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nascarchuck
03-07-2008, 06:58 AM
Again, I have looked around for answers, but need to ask the question.

When purchasing meat for a comp, how do you pick a good piece of meat? What do you look for?

When cooking a brisket, what cut of brisket do you use?

When cooking ribs, again, what cut of meat?

Thanks for puttin up with me guys!

Fatback Joe
03-07-2008, 08:19 AM
Quite a bit goes into picking a good piece of meat.......and I think part of it is luck, I don't know that I could do a description justice. I know what "looks good" to me and go with that. For the brisket I look for a certain amount of fat, the color of the fat, the color of the beef.........and it all comes with cooking a bunch of them and taking notes. Ribs, I buy them in the cryvac packs, a case or so and go through and trim them and separate them by what looks the best, lack of shiners, uniform thickness, etc.......keep a pile for comps and pile for just eating, label and freeze them. Butts - they all seem pretty close to the same to me (maybe that explains my scores) but I try to find one that is uniform shape/thickness not overly fat, etc. Chicken - I use thighs, I try to find some that the skin looks good and uniform size as best I can.

Brisket - I use full packers, choice grade

Ribs - Full spare slabs and trim them down St. Louis style myself.

ZILLA
03-07-2008, 09:26 AM
You're definetly moving to the next level when you get to meat selection. Unles you have access to alot of meat to choose from you'll have to make due with what's in the meat case.

Ribs, There are several things to check for. look for spare ribs that have "straight" bones of at least 4"-5" from end to end. You will have to pick up the slabs and try to feel through the cryovac bags to checkk them out. You would be surprised how some slabs are cut. Also try to find ribs that are 4 -4 1/2 lbs per slab with a layer of meat on top of the bone. Make sure that there are no shiners "bones showing through the meat". Really good ribs can be tough to find.

Brisket, In order of preference I would look for Cheap prime packers, CAB (Certified Angus Beef) packers, choice packers. I look for briskets that are 11-13 lbs with a thick end on the flat. 1-1/2" - 2" is great. I find the one that are more loose or flexible end up better than the stiffer ones.

Podge
03-07-2008, 10:10 AM
Quality of meat is, to me, the most important part of BBQ competition.

Scottie
03-07-2008, 10:30 AM
Quality of meat is, to me, the most important part of BBQ competition.


I agree. That is why I don't mind buying extra meat to get the exact pieces that I want. I can always cook those "reject" pieces of meat for someone that is looking to pay me for my BBQ. Or I save them and do practice cooks with the reject meat.

Scottie

ique
03-07-2008, 10:46 AM
When cooking a brisket, what cut of brisket do you use?

When cooking ribs, again, what cut of meat?

Thanks for puttin up with me guys!

The best answer I've seen to this question is, cook what you are used to cooking.

nthole
03-07-2008, 11:56 AM
We grab cryovaced flats, baby backs and butts, from Sams and go for fresh thighs from the local grocery.

I mostly just look for fat and color of the meat. Other than that, I'm not too much a meat expert.

Thinking about finding a local butcher for this year and just trusting him and telling him this is what I need, give me the good stuff.

RixCue
03-07-2008, 12:44 PM
I had a meat Mngr at Sams come up to me and ask what I was doing . I must have been speending too much time looking over the meat. Most of the time ribs are luck . Only one slab meat side up. The last I got had a great show slab, the other two looked like they lost a dog fight. Ok for home cooking useless at a comp.

Rick

butts a fire
03-07-2008, 01:16 PM
I cook whole packers for brisket and what I look at whn I am purchasing them is the amount of fat on them the size of the Flat since that is what I turn in and the feel of it, I tend to go with briskets that have a little give to them in the pack over the ones that are really stiff. I always buy choice or above.

For ribs I do Baby backs Since I buy them in three packs you can only see the top of one slab but on that I look to make sure there are no shiners and that there isn't an excessive amount of Fat. I also tend to go with the heaviest pack I can find where the top one looks good.

Butts I look at the fat I want a good amount on the top side, and since I normally buy them in two packs I look to see that they are uniform in size.

Chicken I normally just buy a big pack of thighs at sams (Tyson), they are pretty uniform plus since I am trimming them it doesn't really matter to much about the other stuff.

Bigmista
03-07-2008, 07:36 PM
Brisket - Size is important. I try to stay in the 10-12# packer range. That way I have an idea of how long my cook is going to be. Look for good marbleing (is that a word)without too big of a fat cap. Also look for a brisket wit a thick flat. That is getting harder and harder to find here. A thick flat means thicker, prettier slices. Grade has never meant much to me. I have cooked a bad (ok I don't make bad meat, just not good as some of the others) choice brisket and made alot of great select ones. Part of the art, skill and craft of BBQ is taking an inferior cut of meat and making something beautiful out of it.

Ribs - I use spares. Can't justify baby backs in my mind. Too expensive for that little piece of meat. Avoid shiners when you can see them. Buy cryovac ribs or if you are lucky enough to have a butcher nearby (not me unfortunately) go there and pick your ribs.

Pork Butt - Bone in. 5lbs or bigger. That's it.

Chicken - Thighs. Try to get a pack where most are the same size. If the skin is REALLY yellow, skip it.

nascarchuck
03-07-2008, 07:45 PM
Great tips! Keep em coming!

I do have a question though... I see several references to "shiners" when buying ribs. What are shiners?

Thanks guys!!!

The_Kapn
03-07-2008, 07:47 PM
Great tips! Keep em coming!

I do have a question though... I see several references to "shiners" when buying ribs. What are shiners?

Thanks guys!!!

Bone showing thru the meat, or the meat cooked totally off the bone.
Not referring to the "pull back" on the ends while cooking.

BAD

TIM

Bigmista
03-07-2008, 07:49 PM
Shiners are when the meat on ribs are trimmed so much that the bone shows thru. Kinda like beef ribs in the grocery store.

nascarchuck
03-07-2008, 07:50 PM
Shiners are when the meat on ribs are trimmed so much that the bone shows thru. Kinda like beef ribs in the grocery store.


Oh my! Guess that I have been lucky!!!

Thanks...

Didnt I read that you were moving to Texas awhile back? Did ya ever do it?

The_Kapn
03-07-2008, 08:03 PM
Finally found a few minutes to put my nickle in.

Brisket:
We cook CAB packers 11 pounds and up. Have cooked everything I can find from WM Select to Kobi and in-between. We can fark up any grade or quality of meat, including Kobi :oops:
Finally gave up shopping and just buy CAB by the case. Cost effective and extremely consistent. The freezer is our friend once they are aged.

Butts:
7 lb (plus) bone in. We look for marbling--lots of fat throughout the butt, not just in limited areas or on the surface. Grab them and freeze when they jump off the shelf at me.

Ribs:
Don't have a clue yet :oops:

Chicken:
Hopefully, small thighs from young chickens without yellow skin. We cook a lot and sort them out for turn-in.

Disclaimer--none of this has made us any significant $$ :lol:
But, we have been real consistent lately and meat selection is no longer a challenge like it used to be.
Just gotta fix some little boo-boos every event and all will be well.

Just my thoughts.

TIM

TOPS BBQ
03-08-2008, 02:35 AM
Didnt I read that you were moving to Texas awhile back? Did ya ever do it?

Mista was just visiting.

As for my selection, I have smoked CAB, Prime, Choice and Select briskets. For comps, I just can't pay for anything above Choice. I actually use Select, but I shoot for 11-12 lb packers. Does it take longer to smoke? Yes, but I'm comfortable with that.

Butts - As long as it has the bone in and 7-8 lbs, I'm cool with that.

Chicken - Buy a pack of 18-20 ct and trim them to be the same size. You'll end up with at least 12 good pieces that you are confident you can work with. Once they are done, you'll see the perfect six.

Ribs - I actually buy a case. Yes it's a lot of ribs, but I don't cook all of them. I also get a case price, so I essentially get a couple of rack or free. I go through and the case and if I see any shiners, I'll pul them and seal the for the freezer and saved for practice or party. The good ones go to the comp.

Good luck!

thillin
03-08-2008, 01:21 PM
Remember Chuck, if you plan on competing in TX, you turn in 1/2 a chicken and the ribs must be spares. And if I recall, brisket is due by 3pm Sat. Tony, Deez and KellerSteeler are the locals that I can think of that competes.

Smokin Gator
03-08-2008, 02:17 PM
CAB briskets are really a good choice and by the case they aren't that expensive. The marbling in them is beautiful most of the time.

Ribs are a toughy. You almost have to buy them by the case and pick through to find comp quality. Vacuum seal those and mark them for comp.

I have gotten really picky on my butts. I go 8+ pounds and look for the ones with a larger money muscle. I think that really makes a difference.

Chicken... who the heck knows... I just buy the packs with about 20 in there and pray!!!

Leeper
03-08-2008, 03:51 PM
C

I have gotten really picky on my butts. I go 8+ pounds and look for the ones with a larger money muscle. I think that really makes a difference.


Money muscle?

Smokin Gator
03-08-2008, 07:05 PM
The horizontal piece that is on the opposite end of the bone.

nascarchuck
03-08-2008, 10:39 PM
Remember Chuck, if you plan on competing in TX, you turn in 1/2 a chicken and the ribs must be spares. And if I recall, brisket is due by 3pm Sat. Tony, Deez and KellerSteeler are the locals that I can think of that competes.


The rules are saying "Brisket, Ribs (beef or pork), Chicken (must be whole) and Wild Game."

Turn in times are:
10:00 AM Chicken
11:00 AM Ribs
12:45 PM Wild Game (we aren't doing this catagory)
4:00 PM Brisket

From what I understand, you cannot enter the competition area until 6AM.

If that is the case and brisket turn in is at 4PM, is this enough time for a brisket?

Thillin or anyone else gonna be there? It's Sept 19 & 20 at Bass Pro Shops in Grapevine. Unsanctioned event with max 40 teams.

White Dog BBQ
03-08-2008, 10:51 PM
Finally found a few minutes to put my nickle in.

Brisket:
We cook CAB packers 11 pounds and up. Have cooked everything I can find from WM Select to Kobi and in-between. We can fark up any grade or quality of meat, including Kobi :oops:
Finally gave up shopping and just buy CAB by the case. Cost effective and extremely consistent. The freezer is our friend once they are aged.



Do you compete with previously-frozen briskets? Have you noticed any quality degredation when cooking a previously-frozen brisket? Thanks.

Erik

stlgreg
03-09-2008, 10:41 AM
The rules are saying "Brisket, Ribs (beef or pork), Chicken (must be whole) and Wild Game."

Turn in times are:
10:00 AM Chicken
11:00 AM Ribs
12:45 PM Wild Game (we aren't doing this catagory)
4:00 PM Brisket

From what I understand, you cannot enter the competition area until 6AM.

If that is the case and brisket turn in is at 4PM, is this enough time for a brisket?

Thillin or anyone else gonna be there? It's Sept 19 & 20 at Bass Pro Shops in Grapevine. Unsanctioned event with max 40 teams.


The way I would do it is the fast brisket method. Cook up a full brisket at 350 (has to be a full brisket) until the point gets to 170 then wrap in foil, pull and rest for 1 hour. Takes about 5.5 hours, depending on the size of the brisket

thillin
03-10-2008, 02:53 PM
Can't make it due to working Saturdays at the moment.

You should have plenty of time. I'm guessing the 6am thing is for Friday morning. Find out what time cooking can start. I'm sure you should be able to start Friday evening.

The_Kapn
03-14-2008, 06:03 PM
Do you compete with previously-frozen briskets? Have you noticed any quality degredation when cooking a previously-frozen brisket? Thanks.

Erik

Eric--use them a lot.
Never seems to be a problem.
Our "scores" are for other reasons :oops:

TIM