Originally Posted by Big_T_BBQ
Trout_man - I have yet to foil a brisket. I cook 10 lb (no fat cap) briskets at 225 F and cook times have ranged from 10-14 hours. I see a distinct stall (2-3 hours) and even some temperature drop in the 145 range then when it starts moving again it becomes probe tender at 160-165. When it's done it is juicy and very flavorful but not as tender as other brisket I've had.
Have you checked your thermometer? I'm not doubting you, but I don't remember pulling a finished brisket at 165.
The difference in flavor makes sense to me. Range fed beef does have a different flavor, but I don't know that I'd say less flavor really. On the other hand, I do believe that fat=flavor.
I'm looking into setting up a small breeding program, and some advice that makes all the sense in the world and confirms what my grandfather did, is to remove as much stress from the animal as possible. I see no reason that wouldn't apply whether you finish on grain or grass. Some of the issues you describe could be attributed to the source of the beef you are getting.