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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 04-25-2011, 08:12 PM   #1
TxAxeMan
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Default 2nd attempt at brisket

I've spent most of my life in Texas. I know what good brisket is supposed to look/taste/feel like. I'm not sure if I've eaten at one of the Meccas, but I've had brisket that would just fall apart with a fork and wasn't dried out.

My history is mostly with pork ribs, butts, shoulders, etc. I tried a brisket once, and it was unedible. After lurking on this site for a while, I decided to try again. I rubbed the snot out of it with Lawrey's, then with course Kosher salt, and finally with some kind of steak seasoning (mostly pepper). I left it unattended for a few while waiting for the fire to get settled and the meat to assume room temperature. I got back to it just in time to smack my dog who thought it was for him...

I put it in the smoker, fat side up. After a few hours at 275-325 I started probing it. The thick side got butta smooth, but the thin side was a little tougher. At this point, I spun the flat around to put the thin side closer to the heat. I cooked it until the internal temp was 190, but it never got any tenderer. After this, I wrapped it in butcher's paper and put it back in for an hour or so. The first pic is what it looked like after six or so hours.

It had a wonderful flavor, and was a little dry, but not too much. It was just too tough. Very much like stuff I've turned my nose up at in the past at various BBQ restaurants. My wife and friends loved it. My problem is that I know what brisket can be, and I desperately would like to get there myself. My mother-in-law can get the right tenderness by foil wrapping and putting it in the oven, but there's just something wrong with that.

Incidentally, I just chopped up what was left and had one of the best chop beef sandwiches I've ever eaten.

So, if any experts here can tell me what I can do to get the tenderness that I'm after, please feel free to critique.

In the mean time, I'll try to find another excuse to post and get rid of that matchlight title
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File Type: jpg Chop Beef.jpg (84.5 KB, 162 views)
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Unread 04-25-2011, 08:23 PM   #2
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Looks pretty good! I had the same issue when I started doing briskets. I was afraid of leaving them out too long and when it got north of 190 degrees internal temp I would start freaking out. Now I usually don't use my thermometer but to do the probe test. Foiling is the great debate, some do, some don't. I almost always now foil to finish for the last hour or two. By then I have a nice bark developed so I'm good to go. Usually wrap it with some beef broth. I think it helps keep it tender.

I also usually cook in the 275-325 range. Good luck!
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Unread 04-25-2011, 08:29 PM   #3
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I cook a little higher too, 275-300. Some times the meat just will not cooperate. I have had cuts before that I think no matter what I could have tried different would not had been any different. Some are just a little tougher.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 09:00 PM   #4
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Next time try to find the most flexible brisket they have. I have found that these turn out much more tender than the stiff ones which I think must be leaner.

Also the more consistent the thickness is the more consistent doneness will be.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 09:05 PM   #5
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I cook brisket at around 275F but I also use foil. If you don't want to use foil, I'd suggest that you drop your cooking temp to about 225F and be prepared to spend 6 to 12 hours cooking it depending on how heavy the brisket is.

If you really want to cook at the higher temps, I strongly suggest that you use foil. Cook the brisket until it reaches arounf 165 to 170 internal and then wrap it in foil and put it back in the smoker until it reaches something in the 208F internal temp range. Then, wrap a blanket around it or put it in a cooler and let it sit for at least 2 hours. Seriously, don't touch it for two hours while it rests in a blanket or a cooler.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 09:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. You've all given me some things to look for and do the next time around. I'm guessing it won't be long since the wife says she's glad I'm doing this again and she's ready for another one. I've just got to find a source around here for firewood that isn't sold in bags for $16.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 09:54 PM   #7
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Awesome! I got rid of the matchlight!
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Unread 04-25-2011, 09:55 PM   #8
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Congrats!
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Unread 04-25-2011, 11:56 PM   #9
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Looks like you're well on your way in your quest to make great brisket!
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Unread 04-26-2011, 12:03 AM   #10
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The brisket looks great. My bet, learned the hard way, is that you didn't let it go long enough. I generally give myself 10 to 12 hours for a full packer at 275 to 300. That includes firing up the smoker, about 8 ish hours on the smoker and two hours in the cooler to rest. I start at a low temp and ramp up to 275+ after an hour ( ala thirdeye ).

If the point was getting right, the flat just wasn't there yet.
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Unread 04-26-2011, 08:13 AM   #11
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Looks good anyway. Just need to cook it longer. The point will feel tender way before the point does. Trust your probe!
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Unread 04-26-2011, 08:42 AM   #12
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I smoked a 9 lb brisket Sunday. Smoker temp for the first 6 hrs was 220. then I upped it to 250 for 5 hrs, then back down to 235 for the remainder of the cook. this one took 14 hrs. The point was very tender, however the flat was dry and seemed to be over cooked. I even injected the flat hoping that would help in moisture retention but it didn't. I didn't cook according to temp. I used the probe method. The flat would not get tender, at least not like butta smooth. So i pulled it at the 14 hr mark and wrapped in foil for an hr rest.

I didn't foil during the cooking process because I don't like mushy bark. Next time I will have to try foiling in an effort to get a moist flat. This is only my third attempt at cooking a brisket and the previous two basically came out the same.
I ended up chopping the brisket and will use it for chili. At least it was not a total loss.
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Unread 04-26-2011, 10:37 AM   #13
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I've done a fair number of briskets and find that they are very fickle to cook perfectly. I think the biggest variable is the cut of meat. Inspecting a packer brisket through a cryovac package can be impossible but I like the suggestion of judging a brisket but its flexibility.

I have done my best briskets using the following technique using my BGE with a water pan: dome temp at 225 until internal temp reaches 189 and then I start probing. Some briskets take a little more time than others but I always aim for the butter test. I always wrap and rest for at least an hour.

I've tried foiling in the latter part of the cook and found that it didn't make a noticeable difference but I certainly don't object to the idea either. I normally also trim the excess fat from the brisket but am not sure how much of a difference this makes.

Good luck!

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Unread 04-26-2011, 10:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Q View Post
The brisket looks great. My bet, learned the hard way, is that you didn't let it go long enough. I generally give myself 10 to 12 hours for a full packer at 275 to 300. That includes firing up the smoker, about 8 ish hours on the smoker and two hours in the cooler to rest. I start at a low temp and ramp up to 275+ after an hour ( ala thirdeye ).

If the point was getting right, the flat just wasn't there yet.
+1.. you need to break down that collagen in the flat.
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