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Gig'em99
02-20-2013, 05:14 PM
I know I'm guilty of not really wanting to, or divulging my "discoveries."

Although generally new to the Brethren, I certainly like this forum. Among others I've been members of, this one stands out IMO as a place that is far more welcoming, friendly and helpful.

Anyway, in my short time, I've seen a lot of questions come up. Many of which I have "my answer" to, but one I'm reluctant to give...because I compete. Why share secrets that I've taken 10 years to come up with? On the other hand, I wish I had someone that could have just pointed me in the right direction with out the "you're just gonna have to cook, cook, cook." Not saying that isn't important, it's very important...but I spent a lot of time and money figuring things out. And there isn't a lot of time and money out there these days.

So, I'll pass on something that I've held on to for a long time regarding competition brisket. In the end, I don't think it'll make me less competitive either.

I have a way, a method, that get's every brisket I cook loose enough to gently pull apart a slice, but to hold a slice. This method has NEVER failed me in a competition, or in the back yard AS LONG AS I selected a good piece of meat. Now, admittedly, that is a hard part to describe, but when I pick a brisket it's got to be soft and pliable through the flat. You should be able to bend over fairly easily. If's it stiff and not frozen, this method won't work.

Here's my "secret."
Get your brisket to 185 to 195 degrees, throughout. Keep it there for no less than 3 hours. I use a warmer box. Longer than 3 hours makes NO DIFFERENCE (provided you're not letting the temp creep up). But at the 3 hour mark you're safe. Take it out and slice it up, box it. Taste it, etc. The tenderness and texture will be there. It'll hold a slice, with a nice snap or pull if you want it. By the way, at that point, you can let is rest too...the fats and collagens have rendered (it's just chemistry). If you have time to let it rest, do so for 30 min to an hour. It just get's better.

Sure there are other ways...take it up to 205 in the point, then wrap in towel, etc... I've done it that way, and not been able to get good turn in slices. They're always done, but sometimes too done.

Let's face it...in a comp, we're on the clock. So the popular adage "it's done when it's done" doesn't really work for us. We need to KNOW it's done, and in time for it's turn in.

Hot n fast, low n slow...doesn't matter, those temps and rest time combinations have worked in comps for me over the past 5 years, with 3 top 5 finishes and 1 first place in brisket. I use the same process in my back yard too.

For what it's worth, I always use full packers in the 12-18lb range. I never buy select. Almost always by choice, but I'm picky when I select.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents, or 10. Give a try, I'd like to know if it works for you.

columbia1
02-20-2013, 05:16 PM
I have no problem sharing technic, flavor profiles though are OFF-LIMITS!!

Gig'em99
02-20-2013, 05:39 PM
I completely agree.

Gig'em99
02-20-2013, 07:08 PM
Oh yea, forgot to say that I always foil after 4-5 hours.

Lake Dogs
02-20-2013, 08:31 PM
IMHO (and we proved this a number of times), there are no secrets, just what works for you. Share your recipes, down to the ounce. Share your techniques, down to the minute. Side by side, against someone doing the exact same thing, you'll produce 2 different tasting and probably different textured product.

Gig'em99
02-20-2013, 09:12 PM
Well you're always going to have 2 different pieces of meat.

Q-Dat
02-20-2013, 10:49 PM
Agreed. Techniques yes. Flavors no.

I have actually shared our no scrape bite through chicken skin method (nothing groundbreaking) with several brethren. I'm all for sharing secrets that help get around obstacles caused by silliness like chicken skin having to be bite through(yeah I know its not a requirement) and garnish. I currently have no tricks for garnish, but if I ever come up with something to make it easier you can bet I'll be sharing.

Rookie'48
02-21-2013, 12:30 AM
A few years ago at one of the Midwest Bashes, our own Damnit Andy gave a total brisket tutorial. When he was asked if he wasn't worried about others copying his technique his answer was something along the lines of: "I can't do it exactly the same week after week, so how can you?"

dmprantz
02-21-2013, 12:59 AM
One of the top rated brisket cooks in the country told me that he doesn't use anything except salt, pepper, and garlic in his competion brisket, and even then, he doesn't inject, only cooking liquid....he told me that right up until he threw me up against the wall in private and told me in a different forum (again, in private) that he didn't have anything against me. In the end, it's not what people tell you, but what people do that matters. I'd be very, very wary of what people tell you and pay a lot more attention to what people do if I were you...but what do I know, eh?

dmp

MaximumJEFF
02-21-2013, 01:30 AM
If I ever get good at cooking anything I'll gladly share

BigBellyBBQ
02-21-2013, 02:05 AM
take bits here and there...then practice ...use what works for you..do not over think the cooking process

CulinaireZaken
02-21-2013, 04:34 AM
I'm still kind of new to competition and i'm verry happy there are folks who share theire techniques...

After spending hundreds of euros on meat, rubs, marinades and sauces, and trying to cook the best cuts i only made a huge leap when i started to combine others techniques...

76095

Pitmaster T
02-21-2013, 07:17 AM
Thanks for bringing this up! I just answered an email from someone on this precise subject. Not really a secret.... unless you don't know it. And there are scores of people that don't. I have LONG since maintained just what you are writing and people often get the wrong idea.

I think actually when Franklin dude did his brisket thing he was asked "and so Franklin person, do you rest the brisket?" and he was to have responded..."oh it rests, alright." giving many who understand socio-linguistics a cue to his "secret."

I think its marvelous that you are sharing this... really I do... because its the key to this particular and complex cut. But once you figure it out... its no longer complex is it?

I have put it this way before.... cooking brisket is like a my first girlfriend sweet Yvette. God she was so beautiful. I would pedal my heart out on my bike to get to her house back in the day... the reason why was so I could spend more time with her. I wanted to just be around her as long as I could. I cannot tell you how beautiful she was... okay, she is on my facebook.... so pretty that you didn't want to kiss her because she's be out of focus cuz ur too close. Know what I mean? and if I had to be home at 7 I would stay with her until the very last second and pedal hard back to my house miles away.

So let me tie it up.... I long discovered that you can go nearly as fast as you want to the stall... where ever you think that is.... but when you get there you need to slow down and keep the brisket there for a long while... in your case I agree... a rather large portion of the whole cook. The guy I just wrote made an error he was not happy with... he did everything right (he was using my hot and fast method) but then got impatient at the stall and tried to blast through it. He ramped up the temp... it burned, the fat and collagen weeped out too fast and he was not happy with the results.

and to make this point even more excruciatingly long, :-) my girl Yvette stands out in my memory (like a brisket) as an example of me understanding the complexity of women (or her - we were real young then) a little bit too. You see when she would invite me over, I basically had said everything right over the phone, at school etc.

When I got to her house I was courteous... shy, listened to her, resisted my urges to be an asshat or too fresh.... and eventually it paid off... she gave me my first kiss... she did it... I rushed everything until I got there (to the stall) then relaxed and let things unfold. That's the way a brisket is... you can rush it to the stall, but they really need that long processing time afterward for texture and taste to distribute.

hogzgonewild
02-21-2013, 07:50 AM
That should be title: A reading from Pitmaster T's new book, "Love and BBQ"

cpw
02-21-2013, 07:50 AM
Agreed. Techniques yes. Flavors no.

I have actually shared our no scrape bite through chicken skin method (nothing groundbreaking) with several brethren. I'm all for sharing secrets that help get around obstacles caused by silliness like chicken skin having to be bite through(yeah I know its not a requirement) and garnish. I currently have no tricks for garnish, but if I ever come up with something to make it easier you can bet I'll be sharing.

Do you mind sharing your chicken secret with several more brethren? :)

Ron_L
02-21-2013, 07:53 AM
Thanks for sharing...

I have a question...


Get your brisket to 185 to 195 degrees, throughout. Keep it there for no less than 3 hours. I use a warmer box.

What type of warmer box?

Gig'em99
02-21-2013, 08:12 AM
Thanks for sharing...

I have a question...



What type of warmer box?

It's a box that is built right on top of my fire box. (Off set smoker). I can regulate the temp via some baffles. So, the brisket is wrapped by this time, probably for several hours already. I try to keep my warmer 40-50 degrees cooler than my main chamber, or right in the 185 range, for obvious reasons, based on my technique.

Also, if my stabilized brisket starts dropping temp, it's wrapped, so I just put it back in the cooker. It's all about maintaining that range/time.

Ron_L
02-21-2013, 08:32 AM
It's a box that is built right on top of my fire box. (Off set smoker). I can regulate the temp via some baffles. So, the brisket is wrapped by this time, probably for several hours already. I try to keep my warmer 40-50 degrees cooler than my main chamber, or right in the 185 range, for obvious reasons, based on my technique.

Also, if my stabilized brisket starts dropping temp, it's wrapped, so I just put it back in the cooker. It's all about maintaining that range/time.

Thanks... Most cooks won't have the luxury of a warming box like that, so maintaining that temp range could be a challenge.That's why you see a lot of cooks taking the brisket to the pint where itis done and then holding it in a cooler or Cambro.

Gig'em99
02-21-2013, 08:40 AM
Done plenty without a warmer box too. You can maintain that temp by moving it from cooker to holding container. It's not that burdensome. No more so than add wood to the firebox.

Doing it at home can be achieved by using an oven.

jmoney7269
02-21-2013, 08:50 AM
I agree about the technique is cool to discuss, but alot of comp guys just won't give up their flavor profile. As far as my brisket goes, I cook it @275-350 depending on what I gotta get done. Cook it till it probes tender no matter what the internal is. I regularly take them to 210 with stellar results. 4 hr rest in the Cambro 300. You want it tender and juicy no matter what. IMO with brisket if you can't cut it with a fork or pull it apart with 1 hand it's tough.
J$ comp brisket precook - YouTube

Q-Dat
02-21-2013, 08:57 AM
Do you mind sharing your chicken secret with several more brethren? :)

OK well here it is. Like I said its nothing groundbreaking but hopefully it will help take some of the guessing out of what you put in the box.

Skin down in the butter bath(or whatever you are using) until the skin is bite through tender. How do you know that the skin is bite through tender? Well you could take a bite out of it, but that might not look good to the judges. There is a way that you can tell without biting it.

When you think they are close take both index fingers and press down on a thigh. Try to stretch the skin by moving your fingers away from each other.

If the skin stretches and then snaps back into shape, its not ready.

If the skin stretches and slowly shrinks back, its almost ready.

If the skin stretches and hardly shrinks back, or not at all, or if it starts to tear its ready. From here on you have to handle the thighs VERY gently. No tongs! I use brown cotton gloves with nitrile rubber gloves over them. I put them on the pit at high INDIRECT heat to get them to brown before saucing.

Every time I do this the skin is bite through with no scraping.

Hopefully this is not considered a highjack since it goes with the theme of the OP.

timzcardz
02-21-2013, 09:13 AM
Thanks for sharing.

BUT the real question is, do you cook it fat cap up, or down?


:mrgreen:

Outnumbered
02-21-2013, 09:13 AM
Done plenty without a warmer box too. You can maintain that temp by moving it from cooker to holding container. It's not that burdensome. No more so than add wood to the firebox.

Doing it at home can be achieved by using an oven.

I'm a barrel guy. Would you take it to the higher range if you dont use the warmer box?

jmoney7269
02-21-2013, 09:23 AM
I know some people that baste in home made honey butter. Good chicken. I have put honey butter under the skin a few times at home and comps but never got any walks with it. But now, dat be a different story :becky:

HeSmellsLikeSmoke
02-21-2013, 09:25 AM
I'm a barrel guy. Would you take it to the higher range if you dont use the warmer box?

I've been thinking that light metal smokers, such as a UDS or WSM could be backed off pretty quickly to 185 degrees so you could hold it right in the smoker. I am gonna give it a try next time.

Gig'em99
02-21-2013, 09:28 AM
I'm a barrel guy. Would you take it to the higher range if you dont use the warmer box?

Yes I would! I'd take it to 210, like another poster mentioned. Then rest it for several hours in some sort of insulated container. In all likely hood it'll take several hours before it fell below 170. Plenty of time for the proper rendering to take place.

Gig'em99
02-21-2013, 09:29 AM
I've been thinking that light metal smokers, such as a UDS or WSM could be backed off pretty quickly to 185 degrees so you could hold it right in the smoker. I am gonna give it a try next time.

Bingo. I'll often do that with my stick burners too. When I feel like an oven is cheating 😜

bruno994
02-21-2013, 09:32 AM
I think I finally understood a Pitmaster T post!

Gig'em99
02-21-2013, 09:32 AM
Thanks for sharing.

BUT the real question is, do you cook it fat cap up, or down?


:mrgreen:

Both! But I don't turn it during the cook. Lately I've been going cap down. Normally I'm equally happy with the results. IMO it doesn't make a dimes worth of difference.

Gig'em99
02-21-2013, 09:37 AM
Hopefully this is not considered a highjack since it goes with the theme of the OP.

Nope, my intent was to have either the concept itself discussed or if people want to divulge anything, there will be plenty of appreciative brethren.

I think everyone generally accepts that seasonings and flavor profiles are off limits. I'll share basics, but my competition process for seasoning and flavoring is my own too.

jbrink01
02-21-2013, 10:03 AM
You guys hit on one of my UDS tricks. When we don't have a Cambro (yes, we forgot one once last year) we just "CrockPotted" the can. Left the big meats on and choked the heat way down (like the 180 range) and let it sit wrapped. We won pork, brisket and the comp that day.

HeSmellsLikeSmoke
02-21-2013, 10:05 AM
You guys hit on one of my UDS tricks. When we don't have a Cambro (yes, we forgot one once last year) we just "CrockPotted" the can. Left the big meats on and choked the heat way down (like the 180 range) and let it sit wrapped. We won pork, brisket and the comp that day.

A Canbro, so to speak. :becky:

DawgPhan
02-21-2013, 10:19 AM
The seasonings and sauces are the least important...timing and cooking is far more important than the rub you used.

Oakridge rubs and a homemade sauce and I dont think that I gave away a single secret.

CBQ
02-21-2013, 10:31 AM
The vertical chamber on an offset smoker also serves nicely as a warming box. Before I went to the dark side (pellets) I used it all the time for brisket. With the smoker at 275, the vertical would have 2 shelves at 185, and 2 at 140. Warming box and hot holding.

Candy Sue
02-21-2013, 11:00 AM
Best BBQ advice I've heard (all from top 10 teams):

"There are no secrets in BBQ."

"It's the least offensive BBQ that wins (i.e. don't mess with more than one judge!)."

"Get the texture right and don't go overboard with salt, sweet or spicy."

"Cook more contests to get better."

"Make baby step changes, unless the recipe tanks continuously."

Lake Dogs
02-21-2013, 11:35 AM
Best BBQ advice I've heard (all from top 10 teams):

"There are no secrets in BBQ."

"It's the least offensive BBQ that wins (i.e. don't mess with more than one judge!)."

"Get the texture right and don't go overboard with salt, sweet or spicy."

"Cook more contests to get better."

"Make baby step changes, unless the recipe tanks continuously."


ABSOLUTELY. #2 holds true in any food competition. To a degree, so do the others... Anyone with hundreds of food competitions under their belt will tell you the same thing, and generally if they have the time and you're polite enough, they'll share any "secret" that you care to know about. The folks that think "it's a secret" usually haven't competed enough (to know that nothing is farther from the truth)...

eap0510
02-21-2013, 12:40 PM
It sounds to me that we need to create a thread called competition secrets revealed.

It are these "secrets" that makes people money like Trigg and Myron.
If everyone gave away their tricks of the trade then the guys with the cooking schools would be put out of business.

-Eric

Gig'em99
02-21-2013, 02:46 PM
ABSOLUTELY. #2 holds true in any food competition.

I'll politely disagree with this one. Maybe the type of comp is key though. I've continuously been surprised by how salty the winning briskets, ribs and chickens have been at the LSBS and IBCA cooks that I've competed in (when I've been able to taste the winning boxes). Salty enough that I thought is was terrible. But, maybe when you have tables of volunteer judges, not CBJs, after tasting 20 meats, the only way to distinguish is by adding a bunch of salt. I still refuse to make my food stand out with salt. And sometimes I place well, others not.

Lake Dogs
02-21-2013, 03:05 PM
I'll politely disagree with this one. Maybe the type of comp is key though. I've continuously been surprised by how salty the winning briskets, ribs and chickens have been at the LSBS and IBCA cooks that I've competed in (when I've been able to taste the winning boxes). Salty enough that I thought is was terrible. But, maybe when you have tables of volunteer judges, not CBJs, after tasting 20 meats, the only way to distinguish is by adding a bunch of salt. I still refuse to make my food stand out with salt. And sometimes I place well, others not.

No doubt, the farther you get from qualified judges the more "off" things become. Also, those that win like this got REALLY lucky on their table. REALLY.

Lake Dogs
02-21-2013, 03:10 PM
It sounds to me that we need to create a thread called competition secrets revealed.

It are these "secrets" that makes people money like Trigg and Myron.
If everyone gave away their tricks of the trade then the guys with the cooking schools would be put out of business.

-Eric

Eric,

I learned "secrets" from Myron and many other (just not Johnny, because I've not run into him personally) top competitors (many have GC'd MIM, or won an MIM category [Myron of Jacks Old South, Buster of Boggy Pond, Lonnie of Bubba Grills, Pete of Yazoos Delta Q (Melissa was very busy), and MANY others]) over the years. If they dont teach classes (and even some that do teach classes) they'll tell you straight up, and show you. The ones that teach will do that in the class. For Myron, take his class, and just ask. It's that simple.

Tendencies being tendencies, the more accomplished the competitor the more they're willing to "share" IF they have the time. Dont ask 'em a silly question when they're preparing a turn-in box, or when trying to flip a hog, etc. Catch 'em at a meeting, or out in the field, offer 'em a beer, invite 'em over to your camp for beer, etc.

Gig'em99
02-21-2013, 03:18 PM
It sounds to me that we need to create a thread called competition secrets revealed.

It are these "secrets" that makes people money like Trigg and Myron.
If everyone gave away their tricks of the trade then the guys with the cooking schools would be put out of business.

-Eric

Well, as far as I know, both Trigg and Mixon have schools. So they're teaching a chunk of their techniques. Potentially getting their students very far down the path to their flavor profiles. With hundreds of cooks learning, their techniques are all pretty public...particularly Myron's. I have his book.

But this comment really takes this thread and hits on the real intent.

How much do we want to share about what we do? I can tell everyone how to get a 1/4" smoke ring on every brisket, shoulder, rib that they cook. But I'm not sure I want to share it. Appearance is something that I have going for me. But maybe that's something that the brethren should be very clear on.

When someone says, "Hey, I'm entering a competition, tell me how to make a winning rub, sauce, etc." Instead of the "A little salt, a little pepper...practice and cook what you like" response, which is certainly true, maybe we should just be straight and tell them...you're not going to get any "secrets." That may be an oversimplified example.

Gig'em99
02-21-2013, 03:19 PM
No doubt, the farther you get from qualified judges the more "off" things become. Also, those that win like this got REALLY lucky on their table. REALLY.

Amen!

boogiesnap
02-21-2013, 06:11 PM
Well, as far as I know, both Trigg and Mixon have schools. So they're teaching a chunk of their techniques. Potentially getting their students very far down the path to their flavor profiles. With hundreds of cooks learning, their techniques are all pretty public...particularly Myron's. I have his book.

But this comment really takes this thread and hits on the real intent.

How much do we want to share about what we do? I can tell everyone how to get a 1/4" smoke ring on every brisket, shoulder, rib that they cook. But I'm not sure I want to share it. Appearance is something that I have going for me. But maybe that's something that the brethren should be very clear on.

When someone says, "Hey, I'm entering a competition, tell me how to make a winning rub, sauce, etc." Instead of the "A little salt, a little pepper...practice and cook what you like" response, which is certainly true, maybe we should just be straight and tell them...you're not going to get any "secrets." That may be an oversimplified example.

you're not going to get any secrets because there truly aren't any. it takes practice and attention to detail to cook well and win. those aren't secrets, they're truths.

i get a 1/4 inch smoke ring by cooking my food over wood. is that a secret? know what i mean?

Hawg Father of Seoul
02-21-2013, 06:20 PM
Or just use a little pink salt/TQ.

A fake smoke ring is like a fake p****, It only makes 1 person feel better.

Rub'n Wood BBQ
02-21-2013, 07:15 PM
You guys hit on one of my UDS tricks. When we don't have a Cambro (yes, we forgot one once last year) we just "CrockPotted" the can. Left the big meats on and choked the heat way down (like the 180 range) and let it sit wrapped. We won pork, brisket and the comp that day.

That didnt happen to be at Holy Smokers last year?

Gig'em99
02-21-2013, 07:25 PM
Seasoning has nothing to do with a smoke ring.

I can cook over wood and get almost no smoke ring. I can cook with charcoal and get a smoke ring.

I remember a guy telling me that paprika is what gets the pink ring. Ha! And I beat that guy every time I compete against him.

Gig'em99
02-21-2013, 07:42 PM
Seasoning has nothing to do with a smoke ring.


I guess I should clarify this one... Yes you can get a pink ring with tender quick. But that ain't a smoke ring.

Lake Dogs
02-21-2013, 08:06 PM
When someone says, "Hey, I'm entering a competition, tell me how to make a winning rub, sauce, etc." Instead of the "A little salt, a little pepper...practice and cook what you like" response, which is certainly true, maybe we should just be straight and tell them...you're not going to get any "secrets." That may be an oversimplified example.

They may be asking the wrong people. The folks I know, and I myself, will tell them. I've said many, MANY times here in painstaking detail HOW to develop and make an award winning sauce, and how to make an award winning rub, and how to make them so that they go together...

Want winning sauce recipes, check infernooo's sauce competition thread here.

If they ask nicely, I'll give them my exact recipes, and I'll tell them why it might not work for them, because unless you're using my smoker, using the hickory from the trees that I use, foil when and how I do.

Gig'em99
02-21-2013, 08:15 PM
...,why it might not work for them, because unless you're using my smoker, using the hickory from the trees that I use, foil when and how I do.

Very good point!

thillin
02-24-2013, 01:49 PM
No doubt, the farther you get from qualified judges the more "off" things become. Also, those that win like this got REALLY lucky on their table. REALLY.

Not all CBJs are "qualified judges" either, they just paid for a class.

Alot of these "too salty" briskets do very well in KCBS cooks as well. But we know we are cooking for 1 bite judging in IBCA/LSBS.

That being said, some of the "smaller charity" cooks that are IBCA or LSBS are put on by Elks or other lodges. That is where overly salty comes in as the lodge members get the first shot at judging. And these guys are the same ones closing down the bar and chain smoking up until their first bite.