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Meat / Moisture Loss / Temps

 
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Hoochie-Que
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Joined: 27 Sep 2006
Posts: 371
Location: Park City, UT

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22 07 3:46 am    Post subject: Meat / Moisture Loss / Temps Reply with quote

Okay... Another "dumb" questions here... But I need/want a little "meat science" here if possible...

Let' say you are smoking a brisket (or ribs or butts)... During the course of smoking the meat, there of course is loss of moisture/fluids from the meat as it is cooking... Lose enough of these fluids fast enough and/or over a long enough period of time - well, we all know that moist, tender meat soon turns to shoe leather... Shocked

Here is my question then - do you see more loss of these fluids the higher the temp you are cooking at? In particular, is there significant more loss of these fluids at 250 versus 210?

I know that cooking at 210 is going to take longer to smoke a butt or brisket or rack of ribs to "perfection" compared to something closer to 250... But is there also greater fluid/moisture loss, and is it significant enough to really "worry about"?

I realize this may be akin to asking the question "Do you cook with the fat cap up or down"... And I am not trying to set off that kind of "debate"... I also realize we are dealing with something here (meat) that is organic and can/will vary in "composition" from one cow/pig/chicken to the next... But is there anything to go on here besides "hearsay" or "IMHO" types of comments? Wink

Thanks...

Hoochie Cool
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SoEzzy
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Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 13183
Location: SLC, UT

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22 07 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ may have related information.

http://www.cookingforengineers.com/article/209/Heat-Transfer-and-Browning-Foods talks about the Maillard reaction.

http://www.cookingforengineers.com/article/224/Heat-Transfer-and-Cooking talks about heat transfer.

IMO I dare say, "it's hearsay"! Rolling Eyes Laughing Rolling Eyes
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 15474
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22 07 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cook at 250' most of the time with fine results for just about everything.

Poultry does fine at the 275' mark.
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necron 99
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Joined: 04 Aug 2007
Posts: 2594
Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22 07 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, personally, I think an initial sear on brisket helps retain moisture inside, mopping during the cook helps maintain external mositure, and foiling and resting near the end of the cook wraps it all up. There isn't very much stuff in the drip pans beneath my briskets. Not enough to even think of salvaging - it gets tossed with the drip pan. I don't spend any labor pre-cook removing fat from the briskets I buy.

I buy the steamer table tray packs at Sam's Club for drip pans for my BBC, beats the heck out of paying $2.49 each for the smaller ones at Winn-Dixie, and they don't have the double-size ones at W-D at all.

Years ago (in the 80's), I cooked briskets over all mesquite in an Old Smokey grill, and used the fatty side of the brisket as an insulator and as an ablative layer - no rubs, mops, nor marinades involved. The brisket didn't get flipped until the fat had melted / burned off (there would be tounges of flame beneath), and the last of mesquite coals were allowed to die out under the brisket post-flip. No foiling, and the after-flip lower & slower fade equated somewhat to resting. Very flavorful, very moist meat. The 'bark' was not 'slimy' as some have noted after foiling - but could be a bit dry at the edges - true 'burnt ends'. No thermometers involved back then in my outdoor cooking. Took about half the time as low & slow indirect cooking in the 225 F to 275 F range does for me now.

I appreciate the rig I have now though. I'm definitely sticking with fat-side-down henceforth for briskets cooked indirect low and slow, sometimes rotated but never flipped, mopped when I think it's time to mop, folied near the end and allowed to rest, after trying several ways in my BBC. The first part of the cook will make use of the temperature gradient between the firebox side and the exhaust stack side for some initial searing.

I'm not qualified to speak at all about pork shoulder, other than places I've eaten it and enjoyed it vs. places I've eaten it and didn't enjoy it, and why. I'm going to stick with ribs as outdoor pork cooking for a while before tackling making pulled pork myself.
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