MMMM.. BRISKET..
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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 07-12-2019, 08:21 PM   #1
Flinger
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Default Help!!! Overcooking Brisket!!!

I need help....

Been using a Lang smoker for a few years now. Cook about 4 or 5 briskets a year.

Water pan inside next to fire box. Thermopen regulating both internal meat chamber temperature and meat. Internal temperature is kept between 225 and 240. Oak.

Mustard slather. SPG rub. Meat is room temperature when put in smoker. Sprits w Apple Cider Vinegar periodically once it reaches the stall.

The cook goes well. Last couple of times - it cooks on through the stall without wrapping. A couple of hrs at 170 or so. Then, temperature goes up pretty fast.

Here's the problem - I'm checking temperatures with stick Thermopen. I'm checking for the wiggle. The wiggle in the fat is there. The meat temperature ranges from 178 to 198 - mostly around 180. But, it's wiggling!

Once flat was around 195, took it out and wrapped it in peach butcher paper. 11 hrs cook time at 230 on average for 2 11 pound briskets. 2 hours in the cooler.

Cut. Not juicy. Couldn't pass the "pull test". Meat was dense and dry - except in the point where you can fool anyone.

Taste is perfect. Really good. Great bark. But, just can't get the juicy, melt in your mouth meat deliciousness.

Any suggestions? Am I overcooking? 11 hrs for 2 11 pound briskets? At 230 on average? Really? Am I cutting it wrong? Cross grain on the flat. Perpendicular when reach the 50/50 point of flat and point.

HELP!!!

this is getting too expensive and too little sleep to keep doing this!

What to you recommend?
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:40 PM   #2
Shadowdog500
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I’m not an expert on brisket but what you described almost sounds undercooked.

If it were over cooked it would be falling apart like pot roast. What you described sounds like undercooked. Try going to 203° next time and check for tenderness then. Since I started going to 203° I’ve been rewarded with brisket that probes like butter and is tender and juicy every time.

When you wrap it after the cook let it rest a couple hours before slicing or else it will dry out shortly after slicing.

I always photograph the knife perpendicular to the grain before putting the salt and pepper on. Since I’ve started doing that all of my brisket have been cut properly. Other people will cut the first slice to square off the brisket before seasoning so they know what way to cut.

The point grain does run in a different direction. If you separate the point from the flat after cooking by cutting along the fat line, you can look at the bottom of the point to see the grain before slicing.

Arron Franklin has a YouTube video series on making and slicing brisket.

Chris
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Last edited by Shadowdog500; 07-12-2019 at 08:48 PM..
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:43 PM   #3
Rockinar
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Try wrapping at butcher paper at around the start of the stall around 165-170. That should help a LOT. It will help preserve moisture and protect it from the heat. Dont run naked till you can do wrapped briskets. Wrapped is easier in my opinion.

Also any chance you're UNDER cooking it and you just think you're over cooking it? Almost sounds to me like you're UNDER cooking it.
1) Under cooking it will be dry and chewy. You will have to work your jaw to eat it like a Golden Corral steak.
2) Over cooked it will be dry and crumbly/brittle. It will fall apart in a bad way when you try to slice it. You wont really be able to get good slices.

Ignore the point 100%.

There is no "jiggle/wiggle test" that will tell you anything or be any help. All briskets have fat and will jiggle/wiggle. That does not mean its cooked.


Purchase Aaron Franklin's Masterclass and follow his advice. Its really good.

Also you have a reverse flow. Water pan does not go on firebox end, it goes on the opposite end.

Last edited by Rockinar; 07-12-2019 at 08:49 PM..
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:51 PM   #4
Flinger
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Thanks folks...

Maybe it is under cooked. Hum... but the Wiggle was there! - Having said that, the meat temp varied. In one spot, temp was around 202. But, most was in the 180s. And, I was trying to move the brisket around about every 30 minutes the last couple of hours to get a more even cook.

I used to wrap at the stall at 165 with peach paper. Maybe I just need to go back to that.

The last couple of times, I pulled it off in the 190's with some areas in the low 200's, wrapped it, and put it in the cooler for a couple of hours.

Thanks for the water pan suggestion and I do have Franklin's book. But, the ending of these cooks are nuanced for me and i seem to be blowing it. Earlier this year - I did over cook it and it was crumbly. Maybe I need to find the center line....

This is so frustrating...
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:55 PM   #5
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When you say 203... where? all of it? once you get a reading at 203 when other parts are still lower?
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:57 PM   #6
Shadowdog500
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I agree with Rockinar. Look up anything you can find on Arron Franklin. I have his book and used his YouTube series to get my brisket better. I haven’t taken his masterclass, but I bet it would be money well spent.

The other thing I just noticed was your pit temp. Arron recommends 250 in one source and 275 in another. I just use 250 but know that anywhere in that range will be good.

If you still have the tough brisket. Try simmering it in beef broth. My wife saved several of my early attempts(that were also undercooked) that way.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flinger View Post
When you say 203... where? all of it? once you get a reading at 203 when other parts are still lower?
I always put the probe tip in the thickest part of the meat. Once it hits 203 I use the temp probe to probe the rest of the meat for tenderness before pulling it. The 203° was originally told to me by a BBQ shop that made excellent brisket. Last summer Big Moe Cason said the same exact number when I took his cooking class. Some here don’t agree with the number, but in my limited experience it has been working for me.

Here is a photo
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:02 PM   #8
Flinger
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I guess I assumed lower and slower is better... I did the pit at 250 to 275 last year. Perhaps its back to 250 and longer - until meat temp at 203 after wrapping at 165.

And, I assume 203 means pretty much wherever I poke the meat with the Thermopen...
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:04 PM   #9
Rockinar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flinger View Post
Thanks folks...

Maybe it is under cooked. Hum... but the Wiggle was there! - Having said that, the meat temp varied. In one spot, temp was around 202. But, most was in the 180s. And, I was trying to move the brisket around about every 30 minutes the last couple of hours to get a more even cook.


This is so frustrating...


180's would be severely undercooked under any circumstance.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flinger View Post

And, I assume 203 means pretty much wherever I poke the meat with the Thermopen...


203 means the thickest part of the flat, which is basically the center of the brisket.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:09 PM   #11
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Well - here's what i remember and what I mean... temperatures were all over the place. While a lot was in the 180's, one probe was around 202. So, i start to panic a little. What do I do? Keep cooking or take off because one section is in the 200's - and it has the wiggle. But, I went ahead and kept it on the last couple of times. The flat portion moved pretty fast from the 180's to around 195. With other parts in the low 200's and everything else showing in the 190's - I pulled it and wrapped thinking I didn't want to over cook it.

But, it seems I've been fooled and it was really undercooked.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:13 PM   #12
Flinger
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Sooo, I'm cooking one next weekend... here's my thinking:

Same approach with the following changes...

Put probe in thickest part of the flat. Cook at 250. Wrap at 165. At 203, check for tenderness by probing to assure "butter like" characteristic. If tender all over, place in ice chest for 2 hours. cut and serve at 140 or so.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flinger View Post
Sooo, I'm cooking one next weekend... here's my thinking:

Same approach with the following changes...

Put probe in thickest part of the flat. Cook at 250. Wrap at 165. At 203, check for tenderness by probing to assure "butter like" characteristic. If tender all over, place in ice chest for 2 hours. cut and serve at 140 or so.
I don't think you need to wrap at 165, you could probably wrap when you are happy with the bark. I'd also say that if you go from the cooker to the ice chest then it will be way longer than two hours before you are at 140.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:18 PM   #14
Shadowdog500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flinger View Post
Well - here's what i remember and what I mean... temperatures were all over the place. While a lot was in the 180's, one probe was around 202. So, i start to panic a little. What do I do? Keep cooking or take off because one section is in the 200's - and it has the wiggle. But, I went ahead and kept it on the last couple of times. The flat portion moved pretty fast from the 180's to around 195. With other parts in the low 200's and everything else showing in the 190's - I pulled it and wrapped thinking I didn't want to over cook it.

But, it seems I've been fooled and it was really undercooked.
I always take the temp at the thickest part of whatever I’m cooking. If you probe in different place you are going to get different temps. The heat travels from the outside-in so there is a temperature gradient that is higher near the surface of the meat and coolest at the center of the meat. All you are interested in is the center of the meat. This is why the meat temperature at the center actually increases after you pull it from the cooker. Hot always goes to cold. When the meat temps starts to equalize after the cook the heat from the outer parts of the meat goes to cooler parts near the center of the meat.

Chris
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Last edited by Shadowdog500; 07-12-2019 at 09:24 PM..
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:19 PM   #15
Shadowdog500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flinger View Post
Sooo, I'm cooking one next weekend... here's my thinking:

Same approach with the following changes...

Put probe in thickest part of the flat. Cook at 250. Wrap at 165. At 203, check for tenderness by probing to assure "butter like" characteristic. If tender all over, place in ice chest for 2 hours. cut and serve at 140 or so.
Sounds like a plan! I don’t wrap mine, but a lot of people do.

I also do fat side up in my smoker.
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Last edited by Shadowdog500; 07-12-2019 at 09:31 PM..
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