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View Full Version : Brisket BARK......opinions requested


Wampus
09-20-2012, 01:49 PM
So I have to ask those that are willing to answer....

Bark on brisket: is yours typically hard (barky) or softer? Our brisket it damn good. We like it. We have great luck with perfectly cooked flats and really good burnt ends. If there is one thing that I do NOT like about our brisket, it's that the bark is always very soft. The smoke ring is always top notch, but the bark is always soft and I literally leave prints in it while slicing the flat. The end product is always nice in color, but not in texture (or at least it's not what I'd call "barky").

We foil our brisket after the color gets to where we want it and I'm sure that this is part (or all) of the problem. I've wrapped both butts and brisket at home in butcher paper. I was wondering if anyone every uses paper at comps or not, and if so....do you notice a difference in bark?

I guess the other question is how does a "barkier" bark score?

Judges?


We don't struggle in brisket necessarily, but we're just not scoring as high as we do in other categories. We've gotten 3rd or 4th place overall like 4 times out of our last 6 cooks and we feel we just need to tighten SOMETHING up and not leave points on the table and since brisket is typically our lowest scoring meat (albeit not BADLY scoring) we're jst kind of stuck.



Thoughts?

The_Kapn
09-20-2012, 02:05 PM
Are you wanting bark that is like hard caramel candy?

TIM

Big Ugly's BBQ
09-20-2012, 02:16 PM
I'd kill for results like that........dont change what's working........

Wampus
09-20-2012, 02:17 PM
Are you wanting bark that is like hard caramel candy?

TIM


I don't know what we're wanting really. Not something hard and tough that will fracture during slicing, but what we have now is almost like a paste. It's like the consistency of rub sitting on the meat....like we could wipe it off.

I wouldn't even call what we have now "bark". I guess I'd just like something with a little more definition.


I'd kill for results like that........dont change what's working........

Oh I get you and we've said for weeks now that we're real happy with where we've been as compared to last year, but as great as our average is.....it's pretty darn frustrating when you're THAT CLOSE to RGC or GC and miss by only a few points. Last week we ended up tied for 3rd and our score was only 3 farkin points lower than the GC. AGAIN. RGC isn't as good as GC, but it sure pays more than 3rd place does.

We're just trying to squeeze SOMETHING enough to get us that ever elusive grand. Our chicken, ribs and pork have been really consistent and up there (all are in the top 100 TOY rankings) but not brisket. Just trying to close the gap is all.

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
09-20-2012, 02:20 PM
our bark is the same.

rookiedad
09-20-2012, 02:27 PM
this is a good question. in comps i think you look for tender but to tell the truth i dont like meat after it has been foiled from the 165*-170* range. i think from there to 200* you end up with poached meat and not bbq. i would like also to hear from judges how they feel about barky bark as opposed to tender.
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=135353&highlight=blackhawk+brisket
the above thread helped me to get a nice bark on my brisket (thanks guys! :grin:)

landarc
09-20-2012, 02:31 PM
Hey Wampus, I know you are no rookie at this, but, have you tried doing a competition run with a brisket and removing it from the foil just as it starts to probe soft, giving it an extra hour in straight heat might dry that paste right up.

That being said, I have noticed that a lot of box pictures of winning or close to winning brisket doesn't seem to have a lot of bark, the bark seems thin, soft and tender. I think there is a huge move to soft tender on everything BBQ, as opposed to a more traditional slightly chewy tender.

musicmanryann
09-20-2012, 03:18 PM
My first thought is to allow the brisket to get darker before you wrap. Are you wrapping meat(bark) up or down? If you are wrapping meat down you could try to turn it over so the bark isn't swimming in juice.

Scottie
09-20-2012, 03:22 PM
Shig alert... :-P

Big Ugly's BBQ
09-20-2012, 03:35 PM
it's pretty darn frustrating when you're THAT CLOSE to RGC or GC and miss by only a few points. Last week we ended up tied for 3rd and our score was only 3 farkin points lower than the GC. AGAIN. RGC isn't as good as GC, but it sure pays more than 3rd place does.

We're just trying to squeeze SOMETHING enough to get us that ever elusive grand. Our chicken, ribs and pork have been really consistent and up there (all are in the top 100 TOY rankings) but not brisket. Just trying to close the gap is all.

I'm not trying to bash ya or start anything, just trying to reason thru what you said, and I have a better understanding now, thanks!

There have been a couple of suggestions (and believe me, I will be trying them, hehehehe), but I would also suggest looking at your application of rub.

If you are getting the flavor you want on the surface (ie, where the rub is), dont change it, BUT maybe look at your rub ingredients. If you are using an already prepared rub, its difficult. If you are mixing it yourself, look at what's going in there, what spices are drawing moisture out of the meat, and/or what could be soaking up liquid and just laying on the surface creating that paste. Do you apply alot of rub prior to placing on the smoker, then apply it again in the foil?

Maybe you need to add or take away from the amount of rub you are applying to meat........just my .02 cents......

I would also like to hear what any judges might have to say on bark.......

Eggspert
09-20-2012, 03:44 PM
So we have gone back and forth with the Brisket bark question too. We typically pour some liquid and wrap the brisket at 170. We have tried returning the brisket to the smoker to firm up the bark after the tenderness gets close to where we want, but then when you rest the meat it gets mushy again. We have tried to return the brisket to the smoker after resting right before slicing after removing the point for burnt ends, but then I have found that the meat tends to dry out. Any suggestions?

Big Mike
09-20-2012, 04:25 PM
My brisket is the same as yours. My opinion is that as long as we wrap, that is the way it is going to be. The only way to get true bark is to not wrap and not hold. My burnt ends have awesome bark. But, everytime I cook a brisket and not wrap it, it is just not quite as juicy as I want it for a competition.

Wampus
09-20-2012, 06:20 PM
Hey Wampus, I know you are no rookie at this, but, have you tried doing a competition run with a brisket and removing it from the foil just as it starts to probe soft, giving it an extra hour in straight heat might dry that paste right up.

Jimmy and I were discussing this just yesterday. Only concern is that it would dry it out. Plus.....as said above if there's much hold time it will probably soften right back up.

JimmyDAL
09-20-2012, 06:22 PM
Out of curiosity, what type of smoker are ya'll using?

Wampus
09-20-2012, 06:28 PM
Shig alert... :-P

Har har har........shig away!

I don't think I've said or revealed anything that most of the teams that I've seen are doing (rub,foil,slice). Plus we're pretty open with most all we do anyway. As you know, Scottie, I could flat out post every single thing we do and it doesn't necessarily mean that someone can duplicate our results! :icon_smile_tongue:



........or are suggesting that I'M shigging by inquiring!?!

Wampus
09-20-2012, 06:29 PM
Out of curiosity, what type of smoker are ya'll using?


Jambo

landarc
09-20-2012, 07:40 PM
Jimmy and I were discussing this just yesterday. Only concern is that it would dry it out. Plus.....as said above if there's much hold time it will probably soften right back up.
I see your point, especially about the holding time. I am not sure that an hour would dry up the meat more than or less than keeping it foiled.

Curiously, I have found that once I get a good bark, bear in mind, I wrap in paper, the bark softens a little, but, it does not get mushy. Now, I do add a tiny amount of pulverized sugar, so little I can't taste it once cooked and I think it aids in bark development.

JS-TX
09-21-2012, 01:50 PM
I don't like mushy bark or overcaramelized crusty bark either. So at a small local comp. a couple weeks ago I decided to wrap in butcher paper and got the results I was looking for and 1st place brisket!

If you are going to wrap using butcher paper, do so when the bark has begun to set. If it's too moist which it very well may be cause of your injection, do something like landarc does and sprinkle a small amount of rub to help absorb it. Overall it will help your bark.

Big Mike
09-21-2012, 04:23 PM
can someone explain the whole wrap it in butcher paper thing. I assume it replaces wrapping in foil. What does the butcher paper do for ya

indianagriller
09-21-2012, 04:27 PM
i think i have been putting too much rub on the brisket which takes long to set up and by the time it starts setting up we foil... I have some R/D to do this weekend... cooking 5 packer briskets to work on some stuff.

Wampus
09-26-2012, 09:45 AM
can someone explain the whole wrap it in butcher paper thing. I assume it replaces wrapping in foil. What does the butcher paper do for ya

Here's a thread I put up some time ago in Q-Talk about paper vs foil. I learned a LOT from some of the replies. Perhaps this will help you as well.
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=132794

Scottie
09-26-2012, 09:57 AM
........or are suggesting that I'M shigging by inquiring!?!


No, Ryan I believe is leading the TOY for brisket or very close... Im just sitting back and taking notes...:-P

Wampus
09-26-2012, 09:59 AM
No, Ryan I believe is leading the TOY for brisket or very close... Im just sitting back and taking notes...:-P


HAHAHA.....yeah I figured that out myself. :becky::thumb:

Pitmaster T
09-26-2012, 07:14 PM
Paste is an adjective that is a badge of honor for many in the newer regions of BBQ pageantry. I swear I am not trying to be snotty, but its just the way it is up there... its accepted. But if you are doing well there, why change?

As long as you know WHY you have a pasty bark you will know to have it up north (past Dallas) and how to get rid of it where you have judges with some tooth to them' which CAN happen up north as well.

JD McGee
09-26-2012, 08:52 PM
Bark is overrated...seriously! We have been using the same rub for two years now with very good results...and it's ALWAYS mush...lol! We cook to color, texture, and taste...not bark! :becky:

QTEX
09-26-2012, 10:03 PM
Mr MCGEE is spot on. For better placing you need to work on your overall and especially internal flavor, do you inject? IMO and on my own brisket the pasty bark is too much rub/baste/sauce/mop?, in the first place. I do put mine back on after the rest to re-color the bark before slicing. After struggling for a couple of years with my brisket being in the upper top ten or not at all I started injecting and BAM! 1st place and have not placed out of top five since, mostly top three, unless I screwed it up in some other way myself. If you are injecting then tweak on that a bit more. As a HJ I have also seen many times where flavor will out place looks anywhere anytime.
For what its worth our team always thought we had an awesome brisket too in the first place but the judges didnt agree.
FLAVOR FLAVOR FLAVOR RULES! Remember you are cooking for a wide range of palletes too, get your flavor profile to work for more people than your immediate team.
Good luck

Pitmaster T
09-26-2012, 10:25 PM
Accidentally erased a commentary about how stupid what someone said in here is. Now you will just have to guess who said it and why its stupid.

indianagriller
09-26-2012, 10:35 PM
Qtex,
Not sure if you read the whole thread, but our brisket is not bad, and usually gets us a walk or close to it, just trying to squeeze an extra point or two out of it... It's very frustrating to know that the last 5 comps we have missed out on several thousand in prize money by a combined maybe 25 points...only missing rgc or gc by 3-4 points...its not all about the money but at some point it is lol...

Sent from my ADR6300 using Tapatalk 2

QTEX
09-27-2012, 08:16 AM
Oh I agree 100% Indian, at some point the money does matter because it costs money to do this crazy hobby. Still as a judge and a cook what I posted is what I have experienced and seen.

Wampus
09-27-2012, 08:46 AM
I guess to clarify.....the whole POINT of this thread is to get people's opinions on the bark and/or how to tighten it up. As far as overal brisket, we do inject and have great flavor and it's tender, good smoke ring, etc. The only thing we can think that is causing us to leave points on the table is possibly bark. Color is great. Flavor is great. We are just wondering about if/how to change the consistency of the bark.

Some have said here that bark is overrated. I get that sentiment. We were just wondering also what judges thought about it?


We've got a couple of ideas we've worked on this week and will try at our next (last) comp in GA. We'll see what happens.

RangerJ
09-27-2012, 09:17 AM
I have no idea how to cook a brisket anymore and the scores to back it up....

While all the other meats have consistently gotten better, the one thing I came into this very expensive hobby thinking I knew how to cook has fallen completely off the charts. Going back to some basics in Missouri this weekend and hoping for better results.

That being said, I believe its the process that eliminates the bark on these briskets we cook in competition.

mobow
09-27-2012, 09:22 AM
As a judge I do not give bark much thought. keith

JS-TX
09-27-2012, 10:23 AM
As a judge I do not give bark much thought. keith

Do you like "burnt ends"? IMO true burnt ends has some good bark on 'em.

JD McGee
09-27-2012, 10:41 AM
I guess to clarify.....the whole POINT of this thread is to get people's opinions on the bark and/or how to tighten it up. As far as overal brisket, we do inject and have great flavor and it's tender, good smoke ring, etc. The only thing we can think that is causing us to leave points on the table is possibly bark. Color is great. Flavor is great. We are just wondering about if/how to change the consistency of the bark.

Some have said here that bark is overrated. I get that sentiment. We were just wondering also what judges thought about it?


We've got a couple of ideas we've worked on this week and will try at our next (last) comp in GA. We'll see what happens.

To get a better bark you need sugar in your rub(I know you already know this)...we cook high heat butts and briskets so our pork rub is designed to work at those temps but not our brisket rub. To tighten up the bark a bit before foiling try spritzing with apple juice or simple syrup...:thumb:

mobow
09-27-2012, 11:09 AM
Do you like "burnt ends"? IMO true burnt ends has some good bark on 'em.
I like the flavor of the point better than I like the flat. So yes I like what is usually turned in as burnt ends. But I do not focus on its bark. If it is has good taste and texture than it will score well for me. If the bark adds to the flavor, great. If the flavor is there without a heavy bark that is ok too. keith

Big Mike
09-27-2012, 11:44 AM
I'm afraid to put true burnt ends in the box. All the pics I see are of perfect little squares lined up. My burnt ends are nice and crusty so they aren't perfect little squares.

JD McGee
09-27-2012, 01:27 PM
I'm afraid to put true burnt ends in the box. All the pics I see are of perfect little squares lined up. My burnt ends are nice and crusty so they aren't perfect little squares.

True burn't ends would probably not do very well on texture...most folks turn in cubed point that has been sauced and put back on the smoker to caramelize...:becky:

Big Mike
09-27-2012, 01:50 PM
I know, but real ones taste so dang good

rookiedad
09-27-2012, 03:30 PM
this whole conversation sounds bizzare! turning in burnt ends that are not burnt ends. thats just not right! if they are carmelized deckle cubes, why don't we just call them that? better yet why don't we just call them brisket and turn in six big ones and forget the flat completely. as i've said before, carmelized deckle cubes are the thighs of the beef catagory! and what is this about texture and flavor without bark? respectfully, bark is flavor and texture and an important part of barbeque...IMHO.

Pitmaster T
09-27-2012, 06:39 PM
people who are not successful with bark; who do not understand what bark is (that means they think it is an aesthetic) should have their comments weighed closely.

people who say bark is related to large quantities of sugars should be completely discounted; for they are simply making commentary about the failures of non-authentic bark.

This does NOT mean they are worthy of discounting their achievements in the rather new territories where the judging public is naive, backwards, and reward regionally inferior products.

How can I make this point through a movie...for those of you I have considered close sons... kids that I have tried to teach right from wrong...

InTheMouth.avi - YouTube

QTEX
09-27-2012, 07:12 PM
lmao, thats too funny

JD McGee
09-27-2012, 07:19 PM
I KNOW what you're gettin' at Donnie...lol! My brisket rub contains very little sugar and I still get a decent bark...or as I refer to it "color". But because I cook HNF and foil...my pretty bark (before foiling) turns to mush when gettin' happy in the steam bath...yaknowwhatimean? I'm ok wit dat...and so are the judges...:becky:

Pitmaster T
09-27-2012, 07:41 PM
JD I am sorry, didn't realize you commented. I was talking about other poor saps that might say that bark is over-rated. The stupid ones, not you... so please don't "unfriend me" on facebook.

So to be clear, anyone that says bark is over-rated other than JD is an idiot, or simply in a region that does not matter.... uh, hold it, let me clean this up a bit... a region that does not matter to most of the ... no, that's no good.... ****, this is hard to say that anywhere other than Texas sucks... without actually saying it.... let me see... I know I can do this... okay... here it goes... there is Texas, where things matter, and then everywhere else... where... it only matters because entities that try and make money off of of people not from Texas capitalize on their ignorance and won't allow the truth to come out because it might reflect poorly on their metrics, hurt the sappy yankee's feelings and lose mem...

no... that's no good...some of my friends are yankees... the ones that cook like Texans.... okay... concentrate

okay... what matters is winning... even if your bbq su.... no... what matters is....what matters is.... mediocrity.... no



scratch that... that's too abrasive... ****, this is impossible. hey, here we go, bark is overated only to the communists... and people that defend Michael Jackson's acts against....

okay...

here we go....

Mushy Bark from those who cannot make a decent bark are made legitimate by trophies. There... no....

no.... okay.... um....

Bark is overrated. There.... That's better... now 80 percent of the BBQ world that has been competing for only the last 20 years is happy.

no... no...

Bark is over rated... That is my final answer and in the words of Newt Gingrich, anyone that uses my own words against me is a liar.

JD McGee
09-27-2012, 07:47 PM
LMFAO!!!...^^^...

Donnie...my wonderfully twisted friend...you are a gem! :becky:

Pitmaster T
09-27-2012, 07:50 PM
LOL If it won... when I was competing, I'd take a **** on every 5th brisket!

Pitmaster T
09-27-2012, 07:51 PM
but there are more important things that win... oh... I smell bread.... (collapses on floor after stroke)

Wampus
09-27-2012, 07:52 PM
Donnie......:pound::pound::pound::pound:

Q-Dat
09-27-2012, 08:29 PM
but there are more important things that win... oh... I smell bread.... (collapses on floor after stroke)

Nobody worry he's fine. He was probably baking soulbread and just tripped over one of the kid's toys.

Pitmaster T
09-27-2012, 09:04 PM
Fell on my soulbread and the butter cream and sugar in the Rick Astley broke my fall.

Q-Dat
09-27-2012, 09:14 PM
Fell on my soulbread and the butter cream and sugar in the Rick Astley broke my fall.

Now I gotta go find that thread and see what Rick Astley is....

Pitmaster T
09-29-2012, 11:28 PM
u ever find out what is was?

Q-Dat
09-30-2012, 02:51 AM
u ever find out what is was?

Well........I think its a slurry made with Little Richard, George benson, and a little Eric Clapton.....:cool:

Pitmaster T
09-30-2012, 08:09 AM
LOL I forgot to name Cream.... but considering he used to do Sheryl Crow, and she is way funkier, and probably its nicer to think of her filled with actual cream... hmmm

Q-Dat
09-30-2012, 09:43 AM
Well don't forget that there is light and heavy cream......

Pitmaster T
09-30-2012, 03:05 PM
There is no light brown sugar, light karo or light cream... doesn't exist, like miracle whip... just a jar of nuthin.

Q-Dat
09-30-2012, 11:07 PM
Haha but there is sour cream....

jmoney7269
09-30-2012, 11:45 PM
I'm just sayin what works for me. I start my brisket fat side Up so that the meat side can get a little char@350 for 2 hrs. Flip, reseason, foil @180 fat side up, FTC. 30 min before turn in I will put the brisket back on the lowest rack of the UDS @400 and crisp it up. Be careful, if left fat side up during the process too long, it will make the meat stringy.

Pitmaster T
10-01-2012, 06:02 AM
I'm just sayin what works for me. I start my brisket fat side Up so that the meat side can get a little char@350 for 2 hrs. Flip, reseason, foil @180 fat side up, FTC. 30 min before turn in I will put the brisket back on the lowest rack of the UDS @400 and crisp it up. Be careful, if left fat side up during the process too long, it will make the meat stringy.

You know, I like this response a lot because the guy is thinking. He is using his brain! There is a reason attached to everything he is saying here.