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Unread 11-28-2004, 06:03 AM   #1
kcquer
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Default Internal Temps and "Doneness"

Got the following question in a PM, wanted to post it for discussion.

I'm still trying to figure out this temperature thing, though. Everyone talks about (whether pork or brisket) bring the temp up into the 185 - 190 range. All the charts I have on internal meat temps is so much lower (?). I don't get it? Why the variation?
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Unread 11-28-2004, 06:35 AM   #2
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I am not to sure but I would think that by taking the meats to the 185-190 temperature range, and doing it slowly, you can break down more of the connective tissues and such thus making it more tender. Possibly less moisture loss due to the lower cooking temps. through tout the cooking process?
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Unread 11-28-2004, 09:48 AM   #3
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Any temperature chart is for actual doneness. That means it is thoroughly cooked and safe to eat. We take the butts higher, because they need to do that in order to be pulled. Makes them way more tender and "pullable". Brisket we take higher because quite frankly it would be inedible if you pulled it off at a "done" temperature for beef according to a chart. Chicken can come off at the normal "doneness" temperature, because it is tender to begin with.

That's BBQ. Taking a poor cut of meat and making it great, or taking a good cut of meat and making it better.
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Unread 11-28-2004, 09:53 AM   #4
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charts you're looking at is for the leaner cuts and the rare-med-well range. We use those ranges too in BBQ for certain cuts also. Prime ribs and roasts and filet mignons for example are removed at the 130-145 range depending on what you want. But they dont require(and ya dont want) them sitting in the heat to come to 190. They are tender cuts to begin with. Bringing them to 180 will wreck them. But things like briskets and chucks roasts will make for some pretty challenging chewing even well done at 165. Those cuts with loads of connective tissue need a long time to break that tissue down. We cook at lower temps for longer periods, and that allows the connective tissue and collagen to break down slowly without drying out the meat. Liken it to stew meats or crock pots. You dont test a roast in a crock pot for doneness.. you just keep cookin till it falls apart. So to answer your question, your comparing a cooking chart for a different type of cooking(roasting and grilling) geared towards different cuts of meat. If you had a smoking or BBQ temperature cooking chart, it would read very differently.
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Unread 11-28-2004, 02:30 PM   #5
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As others have stated those cuts that contain little connective tissue those lower finish temps are accutrite. This subject mirrors another I hear all the time, if low and slow is good then why not for all meats? The same thing applies little or no connective tissue then higher cooker temps and finish temps are the prime technique.
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Unread 11-28-2004, 07:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jminion
As others have stated those cuts that contain little connective tissue those lower finish temps are accutrite. This subject mirrors another I hear all the time, if low and slow is good then why not for all meats? The same thing applies little or no connective tissue then higher cooker temps and finish temps are the prime technique.

"ACCUTRITE"!

Jim, are you taking a correspondence spelling course taught by Phil?
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Unread 11-28-2004, 07:20 PM   #7
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In a word Yes.
If I'm going to graded on spelling I'm in trouble.
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Unread 11-28-2004, 09:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil
Quote:
Originally Posted by jminion
As others have stated those cuts that contain little connective tissue those lower finish temps are accutrite. This subject mirrors another I hear all the time, if low and slow is good then why not for all meats? The same thing applies little or no connective tissue then higher cooker temps and finish temps are the prime technique.

"ACCUTRITE"!

Jim, are you taking a correspondence spelling course taught by Phil?
That is why God created secturairreis.
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Unread 11-28-2004, 11:34 PM   #9
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The charts are only a starting reference point. The water in the meat will Pasteurize at temperatures between 131 degrees to 167 degrees for at least 30 minutes. So with low slow cooking you must error on the safe side and get above 167 degrees and hold it there till the cooking is complete. Since bacteria cannot penetrate very deep in a solid piece of meat, all you have to really Pasteurize is the outside surface. So things do not have to be that hot inside to get the meat safe to eat. Hamburger is the exception. It can have bacteria internally because it is all mixed up in the grinding process. hamburger should always be cooked to above 167 degrees through and through and even hotter if the cooking time is shorter than 30 minutes.

The real variable in cooking meat is how much connective tissue or collagen must be broken down in the cooking process. But here is the conundrum. If you heat the collagen to a temperature greater than 280 degrees you will set it and then no amount of cooking will break it down. Also beef comes in two types. The first type is support muscles, and consists of muscles that only hold the animal together and up on its legs. This type contains very little collagen because it does not need tensile strength. Therefore you can cook it up to temperatures as high as 500 degrees without making it tough. Rib-eye, prime rib, and fillet minion are all support muscles and can be cooked high and fast without becoming tough. High and fast cooking will also boil off less moisture than low and slow cooking so it produces juicy meat naturally. The other type of muscle is locomotive muscles that make the animal move. It needs high tensile strength and therefore contains a lot of collagen. You need to keep the temperature lower than 280 degrees when you cook muscles of locomotion. Round steak and brisket are both locomotion muscles and must be cooked low and slow if they are to become tender. You must also watch the low and slow cooking because it applies heat for a long time and moisture can boil off and make the meat dry. Therefore we use tricks like foiling with water added to prevent this. You can also cook support muscles low and slow but it is not necessary for tender meat and can dry things out too much. Poultry meat is all low collagen and can be treated like beef support muscle. Pork has less collagen than beef so it is less likely to be tough, but the rules still apply. With pork I find that the problem is drying out more than getting tough, because you cannot serve pork rare like beef.

So temperature is important and if you do not understand the needs of the meat you are cooking then you cannot do more than follow somebody else's formula to the letter for a successful cook off. If you ever try to experiment without the above knowledge you will more likely than not get bad results, and to me the experimenting is what makes cooking fun.
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Unread 11-29-2004, 03:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jminion
In a word Yes.
If I'm going to graded on spelling I'm in trouble.
The only thing we grade here as far as I can tell is the meat, which is how it should be. I give myself a C for yesterday's brisket. Wasn't able to keep a close eye on things the entire cook and I'm afraid temps got a little too high at times. 6# packer flat reached 185 in 6 hours. Wrapped and coolered for two hours. When carved, very tastey and juicy but tough.
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