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monty3777
05-03-2010, 08:15 PM
I plan on using my FEC for cooking and holding my briskets and butts during comps. When I have reached the desired temps of my meats what temp would you recommend using for holding?

Ron_L
05-03-2010, 08:30 PM
140 degrees

Ford
05-03-2010, 09:25 PM
I prefer a Carlisle but if you use the FE I'd gp with about 160. 140 is the legal holding temp (135 now according to FDA but not Servsafe) but it's a little low. With the IQ4 it will hold for 3 hours but watch the ash buildup in the firebox. Temp could drop. Can't really hold with old FE's.

monty3777
05-03-2010, 10:16 PM
Why will it only hold for three hours? Is there more ash build-up at lower temps?

DMDon
05-04-2010, 01:14 AM
There is more ash build up at lower temps, because the fire doesn't really burn the pellets just smolder. I have learned the hard way that 140 is too low and 180 is too high. I am going to try 160 the next time

Ford
05-04-2010, 07:04 AM
Remember at 160 you are no longer cooking but the meat will slowly give off heat as well as the pellets smoldering. Delta between 200F and 160F means real slow cooling. So it's a real low fire and if it does burn a little cleaner when you open the door then it raises the temp significantly. You want the meat to rest not continue to cook so 3 hours then onto the counter for at least an hour. There's other tricks like venting before holding.

Muzzlebrake
05-04-2010, 07:49 AM
I don't undrstand why the pellets would burn less efficiently at a lower temp. How does the cooker control that? I was under the impression that temperatures were controlled by the amount of pellets being fed into the firebox. If you set it for a lower temp doesn't it just add less fuel? I don't see why that would make the fire smolder or make more ash

Scottie
05-04-2010, 08:34 AM
Cambro. I think you are overthinking the FEC. I don't know too many pelletheads doing that. Actuallyh none. You want the meat to rest. But if it works, great! At this stage in your career, I wouldn't be trying to reinvent the wheel.

Good luck Nate!

monty3777
05-04-2010, 08:47 AM
Thanks for all your help, guys. I got the impression that the FEC was used for holding because Cookshack sells a thermometer that monitors the temp of the meat and when the meat hits the correct temp the unit goes into a holding phase. Maybe that's not designed to hold for long periods. I really appreciate the help!

KC_Bobby
05-04-2010, 08:50 AM
Question:
What's the difference between cambroing the big cuts or holding them in the FEC at 160? (assuming the meat is vented and close foiled again)

Last year I started to keep a digital thermometer in my holder and the probe reads about 160-165 shortly after I put my butts in. 2-3 hours later when I'm ready to take them out it reads about 150. I was glad to see Don post holding at 160 as that was going to be my suggestion to him at the next comp too.

Is the risk drying out the meat since the FEC has air movement?

So far holding in the FEC is working with our pork, but not so much for our brisket.

Jacked UP BBQ
05-04-2010, 09:22 AM
If you know you are getting done that early, why start cooking that early? Put the meats on a little later and get done closer to turn in. Holding is no good for large meats for comps.

KC_Bobby
05-04-2010, 09:35 AM
Holding is no good for large meats for comps.

I don't think that statement works universally. It may not work with some people's process, but based on our pork results it works well with our pork method.

Ford
05-04-2010, 09:44 AM
If you know you are getting done that early, why start cooking that early? Put the meats on a little later and get done closer to turn in. Holding is no good for large meats for comps.
A number of people teaching expensive classes might disagree with you. Of course I took classes in 2007 so maybe they have changed since then. I hear some are really going hotter and fast now.

RobKC
05-04-2010, 09:46 AM
I'm going to start brisket 2 hrs later this weekend to cut back on the hold time. Our pork could probably stand less hold time as well.

Scottie
05-04-2010, 09:47 AM
Thanks for all your help, guys. I got the impression that the FEC was used for holding because Cookshack sells a thermometer that monitors the temp of the meat and when the meat hits the correct temp the unit goes into a holding phase. Maybe that's not designed to hold for long periods. I really appreciate the help!


Honestly Nate, I won't quote anyone from Cookshack on this. but those probes were made for the vendor/restaurant type application. You could stick a probe in them and once they hit temp, they fall back to that hold temp. My feelings are... If they were meant for comp applications. They would supply them for all purchases. They don't do that, so no need to use it...

Bob, I am not sure why it happens with the 160. I can't argue that, but I know they are different kind of heat. I understand that 160 is 160. but they are different. Like I said, if it works, awesome. But I sure wouldn't be trying it and I have been cooking on a FE for almost 10 years now... Have I tried it? Yes, with no success at all.

Jacked UP BBQ
05-04-2010, 09:52 AM
You lose a lot of moisture when holding in a cambro or at 140 degrees. It is simple to prove to yourself, cook a brisket and pull it when it is done and let rest for 30 minutes out on a table, and put one in a cambro or a cooler for three hours and take out and cut. Tell me which one is better. I have experimented many times with all big meats and there is a huge difference. As far as the guys teaching the expensive classes that teach cambros and holding AT 140 as part of a method shame on them!

G$
05-04-2010, 09:59 AM
Holding is no good for large meats for comps.

I am the farthest thing from an expert, but I think this is at best, an overstatement, and at worst plain false.

Jacked UP BBQ
05-04-2010, 10:04 AM
I am the farthest thing from an expert, but I think this is at best, an overstatement, and at worst plain false.

I will agree to disagree.

Muzzlebrake
05-04-2010, 10:31 AM
You lose a lot of moisture when holding in a cambro or at 140 degrees. It is simple to prove to yourself, cook a brisket and pull it when it is done and let rest for 30 minutes out on a table, and put one in a cambro or a cooler for three hours and take out and cut. Tell me which one is better. I have experimented many times with all big meats and there is a huge difference. As far as the guys teaching the expensive classes that teach cambros and holding AT 140 as part of a method shame on them!

Apples and oranges, you're resting one, holding the other. I may be wrong but I understood by resting meat you are letting it cool enough that it stops releasing liquid and retains moisture. By holding meat you are keeping it a temp above the danger zone of bacteria but below the temperature of the cooked product. Is that accurate or am I way off?

Jacked UP BBQ
05-04-2010, 10:40 AM
Sean I agree with you. The thing I see a lot of people do that makes me wonder in make sure they get their meat in a cambro as part of their process and cooking. Maintaining temps for the length that they do in these cambros is no good for meat. It will continue to cook and overcook and dry out. My point is, why make it needed to cambro for 3 hours if you can just put your meat on that much later???? Makes no sense to me.

Scottie
05-04-2010, 11:12 AM
sean i agree with you. The thing i see a lot of people do that makes me wonder in make sure they get their meat in a cambro as part of their process and cooking. Maintaining temps for the length that they do in these cambros is no good for meat. It will continue to cook and overcook and dry out. My point is, why make it needed to cambro for 3 hours if you can just put your meat on that much later???? Makes no sense to me.


fab...

monty3777
05-04-2010, 11:59 AM
Thanks for this discussion. I'm learning a ton!

KC_Bobby
05-04-2010, 11:59 AM
Apples and oranges, you're resting one, holding the other. I may be wrong but I understood by resting meat you are letting it cool enough that it stops releasing liquid and retains moisture. By holding meat you are keeping it a temp above the danger zone of bacteria but below the temperature of the cooked product. Is that accurate or am I way off?

Sean I agree with you. The thing I see a lot of people do that makes me wonder in make sure they get their meat in a cambro as part of their process and cooking. Maintaining temps for the length that they do in these cambros is no good for meat. It will continue to cook and overcook and dry out. My point is, why make it needed to cambro for 3 hours if you can just put your meat on that much later???? Makes no sense to me.

I will admit these two comments have me thinking. Some thoughts are pros to why we do what we do and others I can understand the cons to it. Generally, pork is a lot more forgiving than brisket so it has a larger window to hold than brisket would before the product starts drying out to a relative degree.

It also makes me wonder what effects of humidity during the cooking and holding processes. (Scottie, I'm probably over thinking this ain't I?)

Jacked UP BBQ
05-04-2010, 12:05 PM
With Brisket you are not over thinking this at all. Do not cambo if possible.
We cambro'd our brisket in Salisbury this year for the first time ever and we took 72nd place. We were 13th last year in the country and onlt once I believe out of top ten last year with a few firsts.

Scottie
05-04-2010, 12:15 PM
I will admit these two comments have me thinking. Some thoughts are pros to why we do what we do and others I can understand the cons to it. Generally, pork is a lot more forgiving than brisket so it has a larger window to hold than brisket would before the product starts drying out to a relative degree.

It also makes me wonder what effects of humidity during the cooking and holding processes. (Scottie, I'm probably over thinking this ain't I?)


I used to say I liked rain.. but I've won with and without. although... My cooker does like the rain in Lynchburg...

slowerlowerbbq
05-04-2010, 12:37 PM
With Brisket you are not over thinking this at all. Do not cambo if possible.
We cambro'd our brisket in Salisbury this year for the first time ever and we took 72nd place. We were 13th last year in the country and onlt once I believe out of top ten last year with a few firsts.

You've really got me intrigued now and re-thinking part of my process. Thanks for sharing.

bbqpitstop
05-04-2010, 12:59 PM
Matt, I agree with you that not using cambro if at all possible is the way to go, it is comparable to the texas crutch and saran wrapping which can steam the meat. Steam is a known enemy to smoke flavor. On the other hand, giving up on a method or using a method based on competition rankings......what works in one region might not in another, subjective judging, there are a multitude of reasons rankings go up or down with virtually the same methods. I'm a firm believer in competitions being consistently "inconsistent" with competition results.....Rod, Andy, and Todd can ya back me on this one ? Ever felt your "best" went in the box and the rankings while normally high can sometimes be all over the board ?

Ford
05-04-2010, 01:03 PM
Sean I agree with you. The thing I see a lot of people do that makes me wonder in make sure they get their meat in a cambro as part of their process and cooking. Maintaining temps for the length that they do in these cambros is no good for meat. It will continue to cook and overcook and dry out. My point is, why make it needed to cambro for 3 hours if you can just put your meat on that much later???? Makes no sense to me.
the meat will not continue to cook if you handle it correctly before putting in the cambro (releasing steam) and if the door of the cambro is setup correctly (no gasket ...... It will not be able to continue to cook as temps will be well below 200F.

If you took a wrapped brisket or butt and put it in a cambro at 200F and immediately sealed the door you are correct but most people know that's not how we use a cambro at a contest. Talked with one team at Liberty this weekend and explained it to them. They used a cooler but thought it had to be sealed.

And for the record a number of top teams hold right on the counter of the motor home or trailer and don't even use a cambro. About the same idea and yes they do hold for hours, but they don't vent.

Jacked UP BBQ
05-04-2010, 01:31 PM
Shelly, I agree that subjective flavor is what it is. But good food is good food. I have hit some lower scores than expected in different regions. My brisket in NC took 32nd place and I thought it was spot on. My point was I know from multiple experiences that a cambro or cooler will take moisture away from your food.
Ford, I am a counter rester you speak of. I cut little holes to let rest, but I make sure that my brisket only comes off less then 45 minutes before turn in.

Smoke'n Ice
05-04-2010, 02:34 PM
The fec uses a cycle mode to prevent a fire going out. In other words, it feed pellets on a time basis while cycling down from a high temp. It can take as much as two hours for my unit to go from 224 to 160 and it really never goes lower regardless of the temp setting. I suspect this is the minimum due too must feed pellets to keep fire active type programming.

Use this to cook brisket flats by putting them on at 10 pm on a cold unit with a setpoint of 230 and go to hold at 5 am at 140. Remove and rest at 7 am and wrap with hot beef stock and into a cambro at 7:30. They hold until service at 11 - 12 and have good moisture and smoke flavor. Also are not overcooked and easy to slice.