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View Full Version : Brisket Practice for KCBS. Need some more feedback please. (Pics)


fnbish
06-01-2011, 12:51 PM
Ok so after getting some great tips/feedback on how to garnish I figured I would come back to the pot for some additional help with my brisket. Any help is greatly appreciated. **I know there is a lot in here to read**

Doing my first KCBS event so I had to do some brisket practice as I haven't cooked one in a while and I have never smoked one that was really great.

So here is how I cooked it. I bought the brisket at Target since they were on sale this week and looked really good. 11lb and probably took about 1.5 off after trimming. Gave it a rub, but no injection to see how it would do without injecting. A question about that later.....

I started it at 9:30 at night (running 225) on the WSM, went to bed and woke up around 6. Temp was still fine and at about 6:30am I wrapped at 160. Then I started testing for tenderness around 190 in the flat where I had the probe. This is the first time I was looking for more of the "goes in like butter" method of doneness. It was still pretty firm so tested again at 197 and still firm in the flat. The point was like butter. So finally at 203 it was a little softer, but still not like butter and I took it off cut off the point to make burnt ends. The flat was wrapped back up and put into the oven (which was not on) to hold for an hour.

So the burnt ends were great. They didn't look super pretty so I didn't put them in the box and don't plan on it at the comp since I'm still fairly new to brisket as it is. Some of the ends were more tender than others so I wouldn't want to put some in there and they not be consistent.

Then the slices. So to me they were a little easy to pull apart. I would give it a 7ish on tenderness as it wasn't dry, but not super moist either. I laid them each out and gave them some sauce and a little sprinkle of my rub ground into a more fine powder and a tiny sprinkle of kosher salt. I did like the flavor as did my wife. She said she liked the little sprinkle of salt.

As for appearance of the box I was quite pleased, but would love some feedback in general on the appearance. There wasn't a super deep smoke ring. Now for some more questions........ Stick with me here :)

1. Injection: Do you all inject strictly for more flavor or does it also add any tenderness/moisture in your opinion? I have injected previously and couldn't tell a difference, but with my inexperience maybe I really can't tell.

2. Temp for taking off: So I know this is a huge bag of worms, but I've been reading some people taking it off at a certain temp and some do the "butter" test. Going off this last brisket I would say the butter was never coming and taking it over 200 make it a little more "flakey". There has to be some point where you can't just wait around for the "butter" right?

3. Fat cap. When I was slicing the brisket I noticed about 1/4" fat on the top. You can see it in the box pic on the tops of the slices. Now for me I liked this pop of flavor, but in general what are judges looking for in terms of fat trimming? I know this may vary.

4. Saucing the slices: I've read to be careful to not put too much on, which I don't think I did. But I also read that you should be careful to not how too much "brush strokes" showing on the slices. Is that true and how did I do there?

5. Anything else I didn't ask about or you have tips on??

Now for the goods.......

No prep pics. Starting when it is done at 203.
http://i1083.photobucket.com/albums/j395/fnbish69/Brisket%20Practice/DSC_0950.jpg

Separating the Primary Hull from the Saucer Section.
http://i1083.photobucket.com/albums/j395/fnbish69/Brisket%20Practice/DSC_0953.jpg

Burnt ends done. I put a little sauce, some rub, and a little brown sugar. They tasted great, but not pretty to me.
http://i1083.photobucket.com/albums/j395/fnbish69/Brisket%20Practice/DSC_0959.jpg

Saucing
http://i1083.photobucket.com/albums/j395/fnbish69/Brisket%20Practice/DSC_0962.jpg

Saucing.
http://i1083.photobucket.com/albums/j395/fnbish69/Brisket%20Practice/DSC_0965.jpg

Used the garnish box I had in the fridge since yesterday. The parsley didn't look different at all even after half a day. Guess the cold really does its job.
http://i1083.photobucket.com/albums/j395/fnbish69/Brisket%20Practice/DSC_0967.jpg

Another boxed pic. Thanks to my wife for taking the pictures.
http://i1083.photobucket.com/albums/j395/fnbish69/Brisket%20Practice/DSC_0969.jpg

YankeeBBQ
06-01-2011, 01:16 PM
Sliced too thick and too much fat left on in my opinion. Also I would flip the slices over and put the fat on the bottom (could just be me) to showcase the meat not the fat

riblette
06-01-2011, 01:23 PM
I’m not a brisket expert but I’ll throw out a couple thoughts:
· The brisket looks really good…I’d like to try it.
· The slices may be a little thick, especially if the brisket is still not as tender as you want it.
· I think the fat cap may be a little heavy. I’m sure it tastes good when it’s warm, but remember the judges will probably get it at room temp, and room temperature fat is not a judge favorite.
· Good call on the burnt ends…if you don’t think they are at least good as the slices leave ‘em out.
· You may wanna fill in the box edges with parsley and even it out a little. We usually wait until we have the brisket in and then do the parsley “touch-ups”.

Good luck!!!

fnbish
06-01-2011, 01:33 PM
Sliced too thick and too much fat left on in my opinion. Also I would flip the slices over and put the fat on the bottom (could just be me) to showcase the meat not the fat

Thanks. I had thought about turning them over, but since I had the non-fat cap side down the dark bark really wasn't there so it didn't look as good. But then next time I could simply put it in the foil fat side down and still trim more of the fat.

fnbish
06-01-2011, 01:34 PM
I’m not a brisket expert but I’ll throw out a couple thoughts:
· The brisket looks really good…I’d like to try it.
· The slices may be a little thick, especially if the brisket is still not as tender as you want it.
· I think the fat cap may be a little heavy. I’m sure it tastes good when it’s warm, but remember the judges will probably get it at room temp, and room temperature fat is not a judge favorite.
· Good call on the burnt ends…if you don’t think they are at least good as the slices leave ‘em out.
· You may wanna fill in the box edges with parsley and even it out a little. We usually wait until we have the brisket in and then do the parsley “touch-ups”.

Good luck!!!

Great parsley tip. I wouldn't have thought of that.

Pigs on Fire
06-01-2011, 01:56 PM
Get rid of the fat. Scrape it off before slicing the flat. Put the meat side up in the box and try to get all of your slices from the same width of the flat.

You need to cook the burnt ends further. They should be almost carmelized, very tender and tasty. You want your flat to get done in time to separate the point, wrap the flat to hold and cube up the point. Return it in a pan as you have prepared, let it continue to render.

Don't worry about the appearance in these practice runs. Sure, concentrate on building your boxes to their best. Know what it takes to build them and how to build them for each specific meat.

Stoke&Smoke
06-01-2011, 03:41 PM
Not sure what you're using to slice, but for competition, I think the slice marks could detract from your score. Almost looks like you carved with the grain instead of against, but I don't think you did. See if y ou can't find a sharper knife that will go through in one or two passes.

The way judges are taught is that pencil width slices are ideal. thinner and the cook might be trying to disguise underdone meat, thicker might mean they are trying to keep it from falling apart 'cause it's overdone

fnbish
06-01-2011, 04:57 PM
Not sure what you're using to slice, but for competition, I think the slice marks could detract from your score. Almost looks like you carved with the grain instead of against, but I don't think you did. See if y ou can't find a sharper knife that will go through in one or two passes.

The way judges are taught is that pencil width slices are ideal. thinner and the cook might be trying to disguise underdone meat, thicker might mean they are trying to keep it from falling apart 'cause it's overdone


I used my 8" henckels chef knife and is pretty sharp. It went through on about 2 passes so not sure what I could do there. I know a lot of guys use a long slicing knife. I thought they were pretty close to pencil thin but after looking at them they were a little thicker. I might need to locate a pencil for the competition :).

riblette
06-01-2011, 05:43 PM
I used my 8" henckels chef knife and is pretty sharp. It went through on about 2 passes so not sure what I could do there. I

I think they are brush strokes but the kinda look like knife marks.

sitnfat
06-01-2011, 06:45 PM
I inject my brisket it helps with the flavor a lot. When trimming I take what little fat is on top of the flat off and I take all the hard fat off the fat cap I leave the rest. I foil once the meat hits 165. After a few hours I use an old dial thermometer and test the meat it should slide in like butter there is a small window on tenderness it can go from not ready yet to perfect to over cooked in no time. Become familiar with what the meat looks like and feels like I ruined a lot before I could tell I trim the fat off the slices once I get the slices I want as for sauce some do it I don't to me itslike putting A-1 on a great steak it ruins it.

BigBellyBBQ
06-01-2011, 08:33 PM
looks good to start but skip any red bbq sauce, make one slice stroke towards you will elimimnate saw marks, showcase the meat, if you must use a sauce, only brush the back, mist with water to shine up the front, get the fat down when triming to bark uo at the end, raise the meat out of the juice while foiling good luck

Capn Kev
06-01-2011, 09:26 PM
Sliced too thick and too much fat left on in my opinion. Also I would flip the slices over and put the fat on the bottom (could just be me) to showcase the meat not the fat

I agree. Flip the slices, fat always goes down. ...and I remove fat before boxing. Also, get rid of the brush strokes. Use a nitrile-gloved hand to rub the final sauce/glaze on each slice. You want it to look almost as if it's not sauce, but rather just really moist meat. I disagree with most that the slices are too thick. I go for pencil-thick, and it has worked well for me (if properly cooked). Finally, I prefer all the slices to be evenly cut, not progressively wider.

Oh, and get yourself a Victorinox 12" granton-edged slicer. You want even slices. If you have inconsistent thickness, you will have inconsistent tenderness scores. The knife mentioned above will help you tremendously.

Just my $.02

SmokinGuitarPlayer
06-02-2011, 12:04 AM
I think it looks great but there is probably too much fat ..some people really freak out if you give them fat it seems.

sharks_guy
06-02-2011, 02:06 AM
Hi,
I have looked at your pics several times, and each time, I am distracted by the garnish. I know this is not a garnish contest, but your garnish is so uneven in the pics, I think it is broccoli and stop looking at the meat.

My recommendation is to even out your garnish even before placing the meat, so that the meat frame is at least even. If it is close to even, then you can touch up as others have said, if it is bunched, you may never be able to even it out. This looks like you took large bunches of parsley and made bouquets out of them and placed them in. This is ok, but put more parsely in the box to squish it together.

Again, I know it is not a garnish competition, but if you are going to use garnish, it should enhance not distract. From there, the other stuff that has been said I would agree: trim the fat, rotate the fat to the bottom, and only cut your pieces from a uniform width of meat.

Hope this helps, Good Luck,
DanD

Hub
06-02-2011, 07:24 AM
As always, it is hard to work with a picture but I'd give you an 8.

The slice thickness needs to be determined by the basic tenderness. Thinner if tougher, thicker if more tender so that the pull test works well. Thus, no comment on thickness. Use what works best for the cut.

Garnish looks fresh and attractive. Meat crowds a little toward the back of the box.

I didn't see anything wrong with the burnt ends and think they could have been used so long as they weren't the primary focus of the box (which they shouldn't be anyway).

fnbish
06-02-2011, 08:07 AM
I agree. Flip the slices, fat always goes down. ...and I remove fat before boxing. Also, get rid of the brush strokes. Use a nitrile-gloved hand to rub the final sauce/glaze on each slice. You want it to look almost as if it's not sauce, but rather just really moist meat. I disagree with most that the slices are too thick. I go for pencil-thick, and it has worked well for me (if properly cooked). Finally, I prefer all the slices to be evenly cut, not progressively wider.

Oh, and get yourself a Victorinox 12" granton-edged slicer. You want even slices. If you have inconsistent thickness, you will have inconsistent tenderness scores. The knife mentioned above will help you tremendously.

Just my $.02

Gotcha. Using gloves is a good idea. I also heard of some folks using the juice from the tin foil to shine up the slices instead of sauce. Is that something that works? I'm looking at the Victorinox knife you are talking about. I bought their boning knife and it is great, so I might grab that as well.

fnbish
06-02-2011, 08:12 AM
Hi,
I have looked at your pics several times, and each time, I am distracted by the garnish. I know this is not a garnish contest, but your garnish is so uneven in the pics, I think it is broccoli and stop looking at the meat.

My recommendation is to even out your garnish even before placing the meat, so that the meat frame is at least even. If it is close to even, then you can touch up as others have said, if it is bunched, you may never be able to even it out. This looks like you took large bunches of parsley and made bouquets out of them and placed them in. This is ok, but put more parsely in the box to squish it together.

Again, I know it is not a garnish competition, but if you are going to use garnish, it should enhance not distract. From there, the other stuff that has been said I would agree: trim the fat, rotate the fat to the bottom, and only cut your pieces from a uniform width of meat.

Hope this helps, Good Luck,
DanD

Thanks for the tip. I guess (since I'm a KCBS rookie) I still don't understand the garnish. I do know it is a part of the history of KCBS and isn't going away and that is totally cool. But I hear on these forums that garnish shouldn't be judged at all when giving scores, but lots of folks say it absolutely matters. So that is a little strange. But if garnish is a part of KCBS then I'll just work on that too and not cry about it...........much :). There are greater tragedies in the world.

fnbish
06-02-2011, 08:16 AM
As always, it is hard to work with a picture but I'd give you an 8.

The slice thickness needs to be determined by the basic tenderness. Thinner if tougher, thicker if more tender so that the pull test works well. Thus, no comment on thickness. Use what works best for the cut.

Garnish looks fresh and attractive. Meat crowds a little toward the back of the box.

I didn't see anything wrong with the burnt ends and think they could have been used so long as they weren't the primary focus of the box (which they shouldn't be anyway).

8, I'll take that :). I think that one close up picture is throwing people off, because I didn't eat all those slices and went back to the fridge took a slice out and laid a pencil next to it and they may have been a millimeter larger, but barely.

Thanks for the crowding tip. I would have never noticed.

Capn Kev
06-02-2011, 02:43 PM
I also heard of some folks using the juice from the tin foil to shine up the slices instead of sauce. Is that something that works?

Yep, as long as your pan drippings (au jus) tastes good :-D

Lake Dogs
06-02-2011, 08:01 PM
I agree 100% with Kevin down the line. You may try mixing the sauce with those drippings, but definitely make them thinner. NO fat, none! If it's presented to judges, they are required to bite/sample it (if it's not garnish). Many people love beef but HATE beef fat. This is certain death later. Otherwise not bad. I was thinking somewhere from 7 to 8 on appearance, not bad really.

Brewer
06-03-2011, 02:19 AM
If you were a judge sitting on one end of the table and the table captain presents the box for you to take a slice - which one are you going to take, the tiny a$$ one in the front or the big a$$ piece in the back? I'd disrupt the sh$t out the box and take the one in back because it looks better than the little ass one in front :heh:

See the problem? It's like putting only 5 slices in the box - someone's inevitably gonna feel like they got screwed and your score will suffer as a result.

Slices should be all the same width. I would have scored it a 6 (maybe 7 giving you BOD) for appearance because of the slicing, the difference in width, the space left in the box and the fat left on the slices. It's average, not bad.

.Great job getting it done though - it takes a lot of practice to turn out a high-end box.

RedRyderBBQ
06-03-2011, 11:15 PM
So to people who were saying scrape the fat out, how do you do that? Do you chop off that whole top section or go in and just cut out the fat portion still leaving that bark? Another first time KCBS competitor and I was thinking on how to leave the smoke ring and bark yet remove that layer of fat.

Capn Kev
06-03-2011, 11:42 PM
So to people who were saying scrape the fat out, how do you do that? Do you chop off that whole top section or go in and just cut out the fat portion still leaving that bark? Another first time KCBS competitor and I was thinking on how to leave the smoke ring and bark yet remove that layer of fat.

The way I do it is to separate the flat and point (point goes in the pan for cubed burnt ends). Then I take the flat meat side down, and use my slicer to slice the entire fat cap off without taking the meat. It's butter soft by the time you're ready to box, so it comes off easily. Practice it a few times, and you'll get it down.