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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 04-22-2009, 04:27 PM   #1
comfrank
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Default holding brisket/pork - 3 methods - which?

Hi,all,

I know the standard method of holding brisket and pork until turn-in time is to foil and put it in a dry cooler. I've recently gotten a DigiQ controller (if you check out my "hello" in the cattle call, you'll see why ). Not only can you dial in a temperature, but the DigiQ also has a ramp feature where as the meat approaches its "done" temperature, the pit temp decreases to match the meat. So that suggests to me three methods of holding brisket and pork until turn in:

1. Dry cooler.
2. Ramp feature.
3. Dialing in a holding temp--say 145F??

Now, naturally, I will try all three methods myself, but I'm wondering if anyone on the forum does either number 2 or 3. Any ideas as to which of the three methods would be preferred? Any gotchas?

Thanks!

--frank in Wilson, NY
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Unread 04-22-2009, 04:40 PM   #2
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I really like using a cambro (or a cooler). My fear with option 3 is that you are still adding heat to the cooker even if it is low...
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Unread 04-22-2009, 04:49 PM   #3
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I would be afraid with #3 of it bringing the temp of the meat down too much. At least with a dry cooler (we foil ours and wrap in a towel we've heated on the firebox). This will keep at a higher consistent temp, as by the time you pull / slice, and deliver, the temps going to drop a fair amount. I'd hate to give myself a 30-40 degree handicap to begin with.

As for the Ramp feature, I'd be curious how long it would take to truly ramp up to the temp you want, without it being an absolute nightmare to try and know really well.
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Unread 04-22-2009, 04:54 PM   #4
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I vote for the dry cooler/cambro/carlysle option for a slightly different reason.

If you cook a brisket to 200F, let it vent for 15 minutes, then wrap it in foil and place in a dry cooler it is going to stay above 190 for a couple of hours and slowly go down from there. The time that the meat is hovering there above 190F is important because the connective tissue continues to break down without overcooking the protein. Then, the as the protein slowly cools below 190F it will absorb some of the moisture and flavor you have in the foil.

So, if you want to leave it in the cooker to rest instead of a dry cooler, I'd set the temp to 190 or so for a couple of hours.
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Unread 04-22-2009, 04:57 PM   #5
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cambros are worth every penny!. I learned how to use it, and I swear bbq is better holding it in the cambro.

I just wish I had 1 more :)

I tried to "hold" with the fec, I gave up, wasted to much meat trying to make it work
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Unread 04-22-2009, 05:05 PM   #6
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What's a cambro?
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Unread 04-22-2009, 05:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jason View Post
What's a cambro?



An insulated food holder...
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Unread 04-23-2009, 03:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jason View Post
What's a cambro?
It's like a cooler only 10 times better. Normally used by catering. I've kept food above 145* for over 12 hours.

They aren't cheap but worth every cent!
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Unread 04-23-2009, 03:53 PM   #9
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I've held pork butts in a cooler (Igloo Legend 40 qt) for over 10 hours (at home, not comp). When I pulled them, they were still steaming hot - I had to add cotton under the latex. At a comp, I generally have them in the cooler by the time I start cooking chicken.

I guess all I'm saying is don't be scared that a cooler will not work.
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Unread 04-23-2009, 03:53 PM   #10
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I try not to rest for hours. If I can get a nice foil rest out of it for like 45 minutes, it works great for me. If I do have to rest for a long period of time, I go with the cooler or cambro.
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Unread 04-28-2009, 02:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Divemaster View Post
It's like a cooler only 10 times better. Normally used by catering. I've kept food above 145* for over 12 hours.

They aren't cheap but worth every cent!
What is it that makes a cambro that much better than a 5-Day cooler?
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Unread 04-28-2009, 02:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WineMaster View Post
What is it that makes a cambro that much better than a 5-Day cooler?
I would say nothing.
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Unread 04-28-2009, 02:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WineMaster View Post
What is it that makes a cambro that much better than a 5-Day cooler?
For me it's the convenience of being able to slide a full or half hotel pan in there.
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Unread 04-28-2009, 02:12 PM   #14
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The same reason a dump truck is better for hauling gravel than a station wagon. Could you get it done in both? Sure, but one is made for the job and the other is compromised to make the job work...

Cambro's also hold stuff cold as well.
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Unread 04-28-2009, 02:19 PM   #15
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I would love to have two Cambros with the wheeled dolly.

They are stackable, hold standard width restaurant pans (stainless, foil, lexan), and hold temps for a long time.

I use 120qt coolers and while they get the job done they don't allow nice stacking of full sized pans. I've also warped a couple - but then I had about 80-100 pounds of hot foiled pork butt in them at the time.

As far as "ramping" or hold temps on the cooker. I used to use an Alto-Shamm slow oven for roast beef and prime rib. Cook at 250 for whatever and then hold at 160. Worked great. So, holding in an oven is doable if you have a true hold oven that's not going to vary between 140-200 degrees while "holding". A 50 degree swing is not uncommon in regular electric or gas ovens.

Basically, use what you find works best for your product, the time you need to hold, and how much you need to hold.
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