MMMM.. BRISKET..
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:24 PM   #1
RockyMtnBBQ
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Default Brisket a tad dry today...

So I did my first brisket today on my UDS. Overall, I was very happy with the results. It was tender and flavorful, but it just wasn't as juicy as I was expecting. The ends (esp. in the flat) were a little dry. I figured maybe you guys could give me some advice. I'll try to list as many details as possible.

-Brisket was 11 pound packer from Wal-Mart...no grade was listed on the package
-trimmed some fat off but left a little over 1/4"
-rubbed with yellow mustard and the beef rub off of www.amazingribs.com
-injected with half apple juice, half beer, and some rub
-put on smoker with hickory/pecan chunks at 9pm last night
-Fat side down
-temperature pretty stable between 220-230 although it was a little low (175) when I woke up this morning...I made some adjustments and got it back up to temp
-I did not open the lid at all until about 11 hours in...I had no thermometer so I had to go by how easily a metal skewer went into it. By 15 hours it slid into both the point and flat very easily.
-I pulled and foiled...rested in cooler for one hour and then sliced.

Thanks for the help in advance!
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:49 PM   #2
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How was the interior meat? You mentioned the probe slid in both the point and the flat very easily. Just curious.

I would bump your cooking temps up, but that's because I like to do brisket around 270-275*. If I were to guess from the info you gave, it was too overcooked on the ends, probably burnt even.

Sounds like you had the right idea and followed the plan well. Too bad it didn't work out so good.
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:57 PM   #3
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The interior meat was good, but still not as moist as I was expecting I guess. Are you saying that maybe I cooked it too slowly and possibly too long? Thanks for your help.
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:58 PM   #4
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A pic would help.
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyMtnBBQ View Post
The interior meat was good, but still not as moist as I was expecting I guess. Are you saying that maybe I cooked it too slowly and possibly too long? Thanks for your help.
No, that's not quite what I'm saying, although I am happier at those temps than lower temps. I'll just leave that at that.

Brisket, unlike most other beef roast cuts, does not dry out from overcooking the same way as those other cuts. Brisket, the flat in particular, is loaded with connective tissue. When cooked for an extended period, the heat and the moisture in the meat convert the connective tissue into gelatin, which is soft and is the point at which the brisket changed from being tough to tender. The moisture that was in the meat that helped break down the connective tissue is partially retained in the gelatin, providing the moisture of brisket (and the fat helps too). If the piece of meat did not contain enough moisture prior to cooking to fully break down the connective tissue, then the brisket would simply never become tender. This happens to people every once in a great while, they get a brisket that never gets tender no matter what. Alternatively, if it did have enough moisture, but was simply cooked too long past the point of becoming tender, then basically you start to evaporate the moisture in the gelatin causing it to dry out, and even become a bit more firm (think about the difference between Jello and fruit leathers for example). Usually, by the time this happens (at least for me), the ends of the flat are crispy critters, dried out and hard, but just on the ends. I'm sure eventually the whole thing would dry and burn the same way, but I've never gone that far (ask Shane, he might know).

So, in a nutshell, I'm not necessarily saying you cooked it too long. A brisket is done when it is done. If it was so tender the probe slid in like "butta" (as people like to say), then the meat had proper moisture at the beginning of the cook to at least break down all of the connective tissue. In that case, if parts of it was dry, it was possibly due to evaporation (you would best be able to tell since you cooked it). If it didn't quite get as soft as it could have, then some of the connective tissue remained because the meat never had enough moisture to begin with. In that case, the whole brisket is likely to be on the tougher and drier side.

On the interior meat. If you sliced a piece about the thickness of a pencil, did the meat either fall apart, pull apart with little resistance, or need a tug to pull it apart?
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:16 PM   #6
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Picture attached...
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File Type: jpg brisket.jpg (78.5 KB, 140 views)
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:23 PM   #7
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Sounds and looks like you may have overcooked it. Almost did the same thing to two CAB packers on my drum today.

Low quality meat is easier to fark up IMHO. Get a choice packer and start paying close attention to it at 12 hrs (given your mileage on this one) and you should improve your results. Dang Argentinian beef.
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:27 PM   #8
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Adding- marbling (fat) is the main reason that beef is upgraded. ceteris paribus better marbling means a better end product.

Sam's had Prime briskets for 1.99 a lb this summer and now I am paying 1.94 a lb for CAB BY THE CASE. Good thing it had a FAT flat in it. :)
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:31 PM   #9
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Well, sometimes a pic is hard to read, so forgive me if my interpretation of the picture is not accurate.

Looking at those slices, I honestly don't think the connective tissues fully broke down. Even with a good knife making a clean slice, as the pieces pull away like that as they come to rest, a fully tender brisket will start to have some separation between the grains of the meat. Kind of like the gaps you see int he slices in this pic...


Now, again, sometimes pics are hard to read, lighting or other issues can make details hard to see.

If it is the way I see it in the pic, and it was not fully tender, then I see two possible causes, one less common than the other.

1. (most common) - It just wasn't quite there yet. A bit longer and it would have become even more tender and juicy. It's possible the ends might have become burnt, but it's pretty common for most to toss out the tip of the flat that hangs out a lot of times. It can get pretty cooked.

2. (less common) - The meat was simply not moist enough to cook properly to begin with. Even if you had left it on longer, all that would have happened would be for it to get even drier and even burnt.

You literally could have had either of these options, or maybe even another I simply have not thought about for some dumb reason.

The less common option is pretty uncommon, but does happen sometimes. When it does happen it frustrates the heck out of even the most seasoned pitmasters, and there's not a darn thing you can do to correct it either.
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:41 PM   #10
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I know, crappy picture from my cell phone. Looking at your picture, my brisket definitely did not have any separation between the meat fibers. Maybe I just didn't let it go long enough. I suppose this is one of those things (like everything else bbq) that I will just have to get a feel for. Thank you everybody for all the suggestions and the help!
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:47 PM   #11
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I have found Briskets come out better for me when I smoke them hotter shoot for 275. I don't inject.
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:48 AM   #12
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Get a thermometer. Bigabyte has me questioning my assessment...... but it really could go either way.
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:12 AM   #13
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Yeah,next time I will use a thermometer. I have one, but I had let someone borrow it and forgot it wasn't here. Where do you guys check temp in a brisket...the point, the flat, both?
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:15 AM   #14
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I should also mention that the point was A LOT juicier than the flat. It almost had that bouncy gelatinous consistency of a pork shoulder. Is this always the case or just an indication that maybe I didn't cook it long enough?
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:31 AM   #15
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The point finishes before the flat, so it gets tender and juicy first, followed by the flat. So, it could just be an indication that the flat wasn't quite ready yet. Don't worry about drying out the point by overcooking, it is so full of fat, it will be fine while the flat finishes up.
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