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Having trouble getting a tender flat.

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    Having trouble getting a tender flat.

    Hi all!

    This is my first post here as I recently joined. I have cooked several times on my PBC so far doing different things. All of them turn out well (ribs, chicken, pork) except for the brisket (flat).

    The one thing I have trouble with is the flat. I buy prime flats from a local meat market and they are usually between 8 and 10 lbs. I don't do anything to them besides some olive oil and rub before I cook them.

    The way I have been cooking them is to hang them for about 3.5 to 4 hours until they hit around 160/165 and then wrapping them in foil with half a cup of light beer. I then cook them usually another hour to hour and a half until it hits 203 to 205 at the thickest point. I then wrap it in a towels and drop it into a cooler for about an hour and a half before serving.

    Both times everyone has agreed it tastes great! But we all also agree that they were not very tender. It wasn't super tough, but it didn't pull apart and you needed a fork and knife.

    I'm looking for some help to get them tender. Do I need to cook it longer before wrapping it? Or after wrapping it? Do I have to pull the meat at 203? Anything I am doing wrong?

    I've read through several pages of forum posts but didn't find something specific to this. If I missed it, feel free to link it to me.


    Once you come off the hooks, I would cook on the grate(fat cap down first) until both sides are plenty dark and barked up.

    I would also trim the fat cap down to 1/8-1/4" thick if it is much thicker than that.

    Once you get bark, wrap (fat cap down), and take to probe tender or 205. Then rest for at least 2 hours and it stays pretty hot. You don't want a lot of empty air space in the cooler.

    Are you dry brining at all????
    Last edited by Jerod Broussard; August 20, 2015, 05:23 PM.


      I smoked a prime brisket a couple of weeks ago on my PBC, and it was tender, moist and delicious. I almost couldn't believe it was brisket, it was that tender and moist.

      I agree with Jerod ( Jerod Broussard ), that you have to dry brine the brisket. Especially if you don't choose to inject, which is Jerod's method--no injections, no how.

      But not for me. I'm of the "more is more" philosophy. I dry brine and also inject with phosphates (salt-free) from Butcher's BBQ Phosphate (if I've already dry-brined and just want to add the insurance of moisture and tenderness) or I don't dry-brine but "wet brine by injection" using Butcher's Original Brisket Injection or Butchers Prime Brisket Injection. As Meathead says, you may or may not like the idea of injecting brisket, but these guys at Butcher BBQ win prizes and so do those who use their products on brisket.

      If I have a prime brisket, I just dry rub with salt and inject with the Butcher BBQ Phosphate product. But for a select or choice or "premium choice" (that's what Fresh Market calls it) I use Butcher's Original or Butcher's Prime. Remember that if you use the latter two products, laden with salt, you would not dry brine the meat.

      Here's what Meathead says about injecting:

      Many BBQ champs use commercial products such as Butcher BBQ Brisket Marinade whose ingredient lists include flavor enhancers monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast extract, disodium inosinate, and guanylate. Papaya extract tenderizes, sodium phosphate is good at improving the ability of proteins to hold water during heat stress, and xanthan gum is added as an emulsifier to hold them all together for injecting uniformity. Some traditionalists think this is way too Barry Bonds. But Butcher's Blends win trophies, and I've tasted the product and been impressed.

      So I follow the recommendations of our Peerless Feeder, er, fearless leader, Meathead, and choose to inject briskets.



        Jerod - I do trim the fat down to 1/4 to 1/8 inch. I have never done a dry brine but am certainly game for trying it.

        Kathryn - I am not opposed to injecting, I don't really have a though on it one way or another. To minimize variables I will probably try a run with doing the dry brining. And then a second run doing both.

        Thank you both for your feedback and I will update this thread after I get a chance to give it another go. Which I hope is this weekend.


          I have done a few flats, and all came out really well, and very tender and juicy. The only thing different between yours and my cooks is (as mentioned above) dry brining, and I also cooked smaller flats, more in the 6 lb range.



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