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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 08-20-2010, 11:16 PM   #1
MACS
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Default Briskets...

I have done a number of them on the WSM since I got it in May. One turned out perfect. I mean, tender, juicy, flavorful... my wife loved it, her coworkers loved it, MY coworkers loved it (I like to share). It was the first one I ever did on the smoker.

I used to cook them in an aluminum pan, in the oven, covered in foil. They always came out perfect, though not even close to the taste I get on the smoker, obviously.

I have been chasing THAT brisket ever since. Made some good ones and great ones, but not the perfect one...

I have flipped it, I have not flipped it, I have pulled it at 185, 190, 195...

I have sprayed it with apple juice, I have not sprayed it with anything, and I have let it rest in foil in a cooler and on the counter.

What the heck am I not doing right? Why can't I get it to come out perfect, like that first one? I tried to duplicate everything on the 2nd and 3rd cook, but when that didn't work, I tried the other methods listed above.

Pork butts I got down. I did some ribs that rocked the casbah, too. Smoked Brisket is frustrating me. (I haven't even tried chicken yet)

Any advice, gentlemen?
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Unread 08-20-2010, 11:21 PM   #2
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Chicken is easy.

My only guess is that if you're still seeking the perfect brisket.. where did you get that first brisket from? The quality of the meat is a big thing.
I know my briskets from the butcher always come out nicer than any I get from Wal-Mart.

Not to say the ones from Wal-Mart aren't good, but my "perfect ones" come from Kavasovic's, that chit is GOOD.

Other than that, have you tried changing the smoke a bit? What wood are you using? Using too much wood? Did you use briquettes or lump that first cook?

Loooots of variables.

Usually the best way to do it is to start off as simple as possible, and get more advanced as time goes by.

Dalmation Butt rub, some oak or pecan or hickory or whatever you prefer... go from there.
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Unread 08-20-2010, 11:39 PM   #3
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I wonder what it is that is not there? That may be hard to explain, and this is why it is known as the Holy Grail.

I have never had one come out the same as the last, and have many teams in a comp tell me they THINK they got their Brisket right this time.

We all have that problem I think, But still, what is that makes it the perfect one. As stated the meat has a whole lot to do with this.
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Unread 08-20-2010, 11:53 PM   #4
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I always get whole, USDA Choice packers from Stater Brothers.

I used 6 chunks of applewood for the first one. I have used a mixture of oak and apple as well.

I was thinking what Chef Jim said... it's the cut of meat and it will always be different because of that. They've never been bad... just not as good as that first one.
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Unread 08-21-2010, 01:42 AM   #5
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What temp are you cooking at?

Sounds like your doing everything right up until your pulling it off the cooker...way to early. With brisket (and I only recently figured this out myself thanks in a large part to this forum and of course trial and error) dry and tough mean underdone! Overdone brisket is still moist and tender however it just sorta falls apart. You can't go by internal temp on brisket - you have to go by feel until the meat offers little or no resistance in several spots around the flat. Like butta! You can also tell it's done because the whole piece will jiggle like jello. Once it probes correctly wrap it in plastic wrap and let it hang out in a cooler with foil and a towel for insulation for at least an hour. It can stay this way for hours! Let us know how it goes next time around.
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Unread 08-21-2010, 06:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MACS View Post

Pork butts I got down. I did some ribs that rocked the casbah, too. Smoked Brisket is frustrating me. (I haven't even tried chicken yet)

Any advice, gentlemen?
You sound like me. The exact same thing I ran into. I found out my problem was cooking it at too high of a temp. I used to cook around 225-250 and it would look great, have great flavor but not be tender. I changed my temp back to no more than 205 and smoke. Pulled at 190 and wrapped. It used to take about 14 hours to do a brisket the old way - now it takes at least 20 for about a 10 pounder. Don't let your temp get above 205-210 and slow cook it. That worked for me....
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Unread 08-21-2010, 07:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bclinton View Post
You sound like me. The exact same thing I ran into. I found out my problem was cooking it at too high of a temp. I used to cook around 225-250 and it would look great, have great flavor but not be tender. I changed my temp back to no more than 205 and smoke. Pulled at 190 and wrapped. It used to take about 14 hours to do a brisket the old way - now it takes at least 20 for about a 10 pounder. Don't let your temp get above 205-210 and slow cook it. That worked for me....
20 hours on a smoker for a 10# brisket - ouch! That's a whole lot a beer drinkin time but if it's working for you and you don't mind the cook time then no problems. We started doing the Popdaddy method cooking in the 285 range and waiting for the brisket to tell you when it's done with spectacular results. You CANNOT go by internal temp on a brisket - have to go by feel. Just did an 11+ pounder last weekend (best briskie to date) and it was done in 7 1/2 hours and was wrapped for 3. Couldn't even tell you what the final internal was.
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Unread 08-21-2010, 07:37 AM   #8
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Aside from the meat, the other issue here is that there is a cognition factor.

What I mean by that is you are always going to remember that first brisket that met your ideal of what a good brisket should be. What may be happening here is that you've elevated that finished brisket in your mind to something that you may be achieving again with the more recent cooks but you can't put it at the level of your first..

Every attempt is different.. different ingredients, controllable and non controllable variables etc. Better to appreciate each cook for what it is than trying to chase something that may not be realistic.
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Unread 08-21-2010, 09:54 AM   #9
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Oh, no, Vinny... I can DO this! LOL!

I have cooked them from 225-275. Varying my temp just to see the results. I have the temp controls, so keeping it at temp is a breeze.

I'm not convinced temp matters. I've seen high heat briskets come out perfect, too, and I got consistently great results oven cooking them at 290, even.

Maybe I AM taking it off too early. The point is usually the bomb with the flat being just a bit dry and not as tender.

I'm stubborn. I'll keep doing it until I get it right... because even when I get it wrong it's damn good.
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Unread 08-21-2010, 10:08 AM   #10
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its the same thing that gets people hooked on drugs, your chasing your first brisket high! Or in 40 year old virgin terms, Your putting the brisket on a pedestal!
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Unread 08-21-2010, 11:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Maybe I AM taking it off too early. The point is usually the bomb with the flat being just a bit dry and not as tender.
Maybe you answered your own queastion, and just haven't been cooking it enough. There's a much larger window of pulling time for the point than there is with the flat, especially if you're chopping or doing "burnt ends" with the point instead of slicing. The point is so rich it seems to never dry out, BUT I'm of the opinion that the flat WILL start to dry out, AFTER it reaches the falling apart stage, just like a pork butt will do. (Upon opening the foil after resting:"Where's the rest of the juice?"...."Uhh, in the water pan")

Your comparison between the flat and the point though, makes me wonder if you're expecting the flat to somehow end up like the point, in (texture and moisture). They're really completely different pieces of meat, and I guess that's why they refer to the different parts in Texas as "moist"(point) and "lean"(flat). Anyway, the more fool-proof method to get the flat to be "more like the point" is to foil at around 160 or cook in a pan the whole time. However, IMHO it lacks the flavor and texture compared to no-foiled bbq-ed brisket.

As far as general suggestions go, since you're cooking in a wsm, I'd suggest cooking 275 and under since you ought to be cooking big packers on the bottom rack under pork butts. I've only done it once so far, but the pork baste makes for the best brisket bark I've had so far, and no, it didn't make it taste like bacon.....just better, richer. FYI, I used Jim Goode's rub recipe for this one. If you're thinking that's too much meat to consume in less than a week, just freeze some. I'd suggest seperating the brisket and freezing the point and flat parts without slicing, and eating the pork butt.

Good luck with it!
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Unread 08-23-2010, 12:39 AM   #12
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Do you keep a log of your smokes? A good idea for anyone, keeps you in check and helps reduce the mistakes
There are several on this and other sites you can copy.Makes the learning curve easier
Hope this helps and,
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Unread 08-23-2010, 08:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldschoolbbq View Post
Do you keep a log of your smokes? A good idea for anyone, keeps you in check and helps reduce the mistakes
There are several on this and other sites you can copy.Makes the learning curve easier
Hope this helps and,
Where at?
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Unread 08-23-2010, 08:41 AM   #14
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Stop using temps as a way to decide when brisket is done, it all about how it feels There is no finish temp. My last brisket was 216 , it was damn near perfect
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