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Old 06-01-2011, 12:51 PM   #1
Jason TQ
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Default Brisket Practice for KCBS. Need some more feedback please. (Pics)

Ok so after getting some great tips/feedback on how to garnish I figured I would come back to the pot for some additional help with my brisket. Any help is greatly appreciated. **I know there is a lot in here to read**

Doing my first KCBS event so I had to do some brisket practice as I haven't cooked one in a while and I have never smoked one that was really great.

So here is how I cooked it. I bought the brisket at Target since they were on sale this week and looked really good. 11lb and probably took about 1.5 off after trimming. Gave it a rub, but no injection to see how it would do without injecting. A question about that later.....

I started it at 9:30 at night (running 225) on the WSM, went to bed and woke up around 6. Temp was still fine and at about 6:30am I wrapped at 160. Then I started testing for tenderness around 190 in the flat where I had the probe. This is the first time I was looking for more of the "goes in like butter" method of doneness. It was still pretty firm so tested again at 197 and still firm in the flat. The point was like butter. So finally at 203 it was a little softer, but still not like butter and I took it off cut off the point to make burnt ends. The flat was wrapped back up and put into the oven (which was not on) to hold for an hour.

So the burnt ends were great. They didn't look super pretty so I didn't put them in the box and don't plan on it at the comp since I'm still fairly new to brisket as it is. Some of the ends were more tender than others so I wouldn't want to put some in there and they not be consistent.

Then the slices. So to me they were a little easy to pull apart. I would give it a 7ish on tenderness as it wasn't dry, but not super moist either. I laid them each out and gave them some sauce and a little sprinkle of my rub ground into a more fine powder and a tiny sprinkle of kosher salt. I did like the flavor as did my wife. She said she liked the little sprinkle of salt.

As for appearance of the box I was quite pleased, but would love some feedback in general on the appearance. There wasn't a super deep smoke ring. Now for some more questions........ Stick with me here :)

1. Injection: Do you all inject strictly for more flavor or does it also add any tenderness/moisture in your opinion? I have injected previously and couldn't tell a difference, but with my inexperience maybe I really can't tell.

2. Temp for taking off: So I know this is a huge bag of worms, but I've been reading some people taking it off at a certain temp and some do the "butter" test. Going off this last brisket I would say the butter was never coming and taking it over 200 make it a little more "flakey". There has to be some point where you can't just wait around for the "butter" right?

3. Fat cap. When I was slicing the brisket I noticed about 1/4" fat on the top. You can see it in the box pic on the tops of the slices. Now for me I liked this pop of flavor, but in general what are judges looking for in terms of fat trimming? I know this may vary.

4. Saucing the slices: I've read to be careful to not put too much on, which I don't think I did. But I also read that you should be careful to not how too much "brush strokes" showing on the slices. Is that true and how did I do there?

5. Anything else I didn't ask about or you have tips on??

Now for the goods.......

No prep pics. Starting when it is done at 203.


Separating the Primary Hull from the Saucer Section.


Burnt ends done. I put a little sauce, some rub, and a little brown sugar. They tasted great, but not pretty to me.


Saucing


Saucing.


Used the garnish box I had in the fridge since yesterday. The parsley didn't look different at all even after half a day. Guess the cold really does its job.


Another boxed pic. Thanks to my wife for taking the pictures.
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:16 PM   #2
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Sliced too thick and too much fat left on in my opinion. Also I would flip the slices over and put the fat on the bottom (could just be me) to showcase the meat not the fat
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:23 PM   #3
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I’m not a brisket expert but I’ll throw out a couple thoughts:
· The brisket looks really good…I’d like to try it.
· The slices may be a little thick, especially if the brisket is still not as tender as you want it.
· I think the fat cap may be a little heavy. I’m sure it tastes good when it’s warm, but remember the judges will probably get it at room temp, and room temperature fat is not a judge favorite.
· Good call on the burnt ends…if you don’t think they are at least good as the slices leave ‘em out.
· You may wanna fill in the box edges with parsley and even it out a little. We usually wait until we have the brisket in and then do the parsley “touch-ups”.

Good luck!!!
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YankeeBBQ View Post
Sliced too thick and too much fat left on in my opinion. Also I would flip the slices over and put the fat on the bottom (could just be me) to showcase the meat not the fat
Thanks. I had thought about turning them over, but since I had the non-fat cap side down the dark bark really wasn't there so it didn't look as good. But then next time I could simply put it in the foil fat side down and still trim more of the fat.
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riblette View Post
I’m not a brisket expert but I’ll throw out a couple thoughts:
· The brisket looks really good…I’d like to try it.
· The slices may be a little thick, especially if the brisket is still not as tender as you want it.
· I think the fat cap may be a little heavy. I’m sure it tastes good when it’s warm, but remember the judges will probably get it at room temp, and room temperature fat is not a judge favorite.
· Good call on the burnt ends…if you don’t think they are at least good as the slices leave ‘em out.
· You may wanna fill in the box edges with parsley and even it out a little. We usually wait until we have the brisket in and then do the parsley “touch-ups”.

Good luck!!!
Great parsley tip. I wouldn't have thought of that.
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:56 PM   #6
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Get rid of the fat. Scrape it off before slicing the flat. Put the meat side up in the box and try to get all of your slices from the same width of the flat.

You need to cook the burnt ends further. They should be almost carmelized, very tender and tasty. You want your flat to get done in time to separate the point, wrap the flat to hold and cube up the point. Return it in a pan as you have prepared, let it continue to render.

Don't worry about the appearance in these practice runs. Sure, concentrate on building your boxes to their best. Know what it takes to build them and how to build them for each specific meat.
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Old 06-01-2011, 03:41 PM   #7
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Not sure what you're using to slice, but for competition, I think the slice marks could detract from your score. Almost looks like you carved with the grain instead of against, but I don't think you did. See if y ou can't find a sharper knife that will go through in one or two passes.

The way judges are taught is that pencil width slices are ideal. thinner and the cook might be trying to disguise underdone meat, thicker might mean they are trying to keep it from falling apart 'cause it's overdone
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoke&Smoke View Post
Not sure what you're using to slice, but for competition, I think the slice marks could detract from your score. Almost looks like you carved with the grain instead of against, but I don't think you did. See if y ou can't find a sharper knife that will go through in one or two passes.

The way judges are taught is that pencil width slices are ideal. thinner and the cook might be trying to disguise underdone meat, thicker might mean they are trying to keep it from falling apart 'cause it's overdone

I used my 8" henckels chef knife and is pretty sharp. It went through on about 2 passes so not sure what I could do there. I know a lot of guys use a long slicing knife. I thought they were pretty close to pencil thin but after looking at them they were a little thicker. I might need to locate a pencil for the competition :).
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I used my 8" henckels chef knife and is pretty sharp. It went through on about 2 passes so not sure what I could do there. I
I think they are brush strokes but the kinda look like knife marks.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:45 PM   #10
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I inject my brisket it helps with the flavor a lot. When trimming I take what little fat is on top of the flat off and I take all the hard fat off the fat cap I leave the rest. I foil once the meat hits 165. After a few hours I use an old dial thermometer and test the meat it should slide in like butter there is a small window on tenderness it can go from not ready yet to perfect to over cooked in no time. Become familiar with what the meat looks like and feels like I ruined a lot before I could tell I trim the fat off the slices once I get the slices I want as for sauce some do it I don't to me itslike putting A-1 on a great steak it ruins it.
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:33 PM   #11
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looks good to start but skip any red bbq sauce, make one slice stroke towards you will elimimnate saw marks, showcase the meat, if you must use a sauce, only brush the back, mist with water to shine up the front, get the fat down when triming to bark uo at the end, raise the meat out of the juice while foiling good luck
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YankeeBBQ View Post
Sliced too thick and too much fat left on in my opinion. Also I would flip the slices over and put the fat on the bottom (could just be me) to showcase the meat not the fat
I agree. Flip the slices, fat always goes down. ...and I remove fat before boxing. Also, get rid of the brush strokes. Use a nitrile-gloved hand to rub the final sauce/glaze on each slice. You want it to look almost as if it's not sauce, but rather just really moist meat. I disagree with most that the slices are too thick. I go for pencil-thick, and it has worked well for me (if properly cooked). Finally, I prefer all the slices to be evenly cut, not progressively wider.

Oh, and get yourself a Victorinox 12" granton-edged slicer. You want even slices. If you have inconsistent thickness, you will have inconsistent tenderness scores. The knife mentioned above will help you tremendously.

Just my $.02
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:04 AM   #13
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I think it looks great but there is probably too much fat ..some people really freak out if you give them fat it seems.
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Old 06-02-2011, 02:06 AM   #14
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Hi,
I have looked at your pics several times, and each time, I am distracted by the garnish. I know this is not a garnish contest, but your garnish is so uneven in the pics, I think it is broccoli and stop looking at the meat.

My recommendation is to even out your garnish even before placing the meat, so that the meat frame is at least even. If it is close to even, then you can touch up as others have said, if it is bunched, you may never be able to even it out. This looks like you took large bunches of parsley and made bouquets out of them and placed them in. This is ok, but put more parsely in the box to squish it together.

Again, I know it is not a garnish competition, but if you are going to use garnish, it should enhance not distract. From there, the other stuff that has been said I would agree: trim the fat, rotate the fat to the bottom, and only cut your pieces from a uniform width of meat.

Hope this helps, Good Luck,
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Old 06-02-2011, 07:24 AM   #15
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As always, it is hard to work with a picture but I'd give you an 8.

The slice thickness needs to be determined by the basic tenderness. Thinner if tougher, thicker if more tender so that the pull test works well. Thus, no comment on thickness. Use what works best for the cut.

Garnish looks fresh and attractive. Meat crowds a little toward the back of the box.

I didn't see anything wrong with the burnt ends and think they could have been used so long as they weren't the primary focus of the box (which they shouldn't be anyway).
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