Basting with tallow?

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Hockeydudde

Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Jan 31, 2022
441
518
New Mexico
I have a confession. I struggle with dried out beef 😔.
And I don't mean, "it's probably undercooked" dry. I mean the outer layer turns to jerky. It's tasty, but hard to eat. The real problem though is even a sharp knife struggles to slice through, smashing the tender meat below and it really complicates telling when something is probe tender. For reference, I generally wrap near or after the stall, and I wrap with oil or tallow.
One thing going against me is the beef we eat is really lean. For example, the untrimmed fat cap on a brisket is about 1/8" thick to non-existent. Thinking about this has led me to think about this:

Why is spritzing with water based sprays so popular? Wouldn't a fat based baste be much more effective at preventing a dry surface?

If I get up the motivation, I'm going to try both soon, but curious if anyone here has any thoughts before I give it a go.
 
I tried beef tallow once on a brisket and to me it ruined the nice bark that I usually can produce. It was an experiment and I will not use it again personally
 
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I tried beef tallow once on a brisket and to me it ruined the nice bark that I usually can produce. It was an experiment and I will not use it again personally
Thanks for the data point!
That's interesting, my guess was that it would have helped the bark... 🤷‍♂️
 
IMO, the YouTubers and the barbecue joints use tallow for cosmetic purposes. For the YouTubers it makes a pretty picture. The barbecue joints pour it on the brisket at the cutting table to give the appearance of juicy meat. They will even drag a slice through the tallow on the cutting board before putting it on a plate.

Tallow will not make the meat juicier. It won't soak into the meat. I would rather spritz with a lighter less viscous liquid, rather than something heavy like a fat.

What smoker are you using that's giving you the hard crusty exterior ?
 
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I've got a 24 x 48 Bell Fab offset.
It only happens on the beef. Pork butts, ribs (from the store) and all lamb cuts (raised here) all come out great.
Brisket, chuck, and beef ribs all dry out on the outside.

I don't expect the tallow to soak in, rather form a moisture barrier to slow the drying out at the surface.
 
I've got a 24 x 48 Bell Fab offset.
It only happens on the beef. Pork butts, ribs (from the store) and all lamb cuts (raised here) all come out great.
Brisket, chuck, and beef ribs all dry out on the outside.

I don't expect the tallow to soak in, rather form a moisture barrier to slow the drying out at the surface.
Are you running a water pan in it?
 
If you want to lessen the bark on your brisket then there are a couple of things you can do.

First is to cook your brisket at a higher temperature. The longer your meat is smoking the darker the bark will become. The darker the bark the harder the bark is.

Second, use a lighter coating of rub. Salt is the only part of your rub that will actually penetrate the meat. The other ingredients are left on the meats surface and they form the bark along with the smoke. Find a combo that you like and go from there.

Third let the meats fat do its thing. As the fat leeches out of the meat it will evaporate. When it fully evaporates the spices will dry and form the bark. Spritzing will only prolong this process, by causing the meat to cook longer and increasing the heaviness of your bark.

Fourth, since your wrapping leave the brisket in the wrap until it's basically done. Only put it back on the cooking grate to reset the bark.

That's basically how I approach it, and it works for us. Others will have different methods that work for them. The important thing is you find out what works for your tastes.
 
Are you running a water pan in it?
I do use a water pan. With the baffle plate, the very center of the chamber ends up being the hot spot. I put the pan right there and end up with very even temperature s on either side. I want to try removing the baffle, but can't figure out how to get at the weld with my grinder. Need to find a torch to borrow.
 
If you want to lessen the bark on your brisket then there are a couple of things you can do.

First is to cook your brisket at a higher temperature. The longer your meat is smoking the darker the bark will become. The darker the bark the harder the bark is.

Second, use a lighter coating of rub. Salt is the only part of your rub that will actually penetrate the meat. The other ingredients are left on the meats surface and they form the bark along with the smoke. Find a combo that you like and go from there.

Third let the meats fat do its thing. As the fat leeches out of the meat it will evaporate. When it fully evaporates the spices will dry and form the bark. Spritzing will only prolong this process, by causing the meat to cook longer and increasing the heaviness of your bark.

Fourth, since your wrapping leave the brisket in the wrap until it's basically done. Only put it back on the cooking grate to reset the bark.

That's basically how I approach it, and it works for us. Others will have different methods that work for them. The important thing is you find out what works for your tastes.
I already do a light rub, I have young kids so much more than salt and a little pepper and garlic, they get overwhelmed.
I wouldn't describe three outside as bark. It's the first two layers or muscle fibers jerky-fied. The meat is very lean, so not much renders out. So I'm kinda wanting to supplement the little bit that does render out.
 
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