Speed Cooking

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by gaz edwards, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. gaz edwards

    gaz edwards Newbie


    At the end of the month, my local rugby club will be holding their second bbq competition. It's a really good day, made better by the fact that we won last year and so I'm obviously desperate to retain the title! Haha. Looking for a bit of advice and people's opinions. 

    The format is simple. Everyone gets their meat (wings, mince, ribs & brisket) at 8am. The meat is turned in at the following times...

    13.00 - Wings

    13.30 - Mince

    14.15 - Ribs

    15.00 - Brisket

    With no time constraints I like to cook at around 225 for as long as it takes. The wings & mince aren't a problem as there is plenty of time and being cooked with direct each. It is the ribs and especially the brisket that are more difficult. 

    Just wondering if anyone has any tips on speeding up the cooking whilst still achieving the same tenderness etc. Last year I cooked at around 300 and foiled the brisket for 2 hours aswell, It worked ok but left little time for resting and it wasn't really as tender as I would have liked - a lovely piece of roast beef rather than the melt in your mouth!

    Has anyone ever tried cooking at a higher temp or fully wrapped?

    Any ideas guys?

    All help gratefully received! 


  2. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  3. Hi Gaz.  This is like that BBQ show now on tv.  I cook my brisket anywhere between 300 and 375.  You will undoubtedly be using a piece of brisket bought from a U.K. supermarket.  That means trimmed to death!  ZERO fat left on.  Brisket has not much moisture once the fat is removed.  BUT! even if all things were equal 7 hrs. to cook and serve a brisket is almost setting you up to fail.  Your method last year sounds like the way to go but maybe foil for 3 hours and run the temp up.  400-450  and turn your brisket over if the heat source is directly below the meat.  Add some sort of Au Jus to the wrap.  You need that meat to steam!  This is not smoking or grilling.  Remove the foil the last 30 minutes; increase the heat if you can and try to have some sort of finished "bark" on the meat.  Best I can come up with.  Keep Smokin!

  4. gaz edwards

    gaz edwards Newbie

    Cheers Danny, 

    The cut is actually very good and untrimmed. It comes from our local butcher who has won all sorts of awards. 25% of the scoring is for creativity so I am even considering a divide & conquer approach i.e cutting the brisket up and cooking in smaller sections - imagine huge beef kebabs! 
  5. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Have to disagree with Danny here.   With brisket, the moisture doesn't really come from the exterior fat.  yes, the fat adds flavor when it renders down, but the moisture comes from the breaking down and rendering of the connective tissues within.  

    Run with a chamber temp of 300 - 325 for about 4 hours or so.  Wrap with butcher paper once you achieve the color/bark that you desire.  Continue to cook until it's probe tender.

    Do the ribs in the same smoker with the same chamber temp.

    BTW, cutting the brisket up into smaller chunks won't really speed up the process unless you decrease the thickness of the flat.
  6. Demo!  Good to hear from you.  I respect your right to disagree.  What it is all about!  The thing is you are talking U.S. brisket versus U.K. brisket.  Connective tissue?  GONE!  Trimmed away.  Supermarket brisket.  I have not seen what Gaz got but have a look at the link below.  What tha HE** do you do with that??  Supermarket brisket "joint"!  Keep Smokin!


  7. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Danny, Good to hear from you as well.   It's absolutely impossible to trim away the "connective tissue" that I am talking about as it's the collagen holding the individual muscle fibers together.   Here's a pic of a U.S. brisket flat that has been trimmed up:

    Believe it or not, there is connective tissue between those muscle fibers and when you get them to break down and render, that is what makes the brisket moist.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
    resurrected likes this.
  8. Fair point buddy.  THAT; i can agree with!  What I think is that folks with experience could "handle" that flat in the picture ( I would want to have to.  It would have me doing a "Jig"! [​IMG]  )  What about the new folks?  There is very little room for error with a flat like that.  UNLESS you marinate and then mop.  FOREVER.  Just my experience.  I would smoke that with just S&P.  It would probably turn out bad.  Tough as HE**.  A disaster!  That challenge I would take on ( would LOSE!  Badly! ).  But folks new to smoking and brisket?  I just we are setting them up to fail.  We want these new folks to have a GREAT first experience.  Maybe not perfect; ok!  But wasn't a bad first try!  I just "feel" that sometimes we try to take them too far to fast.  Basics.  Some of these folks have never cooked anthing on the BBQ.  Just my opinion.  What tha he** do I know?  Keep Smokin!

  9. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    That is the way I cooked my last combo with Brisket & ribs and they were the best I have done.  My brisket was a typical UK brisket from Bookers, nothing fancy.  I did cut the brisket in half though as I was concerned about timings.  The ribs were cooked using the 3-2-1 method.

    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
  10. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    For new folks?  I would try to change their misconceptions and teach them about what they are cooking.  Brisket really isn't that difficult to cook.  Season it, put it on the smoker, pull it when it's done.  Getting people to understand when it is "done" is the real difficulty.    Don't go by a set temp.  Start probing the meat around 180F and when the probe goes through like butter, the brisket is done.  This could be anywhere from 180 degrees to 210 or even higher. 

    As for "room for error", the lower the chamber temp, the larger the "window" is for when the brisket is done. 
  11. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    Nicely said Mr Demo (the Great Orator), I think we are trying to get to the holy grail of 195f before pulling but your toothpick test is a winner. Thanks[​IMG]
  12. I think in this one post you sum up the "mindset change" that those of us new to smoking have to learn.

    Most of us have been used to one or two ways of cooking.

    • The oven and cooking by weight, oven temp and time
    • The direct heat bbq and just burgers and sausages - when it's burnt it's cooked :biggrin:

    The idea of cooking by the internal temperature of the meat will be completely alien to most of us Brits starting out with low n slow. Once you take that concept on board it all starts to become so much easier.
  13. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This is also true for pork shoulder. Even when it has reached the required temperature you need to test the thick (meaty) end before you assume that it is "done", as this can take significantly longer to soften enough to pull.
  14. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks Kiska!   One question though, why is 195F the "holy grail"?  I've had briskets finish at 185 and others finish at 210.  There is no "holy grail" temp!!
    Almost there Resurrected.  One other change is that with cuts like brisket or butts, you DON'T cook by internal temp.   IT should only be a guide!!!!!  The brisket is done when it's done regardless of what the internal temp is.    Now, if you are cooking something like a Prime Rib, or Sirloin tip, or a Bottom Round, yes, cook to a specific internal temp.   BTW, I still don't understand it really, but most of you all Brits seem to cook the hell out of meat.  Is it to protect against Mad Cow or something like that ?    Seriously.  The cuts I described above are best when cooked to mid rare or perhaps medium.   They should be pulled at about 127ish and allowed to rest for mid rare and maybe up to 135 for Medium.,
    Just to be sure, the only "required temp" is for health/safety requirements.  145 degree minimum for pork and 165 for poultry.  (Even those numbers aren't set in stone depending on how you cook.)
  15. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    With safe cooking temperatures it is not only about the temperature of the food but it is also how long it has remained at that temperature.

    Below are the recognised safe cooking temperatures and resting times for popular meats in different forms. As has been said before though, safe minimum temperature does not necessarily equal "cooked"
    Food CategorySafe Minimum TemperatureMinimum Resting Time
    Beef, Lamb, Pork, Veal
    Steaks, chops and joints
    62 C (145 F)5 minutes
    Minced (ground) meat
    Beef, Pork, Lamb, Veal
    71 C (160 F)None
    Minced (ground) meat
    Chicken, Turkey, Duck
    74 C (165 F)None
    Chicken, Turkey, Duck
    74 C (165 F)Whole birds — 5 minutes
    Bird portions — None
    71 C (160 F)5 minutes
    Hare, Rabbit, Wild Game Birds
    74 C (166 F)5 minutes
    Wild Boar
    76 C (170 F)5 minutes
    Prawns, Crab, Lobster
    62 C (145 F)
    Cook until flesh is pink and opaque
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
  16. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    That's what we are trying to learn and understand why, its just what we read in the BBQ aficionado books and demos, but thanks for that "toothpick test" it is from now on and not IT

    Rare and medium Rare are not palatable as a finished piece of meat to some English tastes as they think lt's still "RAW" even though its just pink. We even have a problem with burgers as they are not allowed to cook them medium for us anymore! I was with a guy from LA recently in London and he was refused a burger cooked medium in a number of restaurants
  17. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yep yep, all about time over/at temp.   Take poultry for example.  it can actually be quite safe at 145F instead of 165F.  Thing is, you have to maintain that temp for quite some time.  IIRC, it's called "pasteurization". 

    Main reason for my post though was to make sure that the "required temp" you were talking about was the health/safety focus, and not some arbitrary idea like "you must take your brisket to 195 for it to be done".
  18. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    All good Kiska.   Smoking / Q'ing has been a learning journey for all of us.  I started out destroying meats for a number of years, convincing myself that "oh yeah, this blackened, crispy dry meat was very good".   Then I graduated up to the thermometer phase where I had maverick probes everywhere.  If the probe said a specific temp, the meat was done no matter what. Today ?  Today I use my Maverick as a guide to tell me when to start checking my meat via the probe test.

    As to the "why".   let me start with a little anecdote.   Here in the US, when you start out taking math, we learn that you can't divide by 0.   It's simply undefined. Of course, this is absolute rubbish as we later learn in Calculus. 

    Some people can cook meats to a specific temp and have them come out correctly most of the time.   BUT, they are models of consistency.   They always pick out the same sized piece of meat, (say a 14lb packer brisket.)  The meat is always the same quality  (here in the US, Prime, choice, etc, or "Angus", "Waygu", etc).   The person doing the cooking is also a master of their pit and have remarkable consistency.   When they want to run at 250, that's what they do!  The temp doesn't swing down to 210 or up to 280.  It stays between 245 and 255ish for the duration of the cook.

    IF you have that level of consistency across everything involved in a cook, then yes, you can more accurately use a specific internal temp to tell you when the brisket is done.

    Thing is, very few of us have that level of consistency.  My smoker might range from 250 to 325+ during a cook.   My last brisket was a 16lb Prime packer, the brisket before than was a 12lb Choice brisket.    Even with the weights, sometimes you have a thick but narrow brisket, other times it's thinner and wider.     Due to these inconsistencies, using IT to determine when the brisket is done is a recipe for failure. 

    All that said, there is one thing that does not change, no matter the quality of the brisket, the chamber temp of the smoker, the level of humidity, the outside temp, or any other variable; and that is, the brisket is DONE when a probe goes in and out of it like a knife through room temp butter.

    Even more depth/detail regarding "why".    Unlike "steak cuts" like a Ribeye, Strip, Filet, etc, tenderness and moisture in a brisket comes from the result of breaking down the collagen/connective tissues between the muscle fibers.

    Here are some brisket slices that are undercooked:

    See the gray lines that the arrows are pointing at ?  That's the connective tissue between the muscle fibers.  You can see that they haven't broken down and rendered as of yet.   Those brisket slices will be tough/chewy and dry.

    Here's a slice of brisket that has been properly cooked.   The connective tissue has broken down and rendered.  The arrows point to  the separation in the muscle fibers.  This brisket will be nice and tender and moist.   The slice will pull apart with a slight tug.

    Connective tissue starts to break down at 140F and is a function of time over temp, or time at temp.  Different ways of saying the same thing.    When the IT of the brisket hits 140F, the breakdown starts to occur.  As the IT of the brisket increases, the rate of the breakdown accelerates. 

    Easiest way to think about this is to picture a block of ice.   If you take it out of the fridge and set it on the counter, it will melt but will take some time.   If you put it in an oven that was preheated to 300F, it will melt much faster.  If you put it in the oven first then turn the oven on and set it to 300F, it will melt faster than it did on the counter, but slower than it did in the preheated oven.
    resurrected and wade like this.
  19. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Demo - That was a very good practical lesson in what to look for when cooking brisket. Thank you. That certainly deserves a point [​IMG]

    One other difference to take into consideration when cooking your meat is the IT before you put it in the smoker. If it is straight from the fridge at 1 or 2 Deg c (34-36 F) then it is going to take a lot longer to reach the desired temperature and start that collagen breakdown than if it goes in at 10 C (50 F).
  20. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Something that I would add though is that for foods that are not expected to be eaten immediately but stored for a time after cooking, will will either need to have their IT brought up significantly higher than that to kill of bacterial spores or have also had additional microbiological controls (cures). This would usually be more relevant when cold smoking but I wanted to include it for completeness while we were talking about cooking and "safe" temperatures.

    It is also important to know that the people who have been previously preparing the meat you are eating have been following good food handling practices. We have to assume that meat from the high street butcher or meat packer is safe (although there are rare cases when this isn't necessarily true) however if you buy your meat from "a friend who knows this guy that can get it cheap" then you have no idea how it has been handled.If handled badly before you get it then it may already contain spore toxins that need much higher temperatures to break down. OK this is a little extreme and not many people buy from people they do not trust, but the same also holds true for any game meat that you may be given from friends who hunt.

    As the handling and inspection of meat continues to improve throughout the food processing systems, the recommended safe cooking temperatures for some meats have reduced slightly over the years. On a personal note, for the meats with the higher risk, I still like to be absolutely sure. Even though the recognised "safe" cooking temperature for poultry is 74 C (165 F) I still always take mine to at least 80 C (176 F) and rest it before serving.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015

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