Need some help on transporting my smoked meats

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bonehunts
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Need some help on transporting my smoked meats

Postby bonehunts » Sun May 18, 2008 9:01 am

Okay, this is a logistics question...
We're flying out Friday to the beach and need to get a couple of briskets and pork butt down with my in-laws who are driving down same day. It's an 8-9 hour drive. Ideally we'd eat it Saturday but I'll have to have the meat done on Thursday evening.

My issues are:
When should I have the meat done?
What should I do with it?
How should I "wrap" it?
Cool it or leave it warm?
Slice/pull it first?

Ideally they'll get the meat in either a warm or cold cooler depending on what y'all tell me.

The relatives who've been bringing the horridly undercooked and ill-seasoned brisket from Hard 8 in Brady, TX aren't coming and I've been donned the Brisket Man so here's my chance.

Has anyone had their BBQ before? Is it just me or has the brisket been bad all 4 times I've had it?

Hep me pleez!
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Postby OSD » Sun May 18, 2008 9:09 am

I would cook it, slice or pull, and cool it down. Then vacuum pac them and throw into the freezer til ready to go. Then trans port them in a good cooler with lots of ice or dry ice if you can get it. Have them check the ice half way through the trip. Then heat the vac bags back up in simmering water when ready to eat. :D
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Postby DATsBBQ » Sun May 18, 2008 9:47 am

OSD wrote:I would cook it, slice or pull, and cool it down. Then vacuum pac them and throw into the freezer til ready to go. Then trans port them in a good cooler with lots of ice or dry ice if you can get it. Have them check the ice half way through the trip. Then heat the vac bags back up in simmering water when ready to eat. :D


Only thing I'd add to the above is to add a 12 pack of the fine Colorado Cold Ones to the cooler. :wink:
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Re: Need some help on transporting my smoked meats

Postby TX Sandman » Sun May 18, 2008 9:49 am

bonehunts wrote:My issues are:
When should I have the meat done?
What should I do with it?
How should I "wrap" it?
Cool it or leave it warm?
Slice/pull it first?


Now, some of this is coming from shipping 'cue down to St Thomas or up to Michigan with the outlaws. What we've done is basically what Jim said. But for us, the meat was frozen solid and reheated in the area due to shipping in a gift package or by plane in luggage.

I'd cook it and have it done Thursday evening. From there, slice or pull and divide into smaller portions. It's easier to heat 3 bags of PP at 1 lb each than a 3 lb bag. I'd also add a splash of apple juice or chicken broth to each portion for some extra moisture during reheating.

Since we're only talking a couple days, and driving it down, I probably wouldn't freeze it solid, but vac seal it and store in the fridge. If you don't have a vac sealer, Ziplocks will work, but double-bag the portions, in case 1 bag leaks. You could wrap each portion in foil and fold the edges to make a packet before bagging. (This would come into play during the reheat later.)

To transport, a good cooler is great. Like Jim said, dry ice would be best, but regular ice is fine, long as you don't get water into the food. (Remember double-bagging? Comes from experience.) Check the ice and keep the food cold.

When you go to reheat it, there are a couple of options. If you vac-sealed, simmering water is best. If not, you could wrap each portion in heavy-duty foil with a splash of the broth or juice (if you didn't at the start) and reheat in an oven at 190° or on the warming rack or indirect heat on a grill. (I've done direct heat on the low setting, but you could burn the meat. Again, experience.) You could even reheat the foil packets near or over a fire, but be very careful doing this. Last resort, nuke the food. It works, but might be dry when you're done.

*whew* Long-winded post, but I hope it helps. You *do* realize if they like your food, you'll be "honored" with bringing the food every year, don't you? :wink:

As for Hard 8, never been, so couldn't tell you. Most commercial 'cue disappoints me anymore, though, since I can make better at home for less cash.
Rob - TX Sandman
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Postby JamesB » Sun May 18, 2008 11:22 am

Good advice above... If it were me, and being brisket, I would cook when ever you had a chance closest to the departure date. Once donce, freeze the whole, unsliced brisket solid (will help to retain moisture upon reheat) for transport.

Once on site (hope you have an oven or similar on site), thaw completely, double wrap in foil with a bit of beef broth, beef consume or even black coffee and reheat in a slow (~250°) oven until just warmed through. Slice and enjoy...

Good luck! Take pics and let us know what you decided and how it turned out!

James.
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Postby bonehunts » Sun May 18, 2008 12:17 pm

Interesting posts.

When I've waited to slice brisket, I never seem to have the same luck as I have when slicing while it's still hot.

Does anyone have a hard and fast rule against one or the other?

We're in a condo so I've got all the oven space I need. BTW, I've cut the pork out of the equation. Brisket only to feed 22 people.
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Postby JamesB » Sun May 18, 2008 12:33 pm

Well, by the time you reheat it, it will be warm again, so slicing should be a none issue....

I've actually done it both ways and they both work, but I still prefer to reheat it whole... . If your going to pre-slice, try to 're-assemble' the slices in a manner that will prohibit drying out.

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Postby Papa Tom » Sun May 18, 2008 2:19 pm

What JB said.....and brisket should actually slice better when it is cooler but whatever your experience allows is good.

Whatever you do, do not let your niece who is a college trained chef reheat the brisket.......experience talking.
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Postby bonehunts » Sun May 18, 2008 2:38 pm

When reheating, what internal temperature do you try and achieve?
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Postby TX Sandman » Sun May 18, 2008 4:53 pm

Since I reheat slices, it's whatever you want to eat it at.

:dont: Whole briskets, dunno. At least 160-170°, IMO.
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Postby JamesB » Sun May 18, 2008 6:35 pm

Remember that you are reheating it, not re-cooking it! :wink:

145°-160°... anywhere in there should work.
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Postby DATsBBQ » Mon May 19, 2008 8:33 am

If you vaccuum seal it with a foodsaver and reheat the bag in simmering (190*) water your brisket will be a moist as when you packaged it. :idea:
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Postby bonehunts » Wed May 21, 2008 7:26 am

Thanks all. Got 3 briskets on early this morning so I'll try and post some pics after this is done to see my progress.

Okay, here's the next question. I've been doing the "foil" method then ice chest, etc. and the meat's been very tender, BUT sometimes I like for it to truly slice rather than fall apart.

How should the foil/ice chest method be changed to suit slices rather than shredded meat?
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Postby OSD » Wed May 21, 2008 9:22 am

Shouldn't have to change anything. When the brisket is done, it's done. :D Slice against the grain and be sure to use a sharp slicing knife, not a chefs knife. :D
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Postby TX Sandman » Wed May 21, 2008 2:09 pm

OSD wrote:Shouldn't have to change anything. When the brisket is done, it's done. :D Slice against the grain and be sure to use a sharp slicing knife, not a chefs knife. :D


Key is the sharp slicer cross-grain. A dull knife will shred the meat, no matter what you do.

What you might do is pull the brisket off a little earlier. The brisket gets tender as the connective tissue breaks down. Pulling a little earlier will mean more tissue to hold the slices together. It also means a tougher brisket, so your call.

Strictly my $.02, YMMV.
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