Franklin BBQ - how to keep warm for dinner?
Friends and I have decided to pre-order from Franklin and skip the line (if ordering 5 lbs. or more of meat, you can pre-order but need to do so 2 weeks ahead). Skipping the line means picking up the order at 10:15, but we want to eat at 5-ish. I'm the designated picker upper - and I don't want to ruin anything! Putting it in the fridge seems like the wrong thing to do because by the time it cools down it's time to heat it up again. The oven will surely dry it out, even at a low temp. My best idea so far is to wrap in a towel and put it in a cooler to keep warm, then just before serving pop it in the oven for 5 minutes to re-melt the fat.
Anyone have experience with this? I'd love some advice.
Well I thought I'd let you know how this worked out.
According to the Franklin guys, a cooler with the lid slightly open was what they recommended. This is so that the meat would not get steamed. Then they said to put the wrapped packages in the oven at 170 for 15 minutes just before serving to warm it.
I did exactly as they recommended (this is pretty much what I was going to do anyway) but I also had the meat in a soft sided cooler inside a hard-sided cooler to retain as much heat as possible throughout the day. Also I did have them slice the meat. I don't have the best knife for the job and I didn't want to mangle the brisket trying to cut it against the grain. Also I thought since I'm trying to retain heat, having it sit open on a cutting board as I cut it would definitely release too much heat. I think I made the right decision on that.
Right out of the cooler, the meat was fine but not very warm. We're talking about 7 hours in the cooler so ymmv if you have it in there for less time. We had 6-8 lbs and put it on sheet pans in the wrappers reheated at 170 for 15 minutes. When we unwrapped everything I could still see some opaqueness in the fat - could have gone a little longer. The texture of the meat was 90% fine. Oh, that 10% though - it was the bark. The bark was too soft. No meat candy. I actually enjoyed the leftovers more the next day - we put everything in a foil tray and baked at 350. The meat (mostly just the lean brisket, the fatty was fine) dried out a little, but the ends crisped up and that was really worth it.
Also I wanted to note that in addition to Franklin, we also picked up a few beef ribs from John Mueller's trailer. Unlike the Franklin brisket, the beef ribs held up very nicely, crust and all, from the get go. So those of us jonesing for crusty, peppery bark did have some of the good stuff the first night - just not from the brisket.
All in all I would recommend not waiting as long as we did to eat - I think the cooler method is good for shorter periods of time, but flawed as it will steam the meat if it sits wrapped up long enough. If I had to wait longer, I'd probably unwrap everything and leave at room temp, Also, blast in a hotter oven for less time to try and crisp up edges.
I've kept home-cooked brisket warm by wrapping in foil and placing in a cooler. I've heard about using the towels as stated above, but have never needed them. Kept the brisket piping hot for 5 hours this way. Not to toot my own horn, but I was told that my brisket was better than Franklins - so at least we know this process won't degrade the flavor!
Agree with above - keep brisket whole.
Also - under NO circumstances should you apply additional heat (oven, microwave etc). If you do, you might as well buy a pre-cooked brisket at HEB...
I'd recommend getting the brisket unsliced and cut it yourself just before serving. Don't take it out of the butcher paper.
Put a towel in the bottom of a cooler, then the wrapped packages of meat, followed by another towel. When you need to reheat, put the still-wrapped packages into a 200 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. Slice and serve.
Also, ask the cutter (Aaron himself, if you're lucky) what they would recommend.
I think keeping it warm in a cooler is a good idea, maybe you can heat the inside of the cooler with hot water or a heating pad or something so it retains the heat better.
Personally if I didn't have a cooler large enough, I'd leave it on the counter. Now that's just my opinion, there are others who will say that's not being "food safe". I'm not going there with others, all I'm saying it it's up to you...I've done it & been fine, others wouldn't consider it.
As for re-heating you can wrap it in foil & reheat at a very low temp (200 or so) I've also read that steaming the meat gently will help it stay moist. I haven't tried it but I plan to the next time I have leftover BBQ (ha ha leftover BBQ, that's a good one)
Or you could always just eat it at room temp, Franklin's is good at any temperature :)