PDA

View Full Version : Please help with brisket smoke ring


McEvoy AZ
07-15-2012, 11:45 AM
Ok I have just started with competing and prating every weekend. This weekend was brisket. My goal was to improve my flavor profile and create a better smoke ring. My result was the best tasting brisket I have ever made (I learned to season the brisket with less sugars, then what I would consider using a pure rub). My other result was hardly any smoke ring. I think this part actually had worse results then before. This time I added more wood and started the cook at just over 200 degrees for the first 2 hours thinking this was going to be my solution. Well I was wrong so please help with your suggestion to impove my smoke ring if you will.

:confused:

MilitantSquatter
07-15-2012, 11:50 AM
what are you cooking on ?

what kind of wood ?

Chunks or sticks ?

what temp was the rest of the cook at ?

what replaced the sugar you reduced ? herbs, other spices ? salt , pepper ?

Butt Rubb'n BBQ
07-15-2012, 11:57 AM
Salt and nitrates play a big factor in your smoke ring. So I would plan to work both into my cook somehow and make sure it sits out at room temp for a while before cook to relax meat.

McEvoy AZ
07-15-2012, 12:14 PM
I used a 22 1/2 WSM with 6 baseball chunks of hickory. Injected with beef broth, rubbed with a combination of mustard and beef flavoring. The actual rub was Three Little Pigs Memphis Style. I cooked between 250 and 275 came out perfect except the smole ring.

yakdung
07-15-2012, 12:18 PM
You may be trying to over engineer this.

Fat Woody
07-15-2012, 12:44 PM
Here's a couple things that you might try:

I give my briskets an overnight soak in "tomato juice", then dry, rub and 30 min. later onto the smoker cold (brisket, not smoker). There's a lot of sodium/nitrate/glutamates in the soak (also has some soy, worcestershire, and other stuff) which I believe helps create a nice smoke ring, but the flavor is the primary reason for soaking/marinating.

Lower starting temps seem to help a bit too, around 225ish for the first 2 hours or so.

Have you tried one without the mustard yet? If you do change things up, recommend you only change one thing at a time so you can monitor the differences.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=488&pictureid=3941

Bludawg
07-15-2012, 12:54 PM
Who cares about a Smoke Ring? It has nothing to do with flavor or how much smoke is absorbed as any meat will continue to absorb smoke until you remove it from the pit.

Fat Woody
07-15-2012, 12:59 PM
Obviously the OP cares about it. Even though a smoke ring may just be cosmetic, some folks like to see 'em and even though judges aren't supposed to score it, well...:wink:

McEvoy AZ
07-15-2012, 01:08 PM
All though I agree that the smoke ring should not by rule matter, I think it actually does with many judges. The tomato juice is something I may try. Is there a way to buy nitrates in a pure form. I believe I had seen Chris Hart use soming like this on BBQ Pitmasters this year.

Fat Woody
07-15-2012, 01:30 PM
... Is there a way to buy nitrates in a pure form. I believe I had seen Chris Hart use soming like this on BBQ Pitmasters this year.

Yes - pink salt/curing salt is 6.25% Sodium NITRITE and gives cured meats like corned beef, hams and bacon their pink color, but I'm pretty sure it's use is prohibited in KCBS competition.

LoneStarMojo
07-15-2012, 01:51 PM
Glad to hear that you ended up with a tasty piece of meat even tho you didn't get the ring you wanted. The last (and only) time that I had a minimal-to-none smoke ring problem was on my first HnF brisket session and it happened on the Whalen King Kettle. Here are the details:

Room-temped the meat for an hour after rubbing. Rub was home made and was not low salt or low sugar. Preheated 37.5" kettle to 325 with Stubbs banked on opposing sides and a bit of hickory mixed in. Used a long disposable pan and started the full packer choice brisket fat cap up and covered the pan with foil when the internal meat temp hit 155. At this point I also flipped the brisket over so that fat cap was down and let if finish in this way until it probed tender. Meat was awesome but was minimally smoke-ringed and was not as barky as I would have liked and bark was too soft. Following a lot of advice that I received from my awesome Brethren friends, here are the changes that I made:

Preheated same cooker to 250 instead of 325. No room temping of brisket. As soon as brisket was rubbed it went right back into fridge. Didn't rub until I stared preheating kettle. Brisket on @ 250 with a rack now added in the disposable pan and started fat cap down and ran at this temp for the first hour and then ramped kettle to 325-ish for rest of cook. There was no flipping of brisket. Stayed fat cap down for whole 5.5 hour cook. Instead of covering pan with foil I wrapped brisket in butcher paper when bark was set. When probe tender went to cooler for 2 hour rest. This was a 15 lb full packer both times.

Bark was just the way I like it and the smoke ring was beautiful. And this way has worked every time since. Because I was trying to get ring back AND improve the bark I made multiple changes so there's not a good way to determine which alterations brought about the improvements in final product. My personal opinion is that the cooler starting temp for both the cooker and the meat played a large part in ring development. Adding the rack to suspend the meat in the pan and running with fat-cap down made the improvement to my barkiness and going with butcher paper let the bark breathe and thus no soggy bark. Foil is history for me. I'm a total butcher paper guy now.

Good luck getting your ring back. These Brethren are a helpful bunch and you're sure to get get plenty of good advice.

pigdog
07-15-2012, 02:08 PM
I care also. I have a hard time getting a smoke ring as well. Can get some on butts, but brisket, no way.

Woody, do you completely cover the meat or just sit the meat in the tomato juice and flip it?

Ron_L
07-15-2012, 02:18 PM
Yes - pink salt/curing salt is 6.25% Sodium NITRITE and gives cured meats like corned beef, hams and bacon their pink color, but I'm pretty sure it's use is prohibited in KCBS competition.

There is nothing in the KCBS rules about the use of pink salt or other cure. In fact, there is nothing in the KCBS rules about meat having a smoke ring. In the judges class judges are told not to judge appearance by the smoke ring specifically because it can be created by means other than smoke.

jasonjax
07-15-2012, 02:21 PM
I wonder if the mustard may have inhibited the smoke ring. I know it is very common practice for pork butts, but I wonder if the difference in beef and pork's reaction with the mustard could possibly lessen the smoke ring appearance. Total guess here.

CarolinaQue
07-15-2012, 03:07 PM
I wouldn't use any curing salt for a brisket in a contest, you'll end up with corned beef or pastrami and not smoked brisket.

You can buy phosphates online for a relatively cheap price. They can also be found in other things that can be added to marinades or injections.

Celery salt in a rub can also improve the smoke ring. And although judges aren't "suppose" to score based on a smoke ring, you put 2 pieces of meat in front of them, and one has a better smoke ring, I'd bet money that the one with the better ring get's a better appearance score.

Fat Woody
07-15-2012, 03:16 PM
pigdog - It is a full marinade/soak and if I have to come clean, I use bloody mary mix (32 oz.), 1/2 C. soy, 1/4 Worsty and about 1/2 C. of whatever rub you like on brisket. Top off with enough H20 to cover your meat and let sit overnite in the fridge. Makes enough to cover an average 12-15 lb. packer or a couple of flats.

yakdung
07-15-2012, 03:27 PM
A movie. Keep it simple:
http://www.texasmonthly.com/multimedia/video/themanual20/14804/

landarc
07-15-2012, 03:31 PM
Celery salt is just another way to introduce sodium nitrate to a rub, it functions just like a curing salt. It contains celery extract, which is what is used in naturally cured products.

I believe the following things could help.

1. Start with cold meat. The formation of a smoke ring is an oxidation process that happens when nitrogen is exposed to heat and the componenets in smoke that create the color. The longer it stays in a range where the meat juices are not pushing out from the center of the meat, the longer the chemical reaction has to act.

2. Use salt and do not block the smoke from reaching the meat, this means if you do use a slather, use a very thin layer. You can get a smoke ring with mustard slather, but, not if it is a thick coating.

3. Add a few briquettes, especially Kingsford, if you are not already using them. I like to add 3 or 4 cold briquettes jsut before the meat goes on.

4. Make sure you have clean smoke from a small hot fire, even in a WSM, the cleaner fire gives you lighter smoke. Thick smoke does not get you the ring you want.

5. Use the water pan, and even add some moisture at the start of the cook with a few sprtizs of water from a mister. The added moisture improves the interface between smoke and meat. A dry cooking environment is not as good.

McEvoy AZ
07-15-2012, 03:54 PM
Ok, Bloody Mary mix and Celery Salt to try. It sounds like I should make some of my famous Bloody Mary's and use as a marinade. Got to try that. And about where to find phosphates on the Internet.

jasonjax
07-15-2012, 04:32 PM
**Warning de-rail in progress**

Care to share your world famous Bloody Mary mix? I'm a bit of a BM hound myself.

yakdung
07-15-2012, 04:44 PM
**Warning de-rail in progress**

Care to share your world famous Bloody Mary mix? I'm a bit of a BM hound myself.

The best Bloody Mary mix I have found off of the shelf. Try it with spicy beans as a garnish.

Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix 1000: Amazon.com: Grocery & Gourmet Food

CarolinaQue
07-15-2012, 04:55 PM
Ask...and ye shall receive:

Sodium Phosphate, Bulk, 16 oz: Amazon.com: Grocery & Gourmet Food

Zin
07-15-2012, 05:58 PM
McEvoy skip the mustard, start smoking the brisket straight out of the fridge no need to come to room temp the colder the better. The longer you can smoke the brisket before it hits 140 IT the better smoke ring, not much smoke ring happens after 140 IT temp.

Fat Woody
07-15-2012, 06:00 PM
A movie. Keep it simple...

Zing Zang is da bomb, both for Bloody Marys and briskets! :thumb:

And nothing wrong with keeping things simple, but imagine all the great rubs, sauces, marinades and cooking techniques that wouldn't exist if the pioneers of BBQ had stopped at salt & pepper.

BBQ doesn't come with rules like French cooking, that's part of what makes it fun (at least for me).

@CarolinQue - In the short time you have to season meat at a BBQ contest you couldn't make corned beef unless you covered it in a ton of pink salt; it takes about a week of curing to make a 5 lb. flat into corned beef...

Stoke&Smoke
07-15-2012, 06:05 PM
Celery salt is just another way to introduce sodium nitrate to a rub, it functions just like a curing salt. It contains celery extract, which is what is used in naturally cured products.

I believe the following things could help.

1. Start with cold meat. The formation of a smoke ring is an oxidation process that happens when nitrogen is exposed to heat and the componenets in smoke that create the color. The longer it stays in a range where the meat juices are not pushing out from the center of the meat, the longer the chemical reaction has to act.

2. Use salt and do not block the smoke from reaching the meat, this means if you do use a slather, use a very thin layer. You can get a smoke ring with mustard slather, but, not if it is a thick coating.

3. Add a few briquettes, especially Kingsford, if you are not already using them. I like to add 3 or 4 cold briquettes jsut before the meat goes on.

4. Make sure you have clean smoke from a small hot fire, even in a WSM, the cleaner fire gives you lighter smoke. Thick smoke does not get you the ring you want.

5. Use the water pan, and even add some moisture at the start of the cook with a few sprtizs of water from a mister. The added moisture improves the interface between smoke and meat. A dry cooking environment is not as good.

Bingo! ESP #1
Smoke ring stops forming a little over 140 internal. The longer its below that, the bigger the smoke ring is apt to be

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I897 using Tapatalk 2

NorthwestBBQ
07-15-2012, 06:12 PM
Trim all of the external fat off the brisket. Rub and smoke cannot penetrate the fat layer.

Bigmista
07-15-2012, 06:31 PM
Perhaps the "beef flavoring" you're using with the mustard is the culprit. Is this some sort of paste that you are rubbing on the meat?

McEvoy AZ
07-15-2012, 07:12 PM
It is Better then Boulion and it really seemed to make a.great crust that worked well with the rub. I did use a very thin layer of the mix that also included some chili and worshashier sauce.

yakdung
07-15-2012, 07:19 PM
It is Better then Boulion and it really seemed to make a.great crust that worked well with the rub. I did use a very thin layer of the mix that also included some chili and worshashier sauce.

Did you use BTB straight out of the jar? If you did, that is probably the problem.
Just a guess.

McEvoy AZ
07-15-2012, 07:34 PM
No, I mixed it with mainly mustard and worshashier sauce.

McEvoy AZ
07-15-2012, 07:34 PM
Thinking of mixing it with bloody mary mix now.

CarolinaQue
07-15-2012, 08:36 PM
So, you're talking about using the pink salt as an addition to a dry rub, and not making a slurry and injecting it then? If that's the case, Tenderquick would likely be a good option I would think.

As far as the BTB, I agree, that could be the issue. Make broth out of it to inject instead.

Also agree witht he trimming of most of the fat and putting the meat on cold to help the smoke ring.

McEvoy AZ
07-15-2012, 08:46 PM
I would think if I injected it all I would taste would be the BTB. I am kind of thinking about using something like Butchers as an injection. Would that have helped with a smoke ring?

McEvoy AZ
07-16-2012, 08:07 AM
I am wondering if tomato paste would work instead of mustard or oil.