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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 06-26-2012, 02:12 PM   #1
Jeremy Moyers
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Default Brisket Help and Direction

Hey guys,

We recently cooked our first KCBS comp and did really well overall. We walked away with a 5th in Ribs out of 35 teams, and the other teams at the comp were very well established and successful teams.

This being the case, the judges did not like our brisket at all, and it really did not surprise me. Quick background on me.... I am from west Texas and was raised cooking Brisket with my grandad. He always made his rub using basic ingredients like season salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, cumin, etc. We always rubbed the brisket, put it on the smoker at 225, and sprayed it every hour or so with a solution of Coke and Butter. While I love this brisket, it is apparently not what the judges were looking for. It was very tender, and was moist when we cut it, but it just scored low. It was definitely our weakest category, which honestly I was a little concerned about going in to the comp. I knew that it was not how the professional comp teams cooked brisket, but I wanted to give it a shot.....

Following the competition, I went out and purchased some Kosmos Reserve Brisket injection and mixed it with water like the instructions said to do. I did not like the injected brisket at all. While it was very moist, the texture of the brisket changed. I cooked it to 190-195 internal temp, and it felt good and tender. The probe of my thermapen slipped right in and felt the same resistance that I am used to feeling, but the mouth feel was kinda rubbery.

One other thing, we typically do not foil our briskets. When I cooked the injected brisket I did foil the brisket when it was around 165, and I put more of the Kosmos injection in the bottom of the pan to steam with.

Here are my questions:

1) Do you need to cook an injected brisket to a higher internal temperature than a non injected brisket? Is this possibly why it felt undercooked?
2) Should I try Kosmos again, should I try butchers brisket injection or should I make my own injection? I've read about some guys using apple juice, beef broth, coke, etc. in a home made injection.
3) I love bark on brisket, but the bark was almost non existent on the foiled brisket. Should I worry about bark on brisket? Do the judges expect to see good bark on brisket in a KCBS comp?
4) Are there any other tips or websites that you can point me to that could help me out with this?

Thanks for the help. I will be cooking a lot the next couple of weeks trying to figure this out and would love to have a direction to head so that I don't waste time and money on things that KCBS judges are not looking for.

Jeremy
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Unread 06-26-2012, 02:30 PM   #2
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Buddy, not to sound like a smart a$$, but it's all basically practice. You'll eventually develope that 'feel' to cooking a brisket. Kosmos, Butchers, Fab, etc. all make great injections. Lots of people win with any of those.. some have their preference over others, and some can't get one or the other to work well for them. The injection seems to me, not to add to the cooking time or tenderness versus temp.

I've wasted a lot of money cooking bad briskets, many on here have too. There's no secret magical way that will create a great, or even a good brisket automatically.
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Unread 06-26-2012, 02:39 PM   #3
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First off---you have experience with brisket and should not take major swings in what you do based on one comp.
Good brisket is good brisket--may just need to be tweaked to work in comps.

DO NOT CHANGE A WHOLE BUNCH OF THINGS AT ONCE!!!!!

Small issues.
All of the major injection additives such as Kosmos, Butchers, FAB, etc are similar with some differences. Work with any of them for now and "fine tune" later. I have used them all and would recommend them all as a quality product.

Bark texture, hard vs soft, has been beat to death here for a long time. Going from foil to turn-in will normally give you a soft (but hopefully tasty) outer flavor layer. No foil, or returning to the heat after foiling may give you a harder (and hopefully tasty) bark.
Strictly your preference.

"Spritzing frequently" is up to you. I think few of us do it, but.....

Lots more, but others will add on.

As a friend of mine says----"Welcome to the Dark Side"

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Unread 06-26-2012, 02:51 PM   #4
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Look around the added links of "The Edict" and maybe you might pick up something. I have written the Edict for those who even choose not to subscribe to the Edict... thus the many links to people who complain about the difficulty of this cut just like you.

While I certainly think that there is a way to make a good brisket automatically (that's right I said I agree there is), I do not think there is a secret magical way to make one that wins.... that is for the ultimate tweakers.

That being said.... it is more difficult to go from knowing zilch to making a good brisket than to go from making a good brisket to one that will win in a given competition. So, in essence.... perhaps learning a basic way to make a good one is most appropriate.

These days, because of the internet, too many people go from making no brisket at all... to trying to use the tricks of the pros.... at times, using too many tricks. Some mistakenly think for instance the only way to make that tender good or great brisket is to inject. Closer to the truth may mean that the only way to make a brisket that wins... is to use an injection... but then there is HOW?

Then there are those that make a disaster of a brisket, thinking that one or two "tricks the pros use" will get them the scores they want. They skip right over the basics and wonder why the trick that ole so and so did not work for them.

In my opinion... it may be time for school...

Step One: "Night Train Experiment" (yes that means a flat, salt, pepper, foil and an oven only) to confirm you have the "feel" If the experiment ends up not surprising the heck out of you... then I would venture to say you had the (textural and moisture) feel already.

Step Two - Tri Level Rub, No foil and Higher heat and a long rest. No this does not mean you should stay here... it just shows you the natural elements of brisket, bark, texture and rendering... all while turning low and slow on its ear.

Step Three - Now that you have a baseline to an adequate brisket (speaking diplomatically), using very little tools (foil, injections, high grade briskets, waterpans, spritzes, mops (shudder), flips, pans, turbinado sugars, etc.; then you do what you want, keeping in mind you should tweak slowly anything you wish but not too many elements at one time --- moving toward the your mind's concept of the zenith of brisket.

Good Luck
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Unread 06-26-2012, 03:19 PM   #5
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I've had Texas BBQ and Georgia BBQ. I really prefer Texas BBQ (I married a Texas Aggie, so I sorta have to), but it's different in Georgia. Not exactly sure how it differs exactly for beef, but it is different. I'd start there.

As for the injection, I had a similar experience with Butchers injection. But Mr. Butcher on here talked me through it and he really helped me out. (Not a shameless plug for Butchers, but he really did help me out.) I also took my second butchers brisket to 203-205 and that made a world of difference with no drying out. I had a similar butter probe feel, but decided to take it a little longer. The results were a slight tug and a tender, juicy brisket that was the best I've done.

Big thing I learned is, as noted above, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. You know how to cook brisket. Just adjust it.
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Unread 06-26-2012, 03:27 PM   #6
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You don't want too much bark. It splinters off and some judges think it's cricket legs in the box.
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Unread 06-27-2012, 09:51 AM   #7
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We cooked our first competition Sunday, and finished 5th in brisket out of 31, DEFINETLY check out "Pitmaster T" links, there are a few tricks in there we tried and IMHO, was responsible for that high finish. We kept our flavor profile light and let the meat speak for itself, the bark was AWESOME!!
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Unread 06-27-2012, 01:12 PM   #8
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We use both Kosmos Reserve Blend and Butcher BBQ injections in our briskets and have never noticed a change in texture. They both help you retain a lot more moisture in the slices while they are setting in the box abd both are high quality products!
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Unread 06-27-2012, 01:25 PM   #9
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Jeremy, I am sending you a PM call me and well see if we can't get ya some help brother.
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Unread 06-27-2012, 01:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kosmo's Q View Post
Jeremy, I am sending you a PM call me and well see if we can't get ya some help brother.
can we make that a conference call?
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Unread 06-27-2012, 01:40 PM   #11
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Sweet. It will need some sugar in the rub. Maybe even a little parkay and honey when wrapping plus a savory sauce like Tiger. Burnt ends here in FL are referred to as candy. You wouldn't believe how much sugar some cooks put on burnt ends while cooking. Suggest at the next comp you buddy up to a good competition brisket cook and see if you can get a taste after turnin.
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Unread 06-27-2012, 01:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boogiesnap View Post
can we make that a conference call?
Absolutley.
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Unread 06-27-2012, 02:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford View Post
Sweet. It will need some sugar in the rub. Maybe even a little parkay and honey when wrapping plus a savory sauce like Tiger. Burnt ends here in FL are referred to as candy. You wouldn't believe how much sugar some cooks put on burnt ends while cooking. Suggest at the next comp you buddy up to a good competition brisket cook and see if you can get a taste after turnin.
Sweet on red meat is one of the silliest things I've ever heard (or seen) in BBQ
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Unread 06-27-2012, 02:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Podge View Post
Sweet on red meat is one of the silliest things I've ever heard (or seen) in BBQ
Although many know me as a salt and pepper guy... few draw attention to my Glitter which does have sugar in it.

You and I would probably like the same red meat smoked


BUT>>>>> FORD is from the neck of the woods where the OP is from... at least the region he will compete in... so his advice is spot on.... he is giving regional tips.

If I wanted to WIN at a competition.... I want to know the flavor profile of that area... not Kentucky... not even Texas... where perfection resides. :-)

That being said... once the elements of BBQ are mastered... which I am willing to bet Ford has... the little tweaks to win in given areas are simply an expression of the same perfect song... which as everyone know... is James Brown's Outta Sight, Olympia 1963
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Unread 06-27-2012, 02:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Podge View Post
Sweet on red meat is one of the silliest things I've ever heard (or seen) in BBQ
I agree with you but I also know what's winning down here. I sure don't use as much as some do. Also I dont think BBQ sauce belongs on brisket but found it was needed in the upper Midwest. I mix with drippings now and keep it light.

I personally like Texas brisket.
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