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View Full Version : Difference between tender and juicy (brisket)


Dil950
12-13-2015, 01:50 AM
Something ive always wondered is what makes a brisket juicy? I know undercooking gives a tough dry product. So im missing where you start getting the juices. if most of the moisture has evaporated away by the time u get past the stall, where is the juice coming from?. Is it the fat content rendering or the connective tissue breaking apart... The reason i ask is because im getting the tenderness without falling apart. But sometimes they just seem tender without much juice. I think its me and not the quality of the meat. ive been using prime recently and still get a few dry end results

IamMadMan
12-13-2015, 06:56 AM
The main difference is the grade of beef, the quality of your brisket will make all the difference in the world.

Many stores will have USDA approved beef, but it is not USDA graded and falls into a Standard Quality classification. These won’t be labeled because they aren’t special, and have little marbling. They can go by either “ungraded” or by the store’s house brand.

Many stores that do purchase USDA Graded Beef (Costs for the grading process) carry mostly the USDA Select Grade, it is the least marbled graded, so it tends to be on the lean, dry side.

Then we get to USDA Choice Grade Beef, which has sub-grades which we as consumers never see noted. The lower quality end is referred to as “small marbling,” and the higher end is called “moderate marbling.” These confusing subgrades within the grade disappear at the retail store, so you may not be getting your money’s worth.

Lastly we have USDA Prime Beef, graded prime comes from steers (male cattle) with “abundant marbling.” In other words, this is the best in class and 3 percent of the market. High-end steakhouses once controlled the lion’s share of prime, but due to the economic slump, many steakhouses have had to scale back to Choice Grade.

Another option is to wrap the brisket in uncoated butcher paper when it is in the stall during the cook. This will help to preserve some of the moisture and keep the bark as well.

Butcher paper will allow the meat to breath while it speeds up cooking time and Keeps the nice firm bark you desire. While the paper creates a moisture barrier to slow the meat sweating, it does not stop it 100% because some of the moisture still escapes. You get the benefit of overcoming the stall with a balanced moisture content and a a more beefy flavor in the finished product.

Some butcher papers are treated with a coating, some think it is merely a wax coating. The coating may not be wax, but could more likely be a thin polyethylene coating. Either way, wax or plastic coated papers are not really suited for cooking food in them. They are designed to seal the meat in a manner to prevent loss of moisture for short term storage and/or freezing. You do not want to use coated paper, not just because the coating could cook into the surface of the meat, but coated papers will trap the steam the same as foil. So if your only choice is coated paper, stay with foil because they will cook in the same manner.

The preferred butcher paper has no coating of any type and is thicker, denser, and heavier in weight. Uncoated butcher paper will allow the meat to breath while it speeds up cooking time and keeps that bark nice and firm.

Some people will tell you to get paper from Home Depot that they cover new floors and counter tops to prevent marring and damage, but some of these papers are treated with rosin. Rosin is made from distilled turpentine and also contains abietic acid and other hydrocarbons. Others will also recommend the use of kraft paper or even the use of paper bags. The issue here is that because of production standards/processes these papers are not rated safe for direct contact with food.

Many will tell you that these are ok to use because they have used them years, they don't get sick when using them, they haven't grown a third eye, and all is well. In the same sense, some people will pick dropped food up off the ground and claim the 3-5 second rule and eat it, while others are more comfortable letting the dog have it or just throwing it away.

The bottom line is: you will be the one using the paper and only you can choose your level of comfort in using these different papers. If you are comfortable using paper bags or kraft paper, then you are free to use it as you want.

Yes, uncoated butcher paper is rated safe for direct contact with food, and yes it is safe to cook in the paper in a hot smoker. Paper unless modified by other chemicals doesn't burn by itself until about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. As long as the paper isn't exposed directly to the flame, hot charcoal, hot embers, the paper should be fine in a smoker under 380 degrees.

Dil950
12-13-2015, 10:21 AM
I used to think maybe im just having bad luck with meat. So I started only buying briskets that can bend into a U and Prime/Superior Angus. The results have been mixed. I notice the point end being much more fatty but hasn't translated into a huge difference over choice.

It's kind of hard to describe...the whole thing is probe tender but usually it's only the point half that has juicy flats. I'm trying to get the whole thing juicy haha. (unless my probing all over is leaking the juices out...) I use a thermapen to do my probing.

landarc
12-13-2015, 11:06 AM
Grade makes a difference, but, due to how meat is graded, a Prime brisket won't always guarantee a juicy flat. Another factor is thickness. This is why I rarely choose a packer under 14 pounds untrimmed. Especially, look for thick, uniform flats. The thicker flats typically hold on to moisture better. I also don't trim much, the fat aids in moisture retention.

Bludawg
12-13-2015, 11:13 AM
The moisture comes from melting the collagen into gelatin not cooked long enough it hasn't melted cooking to long and it runs out

Demosthenes9
12-17-2015, 03:11 AM
Something ive always wondered is what makes a brisket juicy? I know undercooking gives a tough dry product. So im missing where you start getting the juices. if most of the moisture has evaporated away by the time u get past the stall, where is the juice coming from?. Is it the fat content rendering or the connective tissue breaking apart... The reason i ask is because im getting the tenderness without falling apart. But sometimes they just seem tender without much juice. I think its me and not the quality of the meat. ive been using prime recently and still get a few dry end results



The moisture comes from melting the collagen into gelatin not cooked long enough it hasn't melted cooking to long and it runs out


^^^^ This. Cooking a brisket isn't the same as cooking a NY Strip, Ribeye, or any other "steak" cut. With those cuts, once you drive the moisture out, what you end up with in a dry piece of meat. Reason being is that these cuts don't have the connective tissues like a brisket.


http://i576.photobucket.com/albums/ss209/Demosthenes9/WEb%20Stuff/brisket12.jpg


In the photo above, the arrows point to intact connective tissue that hasn't been rendered. These tissues are the gray squiggly lines between the muscle fibers.




http://i576.photobucket.com/albums/ss209/Demosthenes9/WEb%20Stuff/Brisket5512.jpg


Arrows in the 2nd picture show where the connective tissue has been broken down (rendered) and the muscle fibers have separated. The moisture and tenderness of the brisket is due to this rendering.

sfrancis353
12-17-2015, 06:08 AM
Both of your pictures look very moist however. I will agree, your 2nd will be much more tender and will pass the pull test.

Bperkins01
12-17-2015, 07:52 AM
Thanks for the great pics.. Very helpful description.

Demosthenes9
12-17-2015, 10:16 AM
Both of your pictures look very moist however. I will agree, your 2nd will be much more tender and will pass the pull test.


The "moisture" in the first pic is misleading. It's from the fat cap that was beginning to render. If you bit into the meat, it would still be dry.

Basically, it would be like spreading a bit of melted butter on a piece of cardboard. Might appear to be moist, but wouldn't be.

Novass
12-17-2015, 10:31 AM
I've learned through the years to probe with a regular push in therm. the thermopen is just to narrow to get a real feeling.

QDoc
12-17-2015, 12:06 PM
The moisture comes from melting the collagen into gelatin not cooked long enough it hasn't melted cooking to long and it runs out
Bingo!

Doug Crann
12-17-2015, 01:05 PM
I've learned through the years to probe with a regular push in therm. the thermopen is just to narrow to get a real feeling.

Wonder if this has been my mistake....I was using (was because I lost it) the wifes cake tester. It was a bit smaller in diameter than a small paper clip...