Saturday, March 27, 2010

Some final thoughts on my Waygu cook.

As I reflect on my experiences today I think I should acknowledge that my judgment of CAB vs. Waygu was less about Waygu beef in general and more about the particular brisket I happened to cook. I have been lucky enough to see Waygu briskets cooked by some of the best in the business and I have some idea of what a Waygu brisket ought to look like. Notice in the picture below how marbled the brisket is:

This brisket was unbelievable in every respect. It had a flavor and texture that was beyond belief.

Now look at the marbling in the brisket I cooked:

The fat you do see was resting on top of the silver skin. After I trimmed the square looking piece on the right there was nothing but pure red.

I think that there is certainly an advantage to using premium meats. However, when this amount of money is at stake one negative experience with what may not have been the best product can certainly sour a person's opinion. My estimation is that I need to try again - with another producer - and see if the results are the same. Anyone know where I can get free Waygu briskets?

At the end of the day...

At the end of the day the results of my Waygu vs. CAB were more than conclusive. In the picture below the Waygu is on the right and the CAB is on the left...

CAB on the left, Waygu on the right. These pictures were taken a half hour after slicing - after the taste tests were complete. Hopefully that explains why the slices are a bit ratty looking - this is what was left after the "judging" was complete. The burnt-ends didn't make it to the photo-op :)

I prepared each of the briskets using the exact same methods and products. I injected with Butchers - the rest I'll keep to myself. Both briskets looked good and held moisture well.

Of the five people who judged, two were competitors and certified judges, and one was a hottie who could have married much better than she did! The results were:

3 chose the CAB
2 chose the Waygu after a lot of deliberation (almost came down to a coin toss).

Clearly the issue could have been the cook - but my experience has left me feeling happy with the meat I am able to get at Sam's.

Which one is the Waygu? - update

We are are almost half way through the cook - just prior to putting on the foil. One note - the brisket on the left has the point end closest to the camera. The brisket on the right has the point farthest from the camera. Any guesses which one is the Waygu?

Which one is the Waygu?

This is my third time cooking Waygu briskets. I decided to do a side by side comparison of a Waygu brisket ($4.70 per lb.) and a choice CAB brisket ($1.98 per lb.). Can you tell the difference?

This is the Waygu:

This is the CAB

CAB on the left, Waygu on he right.

I'll post pics of the finished product later this evening - this is going to be a good day for eating at Monty's!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

BBQ Brewday(s)

Time to Q also means time to brew. I am putting together a bunch of brews for KCBS BBQ Competition teams and if they are going to be ready by summer now is the time to get started.

Why would I brew beer for teams that will crush us on the BBQ circuit? Simple. I plan on delivering the beer at the precise moment each team is deep in preparation. They will feel obligated to let me into their camp and I will use those brief moments to shig mercilessly.

My first beer is brewed for Big T's Q Crew. They started competing the same time I did. The only difference - they managed to win a bunch of Grand Championships last year and ended up the Iowa BBQ Society's 2009 Team of the Year. Where did Holy and Oly's end up in the IBS rankings? Who knows! They don't calculate out places that far down!

Big T's Tongue Twister.

This beer is huge. It has a pound of hops. To put that into perspective here is the amount of hops used in a typical extra pale ale:

Here's a pound of hops - these are the additions I used in the Big T's Tongue Splitter:

The original gravity of this beer ended up at 1090. By the time it ferments it will be around 9% ABV. Needless to say once the Big T's crew lays into this brew they'll be flat on their backs. Then I'll sweep in and swipe their briskets!

Boondoggle Royal Pale Ale

Don and Bob Denner were the winners of the 2009 American Royal Open, thus the name Royal Pale Ale. This beer is a bit more subdued when placed next to the Big T's brew - but it still packs a lot of hops (5 oz):

I plan on delivering this beer right as they are saucing their pork shoulder. If neither of them are looking I may even snatch some of their sauce!

The original gravity on this is 1040 - making it a nice session brew.

Both beers will spend a lot of time in fermenters. I plan on bottling them in about a month in a half. Then they will age in bottles. The Big T's is big enough that it could be stored for several years - it will only get better.

More to come!