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Old 06-10-2010, 02:15 PM   #1
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Default Barbacoa using the 'cooler method'?

Special occasion at work and we're making shredded beef tacos/burritos. Dude at work says he can make fork-tender shredded beef from tritip by charring on a grill for ~15-20 min and then wrapping in foil and placing in a cooler surrounded by towels for 45 min. Seems too short of a time to get fork tender to me but I've never done it. We've already bought the tritip so no turning back now.

Anybody experienced with this method? I'm curious as to what the internal temp of the roasts should be before putting in the cooler and how long in the cooler? Seems there needs to be enough residual heat to finish the job but not so much as to overcook. Seems too much/too hot and it won't be tender or juicy and not enough heat won't be enough to break it down to fork tenderness. The meat needs to spend time in the 140*-150* F for some time in order to break it down properly, is that correct?

Nobody likes a tough, dry taco. Any help appreciated.

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Old 06-10-2010, 02:59 PM   #2
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I'm with you. The one time I made barbacoa I did it just like I would a pork butt - smoked/cooked for about 8 hours at 200, then FTC'd (Foil, towel, Cooler) it for another 2 hours or so until it was time to shred and serve.

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Old 06-10-2010, 03:03 PM   #3
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This may produce a tender piece of beef, but what does the guy mean by fork tender?

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Old 06-10-2010, 03:07 PM   #4
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Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrfuda View Post
I'm with you. The one time I made barbacoa I did it just like I would a pork butt - smoked/cooked for about 8 hours at 200, then FTC'd (Foil, towel, Cooler) it for another 2 hours or so until it was time to shred and serve.
Oooooh careful with Pork Butt in Texas. I think it's a crime in 29 counties. But it's sooooo much more forgiving than brisket.
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by arturo7 View Post
This may produce a tender piece of beef, but what does the guys mean by fork tender?
Maybe this is it. I remember him saying you couldn't lift it with a fork/tongs, it would just break apart. Which is subjective to some degree but I took that as pretty damn tender.
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:20 PM   #6
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...Oooooh careful with Pork Butt in Texas. I think it's a crime in 29 counties. But it's sooooo much more forgiving than brisket.
I'm a Carolina Boy (and am moving back in August), so bbq'd pork holds a special place... I've intro'd many texans to carolina-style bbq. But I love it all, you can't go wrong slow-smoking a piece of meat no matter what state you're in/from.

I'm sure when I get back to NC, I'll be introducing brisket and barbacoa to a bunch of east coast folks.
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by SpanishCastleAle View Post
you couldn't lift it with a fork/tongs, it would just break apart.

After one hour?

Ain't no way.
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:27 PM   #8
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What about grilling then just putting it in the crock pot? I've never heard of the cooler method, but I like it. If you do it, report back. I wanna know how it turns out. What cut of beef/roast do you use for yours?

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Old 06-10-2010, 03:40 PM   #9
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The cooler method, or more specifically foil, towel, cooler method will hold the meat close to its last temperature for several hours, this lets the meat "rest" and equalize its temp (since the exterior is usually a bit warmer than the interior while it's in the oven/cooker), it limits loss of moisture and promotes equal distribution of moisture since the foil makes a mostly air/water tight seal, and it lets the rendering of fat and breakdown of the tough tissue continue a while longer without overcooking/drying out the meat. It also holds it at serving temperature until you're ready to serve.

To do it:
- Wrap meat itghtly in foil, you can toss in a little liquid (apple juice is good for most bbq) before you seal it up if you like.
- Wrap the foil/meat package in as several towels
- Place the towel/foil/meat package in a cooler
- Wait 1-2+ hours until it's time to eat, reverse the process and carve/shred

My guests are always a bit confused when I tell them we're having bbq something, and by the time they arrive, there's no bbqing occurring, then I pull some foil and towel-wrapped meat out of a cooler and start carving/shreding it up for them.

Works great for just about any kind of slow cooked meat, even ribs.

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Old 06-10-2010, 03:50 PM   #10
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jr, not to blatantly disagree but...

Resting the meat for an hour or so in the cooler allows fat, which was liquefied during smoking, to absorb into the meat.

Using foil is a sin. This ruins the bark and tends to make the meat soggy. A towel is all that is needed.

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