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Tallow Wrap technique (Brisket)


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I've been playing with tallow wrapping since I found it useful to rescue an overcooked too-barky overnight cook and I have some observations that might be useful to folks trying the same thing. Tallow has become the "next big thing," at least for a while until it gets replaced by foil boating or whatever. I don't think it's 100% necessary, especially if you use prime beef, but it provides some extra insurance if you do it right.

 

I start my brisket fat down on an Akorn with a heat spreader. I prefer low and slow so I ride either 225F or 250F. The first thing that may be different is I don't wrap to push through the stall. I actually want the stall to last as long as it should last to get a better fat render. Last one I made (2 days ago) the stall was at 161F for around 4 hours. Once it starts heating up again, I start checking for when the bark is done. That's when I can't push it around with a fingernail. The I let it go more. I want the exterior to get a little too hard for eating because it's going to soften in the wrap.

 

I then wrap in paper, with a few tablespoons of tallow spread around where the meat side makes contact with the paper. After it's wrapped, I put it back on, but fat side up. This is a small refinement that I find helps as long as the bark is nice and tough. The meat side cooks like a confit in the extra tallow, plus the tallow that still renders down from the fat cap. This last part isn't a lot since a lot of fat has already rendered out during the fat-down cooking process and I trim fat aggressively. The tough bark will also soften while getting braised in the fat. This will make the rub coat a little more fragile but I find it's worth it. If this has taken too long I can push my heat to 250 or 275 at this phase.

 

When it probes soft around 200-205 I pull it out. Instead of the old foil-towel-cooler I discovered my Oster electric oven (maybe this one: https://www.amazon.com/Oster-TSSTTVFDDG-Digital-French-Stainless/dp/B014D9LBCY, I forget; bought it at Costco a couple years ago) has a dehydrate setting that maintains 150F with a 6 hour timer. I put the wrapped brisket in a large foil tray in there for 4 to 12 hours depending on when service is. Whatever resting technique you use is fine as long as you let it get down to around 180F first and it holds over 140F for at least 3-4 hours.

 

I started doing this with home-rendered tallow, but I've switched to that Wagyu stuff from Chicago everyone on Youtube shills for. It's more convenient and I think the fatty acid composition is way better for this application. It's also got a lower melting point and better mouthfeel than muscle fat. I think it might be kidney fat but I'm not sure.

 

Result: much moister flat, better mouth feel overall, more "saucy" bark. I used to struggle with the flat sometimes getting too dry; this has ceased to be a problem. The extra fat in the wrap has also allowed me to get way more aggressive with trimming. The 18 pounder I made two days ago with this technique I actually cut out a large portion of the deckle, leaving enough of it to keep the point attached, and I got a more even cook with less annoying seam fat while not sacrificing moisture. 

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I'm about to try injecting "tallow" in the flat rendered from the fat cap. per Smoking Dad BBQ: 



Hopefully it yields similar results. I am not inclined to pay extra for Waygu tallow. I'll save that $$$ for beer or something to help swallow the brisket if I screw it up.

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2 hours ago, fotoflux said:

I am not inclined to pay extra for Waygu tallow. I'll save that $$$ for beer or something to help swallow the brisket if I screw it up.

 

I'd agree except that I found rendering tallow to be a lot messier than I expected and because I'm not good at canning some water got in the bottom of my first jar and I had to toss it due to mold by the time it was half finished. It was great for frying before it went bad though.

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