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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 05-31-2004, 12:35 PM   #1
Graytwhyte
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Default tough brisket

Hello, I am new to the site and still consider myself a novice at smoking. I bought a Brinkmann Smoke King Deluxe about a month ago and am enjoying it so far. I did my first cook yesterday, a 5 pound Brisket, and the end result was not so great. I used lump charcoal and hickory wood chunks. I cooked it for about 7 hours with temps pretty consistently around 220. After I brought it in from the smoker I wrapped it in foil with about two cups of mop, and cooked it in the oven for another 3 hours at 200. Well, I unwrapped the foil and the ends were tender, but the inside was still pretty tough. Not sure what I did wrong? Thanks for any input, Timbo.
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Unread 05-31-2004, 12:41 PM   #2
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Timbo, welcome to the group.

my first thought is not enough heat, but 7 hours at 220 and 3 more at 200 should do it assuming you are measuring temp on the same level as the brisket, and that your thermometer is accurate.

next is how was it sliced? you want to slice against the grain, not as easy as it sounds, cuz the grain on a brisket will make many twist and turns. Ya gotta reorient it every now and again make sure you got it the right way.

I am sure others will chime in with there thoughts too.

good luck and welcome aboard.

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Unread 05-31-2004, 12:53 PM   #3
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What part of Illinois are you from?
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Unread 05-31-2004, 01:00 PM   #4
Graytwhyte
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I bought one of those digital therms and I put it on the rack with the brisket. Checked it in boiling water before using and checked out fine. I did my best at slicing against the grain, but like mook said it takes alot of twists and turns. and for Parrothead, I am in Central, IL.
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Unread 05-31-2004, 02:32 PM   #5
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You did not say what size brisket? A large (12lb) brisket can take 12- 15 hours or more to fully cook. Also what was the temp of the meat when you took it off the smoker and when it came out of the oven?

2 cups of mop sounds like alot. Was it warm when you added it? If not it may have caused the meat temp to go down when you poured it on. The more liquid you have the more heat it takes to get your brisket up to temp.
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Unread 05-31-2004, 02:50 PM   #6
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Rule of thumb for brisket is hour to hour:15 per lb at 220. Your 5lber went 10 hours(2 hours/lb).

A 5 lb brisket sounds like a market trimmed flat. Assuming thats what it was, your times were definately on the long side. How thick was the fatcap on the slaB? id it was thin, you gotta lay some bacon or porkfat over the top. When u remove it, the internal temp of the brisket should be no less than 195.. i take mine to a few degrees over 200 internally, then towel wrap it and cooler it for a bit. Also, what were your expectations? A flat will never get buttery tender like the nose and point, it will always me a little more firm to the teeth.

Also, 2 cups of mop is a bunch!! When i wrap mine, i spray it down enough to be good and wet, but it sure aint swimming. Is it possible that you were overcooked and dried out?


When your cookin, you can do the fork test. Stick a for in it and twist it, if it twists easy, its done, if it puts up a fight, you got more to go.. but internal temps. Take out at 195-205, wrap in a towel and let it rest for an hour or 3.

hey... keep this in mind... for your first cook, you took on the most challenging hunk of meat. Birds and butts are more forgiving. Took me over a dozen full briskets probably close to 2 to get it to braggin rights. If ya really want to try a brisket again, try to get a full packer cut. Those trimmed points dont give you a lot of leeway.
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Unread 05-31-2004, 06:35 PM   #7
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Timbo,
Shucks, I thought I was going to get a chance to contribute, for once.
All the guys above hit it on the head!

My first Brisket was also tough (a bit). I cooked too fast (230-250 degrees).
Should have used 200-225 for beef.
I foiled at 160 degrees meat temp, then finished in oven at 250 oven temp. Should have been 225 or so in oven. Finished way too quick.
I pulled from oven at 195 internal temp, wrapped in towel and placed on counter while dropping to 160. Took an hour. Should have put in cooler to conserve heat and further break down "thingies" in the meat.
End result was a tasty (but chewey) brisket with a 1/4 inch smoke ring.
Not bad for 1st try--but not right!!!

2nd try--to die for!!
Got cooking temp down. Wrapped in foil at 170. In oven at 225 oven temp, removed at 200 meat temp, wrapped in towel and put in cooler down to 150 meat temp. Tender--Moist--1/2 inch smoke ring. I'll work at it, but gonna be hard to get better than this!!

Just my thoughts!
Enjoy.
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Unread 05-31-2004, 09:39 PM   #8
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Biggest rule, measure internal temp and do not pay attention to the clock.
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Unread 05-31-2004, 10:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parrothead
Biggest rule, measure internal temp and do not pay attention to the clock.
Can't agree with parrot more. I learned that lesson this weekend. internal temp is very important.
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Unread 06-01-2004, 09:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parrothead
Biggest rule, measure internal temp and do not pay attention to the clock.

Absolutely, I did a 10 #er on Friday and after about 12 hours couldn't really get the temp past 184. Had so much food I didn't even get to the brisket until yesterday. I took it, set the oven at 200 and left it there for 4 hours. Turned out about perfect.

Briskets are a little like women, you think you've got 'em figured out, then you'd swear you've never met them.
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Unread 06-01-2004, 11:30 AM   #11
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Timbo,

The rest gave you the best information that you could have gotten. A couple of weeks ago I did 60lbs and about 10 pounds were unfit for humans, so I gave it to my son-in-law and his friends. They did get it down but not without alot of beer. Sometimes the meat is just too tough.
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Unread 06-01-2004, 12:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: tough brisket

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graytwhyte
............ Well, I unwrapped the foil and the ends were tender, but the inside was still pretty tough. Not sure what I did wrong? Thanks for any input, Timbo.

I had similar results with my first brisket. I won`t be able to help with suggestions to do another one (I have`nt tried another since). But, I can tell you to chop up your dried leftovers, put it in a sauce pan with taco seasoning and add some hot jalapeneo`s or habanero`s plus water. Let simmer for a couple of hours, keeping the mixture a little on the thin side.

The meat will rehydrate and you`ll have the best damn tacos/borritos you could imagine. I practically fell of my kitchen chair!
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Unread 06-01-2004, 05:10 PM   #13
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My list of things for preventing tough, dry meat (in general, but applicable to q-ing)

1. Bring meat up to room temp before cooking

2. Sear meat before cooking: Use a veryvery hot oven (500 degrees or so) OR Fry on all the sides on the stovetop in hot grease OR immerse in a fat fryer (I will be trying this for a brisket in the future)

3. Do not Salt before or during cooking

4. Keep temps below 210, even lower when possible/practical, but at least 160.

5. Use a moist heat.

6. Avoid forks or other piercing instruments while cooking or resting, as the juices will leak.

7. Wrap the meat tightly after cooking in film or foil and bring them temp down slowly

8. "Lard" the lean cuts (that is lay some fat, like bacon, over the lean parts) when cooking.

9. Let the meat "rest" at room temp for at least half an hour before slicing

10. slice at an angle, rather than straight up and down. Instead of 90 degrees, hold the blade at about 75-80 degrees. This will help cut through more of the grain.
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Unread 06-01-2004, 06:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
2nd try--to die for!!
Got cooking temp down. Wrapped in foil at 170. In oven at 225 oven temp, removed at 200 meat temp, wrapped in towel and put in cooler down to 150 meat temp. Tender--Moist--1/2 inch smoke ring. I'll work at it, but gonna be hard to get better than this!!
Much better than I've ever done........Congrats!!!!!!!
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Unread 06-01-2004, 06:23 PM   #15
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This has mentioned before but brisket selection is also important - there are just tough ones out there. Trying to think of a key word to search the site for how to pick a good one - "brisket" is going to get too many hits. Anyone remember the thread?

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