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speaking of pulled pork, here's some plateau info

RRPRRP Posts: 21,297
edited 3:25PM in EggHead Forum
We all seem to know that a pork butt will plateau some where around 160-170 internal temp and hang there for a few hours. OTOH I along with others have also seen this happen at a lower temp and wonder if my internal probe or the dome thermometer has gone nutsy...well tonight I was researching a matter which lead me back to our March/April 2004 issue of Cook's Illustrated. Hopefully I'm not going to get sued for some copyright infringement or something, but bottomline, there was a side bar by "John Olson" on page 11 that explained "proteins in pork as being long chains of linked amino acids which fold into a huge variety of three dimensional shapes. That folded protein holds and immobilizes a considerable amount of water in an organized manner. As the pork warms up the proteins begin to unfold. Infact, a "thermal analysis of pork has shown there are three approximate temperatures at which groups of pork proteins come undone: 126 degrees, 144 and 168 degrees." Then to paraphrase he went on to say as each of this plateaus are reached more moisture is freed from the protiens thus compacting the remaining meat and continuing to squeeze out the remaining water.
L, M, S, Mini
Ron
Dunlap, IL
Re-gasketing AMERICA one yard at a time...


Comments

  • wdanwdan Posts: 261
    RRP,
    My plateaus have been variable too. I've had them in both 144 and 168+ ranges. I have not watched with the eyes of a scientist nor could I prove it in a court of law, but I do believe I have experienced only one plateau per cook. In other words, whatever temperature it decides to happen at, is the only temperature where it will take place and then it will steadily rise to your finish temp...and in this region, Elder Ward and the other experts will tell you that you can then crank your dome temps higher to get the cook over and done with...I'm not a good overnight person, but am always willing to do it when there is a butt at stake!

  • MemphisMemphis Posts: 144
    WDAN,
    So what you are saying is that the plateau is not a matter of time but of temperature. So when we see that we have reached the plateau stage (whether at 125,144,168 deg) we can raise the temp of the egg and get through (force) the plateau quicker ???? Cool !!!!!!!

  • Memphis,
    No, you don't want to rush through the plateau, especially with brisket. You want to keep the meat in the plateau as long as is reasonably possible in order to give the meat as much time for the collagen to break down and convert to gelatin. Rush the plateau and collagen doesn't break down and you have meat that is tougher and chewier than it otherwise might be.[p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • RRP,
    Hmmm, I wonder if the "unfolding" of the proteins is the same thing as the collagen breaking down into gelatin. Did the article mention anything about that? I'll have to get out my copy of "Q" and see what AB said about it all.[p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • RRPRRP Posts: 21,297
    WDAN,
    I hear you and understand, BOTOH, since I have been cooking butts with a BBQ Guru coupled with a wireless thermometer to carry around I realized the second level of the plateau which I hadn't realized before.

    L, M, S, Mini
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
    Re-gasketing AMERICA one yard at a time...


  • wdanwdan Posts: 261
    Memphis,
    Like Whiz said. You do not want to rush through the plateau. My comments were aimed at what you can do after the temp starts rising again. [p]Hey, if you're in Memphis, just go to Corky's! I loved that place when I used to live there...never used my smoker once when I lived down that way.

  • RRPRRP Posts: 21,297
    The Naked Whiz,
    heck if I know...guess I'm just hoping that dude doesn't sue me for adding something I read...

    L, M, S, Mini
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
    Re-gasketing AMERICA one yard at a time...


  • wdanwdan Posts: 261
    Hey Ron,
    A thousand pardons if you please. I just checked some notes I took the night before last New Years' eve when I did a 9 1/2 lb butt for Lechon Asado. Low and behold, I did have two distinct plateaus during that cook. The first one lasted a few hours at 150-158, and then the second one came two hours later at 180 and lasted 4 hours! So much for impressions versus the power of real data! I guess I could have proven my case (albeit the opposite side of my original point) in a court of law after all.

  • MemphisMemphis Posts: 144
    WDAN,
    Thanks to Whiz and you for the info - You can't hurry a good thing. I quess that is one of the problems nowadays that we want instant gratification. No one wants to light the fire, sit back, put your feet up and have a few Buds or PBRs and watch the world go by. I guess it has been a while since you lived in Memphis - there are so many better places now. Next time you are headed this way let me know and I send you some suggestions.

  • Bobby-QBobby-Q Posts: 1,993
    The Naked Whiz,
    Yes that is what it is referring to. The proteins are bound by the collagen and surrounded by it, so as the proteins are released they are coated in collagen. The melting of the collagen and releasing of the proteins is what also leads to the temperatures stabilizing due to all the moisture that is released.[p]Collagen is the key, if you don't believe it take a lean tenderloin and cook it to 200°.[p]HTH

  • RRP,
    someone has too much time to spend watching meat
    cook. without a doubt.[p]though, it's really interesting research! ;)[p]hs

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