Competition BBQ Brisket Tips for Success
I caught a great BBQ Brisket photo from Harry Soo on Facebook the other day of one of his Competition BBQ Brisket cook results. Along with the photo, Harry asks his Facebook fans whether they enjoy the brisket flat slices or the point pieces (burnt ends) better.
Living here in central Florida, Competition BBQ Brisket is not something most folks here know much about. In fact, for those born and raised here who have had the misfortune to only visit chain style BBQ restaurants, there’s a solid chance they’ve never heard of BBQ Brisket. If they have had it, it’s likely the brisket they were served was closer to boiled sliced beef or chopped into uncharacteristic beef fragments.
As a KCBS and FBA BBA Judge, I have long heard from fellow judges and my competition BBQ Pitmaster friends that Competition BBQ Brisket is one of the hardest comp cuts to master.
So to provide some insight into how other professional competition BBQ cooks tackle Competition BBQ Brisket, I’ve provided a collection of some of their tips, along with links to articles they’ve posted that should prove insightful.
Competition BBQ Brisket Tips from Those Who Know…
Fittingly, the first recipe I’m steering you towards is from Harry Soo, of Slap Yo Daddy BBQ. It’s only right since his photo (above) is the one that inspired this post.
Harry Soo and Slap Your Daddy (SYD) knows brisket In fact, in 2010 SYD won the national KCBS Rancher Reserve Brisket Cup. As you read through Harry’s post, demystifies competition BBQ brisket and gives you the information you need to become a BBQ Brisket Hero!
Umami is all about that hard to target amazing flavor you get when you eat certain foods. It is prevalent in Asian style cooking. SYD puts cool ingredients to use in this brisket recipe like Shitake Mushrooms, Maggi, and Bonito Flakes. Filled with excellent sourcing, prepping, and cooking tips – you definitely want to head over to this post now.
I’ve linked out to Meathead Goldwyn’s Amazing Ribs.com site several times on this blog because it’s just awesome. No where have I seen anyone go into the level of detail and instruction on how to select, prep, and cook BBQ meats.
In this post, Meathead outlines a Texas Style Competition BBQ Brisket cook from Head to Tail – so to speak. He evern explains the concept of “wet aging” your brisket to achieve maximum tenderness.
Definitely a must read if you’ve never attempted to cook brisket. If you have successfully prepped BBQ brisket, check this post out to see whether there are any areas where you might improve. A BBQ version of Alton Brown and his Good Eats endeavors, Meathead nails here here. Be sure to check it out…
Paul Ostrom over at the Pickled Pig website and competition BBQ forum put up a series of forum posts on how exactly to go about preparing competition BBQ brisket.
I love Paul’s site because he gears most of his content and recipes to fit competition BBQ. As a professional BBQ Pitmaster himself, Paul understands many of the obstacles and frustrations faced by competitive BBQ pros, and he explains things through words and photos in such a way that you are left with easy to implement, functional knowledge that will in many if not all cases help you improve your competitive BBQ entries.
Here’s a preview of what Paul Ostrom shares with you about cooking competition BBQ brisket:
We competed in contests for over 4 years before we finally cracked the Top 10 in the Brisket category. Admittedly, we were less than serious about learning how to cook contest brisket during that period. We just kept doing the same things over and over, usually getting a middle of the pack finish. Our friends and families would rave about our brisket but the judges never seemed overly impressed.
A little over a year ago we focused on improving our contest brisket and it’s paid off. We’ve had 8 brisket calls in the last 14 months including a 1st in a 61 team contest. One of the biggest resources we’ve used in learning how to improve has been the Internet. We seem to take a little info from here and there and compile it into new techniques and processes to try out. I never quite found a good, detailed, unified resource on how to consistently win in KCBS brisket. My hope is to create a thread that we can all reference as needed, especially those just starting out. Contest cooking has also made me a better BBQ cook and I think even backyard cooks will benefit from this information.
My plan is to add to this thread over the next few months, tackling different aspects with each addition. Because of the way threads work, let’s try and keep the discussion limited to parts that have been posted.
Here’s how I plan to break this thread down:
- Part 1 – Selection
- Part 2 – Trimming
- Part 3 – Seasoning (injections, rubs, foil marinades, finishing sauces)
- Part 4 – Cooking
- Part 5 – Once Cooked (Resting, Separation, Burnt Ends, and Slicing the Flat)
- Part 6 – Final Presentation
There are a lot of different ways to produce a winning brisket. Rarely do we come across winning chefs that do everything the same way. Even we don’t always do things the same way when competing.
I have no doubt that those of you who want to improve your competition BBQ brisket scores will get more BBQ brisket walks after reading and implementing the “know how” Paul imparts to you here. Head to this post now…
Competition BBQ Brisket Final Thoughts
For those trying to master cooking Competition BBQ brisket, there are a few key areas in the post above that I feel have been expertly addressed. Read through these carefully, and you’re sure to see an improvement in the presentation, taste, and scoring where you competition BBQ brisket is concerned.
Have any tips or tricks for cooking competition BBQ brisket? Share them in the comments area below!
I have been doing a lot of research lately on BB Brisket, sparked mainly by the TLC BBQ Pitmaster’s Series, and just came across The Brisket Chronicles authored by Neil Strawder, of Bigmista’s BBQ out of the Los Angeles, California area.
Brisket continues to confound and perplex some of the most practiced BBQ cooks, and this is the reason Neil started this series. I came across it via the BBQ Brethren forum, and with Neil’s permission, have put together this synopsis and set of links here. Links from the descriptions below take you to pages on his Bigmista’s Barbecue Blog.
The Brisket Chronicles
- The Brisket Chronicles Part I
- The Brisket Chronicles Part II
- The Brisket Chronicles Part III
- The Brisket Chronicles Part IV
If you’ve wanted to BBQ Brisket but have been reluctant to do so, I think the images and descriptions found in these posts will help get you started. If you have specific questions, I am sure that Neil would be happy to answer them for you.
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