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rikun 10-04-2013 12:34 PM

Briskets flats always too dry.

I don't have access to packers, so I'm cooking a lot of flats (they are cheap and plentiful). Before you say packers are easy to get, I'll mention I live in Finland. Even the flats I'm cooking are imports from USA (but seem to be pretty good quality).

I still haven't found a way to keep them moist enough, I've cooked probably around ten in my UDS. They always come up a bit too dry. None of them have been tough.

I've tried hot & fast with foiling, low & slow without foil, all kinds of injections (beef broth, beef broth + margarine) and covering the flat with bacon strips.

I've tried to pull them when they are probe tender, but I'm not sure about that at all. Some of them feel pretty tender (nothing like a pork butt though), some of them don't get probe tender _ever_. I've pulled them at various temps from 188 to 215F.

I've tried to select best looking flats with enough fat cap and also fat on the other side. I've tried to get the most elastic ones. I've cooked them all fat cap down, reasoning that it protects them from the direct heat.

If a flat is dry, is it under- or overcooked? Common sense would say overcooked, but I've found out that common sense and briskets don't have very much in common :-o

I haven't tried using a water pan in my UDS, so that'll probably be something I'll try next. I haven't really liked it with other cuts, though.

Is there anything that could be done better or will the flats always be on the dry side?

I made pastrami once and it was pretty darn good, so that's something I'll be doing again for sure :tongue:

Fwismoker 10-04-2013 12:44 PM

I'm doing a small flat on Sunday and i'm gonna olive oil, season and smoke for a couple of hours on a lower heat..say 250. Then after that i'm going to foil with a little beef broth until it's tender.

With regards to water it won't keep meat from drying out but actually contribute to drying because it keeps the pores open... Kind of the opposite as you would think. You have to think of it like sweating, a dry cooking chamber will close up the pores.

Oh with the UDS once in a while i'll use a (holy) diffuser just to protect smaller cuts from taking on too much of the direct heat.
Hope that helps

Okie Sawbones 10-04-2013 12:49 PM

Just my opinion, but I inject the flats and let them sit in the fridge overnight, then give the flats two hours on smoke at 275, then wrap with 1/4 cup of broth and cook at 275 for two more hours, check the temp (which is almost always my goal off 205) then wrap in a blanket and let sit for 3 hours. They always come out juicy and tender.

sliding_billy 10-04-2013 12:50 PM

Have you had a flat cooked alone that you liked? Can you compare what was different than yours? My initial thought is just that you have not really felt probe tender yet and that they are still undercooked, but it may be more than that. Your methodology sounds good in terms of having tried all the things you could have tried (save for cap up and butcher paper).

GMDGeek 10-04-2013 12:52 PM

Had similar problems when I first started on my briskets ... this is what I found for me, others use different techniques but its all about finding what works for you and going with it.

I spent the past 3 months working on brisket - various techniques, temps, and all that. Finally managed a home run, then 2, then 3, and now really consistent.

Pit temp 275
Brisket Flat injected (Beef broth, Worcestershire)
Sits in the marinades / injection, fat cap down for 1 hour while I bring pit to temp
I pull the brisket out, let it drain for a couple minutes then rub it down with worcestershire. I apply first coating of rub, wait 15 minutes, add 2nd layer of rub. Take meat to the pit and place it fat cap down for 2.5 hours. Come out and flip it over for 1.5 hours then wrap in foil along with a little bit of my marinade, placing it back on the pit fat cap up again. Cook til 195... remove from foil, saving juice, and let it set in the pit for about 20 -30 more minutes to tighten the bark. Bring it in, let it rest for 10 minutes or so and then rewrap in foil, heavy beach towel, throw in warm box (ice chest with no ice) and let it rest for about 2 hours.

Again not for everyone ... but that is what got me a solid product.

Enjoy the cook and love the pics!


fantomlord 10-04-2013 12:58 PM

read this thread, and do what he did:

Bludawg 10-04-2013 01:07 PM

Probe Tender> sit a stick of butter on the counter overnight in the morning take what ever it is you use to check your meat with hold it over top of the butter close your eyes and slowly push it in to the butter do this 3-4 times. if you meat don't feel like that it anit done.

Flats can be tricky but I find that I get the best results at 275 F with them try 4 hrs then wrap in Butcher paper and cook to probe tender. Allow it to rest on the counter top wrapped until the IT drops to 150. The long slow rest with the gradual drop in temp is key to a tender & moist end product.
Adding stock to a wrap or injecting a water based solution don't add moisture to the finished brisket. As the meat cooks it draws up and wrings out all the water as it cooks like a sponge( this is why a cooked cut weighs much less than a raw one) it has to do this before the collagen can melt and convert to gelatin this is what makes it tender & moist. It is for this reason alone that cooking to probe tender is critical to a successful cook as no two briskets will ever cook the same because of the amount of connective tissues vary from Cow to Cow.

sliding_billy 10-04-2013 01:12 PM

Well said Bludawg!

Fwismoker 10-04-2013 01:25 PM

Blu does have some good tips... i might try the butcher paper sometime.

If you do use foil though a little liquid will help braise it.

JS-TX 10-04-2013 04:06 PM

If you choose to add anything to the foil, don't put too much. Unwrap it towards the end to allow the bark to firm up, about 30 minutes should do it.

Fwismoker 10-04-2013 04:11 PM


Originally Posted by JS-TX (Post 2647312)
If you choose to add anything to the foil, don't put too much. Unwrap it towards the end to allow the bark to firm up, about 30 minutes should do it.

and or a quick sear

Rippp 10-04-2013 07:56 PM

I've learned to enjoy cooking flats... Trim off very lightly. I Inject the night before with Beef Broth, Worcestershire sauce, Garlic and Amesphos. Then Season with the rub or combination of spices of your choice. Cook fat side up for two hours then flip. Pull at 160 and wrap in foil with a 1/2 cup or so of water to add moisture. Then pull at 200. I usually cook between 225 and 250. Where I had my biggest challenge and lost a few Briskets was at this critical point that follows pulling. When pulled at 200, drain off the juice into a bowl and let the brisket rest uncovered for at least 10 minutes so it stops cooking. After 10 minutes, place in pan or foil, cover with the poured off juices and let rest in cooler for at least an hour. Total time is about 6 to 7 hours. Good Luck, may you find that great Brisket on your next Smoke.

woodpelletsmoker 10-04-2013 08:05 PM

I brine beef in WATER with salt for 24 hours.
The beef must absorb enough water
I set smoker at 225F, when meat reaches to 150 F, I keep meat at 150F for 5 hours.
It is more than tender, when I pull it, it just fall apart as pork

JS-TX 10-04-2013 09:58 PM


Originally Posted by woodpelletsmoker (Post 2647479)
I brine beef in WATER with salt for 24 hours.
The beef must absorb enough water
I set smoker at 225F, when meat reaches to 150 F, I keep meat at 150F for 5 hours.
It is more than tender, when I pull it, it just fall apart as pork

Never heard of brining a brisket before unless you are making pastrami or something. How do you keep the meat at 150 for 5 hours? Seems like it would be very tough IMO.

Bludawg 10-04-2013 10:08 PM

Don't get him started Stay on topic.

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