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Brisket hold question for next day serving, repeatable

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    Brisket hold question for next day serving, repeatable

    So, I’ve been contemplating something bbq related. If (big if) one were inclined to smoke and serve brisket 3 consecutive days of the week, how and for how long can one hold a brisket before serving?

    I seem to recall Aaron Franklin smoking his briskets, and then holding them in electrical warming cabinets for 12 hours or so at 140 deg F until serving the next day.

    Since I’m too old to manage a pit all night and then serve it (with no sleep) I’m trying to put together a rolling schedule that would actually work. So you smoke a brisket one day, and serve the next. Serving hours: 11-14 (11AM-2PM).

    Here’s a rough plan:

    DAY 1
    07:00 Fire up the pit, smoke briskets all day
    11:00 Serve brisket
    16:00 wrap and hold smoked briskets
    16:10 trim and rub briskets for day 2
    17:00 go home

    ...and repeat.

    First off, does this make sense? That means the briskets will be held overnight. That’s a long time?

    As for ribs: they’re done intraday.

    I’m specifically looking for input on the hold/faux cambro. Also, does anyone know anything about these warning cabinets for professional use?

    #2
    I'd be leery of holding brisket unrefrigerated for too long. If they stay at above 140F (or really close to that) you'd be ok but holding a really long time... they won't. And that would likely be unsafe.

    How long does the typical brisket take on your setup, though? Because, to me, if you timed it so they finished around 21:00-22:00, your really just resting them for a bit longer than Franklin (something like 14 hours).

    Comment


    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, I may have to rework my schedule. I usually do briskets in 9 hours.

    • rickgregory
      rickgregory commented
      Editing a comment
      Of course that means you can sleep in, make a late breakfast, chill down the beer and start at noon.

    #3
    I have not tried any SV but I understand some of you have been cooking things for 4-5 days at 130 or so. What would be the dif of holding a brisket in a sealed vac bag for that long at 140 (after it was smoked)?

    Comment


      #4
      I have used the electric holding cabinants to hold them 12 hours before. Bark did suffer though. In a previous warmed yeti cooler with a few heated bricks in the bottom and extra space filled with towels, they will stay well above 140 for over 8 hours. If it's a big cook and I load up my HUGE yeti cooler with hot meat they will still be hard to handle bare skin they are so hot.

      Comment


      • texastweeter
        texastweeter commented
        Editing a comment
        oh in the warmWe and the faux Cambrio, I wrapped them well with foil to keep them from drying out

      #5
      It might be time for a test Henrik. Cut a portion off the next one you cook, and hold it for 10 hours. Then try a slice and hold the rest for maybe 12 hours and try a slice. You could go longer if you want, but you might want your mother in law to be the tester - just in case it isn't safe...

      Comment


        #6
        I'm sure restaurants do it all the time, though I'm not sure how. Any restaurant that serves brisket is bound to have some slow days where they end up with leftovers, and I'm sure they don't throw them out.

        Comment


        • rickgregory
          rickgregory commented
          Editing a comment
          I'd imagine they chill and refrigerate then reheat.

        #7
        Start at 5 -6am Hot n fast and have it done by 11- 12. While those briskets are cooking prep the others and dry brine/ rub for the next day then go home after lunch has finished.

        Comment


        • HouseHomey
          HouseHomey commented
          Editing a comment
          Just cook at 350°. Easy peasy. 😃

        #8
        I would get the electric models and a really nice one. You can also finish the cook with the wrapped briskets at 200° then dial back the heat for the hold.

        I have done all kinds of stuff with a hotbox.

        The cabinets you rent and that. use fuel cans are a PITA and a POS. They are usually bent at the frame so the seal sucks, the metal shelf/sheet pans holders are usually bent and distorted and they lean and don’t roll right.

        im in better shape than those cabinets you can rent.

        and when you do get a good one the fuel cans (sterno etc...) just get hotter and hotter and the bottom pan get overheated on long holds.

        I have two 5’ electric ones that work great.

        If you rent see if you can view the equipment first. Same as when you rent a kitchen, make sure everything works right and to your liking.

        As far as that hold, wow, that’s an intentional long time. I would wrap well hold at 155° and finish on a cooker for the bark if needed. You can go to 145° if needed. 140° is too close for me.

        long holds are a killer if it’s for the first time without a trial run.

        I highly recommend a trial run. Otherwise it’s a guess. I’m not in the business of guessing. Enough go wrong with a normal service with intentionally creating issues. Trial run first if you can.

        my stuff comes out of Rationals (Combi) and Hestan ovens and into that hot box so the hold is always part of my cooking equation and the temps. Also the total sum of what I be be holding meaning what foods.

        im sorry for the long answer but I don’t have a straight answer for your equation as our kitchens,equipment, foods and service are not the same.

        You can probably get away with it close to your plan with the right equipment.

        Man, that is a long hold.
        hope this helps.

        Comment


        #9
        I believe BBQ_Bill does some really long holds like this on a regular basis.
        Last edited by Red Man; January 30, 2020, 11:26 PM.

        Comment


          #10
          Thanks for your input! The hot n fast is alluring, and I’m a morning person too. There’s one place here in Stockholm that does this, I’m gonna have to go visit and ask them. And yes, a trial run is in order. I’m not willing to compromise on quality.

          Comment


          • Ahumadora
            Ahumadora commented
            Editing a comment
            So you are planning on opening a restaurant? Hanklins bbq?

          • Henrik
            Henrik commented
            Editing a comment
            We'll see what the future holds for me :-)

          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            Hanklins

          #11
          I am glad you put this topic up. I have been experimenting with doing exactly what you are planning. I want to start with a trailer/truck on Thurs-Sat. I have looked at getting a cooker like a Southern Pride so I can set the temp and let it cook away while I go sleep, but the side of me that wants to make the best BBQ I can can't give up the stick burner. Let's face it, the best BBQ is cooked with wood, hands down. The issue with wood is that it needs constant attention.

          To that end, I have to either keep the brisket warm for long periods or I have to ice bath it after resting a little while and reheat when I need it. I have done both. What I have discovered thus far is:

          1) If I chop / shred any meat, it is easy to keep in half-pans, refrigerate and reheat in an oven/smoker and then put in a holding cabinet. Keep as much Au Jus as you can and mix with a little apple juice (pork), or a little Au Jus and beef broth to add to the pan to keep from drying out.

          2) Cut the point off and let rest at cook time. Cool and dice for burnt ends. Refrigerate or freeze if need be. Warm, add rub / sauce and put on smoker to make your ends. In an hour or two they are done. Easy and a crowd favorite.

          3) Ribs - cooked and served same day. Wrap in foil and refrigerate if necessary. Warm on the smoker in foil, unwrap and flame kiss them to firm the bark, serve.

          4) If I am going to hold brisket a long time, DO NOT DO IT NAKED! Sorry for the caps, that is more for me than you. If you hold unwrapped it will dry out and turn to mush, yuck. It does not take long for this to happen, even 3-4 hours.

          I have tried wrapping in a double layer of pink butcher paper and holding over night. The bark softens some but the meat is still moist and pull-test great. Quite a bit of the juices do get soaked up in the paper and thus become useless.

          I prefer to wrap in foil and hold. The juices can then be captured when unwrapping and used. Yes, the bark does soften just like with paper, but that is the nature of holding for so long, you have to compromise. A little extra time on the smoker can firm it up, but be warned, you are now drying out your meat.

          I like a thick bark personally, but what I have found from customers so far (I'm in North Carolina) is that they prefer the flavorful but softer version of the bark. This is perfect for wrapping, yay.

          If I am going to cook a lot in one day to be used over several days, I have to wrap in foil, cool quickly after resting for about an hour, then refrigerate. I put the wrapped brisket in half pan and stack in the fridge (37 degrees). I discovered something great in this. If I leave the brisket wrapped and just place the pan and all in the smoker to reheat, it takes 2-3 hours to reheat (could be faster in a hotter oven), but the fact that the brisket is warmed in it's juices makes for awesome brisket. I have had people say, "I don't know what you did this time but this is the best ever, keep it up!" You also can capture all those great juices and toss your burnt ends in it, oooooooowe, talk about tongue slapping your brains out. Plus it makes a great base for the best french dip type sandwich or taco you can ever have.

          On a side note. On those briskets that don't turn out pull-test perfect. Chop it! Vacuum seal and freeze. It makes great bbq baked potato topping or bbq taco filling for a "special of the day."

          I hope these thoughts help, I have been experimenting with this for two years now and am about to pull the trigger and do it semi-full time. Cheers to you my friend!

          ~Paul

          Comment


          • Henrik
            Henrik commented
            Editing a comment
            Very cool to hear! I haven't thought of reheating, but def worth considering. And yes, stick burners rule! Thanks for your input, i hope things work out for ya! Let's keep each other posted!

          • HouseHomey
            HouseHomey commented
            Editing a comment
            Nice write up. Love #4

          • Ahumadora
            Ahumadora commented
            Editing a comment
            Excellent write up and analysis !! This folks is why you pay for your annual Amazing ribs pitmaster forum fee.

          #12
          The most I have tried to hold briskets in a cooler (just a cheap Coleman) was about 9 hours and they were still 145 degrees when I sliced them up. The texture was a bit more mushy than what I have experienced with shorter holds but not bad at all.

          When I visited Franklin I took a tour of the pit room and saw the warming cabinets as well. I forget all the specifics but they do hold the briskets for many hours (12 IIRC?) before serving and they were about perfect. Guessing the difference between those holding cabinets and wrapped in towels in a cooler is there is probably a more airflow and the steam and moisture isn't trapped.

          Comment


            #13
            THE Humble Texan is on to the right idea, surprised you traditional guys didn't catch on. I've done briskets both traditional smoked and sous vide and if you want to hold either say overnight into the next day, you bag them up, vacuum seal and hold in your refrigerator. Obviously you loose some bark texture but the last time I did it I re-heated in a sous vide bath then slapped it on my gasser to try and resurrect a little crunchiness to that bark.

            Like someone mentioned, it ain't the same as fresh cooked by any means but it ain't bad. The beauty of the process is all of your moisture is retained, you can process the purge and throw it back onto the sliced pieces and you know that your product is thus perfectly safe. Not sure how long you could let it ultimately go, but several days would not be out of the question I would think.

            Comment


              #14
              Troutman Your method is awesome for smaller amounts of meat, but when you are cooking and reheating 200lbs of meat or more, sous vide for reheating is expensive and takes a looooooong time to get to temp. You need to get anything you reheat through the danger zone as quickly as possible (2-3 hours max) while maintaining your texture/flavor, etc. For catering, I have two smokers, one is at about 350 and used to reheat everything. When it all hits 145, I dial the smoker back as close as I can to 145 to hold or transfer to cambro / heating cabinets. Since controlling a stick burner is not as accurate as a warming cabinet I usually just keep the smoker at 350 and throw on chicken or turkey and use a warming cabinet or two.

              The other smoker is at 225 - 250 for cooking ribs.

              I have found that holding for long periods has caused me more trouble than cooling quickly and reheating. It doesn't take much to hold a brisket just a little too long and turn it to mush. I know that places like Franklin's use warming cabinets for all of their meats, but they also have a night shift that cooks. Those smokers are running all the time. It is a killer to an old guy like me to run 16-18 hour days for 3-4 days straight. I have to cook a lot of brisket on one day and reheat it. I hate it, but that's what I have to do for now.

              Luckily, people in NC are so used to pulled and chopped that sliced brisket is new for most of them. It is easier to chop, chill, and reheat for sandwiches, tacos, nachos, potatoes, etc. than to serve a sliced plate, but hey, you just can't beat sliced brisket fresh off the smoker...ooooooowe.

              Comment


              • Troutman
                Troutman commented
                Editing a comment
                Well I'm not sure the OP had 200# in mind but you're really talking a serious catering or food service gig in which case that's where holding in warming cabinets is a must. My methods and my way of thinking are for the home cook. I've done a lot of pastrami, brisket and other proteins that way with zero issues.

              • MartinNC
                MartinNC commented
                Editing a comment
                Troutman That's true for sure. I may have missed what he was saying. I thought he was asking about serving for 3-4 days out of the week. I assumed that would be quite a bit of meat to cook. Either way, it is a great discussion. Thank you for your input! Keep smoking and enjoying

              • Henrik
                Henrik commented
                Editing a comment
                If I’m gonna do this, then 200# is a good number.

              #15
              I've done this once before. I cooked a smaller brisket on Saturday morning to be served for dinner Sunday night. What I ended up doing was cooked it to 203 as normal, let it rest in the cooler as normal, but I refrigerated it overnight. I never unwrapped the brisket. I wanted all the juices to stay in there.

              The next day I unwrapped the brisket and put it into a full pan with the Au Jus and some beef broth and I reheated it in the oven. I used about 325 Degrees F, and put it in there for about an hour covered before I checked it. I brought it back up to about 160 degrees before slicing and serving. It was still great, but the bark did suffer a little.

              Not exactly what you were looking for, but I hope this helps. For me it was pretty easy to leave it whole and reheat it whole.

              Comment


              • MartinNC
                MartinNC commented
                Editing a comment
                yes, reheating it wrapped or covered like you said helps keep it from drying out. One person said to me, "just don't do brisket all the time, just on one day a week." I felt like they were asking me to cut out my spleen or something. A BBQ place without brisket! "What-cho talking 'bout Willis?"

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