Originally Posted by Boshizzle
I appreciate the discussion, brethren. I have used this process before without the baking soda and had good results too. I think the high heat, oil, molasses and the way the surface of the brisket is oriented to prevent the juices from pooling are the most important parts of the process. And if you can adjust the PH of the meat's surface, that helps too. I haven't experiemented with varying amounts of the baking soda, so that's something that needs to be done.
I want to make a mention about New Bransfels Smokehouse Jerky and your process for a moment.
One of the things about good jerky is that taste on the outside. The bark...
The Molasses and sugar glaze you have going on there is one of my favorite flavors in the world. I hate molasses profile in sauce beyond its balanced form in brown sugar but love it on meat.
That dang picture of the meat slathered in that glaze you got going on... My God.... that is so bedrock to traditional smoked meats I can't talk any further.
Now a moment about Baking soda. The reaction of baking soda and an acid or protein, produce a salt and a carbonic acid (which I think thus dissapates in the air as C02). Saleratus (spelling) was used to freshen meats, fish etc or also as a preventative measure to spoliage. As we all know, beef spoils from the outside in. With no refrigeration, meat would begins to spoil rather quickly. Typically you would cut off the rancid parts and after the 1840's, this stuff became more readily available in packaged form. People used this for everything. It was a great, non toxic product to use to brush teeth, wash you arsehole, clean the dishes, whiten china, and use to cook with.
One of the things I think is important about cooking with tradition is making sure you are as close to the ingredients as possible. One of the biggest reasons why my texas sheath cake is a shiznit is because I use IMPERIAL Margerine, and Coffee. That brand of cheap margerine os as close to OLEO as possible. Of course if I dial back to straight lard and burned butter and strong coffee then you taste how the trail hands made it.
Baking soda was used in damn near every meat on the outside to postpone inevitable spoiling until it was ready to use... not to increase bark. However, if it ended up making a good bark it might be because it would allow for the meat to sit longer and dry (increase in exterior protein extraction). We tend to forget this step... drying off or patting off meat.
So thats my little discourse on baking soda.