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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 12-03-2008, 10:06 PM   #1
bigabyte
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Default Your thoughts on bark

I'm wondering what everyone thinks about what makes for a really good bark. This is the list of things I came up with off the top of my head that people usually suggest trying to achieve a good bark. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know:

- More sugar in your rub for more carmelization.

- Using a slather before putting rub on (and do you have a specific slather other than yellow mustard that you believe makes bark better for a particular reason?)

- Letting rub rest on meat overnight and adding another layer before cooking.

- Using a spritz/mop while cooking (any specific kind you think makes bark better for a particular reason?)

- Using a coarse textured rub, a fine textured rub, or a combination of both.

Thanks for any and all suggestions, they are greatly appreciated.
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Unread 12-03-2008, 10:28 PM   #2
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need to know what it is... brisket or the other thing those southerners make... Joke

Lets say it brisket... I have tried all that stuff above (well it was maybe 20 years ago) and the one thing that hands down makes a good bark is not mentioned in your list

and in fact those things you list were never part of the process for the bark found on the meccas of Texas BBQ long ago and to this day.

Maybe you could say number 5 helps and some of the others help out
Specifically 1-4 and maybe 5 (#5 I use but its a 3 stepper) are all ways to MIMIC the real way to make a good bark... I have already made a a video on it...you remember Chris.

A caveat about my choice of the word Mimic. I used to use one of those NBBS things long ago and some other cheap smokers... i could never plop a packer in one of those without wrapping so I had to use the other techniques because of the limitations of my smoker. Just because I can produce a moist brisket at high temps that's tender with a hard crispy bark does't mean I could do the same thing on your smoker. You may have to resort to tricks to get the same or close to end result.
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Unread 12-04-2008, 06:41 AM   #3
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What is the one thing missing from his list?
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Unread 12-04-2008, 07:39 AM   #4
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The best bark I have had was on brisket in Lockhart, Texas. Kreuz's rub is mostly salt with cracked pepper and what looked like a small amount of paprika and garlic powder. Not any sugar in there at all as far as I could discern. Smitty's bark might have been a bit better and tasted very similiar.

I have no way of knowing for sure, but I belive the secret is more in how they smoke meat than the rub itself.
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Unread 12-04-2008, 07:54 AM   #5
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If you wrap, don't and do the full cook naked at 225. You will get the bark you want. You might want to wrap after you pull and let rest to soften it up a bit.
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Unread 12-04-2008, 09:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitbull View Post
If you wrap, don't and do the full cook naked at 225. You will get the bark you want. You might want to wrap after you pull and let rest to soften it up a bit.
That's always worked for me. Also during the resting I add a little cider to the pan to create some steam to soften the bark a bit...
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Unread 12-04-2008, 09:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeSmellsLikeSmoke View Post
The best bark I have had was on brisket in Lockhart, Texas. Kreuz's rub is mostly salt with cracked pepper and what looked like a small amount of paprika and garlic powder. Not any sugar in there at all as far as I could discern. Smitty's bark might have been a bit better and tasted very similiar.

I have no way of knowing for sure, but I belive the secret is more in how they smoke meat than the rub itself.
Its cayenne. Rick could have added a powder after 1999 to set himself apart.

Yes don't wrap. Don't check on it. (which includes basting) And if your stuff is drying start cranking up your temps with each brisket there after (235-245-255-265-275-285+) til you reach the maxium smoking temp for your smoker without sacrificing tenderness.

THIS IS WHY I SUGGEST EVERYONE TRY A FOIL WRAPPED OVEN BRISKET AT 280 FIRST BECAUSE THATS THE TEXTURE YOU WANT TO EMULATE WITH THE HIGHER TEMPS

I do mine in pans with a little beer TOO, cider is fine whatever, as long as that flat is resting in it A BIT or on the point of another brisket if you're doing more than 10 and run out of space.

Kreuz, Smittys, Blacks, Muellers, elgin. taylor southside all do briskets in 6 to 8 hours... some... I heard 4 once from Louie Mueller but I think he was pulling my leg. But if it could be done... that guy could do it.

Thirdeye does a great bark and he setS the ring in with a lower temp at first then cranks it up.... not as high as I do, but higher than most. I have adopted his starting point for an hour or so with good results.

If you're leary about cooking high the whole way.... just cook it high til the plateau and then divide your high with 225 and meet in between.

Two vids if ya ain't seen em. No jokes about my dull ass knives... end of the season LOL.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQCeX...B51071&index=3

six minutes in I show my Bark

and again here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QG1oW...eature=channel

one hand dull knife cutting.
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Unread 12-04-2008, 09:57 AM   #8
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Videos are always cool man!! I dig your set-up!
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Unread 12-04-2008, 10:37 AM   #9
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I didn't mean to make it sound like rub was the key for bark. Any and all suggestions are welcome. Also, just so you know, I have my own method I like (and it is nekkid), but I am gathering these ideas for a bark experiment.
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Unread 12-04-2008, 10:44 AM   #10
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Also, the target meat will likely be pork, since barbefunkoramaque brought that question up. The reason it will likely be pork is that it is the easiest to test with smaller pieces of meat that turn out like the larger pieces. If I quarter a butt, it cooks basically the same as a whole one except for the total time. I can't do this with brisket.

so if you have something you think is magical for pork, or if already mentioned suggestions will not work for pork, please share.
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Unread 12-04-2008, 10:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigabyte View Post
I didn't mean to make it sound like rub was the key for bark. Any and all suggestions are welcome. Also, just so you know, I have my own method I like (and it is nekkid), but I am gathering these ideas for a bark experiment.

Oh no no no buddy, remember like I said and also wrote you in PM, it will depend on your smoker... I can do stuff in mine that would dry out a brisket in another smoker so those tips you list make be ways to immolate a full uncovered cook. The slather for instance is a good example. I have used that. Its a trick of time... slathers and sugar will create a crust quicker, which if you foil, you will need that time back.

Pork butts though... slather, rub and fat down then flip half way and ignore. i pan those too for other reasons.
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Unread 12-04-2008, 11:49 AM   #12
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That's a great question. Especially with butts and brisket, the taste of the bark can be pretty bland (for me) except for the pepper taste/heat. After 8 plus hrs in the smoker, that tasty rub pretty much gets neutralized I've found no matter how much you put on.

Any one have any good experiences with basting (beyond just apple juice spray??
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Unread 12-04-2008, 12:33 PM   #13
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Brisket or butt, I get my bark the same way. I use a mustard slather and my rub is typically 1/4 to 1/3 sugar. Cook at around 225* for as long as it takes. I'll spray (really more of a mist) with apple juice at what I guesstimate the mid-point of the cook-time will be and only after I'm sure the bark has set-up. Does no good to wsh the rub away. I do not foil while cooking.

I pretty-much always get good bark

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Unread 12-04-2008, 06:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigabyte View Post
I'm wondering what everyone thinks about what makes for a really good bark. This is the list of things I came up with off the top of my head that people usually suggest trying to achieve a good bark. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know:

- More sugar in your rub for more carmelization.

- Using a slather before putting rub on (and do you have a specific slather other than yellow mustard that you believe makes bark better for a particular reason?)

- Letting rub rest on meat overnight and adding another layer before cooking.

- Using a spritz/mop while cooking (any specific kind you think makes bark better for a particular reason?)

- Using a coarse textured rub, a fine textured rub, or a combination of both.

Thanks for any and all suggestions, they are greatly appreciated.
Looking back at Chris' original post (quoted here), there seems to actually be two questions begging for answers! First, we need to come to a consensus as to what defines a "good" bark, then we can argue about how to make it!!!



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Unread 12-04-2008, 07:05 PM   #15
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You're right... and it could be why NO ONE is arguing yet.

A good bark must be both a bark(crust), penetrate the meat, AND have a good, non-carbon or sooty taste. It should start as Black to Umber in color and give way to a deep, deep, deep red with a good smoke ring (not heat ring) behind that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimT View Post
Looking back at Chris' original post (quoted here), there seems to actually be two questions begging for answers! First, we need to come to a consensus as to what defines a "good" bark, then we can argue about how to make it!!!



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