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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 09-28-2011, 02:20 PM   #31
landarc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pocoloco View Post
I'm gonna try this for my next brisket and see what it does to the stall. I have a BGE so figure it's a valid example as the ceramic has decent thermal mass. The bigger question is will avoiding the stall provide for a moister product since it's not clocking unnecessary hours and losing unnecessary moisture to reach tenderness?
I believe you will find that it makes no difference if you cook until a birsket or pork butt is tender. What makes a long cooked piece of meat tender is the breakdown of the connective tissue that is binding the fibers of the meat together, this must be achieved without denaturing the protein of the muscle fibers themselves. You still need to denature the collagen, you will still drive off moisture that is trapped within the collagen bound tissues as it denatures. The collagen on BBQ does not render, it denatures and becomes a liquid, which is the moisture we detect in long cooked meats.

Fat does render, with the moisture evacuating the meat, while the fatty acid and long chain carbon sugars reamaining as a component within the meat. This is why a properly done pulled pork or brisket point has a sweetness and unctuous mouth feel. In this case, the water has been evaporated. There is physically less fat in the meat.

I agree with the physical explanation offered previously, in terms of how the need for equilibrium is the key factor in determining stall length, but, I still believe it is the process of denaturing the collagen that determines when the meat is done. I would add, I have had meat that easily finished in the 200F range, but, have run across meats that were done in the 180F range and others that never seemed to get tender.
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Unread 09-28-2011, 02:23 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guamaque View Post
I like the article, it's thought provoking, but it is dead wrong. I am a physics major, and this article blows smoke. Pardon the pun. The reason for the stall is detailed in the thermal equilibrium curve. The higher the thermal mass of your pit, the longer you will experience the stall. Heat approaches equilibrium after 2-3 hours, then slowly approaches the equilibrium over a long time, as the curve graft shows. Once it is achieved, the pit and surrounding can not take in more heat and the meat temp will rise.
Stall is not due on the thermal mass of your pit or the time required for your system to reach equilibrium.
The fact that the stall is going on 5-8 hours into the cook should make that point obvious.
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Unread 09-28-2011, 02:42 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MG_NorCal View Post
Stall is not due on the thermal mass of your pit or the time required for your system to reach equilibrium.
The fact that the stall is going on 5-8 hours into the cook should make that point obvious.
I was wondering the same thing. Why does it happen after everything should
have long since equalized? And why would the meat stall at 150-170* when
everything around it is above that temp long before then?

I see the whole cook as one long stall.

John
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Unread 09-28-2011, 02:50 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guamaque View Post
temperature has to equilibrate with the dirt, meat, metal, bricks, patio etc. over a long period of time before the meat temp can rise.
Where do you get the idea that the dirt and patio affect the meat in your cooker?
By what means is the influence exerted?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guamaque View Post
Experiment yourself, use a plain pot of water with a sealed lid and a digital probe inside. Low and slow, 225, you will have the stall for 3-4 hours, once thermal mass equilibrium is reached, the internal temp of the pot of water will shoot up..
I'd like to see the data on this.
If it did happen, I'd attribute it to connective tissue breakdown as landarc suggests.
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Unread 09-28-2011, 03:18 PM   #35
landarc
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I wouldn't be so quick to think there is a fundamental difference in the statements I am making and what Guamaque is making, there is a total energy budget involved in cooking a piece of meat, in part, the rendering of the collagen, necessary for a tender brisket or butt, is what I am focusing on. However, if you consider that the phase shift, from solid to liquid, if the collagen use energy in two different ways, you end up with the consideration that some of that energy is released as measurable heat (evaporative or conductive loss or gain), some as retained heat (meat temperature loss or gain) and energy expended to shift the stasis of molecules from one phase to another (measured only by calculating the other aspects). Hence, not a simple equation, as the variables in a given piece of meat are not a known entity.

The reason foil wrapping increases cooking speed is not related to it's retarding evaporation, thus preventing evaporative cooling, it is related to the effective rise in temperature effected by trapping a super heated gas (steam) in direct contact with the meat. There is also a potential gain in pressure, although the amount developed is, I suspect negligable. The steam acts much more efficiently than dry air in accomplsihing thermal transfer of it's heat to the meat than dry air, due to the increased density it possesses and the nature of how thermal transfer of energy works. If you use steam in an closed environment to cook meat, it is, quite possible to dry out a piece of meat while cooking it in a very moist environement. The steam will still remove the moisture and it will evacuate the meat as soon as you change the vessel holding the steam next to the meat to an open environment. Witness the fact that it is possible to have very wet, yet stringy, dry, pot roast.
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Unread 09-28-2011, 03:57 PM   #36
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really good discussion....seems the actual grade of larger cuts(brisket) has not been mentioned etc...I would certainly think phosphate based injections have a role in some methods coupled with cooker etc.....
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Unread 09-28-2011, 05:43 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
What makes a long cooked piece of meat tender is the breakdown of the connective tissue that is binding the fibers of the meat together, this must be achieved without denaturing the protein of the muscle fibers themselves.
Only if the temperature is VERY low (e.g. sous vide), otherwise the major proteins will have already denatured by ~160F.
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Unread 09-28-2011, 08:57 PM   #38
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For a closer look at the original experiment by Greg Blonder (as well as links some other BBQ-related tests he also performed) be sure to check out this site:
http://www.genuineideas.com/ArticlesIndex/stallbbq.html

The tests and conclusions are quite solid IMHO.
He does some good experiments with smoke ring formation too.
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Unread 09-28-2011, 09:48 PM   #39
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I asked Dr. Blonder to respond to the comments and he sent me this (I am a long-time lurker on this board):

Meathead

I've already written a draft discussing oven thermal mass on
cooking- which has very little effect because air is such a good insulator.
Thermal mass barely reduces temperature fluctuations, and has no effect on
the stall which is a local process of evaporation. Probably should wait til
that article is posted.

If you felt like adding a reply to the thread- though it rarely shifts
hardened opinions- you might point out three things. And then
suggest they stay-tuned as you bring more science- backed up by experiments,
to amazingribs.com:

1) The oven's thermal mass compared to the mass of the meat is irrelevant. A
half ounce sponge stalls in an oven weighing 50 pounds at the same rate as
in a toaster oven. I tested a cup filled with sand and oil and that did not
stall, but according to the thermal mass misconception, it should have
stalled just like a piece of meat of the same mass. Refer them to:

http://www.genuineideas.com/Articles...lbbq.html#sand

2) There is no steaming inside a foil package- and it takes hours for the
temperature to rise to 212F because air simply doesn't carry much heat. Air
is 1000 times less dense than water, and just can't transfer enough energy
in a short time to cause water to boil. Send them to this link for actual
experimental data:

http://www.genuineideas.com/Articles....html#foiljump

3) Collagen makes up about 25% of the protein in a cow or pig, but almost
all that collagen is in the bones and skins. The collagen content in most
consumed cuts of meats is typically around 2%, to as much as 5%. Usually
much lower than the fat content. Otherwise, pulled pork would become Jello
with meat threads. Not the source of the stall.
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Unread 09-28-2011, 09:56 PM   #40
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I should add that Dr. Blonder has a long and distinguished career as a working physicist as Chief Technical Advisor at AT&T's famous Bell Labs where he studied superconductivity and the quantum phenomena of semiconductor materials among other things. Much of this research has resulted in practical applications and he holds over 80 patents in the areas of optical disk recording, integrated fiber optic devices, displays, toys, computer systems, software services and improved user interfaces.

I think the person on this board who challenged his conclusions and put forth the theory that the mass of the cooker was related said he was a physics student. He is entitled to his theory, but until he conducts experiments to support it, I am impressed by Doctor Blonder's actual data and his credentials.

meathead
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Unread 09-29-2011, 07:17 AM   #41
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Someone said that the cook should allow time for the stall.

What?

You don't allow time for the stall...you allow time to cook your meat.

I'll be the first to admit that I am not enamored by the science behind why an 8# pork butt takes 12 hours to cook at a given temperature. To me, this type of discussion only adds to the confusion new bbq cooks encounter. They are told alot of stuff they don't need in order to actually cook their meat.

Cooking bbq is an extremely easy process. Too bad "smart folk" like to complicate it all. LOL
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Unread 09-29-2011, 09:07 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
The experiment as written is flawed fundamentally. In comparing a sponge to fat, and then to meat, the test essentially denies the effect of the collagen and how it encompasses the fibers of meat. If the collagen is not rendered, the moisture retained within the meat does not escape, as it is encapsulated within the collagen and cellular structure of the meat.

Further, a sponge in not similar to meat on several levels. While a great deal of moisture obviously is evaporated from the meat, and evaporative cooling is no doubt a part of the process resulting in the stall, it does not deny the roll that rendering the collagen is a part of the stall. I think the article, while interesting, does nothing to change the fact that it is best to start cooking early. And have a few pounds of vac-packed pulled pork in the fridge, ready to roll, just in case.
Collagen is water soluble. In fact it is hydrophilic. When it combines with water under heat it undergoes a phase change and becomes gelatin. Collagen provides no barrier to water escaping. Furthermore, the collagen is about 4% of the meat while water is 60% or more. It cannot account for that much energy absorption. And if collagen's phase change was the cause of the stall, then there would be a stall when it is wrapped in foil, and there is no stall in foil (is that a rhyme?).
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Unread 09-29-2011, 09:11 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokainmuskoka View Post
Does injectng fluids into large cuts prolong the stall?
Probably not much if at all. Once the exterior dehydrates sufficiently the meat finishes cooking. If you have an 8 pound butt, and it is 60% water, then 4.8 pounds of the butt are water. If you inject, you are probably adding, what, 1/2 pound of water at most? Not much relatively speaking.
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Unread 09-29-2011, 07:31 PM   #44
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As I say in the intro of my article, I get many many panicky emails and posts to my site from newbies whose meat is just not getting done and their guests and spouses (spice?) are getting restless. Sterling Ball is quoted saying the same thing. Knowing the stall is out there, and why it behaves the way it does, and how to beat it, might help some people cook better and serve dinner on time.

I don't compete. Competitors have a time clock and judge expectations to meet or they have wasted a lot of money. Knowing about the stall might help them cook better and get it in on time.

I often serve dinner to friends and family. If dinner is at 6, and guests arrive for drinks at 5, and my wife is baking mac and cheese, I like to serve dinner on time. I cannot disrespect people and say "the pork is not done yet, please wait". I find it very helpful to have a rough idea when I buy a hunk o meat as to how long it will take. So I use clocks and scales and thermometers and knowledge of what is happening to the meat to get dinner in on time. I know clocks and scales and thermometers are not classic traditional barbecue (whatever that is), but neither is the steel tube I often cook in.

You are probably a better cook than me (just look at your name), and you may have complete mastery of the craft. I do not. I use all the help I can get including science.

Besides, I am just curious about everything.
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Unread 09-29-2011, 09:56 PM   #45
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The most important thing an inexperienced cook can learn right after being told about the dreaded stall is...the stall does not matter.

It's gonna take around 12 hours to get this particular or that particular piece of meat done...stall or no stall.

I guess we all worry about different things. Instead of worrying about an unimportant stall period I tend to focus on total cook time.

No issues.
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