Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My thoughts on Brisket......

I have a few thoughts on Brisket that I would like to share. I have probably more experience with Brisket than any other meat category out there that we as competition cookers are familiar with cooking. In Texas Beef is a very huge industry and is primarily what Texans are known for raising and cooking. In barbecue Brisket is the primary staple. It's not barbacoa that Lolis Eric Elie talks about in his DVD Smokestack Lightning. It's a good DVD and a great book in which I own, however I do not think he portrayed Texas accurately vs the other BBQ regions of the US. My introduction to brisket truthfully did not come to me when I first started getting into barbecue. It came from my upbringing and being a part of a Ranching family. I was not raised in the city so I have a hard time dealing with living in one. I was raised in the country and with that comes freedom to own and raise livestock. We had cattle on our ranch in Central TX and we also had show cattle at home. There is a very distinct difference in how ones meat will look and taste VS the other. Cattle that are fed grass and hay will mostly have a greenish, yellowish or grayish tint on the fat cap of their Brisket. This is due to their diet, protein, etc. In my opinion I think there is also a difference in taste, tenderness, and quality of the meat. Cattle that are grain fed however will have a hard white fat cap on their briskets and in my opinion will be more tender, taste better, and just overall be a better quality brisket. If your brisket selection does not allow you to cook Angus beef then I would suggest picking two briskets and cooking them side by side. One with dark yellow fat and one with hard white fat. You should see a difference and if this if something you struggle with I hope this tip will help. Something else most people do not know is that when cattle are slaughtered the butcher will use a saw or sometimes even a chain saw to cut the brisket out of the animal. When he does this he has to steam the meat at a very high temperature where it touched the saw to prevent E-Coli from spreading and to kill any germs. The brown edges around the Brisket you see in the cryovack packaging was where it was steamed while processing. It's important to always cut them off if possible around the edges of your Brisket. One last thing about Brisket I think is important to know is that many people get discouraged because they go by time vs actual temp of the Brisket while cooking. Around 160 - 165 briskets will plateau for a while meaning all the collagen, fat, and connective tissues will start to break down. This is where the Brisket will start to tenderize so it's important to be sure and not pull it to early because this process is different for each individual brisket. Some take a couple of hours and some take more. I think foil can speed the time up a little, however I tend to like a little bit of bark on my Brisket. When I foil it though sometimes the top of the Brisket will have sort of a wet steamed look to it and not the bark I tend to look for. If anyone has a tip on foiling briskets without loosing all the bark please let me know.

1 comment:

  1. Dude, you're getting good at this! Good blog.