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View Full Version : "Tightening Up" - How Do You Plan For It?


Greg60525
07-03-2012, 10:06 PM
OK..........this is not a P90X or Insanity thread! :wink:

Basically, my question refers to brisket and ribs, although it probably pertains to pork butt and chicken, as well. If you cook the brisket or ribs to tender perfection and then turn them in right away they should maintain that same level of tenderness (or close to it) when the judges get it, unless it sits too long. Agreed?

Now, what if you again cook the meats to perfection, but then you hold and rest the meat............won't the meat "tighten up"? For ribs, what would have been a perfect bite with the meat pulling away from the bone cleanly, only at the bite mark, once rested may not pull away so cleanly. And with brisket, the perfect pull test with just a slight amount of stretch, now when rested, exhibits more stretch than ideal.

How is this dealt with? If you know you are going to rest the meat, especially brisket, which is almost always held and then rested, do you plan on overcooking the meat? For ribs, do you take it to the point of near falling of the bone to account for the "tightening up" process? Do you take brisket to the point, that it nearly falls apart when you pick it up to account for "tightening up" process?

Thanks for any comments that you can share,

Podge
07-03-2012, 10:40 PM
In 8 years of competing, I've never really thought about it.

Q-Dat
07-03-2012, 11:16 PM
This is a very good question.

I have never had to hold ribs, so I haven't experienced it there, but I have definitely noticed that brisket stiffens up significantly after a long rest. I wonder what causes it. Its not like it got cold. Its pretty close to the same temperature it was when I put it in the box

Butt Rubb'n BBQ
07-03-2012, 11:26 PM
You are holding the meat to allow the juices to distribute back throughout the meat. When you put the meat back on to glaze it will relax again. Would not try to hold ribs.

Wampus
07-04-2012, 08:43 AM
We don't necessarily plan for it, but I do know that when we take our ribs off, they're usually very loose. After we pour off the juices, we leave them sit on the table, loosely foil tented for a rest and they do tighten up during the rest. We don't necessarily hold them, but take them off about 30 minutes before turn in. We end up happy with how they turn out.

Don't really think about or have trouble with brisket or pork and we never hold chicken.

jaestar
07-04-2012, 09:57 AM
I had this happen to me with a brisket a couple of weeks ago. Pulled at around 205 and probed like butter. Rested for 4-5 hours, sliced nice and juicy but was tough as leather and really put the pull in pull-test. I turned in my other brisket and ended up 9th. The sad thing is, this had the best flavor I have ever had in a brisket. It had a much more noticeable beefy flavor and was one of the best tasting pieces of beef I had ever had. It tasted that much better that it was a tough decision on which to turn in.

Shady
07-04-2012, 10:13 AM
I routinely hold brisket for at least three hours sealed in foil in a cambro. I have held ribs for one hour and also wrapped in foiling a cambro. With those two I close the vent and do not see any difference. I rest pork in my second cambro wrapped in foil and crack the door to vent heat and stop the cooking. Again no real change. I have never held chicken. I cook to 3 degrees below ideal temperature for big meat. I don't see any difference in holding pork, as some as you cut into them moisture starts to go away. I guess you could call that tightening up.

Candy Sue
07-04-2012, 10:34 AM
I had this happen to me with a brisket a couple of weeks ago. Pulled at around 205 and probed like butter. Rested for 4-5 hours, sliced nice and juicy but was tough as leather and really put the pull in pull-test. I turned in my other brisket and ended up 9th. The sad thing is, this had the best flavor I have ever had in a brisket. It had a much more noticeable beefy flavor and was one of the best tasting pieces of beef I had ever had. It tasted that much better that it was a tough decision on which to turn in.

I would have picked my best slices, laid them out on a piece of foil like I was going to put them in the box, poured juice on them, folded the foil up tight and put back in the cooker to loosen up. Doesn't take too long, 20 minutes or so, which means you're slicing brisket early.

AZScott
07-04-2012, 11:36 AM
If it's tightening up on you I would venture to say it was never cooked enough in the first place.

Podge
07-04-2012, 12:56 PM
I would have picked my best slices, laid them out on a piece of foil like I was going to put them in the box, poured juice on them, folded the foil up tight and put back in the cooker to loosen up. Doesn't take too long, 20 minutes or so, which means you're slicing brisket early.

It's a shame that doesn't work for the money muscle, as it's illegal.

Greg60525
07-04-2012, 11:57 PM
Thanks all for the comments and advice. Happy 4th to all!

I routinely hold brisket for at least three hours sealed in foil in a cambro. I have held ribs for one hour and also wrapped in foiling a cambro. With those two I close the vent and do not see any difference. I rest pork in my second cambro wrapped in foil and crack the door to vent heat and stop the cooking. Again no real change. I have never held chicken. I cook to 3 degrees below ideal temperature for big meat. I don't see any difference in holding pork, as some as you cut into them moisture starts to go away. I guess you could call that tightening up.

I don't use a Cambro, but I do use a preheated cooler. I place 2 briskets and 2 pork butts in there. I do vent the foil until the temp of the meat drops a few degrees then I wrap a towel around each foil-wrapped meat an place into the cooler.

Could the space in the cooler be too confined and allow the meat to continue cooking or dry out? In a Cambro each meat is on a separate shelf, correct? All of my meat is basically on top of each each other with towels taking up any dead space..........there isn't much space left with 2 briskets and 2 butts.

I would have picked my best slices, laid them out on a piece of foil like I was going to put them in the box, poured juice on them, folded the foil up tight and put back in the cooker to loosen up. Doesn't take too long, 20 minutes or so, which means you're slicing brisket early.

Thanks for the tip............I'll have to try this!

Thanks again,