BBQ Backyard - BBQ Pitmaster Social Network

BBQ Pitmaster Social Network

There ain’t nothing worse than spending good money on a nice cut of meat, putting in the time it takes to prep and stay up all night cooking… only to end up with over-cooked BBQ.

To me, over-cooked BBQ is just as bad as under-cooked BBQ.

And when I say over-cooked I’m talking about mushy, falling-apart meat… the kind of meat that takes on a peanut butter texture in your mouth.

Of course, some folks don’t think you can overcook BBQ, they think that fall-off-the-bone tender means that the meat is cooked just right. And we’ve all been to BBQ joints that run meat through a chopper, slap some sauce & slaw on it and expect you to think it’s the best thing going today.

But in my opinion, there are a lot of folks out there that don’t know jack about good BBQ.

This is why I preach about meat thermometers and watching your internal temperatures. It’s not just about making sure your product gets to that perfect level of tenderness… it’s also just as important to keep your BBQ from going too far.

Good BBQ needs to have good texture.

The Perfect Texture for BBQ

Imagine taking a piece of BBQ in your hands… it could be a plug of pulled pork, it can be a slice of brisket, and it can even be a rib… you should be able to press on the meat and get a slight bounce-back (we’re not talking rubber band bounce here) but it should never just mush in your hands.

When you go to pull it apart, there should be a slight resistance – just a few seconds worth before the meat gives. Basically… you want your meat to be tender, but the protein fibers to still have some structure. Overcooked meat will completely come apart… it has no integrity.

And when you place the meat in your mouth, you want it to be tender… you want it to be soft and fall apart. When you chew it, you want to KNOW you are eating a piece of meat (just without having to work hard at it).

But overcooked meat does just the opposite. It basically turns into mush and it coats the roof of your mouth. That is why I call it peanut butter BBQ (because that is what it feels like your eating).

How to Achieve Perfect BBQ Texture

When it comes to BBQ, there is a window between overcooking and undercooking your meat. It’s that perfect, little “sweet spot” that you want to arrive at every time you fire up your smoker.

And it’s not difficult to achieve as long as you have the right technique.

It all comes down to 3 things:

1. Knowing the internal temperatures you want each different cut of meat to achieve

2. Monitoring your internal temperatures to make sure they reach those marks (without going over)

3. And stopping the cooking process – at just the right time – to make sure you get your meat off and allow it to rest.

Each of these 3 things is just as important as the other.

I get emails every day from people asking me for cooking times. And what I always stress is that times are just a guideline. Internet temp is the KEY and it should always dictate the time meat stays on the smoker.

Of course, when it comes to ribs, I rely completely on feel. Slabs should bend but not break and the bones should be a little loose, but never be separating from the meat.

And I gotta tell ya, every piece of meat is going to cook differently. Sometimes a 15lb shoulder will be done in 12 hours… and then 14lb. shoulder sitting next to it might need 20 (My only guess is that those hogs were living rough).

But once you cook enough, you will just know your BBQ is ready.

In BBQ, tenderness and texture go hand-and-hand. And once you master that texture, those falling-off-the-bone ribs ain’t going to be as appetizing anymore.

Malcom Reed
Killer Hogs BBQ Team

Sign-up For My Weekly BBQ Newsletter @

Views: 159

Tags: bbq, competition, cooking, secrets, smoked, tips


You need to be a member of BBQ Backyard - BBQ Pitmaster Social Network to add comments!

Join BBQ Backyard - BBQ Pitmaster Social Network

Comment by Charles Crawford on August 26, 2011 at 8:10pm
So this brings up an interesting question. I know on the meat therm we use it says pork should be done at 165˚F. Everyone else does it at a range of 180˚F - 190˚F. For boston butt and pork shoulder which is correct? What is the key intern temp for brisket? I grew up in NC and we are taught at birth that BBQ is only pork that brisket ain't Q. So over the next week I am going to make my first attempt at brisket. Any pro's got any tips on brisket? Do you inject brisket?
Comment by Mike Smith on August 26, 2011 at 7:29pm
Actually, it's an area thing. What you call overcooked is not true where I'm from. The people here want it to fall apart. My dad just passed his 95th birthday with over 60 years in the bar-b-q business. We used only salt and pepper. We basted(mopped) our meat. We made our own sauce. If we had put spicy seasoning on our food we would have lost our customers. You have to have what the customers desire. Competition is another animal to itself.
Comment by Ron Warren on August 26, 2011 at 3:48am
I agree on the overcooked meat. Nothing worse than ruining a beautiful cut of meat by overcooking it. One mistake common among people who smoke meat is too high a temperature. Alton Brown did a show where he smoked a pork butt as his "last meal" and really shed some light on what happens when your temp gets out of control. I know with Brisket it is a fine line between perfect and overcooked. Nice article.

© 2015   Created by BBQ Backyard Admin.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service