MMMM.. BRISKET..
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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 09-09-2009, 10:01 AM   #1
dgassaway
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Default Pro BBQ Advice Needed - how to find the perfect time

I heard Chris Lilly say that pulling meat from the cooker at just the right time, that precise moment when it is perfectly cooked, is what new smokers should learn before messing with other variables like rubs , injections, sauces, etc.

How do you know when that perfect time is? Probe it and pull when it feels like butter, but what i think feels like butter and you think may be different.

I guess my question is this. If I were helping you cook a butt at a competition what would you tell me to do to know when the meat is perfectly done?
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:07 AM   #2
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I would think soft butter feels the same to everybody.if you learn to cook by feel rather than by temp you'll be ahead of the game.
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:24 AM   #3
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With butts, picnic's, brisket, etc.. here is a fairly simple method.

3/4 way through the cook, check meat with a thermometer, then start checking about every 30 min.
Most of the time the meats above will plateau at a certain temp. (this does vary, but seems to be in the 160-170 range).

What I mean by "plateau" is that the meat will stay at the certain temp for a much longer period of time than normal (sometimes an hour or two).

What is going in inside the meat, is the energy that was being used to cook the meat, is now being used to render the fat in the meat, so the temps don't increase.

Shortly after this plateau ends, and the temps start to rise again you are at the "right" time to pull the meat and let it rest.

It is at this time that the meat feels like budda when probed. Just prior to this point, you will find the meat much more resistant to being probed, this is the "wrong time" to pull it.

Now you do want to pay close attention, as once the fat is rendered, and the temp. plateau ends, your meat will begin a relatively quick rise in temp.

do not overcook - take off at between 190-205 (depending on the cut)

Once you get this method down. It is fairly easy to tell with just a toothpick when your meat is done.
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:28 AM   #4
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While Chris Lilly is right, there's an art there. It takes a while to learn. Focusing on that
is key to cooking great BBQ, but I wouldn't skip the other variables along the way. Rubs
get that great flavor down into the meat and give you that great tasting bark. Some
use injections; others dont. I do, but keep it very simple. Sauce should complement
the flavor of the meat (taking into account the rub you may be using). Honestly, as
most of my friends and neighbors and relatives are learning when they come over,
sauce is largely unnecessary when the meat is done properly... We do sauce ribs
and chicken ever-so-slightly, using a sauce that IMHO complements them (so it's not
a strong sauce).

He's right though, focus on the meat. Keep the temps low (within reason, I started
off trying 220 or less; learned other hard lessons along the way), keep the temps
as consistent as you can, watch the amount and type of smoke you're putting on the
meat, do not over-watch it (top off of a cooker ain't cookin'), and pull the meat when
it's just right (as he stated).
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
Honestly, as
most of my friends and neighbors and relatives are learning when they come over,
sauce is largely unnecessary when the meat is done properly... We do sauce ribs
and chicken ever-so-slightly, using a sauce that IMHO complements them (so it's not
a strong sauce).
This is a serious piece of information folks!

Sauce is for people that can't cook well IMHO.

Would you put A-1 sauce on prime rib? (if you say yes...please skip the rest of my post)
Heinz 57 on a nice ribeye? (see above)

Pork (and yes even Brisket, when done right) is as good as any high quality piece of beef & when done correctly, and does not need any added sauce.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't add a nice dry rub though to season er on up.
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:03 PM   #6
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Thanks for the good advice. I think this will do more to better my BBQ than anything.
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:06 PM   #7
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According to Skip when the meat has the right aroma it is done
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:11 PM   #8
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I personally did a lot of "practice runs" with smaller cuts of meat (steaks, roasts, etc) before I tackled my first brisket. (Being from Texas, I prefer beef over pork).

While it's definitely not exactly the same, it does give you a good feel for how your cooker performs, and what to expect when you mov on to the big boys.

That, and reading the threads here.
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:52 PM   #9
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I believe that what he is really saying is that you have to cook a lot of meat and learn that feel that gives you the product that satisfies you. In competitions, that may mean one thing, at dinner time, another. You just have to cook a lot and always be testing and learning the feel.

I have a friend that keeps asking me how to cook a brisket, but, she won't accept the answer that I cannot give her a time or temperature for when it is done. She feels I am being secretive. If you can find someone to cook with, that is the best way.
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sledneck View Post
According to Skip when the meat has the right aroma it is done
The pros can "hear" when it's done.
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:59 PM   #11
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The nose knows
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:30 PM   #12
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Sauce is for people that can't cook well IMHO.

jsh, I respectfully disagree with that statement. If you are so much of a purest about adding sauce for flavor, then adding rub is the same thing. Adding the appropriate amount of sauce or rub on the meat or on the side makes a good chef's talent shine. I honestly think cooking most meats with no sauce and no rubs meaning that, people can't cook well, isn't accurate. Don't get pi$$y with me bro. Just a thought.
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:35 PM   #13
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Practice, practice, practice.
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgassaway View Post
I heard Chris Lilly say that pulling meat from the cooker at just the right time, that precise moment when it is perfectly cooked, is what new smokers should learn before messing with other variables like rubs , injections, sauces, etc.

How do you know when that perfect time is? Probe it and pull when it feels like butter, but what i think feels like butter and you think may be different.

I guess my question is this. If I were helping you cook a butt at a competition what would you tell me to do to know when the meat is perfectly done?
what meat is it? i don't want my chicken like butter or my ribs being a wet shredded mess... whatcha cooking- tell by your own self for what you think is right.
see the 2 dudes(soo's) w/ 2 webers in a minivan in the comp thread & adjust accordingly..

you cooking for friends,family,customers? do they keep showing up- ya may be doing it right..
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:22 PM   #15
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Ok, so temp just tells you your getting somewhere in the ball park and feel is the real test for doneness.

That leaves me with a couple of other questions.

How long of a window do I have with a pork butt when it is perfectly done? In other words if I pull it 10 mins to soon or 10 min too late have I missed it or do I have longer? What about brisket?

Sometimes when I probe the meat the ends may feel done but the center may still have resistance. Leave it on until all probes like butta or pull and wrap then?
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