Does holding in the cooler affect the bark/texture?

Discussion in 'Beef' started by thepimpofsound, May 16, 2014.

  1. I've done full-rack beef short ribs about a half-dozen times now, and have gotten pretty good at timing, as they generally take me about 10 hours on an 18-inch WSM.

    But this time's a bit different. I could only get the bigger racks with three bones on instead of four, so I allowed myself more cooking time than usual. But already I'm at about 165-degrees internal temp and I was hoping to have these done about 5 or 6 hours from now, so I'm guessing they'll be done early.

    It looks like I'll be holding these in a cooler with towels for a while, but I've never done it before, so here's the question: What's the impact on the bark and texture of the meat? I don't crutch my ribs while smoking because I like the texture without it, Would wrapping in butcher paper instead of foil/plastic be a better solution?
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hmm, that's a pickle if you want to keep the bark hard/firm.

    It's been my experience that foiling does cause a sweating to occur. This will soften the bark. If you want to preserve the bark, a breathable wrap is best, say for large cuts like pork shoulder, but if you need to hold them a long time, ribs will cool too much without a heated holding (oven or low-temp smoke chamber, minimum 135* per food code). By holding at temp, if too high, texture will eventually turn grainy/mealy, but @ 135-140 cooking is very slow to non-existent. Foil is the quickest way to soften bark...anything that at breathes a little would be better for preserving the bark. A towel cover on an elevated grate in a roasting/baking pan works well for large cuts, but they will likely cool too quickly.

    Hope this gets to you quick enough to think about some options that you can use.

  3. Thanks for the advice Eric.

    These don't need to hold super long -- maybe a couple hours -- so perhaps a butcher paper wrap would be good to let it breathe. Less concerned about safety in the case and more about them staying somewhat warm and tasty until they're ready to eat. We do have a couple folks coming later so maybe I'll foil a rack for them, bark be damned.

  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Foil holds Steam this softens the bark. At temps around 160°F, Collagen breaks down so as long as they stay really hot, they will continue to cook and get more tender and may be fall off the bone. You would have to make a mistake like Cough, Sneeze or handle the meat with Dirty Hands or Tools to contaminate the meat after it drops below 140° while in the cooler...BUT... It is important to maintain Safe meat. Your guests will thank you for it...JJ

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