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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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Old 08-31-2009, 03:28 PM   #1
SmokinPaPa
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Default Tough meat

Most of the meat I smoke winds up tough. The ribs stick to the bone and the brisket is tough to chew. Have I not cooked it long enough or too fast? I will show pictures when I try some of your suggestions. Thanks for any help. I know I have a lot to learn. I use a Brinkman offset smoker.
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:38 PM   #2
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Not to worry - you have come to the right place!! All these guys (and girls) who make up the Brethren are unbelievably knowledgeable, professional, helpful and a hell of a lot of fun too.
I am still a rookie but I have learned so much from this circle of friends that for the first time in my life I am proud of what I cook and get many compliments from friends and family (and even stangers!)
Spend some time here, search out the info provided and get to know these fine folks and you can NOT go wrong.

Welcome!
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:42 PM   #3
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It is hard to say what you are doing to not get the product you would like to get, a lot depends on what cut of meat and what you want to end up with. There are some general techniques and a good place to start if you do not have the questions quite formulated is the road map.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7818
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:45 PM   #4
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Probably not cooked long enough, but some more info would help. Until you break down that collagen, the meat will be tough.
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:47 PM   #5
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To help us to help you... a few questions to steer you towards an answer.

What type of smoker?
Any existing modifications?
What type of fuel?
What are your normal smoking temp?
How soon do you put on your meat?
What temp is the internal meat temp?
Do you season/rub your meat?
How long do you have meat remain on the smoker?
Do you utilize a cooler?
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:05 PM   #6
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My suggestion right off the bat is to start with pork, and then use the more forgiving pork cuts at first to build your confidence. Pork is the easiest meat to smoke and do well with.

If you start with baby back ribs or pork butt, you will be ahead of the game. They are easy to do and get right. Then move to beef.

For baby back ribs, why not try what is called the 3-2-1 method? Take your rack or two of ribs, and remove the silvery-white membrane on the back of the ribs by peeling up a corner of it with a knife and then using a paper towel to grab it and yank it all off.

Season your ribs with a pork rub of your choice, and put them on the smoker at 225-250. Make sure your temp does not exceed 250. Let them cruise along for 2 hours, and then check internal temp with a meat thermometer.

If you are up to 150-155 or so, pull it off, wrap with foil, and wrap all that with several towels. If you have an empty, dry cooler, stick it all in there. Let it rest for 2 hours, then pull it back out, unwrap, and add any BBQ sauce you desire, and put it back in the smoker, again at 225 or so, for another hour. The internal temp needs to be 160 for it to be done, and you should be right at this in the hour.

If the meat is not around 150-155 when you first check at 2 hours, close up the smoker and let it rock for another hour and check again. Some smokers take longer than others, and you have to learn what yours will do by experience. Soon, you will just know when to check and pull it, and multiple checks won't be necessary.

3-2-1, then, means 3 hours smoking, 2 hours resting foiled and wrapped, and 1 hour back on the smoker before it gets cut and prepped to eat. With some smokers, it really works out to about 2-2-1. Let temp be your guide.

Now, this is my way of doing it and my suggestions for these baby backs. There is a great degree of latitude in BBQ, hence the disclaimer. But I think if you do this, you will have your first rib success. Then look around here for butt cook ideas. Then graduate to beef.
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:33 PM   #7
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boy guess i had that 3-2-1 stuff wrong!! i thought it was 3 hours unwrapped, 2 hours wrapped (still on smoker) and 1 hour wrapped and resting in a cooler!!
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:13 PM   #8
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I will try extending my exhaust down to the rack. It is at the top and my guage is almost at the top. I have probably been cooking way too cool. It has taken forever to cook. The meat temp would finally get up there but would take too long. I will also raise my fire rack in the fire box. The smoker I have is the Brinkman Smoke N Pit. It is not real thick but is thicker than some I have seen in some of the discount stores.

Thanks for all the help.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capri man View Post
boy guess i had that 3-2-1 stuff wrong!! i thought it was 3 hours unwrapped, 2 hours wrapped (still on smoker) and 1 hour wrapped and resting in a cooler!!
It's how I do it, when I do it.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capri man View Post
boy guess i had that 3-2-1 stuff wrong!! i thought it was 3 hours unwrapped, 2 hours wrapped (still on smoker) and 1 hour wrapped and resting in a cooler!!

That's what I thought as well.

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Old 09-01-2009, 09:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jswordy View Post
Now, this is my way of doing it and my suggestions for these baby backs. There is a great degree of latitude in BBQ, hence the disclaimer.
I apologize to the brethren. I should have known through experience to be more cautious about what I post here about how I cook. I did not originally learn how to smoke meat here or on the Net, so I realize I am ignorant. I'd remove the original post as not meeting the standards of this crowd, but I can't. The moderators can feel free to do it for me, if they wish. Sorry.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldengoose View Post
Most of the meat I smoke winds up tough. .... I use a Brinkman offset smoker.
I also use a Brinkman offset, and used to have the same problem, until i realized two things.

1. Temperature gauge is set too high in cooking chamber by mfg. Since heat rises, you are reading a much higher temp. at the gauge than you are at the meat. So if you modulate your temp by the gauge at say 225, you are actually cooking your meat at 180 - 200 (depending on the level your grate/meat is set at)

2. The temp. varies considerably from one end of the chamber to the other. On the far end (away from the firebox) to the close end by the firebox, it can vary as much as 50+ degrees.

Bottom line: you must learn your smoker.

Buy several inexpensive, but reliable oven thermometers (like a Taylor - 3.99 each, analog, not digital)), and without any meat in the cooker, set the thermometer(s) in different places on the grill surfaces, while maintaining an even heat (according to the temp. gauge on the top)

Keep the lids closed until your temps. are steady, and then open and quickly record your readings in the different places/levels. This will open your eyes as to what the temps,. actually are when your top gauge reads "225" in the different areas.
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Old 09-01-2009, 12:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jswordy View Post
3-2-1, then, means 3 hours smoking, 2 hours resting foiled and wrapped, and 1 hour back on the smoker before it gets cut and prepped to eat. With some smokers, it really works out to about 2-2-1. Let temp be your guide.
Quote:
Originally Posted by capri man View Post
boy guess i had that 3-2-1 stuff wrong!! i thought it was 3 hours unwrapped, 2 hours wrapped (still on smoker) and 1 hour wrapped and resting in a cooler!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by jswordy View Post
It's how I do it, when I do it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nzrebel View Post
That's what I thought as well.

Dave
Quote:
Originally Posted by jswordy View Post
I apologize to the brethren. I should have known through experience to be more cautious about what I post here about how I cook. I did not originally learn how to smoke meat here or on the Net, so I realize I am ignorant. I'd remove the original post as not meeting the standards of this crowd, but I can't. The moderators can feel free to do it for me, if they wish. Sorry.
Why don't you take a deep breath and chill out for a moment... With over 10,000 members here, there is going to be more than one way to cook ribs. If you can't deal with that, then this may not be your place. The thing that makes this forum unique is that we allow for other ideas. While they may not be for us, they may be for others. I personally, don't like either of the above methods mentioned. I find that they more times than not end up with over cooked, and under flavored. Does that make any of the above wrong? No, it means that I do it differently than others to make a product that I like. The simple fact that one way of doing things may work on your double-barrel smoker may not work on a Brinkman offset, again, proves this out.

When I'm cooking ribs on my Lang I am normally doing so with other meats and keep them in the 215-225* range with out the use of rib racks and I don't spray them. They take a little longer but turn out great. When I'm doing them on my BGE, I like to use rib racks and put a little apple juice in my drip pan and cook them at 225-235* range. On my UDS, it's rib racks and I spray with a mix of apple juice and Jack Daniels at 250* in the center of the rack. In all cases, I never check the internal temp. I've found that this tells me nothing. I go by the feel of the ribs when I lift them with a set of tongs and how the bend looks.

Are any of these ways wrong? Again I say no.

Oh, and by the way… I too did not originally learn how to smoke meat here on the Net. I originally learned how to do Brisket in Houston, Pork Shoulder in Memphis, Ribs in both North Carolina and Kansas City, and Chicken at my Papa’s side. Does that mean that I’ve stopped learning? Hell no, that’s one of two reasons I’m here. So why don't you do us all a favor and open up your mind a bit and loose the ego....
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Last edited by Divemaster; 09-01-2009 at 01:50 PM..
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