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Brisket tastes like pot roast


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#1 Donna Fong

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:47 PM

So for a brief moment, I will put on my cooks hat and ask judges a question that I don't understand. My friend, not I, got a comment card that said his brisket tasted like pot roast. As a Chinese-American, I can't say I've actually tried pot roast so it is something I don't know how to relate to. Pot roast is not a standard of taste I compare anything against. I know that it is chuck and that the chuck cut is just above the brisket cut.

Does pot roast taste bad? Pot roast, to the best of my understanding is beef. So the judge is saying something that is beef, tastes like beef? How exactly is that bad? I know it is suppose to be a put-down (which I also think is bad judging), but I don't understand it. I think it is okay to say, hey, your pork ribs taste like fish and that's bad. Of course it is. But why is it bad that brisket tastes like chuck? And are you that good to tell the difference? I can't.

No one ever says, hey, your brisket tastes like prime rib or tri-tip, which are also beef. Judges are asked to score according to appearance, taste and texture. Why is it bad for beef to taste like beef? I accept too salty, too sweet, too acidic, too fatty, too much smoke, too tough, overcooked, etc. But if someone can prove to me that if you took raw brisket, filet mignon, tri-tip, prime rib, chuck and ground it all up and cooked it, that they could tell the difference between the flavor of one type of cow muscle and another type of cow muscle from somewhere else, I would be surprised.

Maybe if someone can articulate the difference between the flavor of brisket and pot roast, I could accept the criticism. But for now, I will think that saying it tastes like pot roast is a criticism of bad appearance, taste and/or texture and to combine those criticisms into one blanket statement is doing a disservice to one's job as a judge because one is not articulating accurately what is wrong with the entry. By making the assumption that the cook knows what you mean by calling it pot roast, (which obviously you dislike but not for obvious reasons), is not offering constructive criticism to the entry which is what I as a cook need from the judge. What is a cook suppose to do if a judge says tastes like pot roast?

#2 Dana Myers

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:56 PM

Pot roast is braised chuck, often with carrots, potatoes and onions. I suspect the judge was trying to say the brisket tasted more 'stewed' than smoked, perhaps that the brisket might have been a little "flat" in beef flavor.

That's the best I can make of the comment - it's otherwise not very useful.

#3 Abel Tirre

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:58 PM

I would say the taste are very similar as you mentioned beef will taste like beef, but the texture of post roast is similar to an overcooked pork butt. It is very soft and stringy. Pot roast is also cooked in a large foil pain so it usually stews in it's own juices. If the brisket is over cooked or cut with the grain that may be the reasoning. Also if has been soaking in au jous that may also be the reason.

#4 Donna Fong

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:07 PM

View PostAbel Tirre, on 02 July 2013 - 12:58 PM, said:

I would say the taste are very similar as you mentioned beef will taste like beef, but the texture of post roast is similar to an overcooked pork butt. It is very soft and stringy. Pot roast is also cooked in a large foil pain so it usually stews in it's own juices. If the brisket is over cooked or cut with the grain that may be the reasoning. Also if has been soaking in au jous that may also be the reason.

So the criticism is one of texture, and not of taste. It has the texture of pot roast....is this correct? So the scoring should be adjusted in texture, correct? Unless the judge says it tastes like carrots and onions and potatoes?

#5 Abel Tirre

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:15 PM

View PostDonna Fong, on 02 July 2013 - 01:07 PM, said:

So the criticism is one of texture, and not of taste. It has the texture of pot roast....is this correct? So the scoring should be adjusted in texture, correct? Unless the judge says it tastes like carrots and onions and potatoes?

That would be my thought on the process. Pot roast taste and brisket taste should be very similar, but the textures of the 2 are like night and day.

#6 Dana Myers

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:31 PM

View PostDonna Fong, on 02 July 2013 - 01:07 PM, said:

So the criticism is one of texture, and not of taste. It has the texture of pot roast....is this correct? So the scoring should be adjusted in texture, correct? Unless the judge says it tastes like carrots and onions and potatoes?

I think the judge is saying the brisket tastes more stewed than they'd like. Rather than a big beefy *POP* in the flavor.

But I am just guessing.

#7 Robert Bass

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:53 PM

Hi Donna,

Having had way too much pot roast in my early youth, my read of that judge's comment is that the brisket didn't have it's normal good beefy flavor, but rather bland.

#8 Donna Fong

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:57 PM

OMG, really? Well, if that is the case, that would be so much more clear to me. Maybe the next time, you're in the judges tent, and Kathleen asks, what is a better way to say "tastes like pot roast", someone can suggest, tastes bland...that would be entirely more helpful to us cooks. Thanks Robert.

#9 Jason Fisher

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 02:07 PM

I have had brisket that tasted like pot roast at the judges table too. I'm trying to think of the best way to describe it. I'd say a lack of smoke would be one factor flavor wise. It also can be bland/under seasoned. Texture wise braised beef and smoked beef are quite different, even if the brisket was braised in foil for a while. Braised meat seems softer too. Picture the difference between crock pot pork butt with minimal seasoning and a properly seasoned and smoked butt. Both taste porky, but not nearly the same expirence.

#10 Kay Spencer

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 02:20 PM

Having grown up on Sunday pot roast, I think Abel's comments are logical. It was obviously not a useful comment for a judge to make. Unfortunately with such a significant number of judges in the room it was difficult for the reps to keep up with everything. I also noticed variation in number scores on our table. Some justifiable, some not; it is difficult to know what action to take in those circumstances, however I know there was some discussion.

#11 Matt Dalton

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 02:40 PM

Donna if you head down to the local hometown buffet or furr's cafeteria and get a little taste of the pot roast they have there you'll have a good idea..sans gravy of course..but I think Jason and Abel have it nailed jokes aside..was the brisket in question on the overdone side?

#12 Benny Adauto

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 05:50 PM

View PostJason Fisher, on 02 July 2013 - 02:07 PM, said:

I have had brisket that tasted like pot roast at the judges table too. I'm trying to think of the best way to describe it. I'd say a lack of smoke would be one factor flavor wise. It also can be bland/under seasoned. Texture wise braised beef and smoked beef are quite different, even if the brisket was braised in foil for a while. Braised meat seems softer too. Picture the difference between crock pot pork butt with minimal seasoning and a properly seasoned and smoked butt. Both taste porky, but not nearly the same expirence.
When I read the OP to my wife and asked her if she could articulate the taste of pot roast compared to brisket, she first stated no smoke flavor. I then read Jason's answer and she kept nodding her head. It is a good suggestion to try post roast. It is different than brisket and I have tasted brisket while judging that had the flavor of pot roast. I have also cooked brisket that had a pot roast taste mostly from using too much injection powder combined with strong beef broth.

#13 Todd Carpenter

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 06:45 PM

View Postmatt dalton, on 02 July 2013 - 02:40 PM, said:

Donna if you head down to the local hometown buffet or furr's cafeteria and get...

Theres still a Furrs around here??? Closest one I knew of was Roswell NM. I grew up on 'em in Texas and actually miss them...that and Underwoods.

#14 Tracy Allen

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:23 PM

On a lighter note...

At another comp... after scoring pork, I asked a couple of other judges if their Pork tasted different... I said mine tasted like "good pot roast." The two other judges tasted some of my sample and agreed that it had a gravy soaked beef flavor to it. Later that day one of those judges mentioned this to a team, who when I went by to say hi said... "I heard you got my Pork?"

Apparently their foiled brisket had a hole in one corner and dripped onto the part of the pork that I happened to get a piece of in the box!

We all had a good laugh about it!

#15 Sylvie Curry

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:50 PM

That's interesting. I know a lot of cooks who cook with the brisket on the grate above the pork. A lot of brisket au jus landing on the pork. Not once have I heard that their pork tasted like beef. I once had a known pitmaster advise me to not slice my brisket too early (greater than 15 minutes before turn in) and place in an au jus or it would taste like pot roast. What the reaction was I never understood, but I stopped doing it and my brisket scores got much better.

#16 Donna Fong

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 03:28 AM

View Postmatt dalton, on 02 July 2013 - 02:40 PM, said:

was the brisket in question on the overdone side?

Matt, I don't know. I never tasted the brisket nor did I see the comment card. I just heard about it. Though it sounds like from others who are describing pot roast, that it might be underdone, no? My guess is that overdone brisket would not pass the pull test and wouldn't remind one of pot roast but this is a pure guess. Unless it was sliced along the grain.

#17 Thom Emery

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 04:44 AM

Wrapping in foil too early will get you pot roast brisket
And a few days later pot roast chili :0)

#18 Frank Smith

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 03:19 PM

Donna, I love a good pot roast. A bad pot roast is like a bad brisket. It should not be bland, but who knows what the judge's reference was. Often it comes from chuck, but any cut that requires braising will do. The key is the long, slow, braising in liquid and a tasty gravy. I too have tasted brisket in comps that was more like pot roast than bbq brisket. As Thom points out, that can come from wrapping too soon - you end up with a braised brisket. I have also had briskets presented with a thick gravy like glaze that seemed less like BBQ brisket and more like pot roast. Hope this helps.

#19 Bill Bain

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 04:18 PM

Donna, this is a good example of a judge who makes a comment that does not make sense. Too spicy, stringy, bland, tough, mushy, etc. but not tastes like _____. Just as bad as saying the cook used too much lighter fluid when starting the charcoal to a pellet cooker. Both cases are not appropriate comments.




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