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Competition BBQ *On Topic Only* Discussion regarding all aspects of Competition BBQ. Experiences competing or visiting, questions, getting started, Equipment, announcements of events, Results, Reviews, Planning, etc. Questions here will be responded to with competition BBQ in mind.

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Old 09-02-2013, 08:34 PM   #1
Theresa B
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Join Date: 07-24-11
Location: Virginia Beach,VA
Thumbs down Brisket Hell

Did another brisket test run today. Extremely disappointed. 14lb (largest I could get) prime from a local butcher. Injected w/Butchers BBQ injection. Seasoned with Chris Harts BBQ Beef rub. Cooked on WSM, 250 degrees, smoked til 170, wrapped and added Harts Beef marinade. Wrapped tightly til reached 203. Vented 15 min. Rested 1 hr. Flat was thin, tough and dry. The point came out good and burnt ends were pretty good but not over the top special. Any pointers would be appreciated.
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:51 PM   #2
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Forget the magic temp and go by how it probes....
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:55 PM   #3
somebody shut me the fark up.

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Thin is hard to control, that is happening with briskets. Tough and dry, that sounds underdone, if it sliced well, then definitely undercooked. If it fell apart, then over-cooked. Sounds like the process is correct and should work, just need to cook it longer.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:21 PM   #4
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A thin flat is hard to keep moist. You could always trim the end of the flat a little so it won't be so thin. Personally I don't like adding any fluids at any time. Watered down Worcestershire sauce is OK for an occasional spritz.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:25 PM   #5
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Location: Northern, Indiana

I'm at a loss! I did the exact same recipe this weekend and it was the best brisket I've ever made (a little too salty, but that's an easy fix...lighten up on the Dalmatian rub)

Wish I could help you...maybe give it one more shot. Other than salt, I thought the flavor was dynamite...and I happened to nail the tenderness. Good luck!!
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:45 PM   #6
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Cook, cook, cook, and then cook 80 more. Briskets are tough to pin down but once you get it and understand it you will be golden.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:52 PM   #7
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Join Date: 02-27-12
Location: Orange County, California

Don't be discouraged! When you fall off a horse, you've got to get up and keep riding. Brisket is a muse that defeats, and excites us all! I have come to the realization that every cow is different when it comes to brisket. You just don't know until you've cooked it properly (+1 on feel, not temp). My belief is that you can buy 2 briskets from the same place, same brand, same grade, cook them the same exact way, and 1 will be much better than the other - or maybe the same . That's the beauty of Competition BBQ. 1 part skill, 1 part good luck from the BBQ Gods. Once you've nailed brisket, you'll realize that sometimes, the brisket, though you bought the "best" just didn't have it in it's soul to be a performer - cows are like people, some are bad athletes, some are decent athletes, some are good athletes, some are great athletes, and some are amazing - top 1% athletes. When you go to your meat supplier, you don't know which cow you're getting......

Having said that........The top BBQ Teams in the U.S. can take any brisket and make it Competition worthy just about every time, regardless of the earlier conditions. THAT is where the 50% skill is HUGE! Here in Southern California, we have "Left Coast Q" that continually wins GC's, and seems to be untouchable! They are that top 1%. However on their last cook, the brisket muse failed them miserably, and cost them what was sure to be a G.C. My assumption is that they nailed their routine, however the cow was just a C+ player.

So, in summation:

Brisket is a worthy, and mysterious Muse. BBQ wouldn't be where it is today if she wasn't. Don't give up on her, because eventually you will see her in all of her glory, and you will continually seek that same mountain top experience......again, and again, and again......
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:09 PM   #8
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Wet aging makes for more tender meat (at least in my mind!)
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:08 AM   #9
Diesel Dave
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Stark-O-Rama is dead on with the comments about the actual cow.
I raise cattle, some for slaughter, and I can tell you that there are a few I send to market instead of butchering for family and friends. They are just not performers as stated.
It's an amazing point that it really depends on how the slaughter happens. A distressed animal will have alot of adrenalin and the meat isn't for crap! Dry, tough and tastes "bad" no matter what you do to it.
If you have a local butcher or meat processor, I'd recommend shopping there. The one we have locally is about 2-3X the price for meat but it's well worth it when your Q turns out tender and full of delicious goodness.
Keep at it I'm sure you'll get it down and have that brisket you're looking for.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:58 AM   #10
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Join Date: 03-22-11
Location: Frisco, TX

Interesting I saw this post this morning, as I was going to post a similar "brisket hell" question. This last weekend at a contest I could tell at 4:30 a.m. the brisket sucked. It was like shoe leather already, and I was in full on salvage mode before I even wrapped. It was just one of those briskets........at least in my mind.........and I made mental notes as to the how thin the flat was, ect.... HOPING to gain some knowledge from the process, to use for the next time.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:26 AM   #11
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Old 09-03-2013, 03:09 PM   #12
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I was a bit confused with the one I cooked last weekend. Took longer than normal to get to probe tender, and shrunk 50% or more. Flat ended up so thin that one judge actually asked why only half slices!

Still, was moist, maybe a little less than I was shooting for, and passed a pull test well, and it took 4th, so not disappointed, just surprised. Have not seen that much "shrinkage" ever before!
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:51 PM   #13
Theresa B
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Join Date: 07-24-11
Location: Virginia Beach,VA

Thank you all for your input. I am getting the briskets from a local butcher...$4.69lb, I can't seem to wrap my head around the idea that the way this came out (dry & tough) that it was under cooked. It didn't probe well when I pulled it. I have a large (expensive) pot of brisket chili in my future.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:05 PM   #14
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I have found that when shopping at local butchers, you need to really inquire as to the origin of the meat. Some butchers will sell the same packers from IBP, Excel, Swift, National Beef, etc..., that you would find in the RD or grocery stores. The butcher that I go to sometimes will sell brisket from their own raised cows, but I need to call and request this weeks in advance. That said, I have purchased one of their own and it was not any better, but then of course, I probably cooked it wrong.

Now, their steaks are a different story. I can smell the difference when grilling them and most importantly, taste the difference. Much better!

Also, I wrap briskets earlier than 170.


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Old 09-03-2013, 09:45 PM   #15
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Maintaining 250* throughout the cook, or are you having issues with the temp spiking and/or dropping?
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