6.07.2009

Slow Cooked Brisket, Revised...

After reviewing our thoughts and tastes of the end product from our first slow cooked(27 hour) marinated beef brisket(see previous post), we wanted to refine our outcome by means of added moisture and further tenderization while maintaining the wonderful caramelization and flavor that we did experience. We set out to achieve this by exploring two different techniques and at the same time, be able to see the results side by side while doing so. On the first subject brisket, we went about the marinade in the same fashion as before with a base layer of our tasso rub, then adding ground coffee, cumin, chipotle powder, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage, bay, smoked paprika and some other love here and there. We let this one go 24 hours in marinade this time(as opposed to only three hours). Then, we cooked at the same temperature of 155 f. in a warming box, but this time for only 14 hours, instead of 27. We were looking to see if the last time was simply too much time, regardless of the fact that we kept it at a temperature that could avoid the cell walls from rupturing and thus losing all the moisture. We basted along the way with our wicked mop sauce and it continued to look fab just as before. The aromas were again amazing. So, out it came at 9am and at 10am, we sliced it and tasted it.
The color was beautifully pink, moist and very flavorful. This was killer! It did have a bit of a "tooth" to it as it just did not seem to have the length of time necessary to break down the connective tissues, but very edible and awesome mind you. No complaints here. Store in refrigerator until later and we will come back to this...Our second subject brisket was brined in a liquid concoction of cider, cider vinegar, honey, brown sugar, salt, water, chilies, spices and aromats for 24 hours. Removed, then dried, we again smothered it in spices as the marinated subject. Into the box it went at about 2:30pm in the afternoon. Slow as she goes, we basted as normal and let it do it's thing throughout the evening.
We started basting again first thing in the morning and throughout the day. It rendered a nice smokey fat and it too looked intoxicating as we waited anxiously to taste it. At 27 hours (the amount of time we had cooked the first time around), we removed the brisket.
With this one, we had wanted to test our theory of the long cooking time but with the addition of a brine to retain moisture by means of the salt and provide for a more tender cut with the flavor of the acidity and spice from the duration of heat. We had intended to rest and hour and then taste, but as luck in this damn business will have it, we had multiple things happening (service, a wine soiree, a wedding and several tasting menus) and thus did not get to try it until much later in the evening. It had chilled quite thoroughly, but not completely. The juices had sank back into the meat. What we discovered was two fold...the brisket was definitely tender and we could observe the work of the brine, but not really taste much of it...a good thing? Perhaps, although I was hoping to.
The flavor was not as pronounced as the marinated brisket however. The longer cooking this time did not lend itself to dryness as before, due to the brine I am certain, but was not quite as moist as the 14 hour marinated subject. Was the 24 hour+ concept just too much for this cut? Do we need to go even lower in heat? We sliced into the marinated one and then back to the brined one to continue our observations and comparisons of taste, texture and thought. What we came to as a conclusion, was that the marinated brisket was definitely more flavorful of the heartiness and boldness of spice and that the rosiness and moisture were much more awesome and yet the brined brisket was more tender and ate really well, had a great mouth feel, but lacked body. We cut into the center of the brined brisket and found it to be a bit more rosy and moist, but still needed flavor. So, what I have concluded was that if we were to take a collaboration of both results and combine the two, we would have a completely stellar cut. On our next attempt, we aim to first brine for 24 hours, then marinate for 24 hours, then cook slow at 150 degrees for only about 16 hours. This seems to be the "best of both worlds" so to speak. Can't wait to try it on a sandwich or over a bed of grits...or corn, red onions and heirloom beans...or?

8 Comments:

Blogger rho said...

Yum Chef! I wonder, will spit roasting or rotisserie produce the same crisp exterior and uber tender interior? (Don't they sell mini horizontal rotisseries out there?) Just thought as it is still a slow-cook, self-baste process, it could. Could also be a great conversation piece during chef tables =) Hope your summer is rocking.
Rho

6:33:00 AM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

hi rho...great to hear from you. hope you are doing well. I would believe that if you can control the temperature and heat source, then that should work fine. I enjoy the basting process as it allows one to see, smell, touch and taste the item along the way. Without(self basting...no need to open) then the joy seems lost. My thought and perspective only. I agree that ti can be a great conversational piece. Enjoyt he summer girl. Bill

11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous chad said...

I like the brining idea moreso than the marinade (despite Harold McGee's insistence that brining is not the way). It does so much more than adding 'water' or even 'salt.' It transforms the meat on a deep level. Is it possible to add some sort of flavoring or to create a hybrid brine/marinade for your problem of not having enough 'body?'
The first example you stated is a classic example of what Heston refers to in the FD cookbook on enzymes. I completely remained ignorant to that variable for a long time when cooking sous-vide or other long-term cooking. The enzymatic breakdown of proteins is definitely a factor in this process whether it is working for you or against you. Your trial and error approach is really the only way to get it right... so document what you do!

5:49:00 PM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

Hi Chad, thank you for your comments. I do like the brine as well, but as I mentioned, it did lack some depth. The dry rub marinade was very intense, and I think to brine, then marinade will add the best of both worlds hopefully. There was definitely a notice of a transformation, but not as significant as I would have thought. I am considering adjusting and increasing the salt level to accomplish moreso of a transformation. I concur that the enzymatic breakdown is a major factor, and honestly, not one that I fully understand or have realized in the final products, but have used the idealogy as a basis. We have been documenting everything as you said. When we reach the final verdict, I tend to put into our repertoire as a staple menu item and launch for the summer. Right now, we are looking at roasted onion jam, ciabatta bread, cool slaw and some crispy spicy buttermilk o-rings for fun.

6:52:00 PM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

hello mystery commenter...thank you for your comments and for reading this blog. However, I can not understand, nor decifer what you have written. Could you please translate into english so I can see what your thoughts are. Thank you...

11:37:00 PM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

seems that my mystery commenter is more of a mystery tormentor. Shit...leave the porn on someone else's sight for Pete's sake.

11:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was under the impression the internal temp of the meat needed to reach 180 for the fat holding the brisket together to begin to break down. 150 doesn't seem hot enough to get the brisket where it needs to go.

5:57:00 AM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

I agree on the need to break down the fat, yet cooking to 180 degrees is not my ideal temp for some meats. On the other hand, for thsi brisket in our application, we only cook to 150 to set the initial pahse of the cooking. this ios not done however. We then shave and sear on the flat top grill at service to render the fats, create more caramelization and flavor development. So, in essence, it does get that high. The meat does nto seem to dry out anythign close to the previosu in doing it this way. Check it out!

11:22:00 AM  

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