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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 06-07-2011, 02:40 AM   #1
Two Bears
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Default Lets talk a little - Bark -

So I did a brisket Sunday on the new 500 gallon reverse flow smoker and when it was about 4 hours in the cook it made 160 so I foiled until she broke 200.

My question is this, I did not have much if any bark on the brisket. It had a lot of color to it and the smoke ring was very good but no bark.
Keep in mind that this is the second cook on this smoker BUT I am used to getting good bark on the brisket and butts.
Is this normal for reverse flow designs? Should I let her buck without foil longer next time to see if it takes on the bark?

The temps were at 250 for most all of the cook and used hickory for wood.
Any ideas or thoughts on the bark??

Here is the only picture of the brisket sliced.
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Unread 06-07-2011, 02:49 AM   #2
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I am no pro by any means but I do have some questions that quickly come to mind. First, What cut of brisket is that? That seems to be a lot of fat on the top or is the flat upside down? Second, you got to 160* in four hours cooking at 250*? That really seems like you were either cooking hotter than you though or it was not that hot. Regardless, I have found that brisket is resilient and can go without foil even in hot temps as long as you have a low sugar rub.
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Unread 06-07-2011, 05:14 AM   #3
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Try removing it from the foil a bit earlier and returning it to the smoker to firm up the bark.
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Unread 06-07-2011, 07:59 AM   #4
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I agree with several points here. Judging from the fat content and the texture of the fat (Yes--- I can tell) the brisket was not properly cooked. Academically it was cooked certainly, but not properly.

First, you either need to adjust your cooking to melt that fat more (flip fat down [depending on equipment], higher temp after the ring set, longer coast) and or trim off some off some of the white fat especially in that zone where it all is. Second, with that much fat, what the heck do you need to foil it that soon if at all.

Finally, we need to know whats in the rub you use. Do you want to have an artificial bark, one that's made with sugar, or a real one, one that's set by heat and smoke and salt on the meat?

The sugar method by the way is not being knocked here, the artificial method has been used with success and accolades in some regions. Some regions' taste buds prefer the sugar laden barks, mostly because they end up glazing it with sauce anyway. Or do you want to gave a traditional, natural and genuine bark - like a German/Czech - which also is popular in some regions - especially where cattle come from - but are not shipped too.

Its a hard decision to make - so since your real close to funkytown in Minnesota, I would start with traditional (thereby nearly guaranteeing you will have a brisket unlike any other) then practice the sugary way until you reach a nice regional balance.
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Unread 06-07-2011, 01:17 PM   #5
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Yes it was untrimmed - I will trim the next one...Also it was a full packer.
It was at 250 - I just calibrated the thermometer at work before the cook and she is dead nuts.
I think I will do the next one like you say no foil and see what we get but it worries me about it being tough.
The rub has no sugar but uses garlic, salt, cayane pepper, black pepper, greek seasoning. One thing that I did differently wasx that I did not use apple juice, just water butter and rub in the pan.

Is it ok to run it hotter and still get a moist and tender brisket?
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Unread 06-07-2011, 02:06 PM   #6
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I have an RF and I have no trouble getting nice bark. As a rub I use Kosher Salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and granulated garlic. I foil at 160 and as the brisket is close to being done in the foil I remove from foil and return to smoker uncovered, I cook them at 225 to 250 leave it uncovered and remove when done. The bark always comes out just right IMO. I do however trim the packers of a majority of the heavy white fat.
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Unread 06-07-2011, 02:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Bears View Post
Yes it was untrimmed - I will trim the next one...Also it was a full packer.
Trimming is not the most important thing. The fat should melt away during a long cook. How long was the total cook? I still have trouble seeing a full packer getting to 160* in 4 hours at 250* cooking temp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Bears View Post
One thing that I did differently wasx that I did not use apple juice, just water butter and rub in the pan.
Hmm, water, butter and rub in a pan? Are you boiling it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Bears View Post
Is it ok to run it hotter and still get a moist and tender brisket?
Sure. In my UDS I usually cook brisket anywhere from 300-350 because I have better things to do than sit around for 18 hours
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Unread 06-07-2011, 02:20 PM   #8
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Are you sure your thermeter was correct that don't look like 200 degree brisket
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Unread 06-07-2011, 03:14 PM   #9
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Foil and cooking in a pan with alot of liquid would explain alot here.
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Unread 06-07-2011, 03:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Foil and cooking in a pan with alot of liquid would explain alot here.
Yeah, kinda what I am thinking.

Or, it could be a defective cooker. I see you aren't too far away. I bet if you brought up here and dropped it off for the summer I could probably get the kinks worked out for ya.
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Unread 06-07-2011, 03:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Bears View Post

Is it ok to run it hotter and still get a moist and tender brisket?
I agree with a few other posters here.
I can say with full confidence that we cook our brisket @ 300-350 degrees and usually have it off the smoker in 4-5 hours.
We let it rest for another few hours - and we have had tremendous success with that hot n' fast method.
I cannot remember the last time I had an extra 18 hours to kill
Good luck.....
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Unread 06-08-2011, 03:59 AM   #12
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I only used bout a .75 cup of water, enough to dilute th rub in the bottom of the pan.
I calibrate thermometers every day at work , my thermometer is right on.
The cook was 6 hours total, foiled at 160*at the 4 hour mark.
There was a ton of grease in the pan when it was done.
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Unread 06-08-2011, 05:13 AM   #13
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Just curious, why foil? The only time I foil is to speed up the cooking process because I didn't time it right & I'm behind sched. My advice is, try to give yourself enough time & don't foil at all.
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Unread 06-08-2011, 07:13 AM   #14
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I've been cooking briskets for 4 decades and I believe it's totally ok to foil. I've run into the plateau so many times that I regularly foil @ 155-160. But I don't leave it foiled to the end. As soon as the brisky moves through the plateau range the foil comes off for the rest of the cook and the bark sets up really nicely.
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Unread 06-08-2011, 08:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Bears View Post
I only used bout a .75 cup of water, enough to dilute th rub in the bottom of the pan.
I calibrate thermometers every day at work , my thermometer is right on.
The cook was 6 hours total, foiled at 160*at the 4 hour mark.
There was a ton of grease in the pan when it was done.
I don't know what to say. Cooking a whole packer in 6 hours at 250* seems impossible to me.
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