

I will play a little bit like a mythbuster right now.  Braising, foiling, steaming, boiling, stewing, etc… does NOT make meat moister, but it can allow it to be moister.  Meat is not magically moister because of the so-called moist cooking methods.  How many dry roasts have you had, how much chewy and dry stewed meat have your teeth worked through, or how many little diced cubes of dryness, supposedly chicken, have you gnawed on when eating chicken noodle soup?   What moist methods do well, is to cook the meat (or whatever) faster.   Braising, or cooking with a small amount of water or stock in a closed/sealed container in the oven, smoker, or on the stovetop, is a more efficient way of transferring heat to the meat than using dry heat.  Many, use long, moist cooking on tough cuts of meat because that method breaks down the connective tissue or more correctly, collagen in the meat more efficiently and melts it into divine succulence.  Studies have shown that a roast that had been roasted well-done in an oven had only 14% of the collagen in the meat gelatinized.  A similar roast braised, 52% of the collagen had been transformed.  Braising is not the only way to break down collagen, just perhaps the most efficient way.

Even though it seems counterintuitive, braising can actually dry meat out faster than roasting or smoking because it speeds the cooking process.   So you want to remove it from the heat as soon as possible to prevent drying.  Absolutely nothing wrong with using the moist methods.  They make wonderful meals, they are just not the absolute, no-fail panacea for dry meat!  Where I am from, and what I have experienced and enjoy when it comes to BBQ does not include braising or foiling.  I don’t prefer my BBQ that way.  And I’m sure lots of people don’t prefer my BBQ to their braised meats.  That’s life.

The other thing that the moist methods do is to slow down evaporation of the meat juices and that is a goo...no GREAT thing.  Cooking and especially low-n-slow is a juggling/balancing act between cooking for tenderness and cooking for moistness.  A race to get to tenderness before all the goodness and moisture is cooked out.  A brisket is typically in the range of about 71% water, 22% protein, and only 6% fat.  Fat is crucial to meat texture and taste.  Fat does not evaporate when you are cooking as does water.  Fat is also the source of much of the flavor in meat.  It absorbs and stores the aromatic compounds of what the animal eats.  Some people prefer grass-fed beef over grain-fed and vice versa.  It is also said that grass-fed beef can cook 30% faster.  So be careful of barbecuing grass-fed beef – it may be done faster.

So what happens as you smoke?  Important to moistness is that as the meat gets to  140°F, the cell walls begin to break open and release liquids. Have you ever tried raw beef “Tartare?”  Not very juicy.  Raw meat isn't very juicy because the cell walls are all intact.  What is also happening at the same time is that the heat causes the covering around the muscle cells to shrink and squeeze out moisture.  The higher the heat the faster the shrinking, the slower the slower the shrinking.  At high heat, the meat will rapidly shrink, stiffen, and become chewier.  A medium rare steak cooked to about 130°F is much juicier than well-done steak cooked to 160°F. This drying process even happens when meat is boiled, stewed, or braised.

As the meat cooks, moisture is driven to the surface of the meat and either runs off or evaporates.  The lower the oven temp, the slower the evaporation and hopefully the juicier the meat.  The more humidity or liquid around the meat, the evaporation is also less.  Therefore the water pan and mopping.   Braising at a low temperature can slow down the evaporation and help keep more moisture in the meat.  But too high and too long, you get tough and dry.

So one of the goals of low and slow is to cook the meat before all the juices have been squeezed out and evaporated.  To help that out we have FAT.  The fat is softening, melting, and  rendering, spreading throughout the meat to lubricate it.  Fat does not “moisten” in as much moistness is defined having water - fat is not water.  But it gives a mouth feel of moistness and succulence.  But also, alledgedly as it melts the fat absorbs the aromas and flavors the smoke and from the spices in the rub, sauce, or brine.  Supposedly the fat gets all giggly and moves around the meat taking all that flavor to all parts of the meat (debatable in my book).  If the meat gets too hot, all that fat will render out and drip to the bottom of the smoker taking all that flavor with it.

But low and slow has other benefits already mentioned.  It seems to allow more flavor to develop.  Why?  Further cooking transforms more of the compounds in the meat.  The melting of already mentioned collagen really starts to accelerate as the meat hits 160°F and it continues on up to 180°F.   Many cuts of meat are beginning to dry out, but on collagen and fat laden cuts such as brisket, although the muscle fibers are drying and toughening, as the collagen melts the meat gets easier to chew.

Technically your brisket is done when the internal temperature reaches around 160 deg. – but it is not likely tender at that temp.  For a brisket to be truly tender it will need to continue to sit in heat a while longer – I target 185 degrees – them remove and stick in a cooler (the C of FTC – I’m lazy and don’t F or T).  The cooler works by keeping the brisket at this temperature or a little above for several hours allowing the fat and collagen to continue to melt.  At times I will leave the meat on the smoker for a while longer, but will “turn” the temperature down to 185 or so.  Some of my most tender brisket has been done that way, but I don’t like it fall apart and you do have a higher risk of drying out.

Tender and tasty brisket can be a capricious thing   The path begins with judging meat at the counter.  I’ve gotten some weird looks by the younger set at times.  I don't really think about it as much as I get a 'sense' of the meat.  Before anyone accuses me of going all tofu-tie dye-yogurt-touchy-feely-60s-hippish over my brisket think about it. Many on this forum make just this sort of sense-informed decision when they make adjustments on their barbecue, bread, pizza, sausage, etc… based, fairly unconsciously, on their sense of the quality of materials, ambient temperature, wind, humidity, etc….  When you do it a lot you don't think about all these variables but they do influence what, how and when you make adjustments.  I also don't think there is a single magic temp for brisket doneness either, but when asked I go with mid 180s.

I am not saying you whether or not you have to do any of these things -  it still remains for you to decide if, when and for how long to foil, in what and for how long to marinate, with what to inject, and how long before the smoke to apply the rub.   What I am suggesting is that these sorts of things can make one brisket a bit more like another style.  And it depends on what style you like.

We can have all of the recipes, techniques, temps, rubs, woods, tools, gadgets, and gizmos money can buy, but without the wisdom and experience to bring it together, it's all just a collection of junk and useless information.  During any given cook, results may, or may not be great!  That’s the fun of experimenting – but always start with a solid known baseline and go from there.

I would say the path to the "Juicy & Tender Brisket" is ever changing, and can't be navigated through specific times, temps, or even techniques.  Wisdom and experience will prove to be your best friends.  At some point in your BBQ Learning Curve you'll learn when "it's done," and it won't be based so much on a temp or time, but on "feel." The trouble is, you can't read, time, or buy "feel" - it has to be earned.   One brisket might be just right at 187˚, while the next will require 197˚. You're only going to know which is which based on, well, you get the idea. But hey, at least we get to eat our mistakes.

Eat Well
Caney
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 03:05:59 PM by Caneyscud »
“A man that won't sleep with his meat don't care about his barbecue” Caneyscud



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Offline Pachanga

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Re: Will try brisket this weekend
« Reply #37 on: June 29, 2010, 11:16:26 AM »
Caney,

Once again, a masterful treatise on the subject of brisket and barbeque. 

While discussing barbeque is usually a series of arguments and at least slight disagreements, I do not find myself in conflict with your writings; even after the second reading.

Continue to use your degree in pontification which you obviously earned through a lifetime of barbeque experiments and passed down Texas pit knowledge from cowboy kinfolk et al.

Thanks for taking the time to provide a great read.

Good luck and continued slow smoking,

Pachanga 

Offline BuyLowSellHigh

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Re: Will try brisket this weekend
« Reply #38 on: June 29, 2010, 11:41:46 AM »
Superb Caney!  

It's the age old battle between thermodynamics and kinetics. In the end it is experience and mastery that determines the result, and I have a long way to go get there.

edit ...
This came to me as an afterthought.  Caney and Pachanga both take me back to the prime fundamental of great cooking that I feel was best described by Peter Reinhart, the master baker, teacher and writer.  In all of is his teaching's Reinhart keeps making one point abundantly clear-- that mastery of baking, and I extend that to all cooking, really comes down to controlling just three things, ingredients, temperature and time. Mastery in the culinary arts, and that includes great barbecue and smoke cookery (I can hear Caney grinding his teeth over that one), comes down to the knowledge of how to manipulate just those three factors to achieve a desired result.  Getting there - mastery - is a journey not a destination, and the journey should be enjoyed.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 12:43:11 PM by BuyLowSellHigh »
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Offline Caneyscud

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Re: Will try brisket this weekend
« Reply #39 on: June 29, 2010, 03:18:29 PM »

It's the age old battle between thermodynamics and kinetics.

I like that description - very apt!  But low-n-slow sounds better --- and more delicious than chemical kinetics!   ;D ;D ;D
“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 BuyLowSellHigh

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Re: Will try brisket this weekend
« Reply #40 on: June 29, 2010, 04:55:55 PM »

It's the age old battle between thermodynamics and kinetics.

I like that description - very apt!  But low-n-slow sounds better --- and more delicious than chemical kinetics!   ;D ;D ;D

You're right, it does sound better.  But what can I say, after being  a serious chemist for 30 years it's in my blood.  It's widely said amongst chemists that we are just actually frustrated bartenders and chefs (actually I think that came from a physicist as an intended slur that was accepted by many of us as a compliment).   ;D
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Offline Caneyscud

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Re: Will try brisket this weekend
« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2010, 06:16:22 AM »
I was a serious chemist for about 15 minutes as a Senior in HS.  Buddy and I decided we'd have some fun.  We mixed some stuff together (I remember Iodine and Ammonia), and titrated some unstable compounds capable of extremely rapid combustion - some people would call them contact explosives.  A small quantity placed under the teacher's chair legs while wet, upon drying enough to become unstable, makes an appropriately loud pop and a nice purple puff of smoke when he sat down! 

The two days later I retired from being a serious chemist - we searched for a smoke generating mixture.  Made wonderful amber orange smoke that spewed from every crack and opening in our lab table.  We mixed it and then shut it in a drawer.  Colored some lab safety glasses a wonder amber color.  But after what the teach said we probably released, just glad my school did not have AC and the windows were wide open!   and I retired!
“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?”