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White Dog BBQ 10-24-2007 08:56 PM

Slicing brisket
 
Question about slicing brisket -- i've always sliced mine perpendicular to the grain, which means starting at a corner and essentially making diagonal cuts. I've seen a lot of pictures of turn in boxes, though, where all of the slices are of the same length, and appear to not have been trimmed. Obviously, this would be impossible if slicing diagonal, perpendicular to the grain.

My question is this -- do some people slice their brisket perpendicular to the end, rather than perpendicular to the grain? Are the resulting slices still tender if you slice it that way? Obviously, slicing it perpendicular to the end gives you nicer slices to put in the box. Thanks!

Erik

JamesTX 10-24-2007 09:18 PM

I slice perpendicular - but i don't go much for presentation.

MAsQue 10-24-2007 09:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by White Dog BBQ (Post 485922)
Question about slicing brisket -- i've always sliced mine perpendicular to the grain, which means starting at a corner and essentially making diagonal cuts. I've seen a lot of pictures of turn in boxes, though, where all of the slices are of the same length, and appear to not have been trimmed. Obviously, this would be impossible if slicing diagonal, perpendicular to the grain.

My question is this -- do some people slice their brisket perpendicular to the end, rather than perpendicular to the grain? Are the resulting slices still tender if you slice it that way? Obviously, slicing it perpendicular to the end gives you nicer slices to put in the box. Thanks!

Erik

Someone suggested to me that I trim the meat before cooking so that it would have the size and configuration that I'm looking for after cooking. In other words, if the brisket is going into a 9 inch turn-in box, trim it so that it is not more than 9 inches across before cooking it, then, after cooking, it will be the right size without looking like the ends were trimmed. This was only a couple of contests ago, so I'm still working on getting this just right.

White Dog BBQ 10-24-2007 09:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MAsQue (Post 485948)
Someone suggested to me that I trim the meat before cooking so that it would have the size and configuration that I'm looking for after cooking. In other words, if the brisket is going into a 9 inch turn-in box, trim it so that it is not more than 9 inches across before cooking it, then, after cooking, it will be the right size without looking like the ends were trimmed. This was only a couple of contests ago, so I'm still working on getting this just right.

So that means you slice it from the end, and not a corner, right?

Jeremiah 10-24-2007 09:52 PM

Hmm, I think there is some confusion here. Slicing from the end is perpendicular to the grain. Slicing from the corner (like you would with a tri-tip) would be diagonal to the grain.

Separate the point from the flat, as both have their grain going in opposite directions. Slice directly against the grain without any angles.

Edit/Update:

I see what you're saying, when you slice on an angle you're hitting the grain at a perfect right angle. I don't think this is necessary, although I can't say I've tried.

MAsQue 10-24-2007 10:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by White Dog BBQ (Post 485955)
So that means you slice it from the end, and not a corner, right?

I tried one last week that I cut away part of the adjacent corners (adjacent to the corner I'm slicing through) to square the finished sides parallel to the grain. It wastes a good bit of meat, and you can't get even slices the entire length of the remaining meat, anyway. It should be possible to cut the raw meat away to the point that a slice of meat cut perpendicular to the grain will still be small enough to fit in the box, even if the slice is not cut perpendicular to the sides of the meat. (Damn, I wish I could draw a picture here.) At this point, I'm thinking that cutting absolutely perpendicular to the grain of the meat is probably not that important in terms of tenderness, and I'm planning on trimming in the future so that I lose less meat while still getting my slices to fit in the box.

MT4Runner 10-24-2007 11:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MAsQue (Post 485968)
It wastes a good bit of meat, and you can't get even slices the entire length of the remaining meat, anyway.

It's only a waste if you don't throw the small bits in the smoker, too!!

White Dog BBQ 10-25-2007 06:59 AM

OK, so it sounds like some of you are not bothering to slice 90 degrees to the grain, with slicing 90 degrees to the end still being across the grain, perhaps it doesn't matter. I'll have to try it next time I cook at home.

ZILLA 10-25-2007 08:41 AM

If we want all the slices to be the same length so they fit in the box well we have to trim the brisket to the width we want before cooking. In Texas you are not allowed to turn in slices with trimmed or broken ends, That is an automatic DQ. That being said, it isn't required that the pieces fit just so. We can carve 10" slices and lay them in the box curved around.

Here is one way to do it. Trim the brisket between 9" and 10" wide with the grain making sure your thickest part of the flat is in the center. It looks weird but after cooking it will produce a very uniform slice.

Spydermike72 10-25-2007 08:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ZILLA (Post 486148)
If we want all the slices to be the same length so they fit in the box well we have to trim the brisket to the width we want before cooking. In Texas you are not allowed to turn in slices with trimmed or broken ends, That is an automatic DQ. That being said, it isn't required that the pieces fit just so. We can carve 10" slices and lay them in the box curved around.

Here is one way to do it. Trim the brisket between 9" and 10" wide with the grain making sure your thickest part of the flat is in the center. It looks weird but after cooking it will produce a very uniform slice.

Wow, I didnt know that you couldnt trim the brisket in Texas, that is very interestring.

I have not competed a lot, but in all of the comps that I have cooked in, we always try to find 6 pieces of similliar size and shape, if we cant, we then trim the pieces.

We always cut against the grain...

G$ 10-25-2007 09:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ZILLA (Post 486148)
In Texas you are not allowed to turn in slices with trimmed or broken ends, That is an automatic DQ.

:!: Really? Do you mean this is an IBCA rule or something else?

MAsQue 10-25-2007 09:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MT4Runner (Post 485993)
It's only a waste if you don't throw the small bits in the smoker, too!!

Got me on that one! For that matter, you could make really lean hamburger out of it.

ZILLA 10-25-2007 11:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by G$ (Post 486165)
:!: Really? Do you mean this is an IBCA rule or something else?

IBCA, Lone Star, and Texas Gulf Coast all have that rule.

JamesTX 10-25-2007 11:55 AM

Do you guys use an electric knife to cut? I have my grandma's old one and it makes it so easy to slice up a brisket. Of course, I've never competed.

tjus77 10-25-2007 12:55 PM

I can actually cut a slice to fit a bun or a container, just by working the knife in a chiseling pattern. Not quite 100% perp to the grain, but real close, so the end of the brisket at any given time looks like this....

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