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Competition BBQ *On Topic Only* Discussion regarding all aspects of Competition BBQ. Experiences competing or visiting, questions, getting started, Equipment, announcements of events, Results, Reviews, Planning, etc. Questions here will be responded to with competition BBQ in mind.


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Unread 04-01-2012, 09:24 AM   #1
Buckshot Malone
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Hello brethren...

I had a great time yesterday at the Benton, KY Kiwanis Comp. I placed 8th in chicken and 11th in ribs, but I bombed in pork (40th) and brisket (41st).

I did receive 3 comment cards on my brisket:

"Great appearance but very tough, hard to pull apart". (9/7/6)
"Beef had good flavor. Tough, could not pull apart with single pull". (9/8/7)
"Sorry I had to score so low. Sample was very tough and chewy and just a little bit too spicy". (8/5/5)

My question, did I over/under cook? What causes touch/chewy brisket? I had a 11lb brisket, cooked at 300 for 8 hours, pulled at 199.

Any comments appreciated.

Thanks

Jeff
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Unread 04-01-2012, 09:29 AM   #2
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Sounds like it was undercooked. Overcooked usually results in too tender or mushy.
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Unread 04-01-2012, 09:33 AM   #3
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I agree. It sounds undercooked. Did you go by internal temp alone to tell if it was done? Briskets cooked at higher temps typically have to cook to a higher internal temp to render the fat. I usually go by feel rather than by a specific internal temp.
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Unread 04-01-2012, 09:49 AM   #4
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The fact that you got 3 comments, and they had fairly consistent feedback is rare. Albeit, it's good to have feedback...

1) Did you foil the brisket, or cook it unwrapped the entire time?

2) Internal temp is a good indicator, but it doesn't always tell the true story. Where did you probe on the brisket? When you pulled the probe out of the meat, did it stick or have any resistance? I like to go by feel in addition to internal temp. I like it to feel like room temperature butter when I pull the probe out. If there's resistance, it's not done. Keep in mind that sometimes that is at 197* or can be as high as 205*.

3) Also, what grade of meat did you use? Did you make sure you cut at a 90* angle to the grain of the meat?

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Unread 04-01-2012, 09:58 AM   #5
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1. Did not foil.
2. Probe did not pull out easy. Not difficult to remove, but it did not slide out easily.
3. Walmart Choice.

Thanks for the feedback.

Jeff

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Unread 04-01-2012, 10:14 AM   #6
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1. Did not foil.
Most people foil, at least in competitions, because it results in a moister, more tender product.
2. Probe did not pull out easy. Not difficult to remove, but it did not slide out easily.
Probe should slide in and out very easily, like sliding in butter.
3. Walmart Choice.
Not the best choice of meat. Could have been an issue but some use it with good results.
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Unread 04-01-2012, 10:26 AM   #7
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Did you slice it properly?
Cook it to feel not temp probe should slide in like butter
Walmart briskets are fine I have used them with good results
I foil, I have cooked one hotter than what you did and didn't but wouldn't recommend it for comps.
It was good meeting you congrats on your call
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Unread 04-01-2012, 10:35 AM   #8
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I think this may sound simple, but if you cook to the correct internal temperature, is it possible that you sliced it the opposite way? I know that may sounds rudimentary, but even a properly cooked brisket is like shoe leather when sliced the opposite way so it is a thought. We slice off a corner before we put it on the smoker to give us a reference point for slicing when we are done.

I would also echo the previous comment to wrap it the last portion of the cook to keep some moisture it. That will really make the brisket tender, but you have to be careful not to overdo it and you'll have a pile of mush once sliced.
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Unread 04-01-2012, 03:31 PM   #9
Buckshot Malone
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Blaine/Mick...

Great meeting you as well. Congrats on your calls. I'll take an 8th and 11th on my third pro comp. I've got the Gadsen, AL comp in two weeks so I have some time to work on brisket. Next time you're in Nashville, let me buy you a beer. And, perhaps you can give me a few brisket tips.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sitnfat View Post
Did you slice it properly?
Cook it to feel not temp probe should slide in like butter
Walmart briskets are fine I have used them with good results
I foil, I have cooked one hotter than what you did and didn't but wouldn't recommend it for comps.
It was good meeting you congrats on your call
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Unread 04-01-2012, 04:01 PM   #10
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1. Did not foil.
That was my initial suspicion. When you do not foil and just take it to a temp of 199*, you're going to get shoe leather. Try double-wrapping in foil when the meat reaches 155*, and then pull it off the cooker at 199* (keeping the foil on) then resting it for another hour in a cooler.

2. Probe did not pull out easy. Not difficult to remove, but it did not slide out easily.
Answer above should solve your issue with practice.

3. Walmart Choice.
Walmart choice is okay, I'm suspecting their supplier is National Beef. I would look for a bigger brisket 13#-15# usually yields some nice thick flats


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Unread 04-01-2012, 04:04 PM   #11
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One more thing... have you tried an injection? Give Kosmo's, Butcher's, or FAB B a try. Find what you like and see what you think.
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Unread 04-01-2012, 04:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckshot Malone View Post
My question, did I over/under cook? What causes touch/chewy brisket? I had a 11lb brisket, cooked at 300 for 8 hours, pulled at 199.
Undercooked. That cook time also seems long for that temp, which means you dried it out somewhat too. Foil it at ~165 and it will cook faster and not dry out as much.

People cook low and slow (under 250, 8-12 hours) or hot and fast (over 350, 4 hours) but at 300 for 8 hours doesn't seem right.

Slow it down, or speed it up. Fast cooking requires a cooker that is stable at the higher temps (many like to run at 225-250), and a long resting period (2-4 hours). Even at a lower temp, you need to rest your brisket at least an hour before slicing it.
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Unread 04-01-2012, 07:00 PM   #13
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for all the complaining about comments cards it seems that these are spot on. 3 cards, same comment, and I am assuming the OP is fairly new to competitions so he should benefit from the experience.

credit where credit is due and it seems like these cards where as good as they get. glad you posted about it and I am sure the advice above will help you improve your scores.
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Unread 04-01-2012, 07:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawgPhan View Post
for all the complaining about comments cards it seems that these are spot on. 3 cards, same comment, and I am assuming the OP is fairly new to competitions so he should benefit from the experience.

credit where credit is due and it seems like these cards where as good as they get. glad you posted about it and I am sure the advice above will help you improve your scores.
Amen!

Comment cards don't always tell us what we want to hear, but they are always instructive, even if all they reveal was that we hit a judge that doesn't know what they are talking about.
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Unread 04-01-2012, 07:25 PM   #15
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this is not my picture but best one i could find on quick notice, id say this is a bit over , but depends on how it pulls.

I want my brisket to drape like this, not brake, and have just a bit of pull to separate.
keep cooking and checking all aspects, and writing down temps, bend, feel, and sooner or later you will get your own feel for done.


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