Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Few questions about BBQ


HowardLi
 Share

Recommended Posts

  1. Does having a pellicle on the meat enhance the smoke uptake? Is this enhancement of the flavour, of pink ring, or both? Note that it is entirely possible to have a wet pellicle; the presence of a pellicle does not (contra)indicate the amount of surface moisture.
  2. At what RH % does bark start to form at a reasonable pace?
  3. Is there a significant advantage to bark growth if a pellicle is formed on the meat before it goes into the smoke?
  4. Why does the stall need to be broken? In sous vide cooking, the meat (typically) never goes over the usual stall temperatures. Is it because the bark won't form unless the surface is completely dry?
  5. Given that meat with more surface moisture takes on smoke better than meat with less surface moisture (Blonder), how long should the meat stay wet through the smoke? First 2 hours? First 4 hours?
  6. Is it possible to completely dry the surface of the meat during baking/smoking, without breaking through the stall?

Trying to work through my smokehouse build and have a few open concepts in my head.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Howard, I can answer some of your questions but not all of them based on my experiences, not anything scientific.

 

  1. I have not found that having a pellicle or not having one makes no noticeable difference in smoke uptake or the flavor and color of the ring.
  2. I have no idea at what RH% bark start forming at a reasonable pace or for that matter if the community actually makes a difference in park formation. My smoker has relatively high humidity all the time and I still get a great bark.
  3. I have not found that there is a significant difference.
  4. I'm not sure if it really needs to be broken or if it is just broken because of the temperature can we used during smoking. If you had the smoker at a temperature at or just below the temperature where your stalls occur and left it at that temperature for a significant period of time your smoke product may be just as good. In my experience the bark start forming significantly before you reach the stall temperature so I really don't believe the two are related.
  5. I'm not sure that meat with more service moisture really does take on more smoke flavor then meat with a drier surface. I'm not really sure what you mean by staying wet. Even the service of the bark that is formed in my smoker is what I would call dry in the true sense especially on the surface.
  6. Again, I don't really believe the surface has to be completely dry for the bark to form if that's what you're talking about here. As I said earlier, I see bark beginning to form even before I reached the stall temperature.

Sorry I couldn't give you more precise information in my answers but I really don't monitor the humidity are some of the other factors you mentioned. I just monitor the internal temperature of the meat and the temperature of my smoker and let it go! Just for the fun of it sometime soon I may keep my smoker at a cooler temperature, but let it go longer and see if I still get a bark and meat that falls apart. I'm thinking I will but the only way to be sure is to try it and see.

I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

  1. Does having a pellicle on the meat enhance the smoke uptake? Is this enhancement of the flavour, of pink ring, or both? Note that it is entirely possible to have a wet pellicle; the presence of a pellicle does not (contra)indicate the amount of surface moisture.
  2. At what RH % does bark start to form at a reasonable pace?
  3. Is there a significant advantage to bark growth if a pellicle is formed on the meat before it goes into the smoke?
  4. Why does the stall need to be broken? In sous vide cooking, the meat (typically) never goes over the usual stall temperatures. Is it because the bark won't form unless the surface is completely dry?
  5. Given that meat with more surface moisture takes on smoke better than meat with less surface moisture (Blonder), how long should the meat stay wet through the smoke? First 2 hours? First 4 hours?
  6. Is it possible to completely dry the surface of the meat during baking/smoking, without breaking through the stall?

Trying to work through my smokehouse build and have a few open concepts in my head.

 

 

4. I've read that you want hold the meat at 180 degrees (F) for 30 minutes to break down the connective tissue.  I believe the stall occurs at 160-something, so you need to get past that.  I think that the connective tissues will break down at lower temps, but you need more time.  Far more time than you'd want to expose meat to dry heat for - unless you're making bark-beque.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just so it's said, BBQ is more soul than science. BBQ is the opposite of sous vide. Many of your questions aren't productive. Try to enjoy.

 

 

1. Does having a pellicle on the meat enhance the smoke uptake? Is this enhancement of the flavour, of pink ring, or both? Note that it is entirely possible to have a wet pellicle; the presence of a pellicle does not (contra)indicate the amount of surface moisture.

 

Not enough to worry about it. If you want more or less smoke you'll use the correct amount and type of wood. Each wood has it's own flavor and strength. Beginners usually over smoke. You'll get a better smoke ring with cold meat. A wet surface helps the smoke ring but isn't necessary IMO.

 

 

2. At what RH % does bark start to form at a reasonable pace?

 

With all due respect forget this question.

 

 

3. Is there a significant advantage to bark growth if a pellicle is formed on the meat before it goes into the smoke?

 

Rub will help bark form. People usually put meat on after it's wet from rub.

 

 

4. Why does the stall need to be broken? In sous vide cooking, the meat (typically) never goes over the usual stall temperatures. Is it because the bark won't form unless the surface is completely dry?

 

The stall is your meat losing moisture. When it loses enough the temperature will being to rise again. You want to get through that period as fast as possible.

 

 

5. Given that meat with more surface moisture takes on smoke better than meat with less surface moisture (Blonder), how long should the meat stay wet through the smoke? First 2 hours? First 4 hours?

 

You don't need to keep the meat moist. Actually you'll probably want to focus on not getting the meat too smokey.

 

 

6. Is it possible to completely dry the surface of the meat during baking/smoking, without breaking through the stall?

 

Forget this question.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just so it's said, BBQ is more soul than science. BBQ is the opposite of sous vide. Many of your questions aren't productive. Try to enjoy.

 

 

 

Oh please.  BBQ is the opposite of sous vide insofar as it is hard to reproduce BBQ results without lots of experience.

 

Its all cooking. One is well-worked out and teachable and one is more soul than science. Which is more admirable, Grasshopper?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1)  pellicle is desirable for smoking things without a rub but it will form on its own in  the smoker for things like pulled pork or brisket under the rub. 

If you are smoking something like a wet cured bacon or even more importantly fish, then letting the surface form a pellicle before smoking is a great idea.  The pellicle will also help things like fish from getting too dry while smoking. 

 

2) RH%   Myron Mixon is a legend on the BBQ circuit and he smokes hot and fast with a very high RH% .  It takes less time, saves fuel and he argues gives more consistent results, but even he admits that the bark suffers for it. 

 

3) see  1) 

 

4)  the stall doesn't need to be broken.  It is all about what you want from your BBQ.  If you break the stall with foil( texas crutch) it will finish faster but for my personal taste it screws up the bark.  What many ppl don't consider is that moisture that is wicking to the surface isn't pure water, it will bring water soluble  aminos with it.. Think of roast drippings.   The moisture that comes out isn't pure water.  The water evaporates and leaves those aminos behind on the surface, which is the perfect place for them.  Maillard.   There are lots of ideas about how to break the stall and still keep the bark but none forms bark quite like just pushing through the stall old school ..  This is purely my personal taste and opinon,  YMMV

 

5)  Smoke is all about personal preference.  Too many ppl smoke all the way through the cook but that can give a bitter edge .  I like 2 to 3 hrs at the beginning  depending on the wood I am using.  I mop at the back end  when the stall tails off .  simply to keep the bark from burning  and I like a bit of acid in my mop, apple cider vinegar . gives a nice tang. 

 

6)  I am not sure I am parsing this the way you intend it.  Rephrase  it maybe?   Are you looking for a way to have the surface be dry  so it doesn't stall ?  or just a general question  is it possible that a dry surface can still stall?     Stall is all evaporative cooling, so dry surface = no stall, but  I am pretty sure you know that if you have read Blonder. 

Edited by Ashen (log)

"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think its fine to " look into BBQ "

 

I did

 

about 20 years ago.  not that i know anyting ....

 

I got all the books out of my library system.

 

60 or so.

 

went to various used bookstores online and got

 

maybe 20 or 30 more books  PB's

 

better shape than many in the lib.

 

So What ?

 

the book that's the gem is this one :

 

http://www.amazon.com/Great-American-Barbecue-Grilling-Manual/dp/0936171022/ref=sr_1_1/175-6369979-4018331?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425842677&sr=1-1&keywords=smoky+hale

 

get the hard back.

 

it shows you the 5 BBQ Positions.  these are Key

 

as AnnaN says :  'no snickering , please"

 

I mean this serious ly

 

if you want to watch some BBQ

 

see if you can locate and DL some BBQ Pitmasters

 

you get to see some 'Rigs"

 

good luck !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1)  pellicle is desirable for smoking things without a rub but it will form on its own in  the smoker for things like pulled pork or brisket under the rub. 

If you are smoking something like a wet cured bacon or even more importantly fish, then letting the surface form a pellicle before smoking is a great idea.  The pellicle will also help things like fish from getting too dry while smoking. 

 

2) RH%   Myron Mixon is a legend on the BBQ circuit and he smokes hot and fast with a very high RH% .  It takes less time, saves fuel and he argues gives more consistent results, but even he admits that the bark suffers for it. 

 

3) see  1) 

 

4)  the stall doesn't need to be broken.  It is all about what you want from your BBQ.  If you break the stall with foil( texas crutch) it will finish faster but for my personal taste it screws up the bark.  What many ppl don't consider is that moisture that is wicking to the surface isn't pure water, it will bring water soluble  aminos with it.. Think of roast drippings.   The moisture that comes out isn't pure water.  The water evaporates and leaves those aminos behind on the surface, which is the perfect place for them.  Maillard.   There are lots of ideas about how to break the stall and still keep the bark but none forms bark quite like just pushing through the stall old school ..  This is purely my personal taste and opinon,  YMMV

 

5)  Smoke is all about personal preference.  Too many ppl smoke all the way through the cook but that can give a bitter edge .  I like 2 to 3 hrs at the beginning  depending on the wood I am using.  I mop at the back end  when the stall tails off .  simply to keep the bark from burning  and I like a bit of acid in my mop, apple cider vinegar . gives a nice tang. 

 

6)  I am not sure I am parsing this the way you intend it.  Rephrase  it maybe?   Are you looking for a way to have the surface be dry  so it doesn't stall ?  or just a general question  is it possible that a dry surface can still stall?     Stall is all evaporative cooling, so dry surface = no stall, but  I am pretty sure you know that if you have read Blonder. 

6) I figure that the bark doesn't really start to form quickly until the surface becomes almost completely dry. However, in a traditional cook, this only happens after the stall since before and during the stall, the surface is moist (the very definition of being in the stall). However, I want to keep the meat as tender and juicy as possible, which means keeping it under typical stall temperatures, but WITHOUT sacrificing the bark. So somehow I need to get the surface dry, while staying around 140-150F internal temp for many hours to hydrolyze the collagen.

 

The problem is that as the meat cooks, the muscle naturally begins to squeeze out the water in its cells, adding moisture to the surface. The more it cooks, the more it sweats, until such a point that the meat is so dry it can't give out any more water... which is not what I want to eat, if I'm going to go to so much damn trouble to build this smokehouse.

 

In theory, what could be done is to cook at a moderate temperature (200-225F) at a fairly high humidity to get a good smoke uptake going, until the internal temperature hits about 140 F. Then, drop the temperature to about 135F and cook 24-30 hours at low RH%, i.e. with an empty water pan. Because the temperature of the air does not exceed that of the meat, the meat should stop sweating from temperature rise, and the long cook time should allow for a good (maybe even excessive) bark development.

 

It all seems a little pointless now because I just re-read one of Blonder's articles about DRIP and it seems that the bark can form even if the surface isn't totally dry. Oh well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with gfweb, fully desiccated meat has a jerky like quality to it and is not appetizing. It's a sign of bad BBQ or BBQ that's been left to sit and then reheated. It seems to me most of the bark is dissolved fluids. A simple way to test would be to take a piece of BBQ with good bark and rinse it under running water until all the dissolved solids are rinsed off. I suspect the bark should be mostly gone and the meat underneath would be mostly pale and soft. I might be wrong though, try and report back with what you find.

PS: I am a guy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suspect bark is more Maillard than dessication.

http://www.genuineideas.com/ArticlesIndex/bark.html

 

Blonder says the color is contributed by Maillard but that the texture is from the formation of a pellicle, enhanced by smoke and accelerated in development by dryness and heat.

 

Bark that is excessively thick is certainly not good either. However, a simple adjustment of time, temperature, and perhaps humidity should easily rectify that.

 

@Shalmanese I don't have any BBQ handy to do that test, but I am very familiar with Chinese char siu (red BBQ pork). The pellicle on that will not rinse off, and I think that it would constitute bark but for the lack of smoke during cooking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

gfweb offfered an opinion on bark.

 

You've offered Bonder's opinion, that you present as fact, on bark.

 

Did you pose the question(s) so that you could present the correct anwers?  (Correct answers of course based on what others opined elsewhere on the internet...)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I answered in a way that I thought would spur discussion. You'll note that I did not present Blonder's position as fact, merely that it was his position. If anyone has reason to believe Blonder is wrong, I would be the happiest person to hear it.

 

To me, Blonder seems to be the one who has done the most "science" on this issue. I worship no gods.

gfweb offfered an opinion on bark.

 

You've offered Bonder's opinion, that you present as fact, on bark.

 

Did you pose the question(s) so that you could present the correct anwers?  (Correct answers of course based on what others opined elsewhere on the internet...)

Edited by HowardLi (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://www.genuineideas.com/ArticlesIndex/bark.html

 

Blonder says the color is contributed by Maillard but that the texture is from the formation of a pellicle, enhanced by smoke and accelerated in development by dryness and heat.

 

Bark that is excessively thick is certainly not good either. However, a simple adjustment of time, temperature, and perhaps humidity should easily rectify that.

 

@Shalmanese I don't have any BBQ handy to do that test, but I am very familiar with Chinese char siu (red BBQ pork). The pellicle on that will not rinse off, and I think that it would constitute bark but for the lack of smoke during cooking.

 

Interesting link and theory of barking. Might be true. Only weakness is that he presents it as though it is a truth, unless I missed it there is no actual experiment or testing to see if the idea is correct.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there may be a bit of confusion in the questions. Smoke uptake into the meat happens as the smoke molecules travel thru the water in the meat. The smoke ring is formed while the smoke migrates into the meat, and changes its color until the temperature rises to around 140.  Smoke flavor in the bark is made when the flavor compounds in the smoke remain on the surface as it dries. Smoke uptake happens most before the stall, if there is a stall. Smoke flavor will maximize after the stall because there will be less moisture at the surface, but smoke uptake into the meat will minimize.

 

My experience has been that the bark improves if there is a long stall. The final thickness and richness of the bark seems dependent on the amount of time the various elements of the bark, such as crisped fats, browned meat, smoke and spice flavors, have a chance to mingle. Then, once the stall is broken, the bark forms quickly, and the remnants of connective tissue gel rapidly.

 

If the ambient temperature is high enough, there will be no stall, but I find there is a danger that the surface will desiccate, and any sugars present start to burn.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...