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Brisket Flat Overcooked Or Undercooked?

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    Brisket Flat Overcooked Or Undercooked?

    I'm still working on my brisket (which is the apex BBQ). My last brisket came out relatively well, but not exceptional. The point was excellent, the burnt ends were near perfect, but the flat was a bit dry, and a bit chalky by comparison. I can't tell if it's overdone, or if it's underdone.

    I had a massive brisket and did an 18 hour cook followed by a 12 hour rest in a faux cambro. The cook was done in a Primo Oval XL (with ceramic deflectors underneath). Temperatures were monitored and regulated using my Fireboard control and a BBQ Guru Pitbull fan. Interestingly enough, I never saw any sign of a stall. Check out my graph:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Fireboard.png Views:	94 Size:	11.2 KB ID:	1046662

    I wrapped in butcher paper at about 180F (it got there way too quickly, and I didn't feel that the bark was completely set), and I placed the wrapped brisket in an aluminum foil boat. Once it reached almost 200 degrees internal, I began to worry, so I pulled the heat back to about 215F, causing the last 3 or 4 degrees to take a few additional hours. Over the course of the cook, I poked different places in the brisket to try and find colder spots, making them my new reference points. You can see a few little jumps in the graph. When I removed it from the grill, the internal temperature in the coldest part of the brisket was showing about 203.8F, with reasonable overall jiggle.

    After scouring some message boards, most people are saying that the thermometer probe should always be positioned in the thickest part of the flat. I'll try to do that next time. At any rate, the flat was pull apart tender, but it just wasn't nearly as pleasant as the point (either texture or flavor). How can I tell the difference between overdone and underdone flat? Should I have left it in the grill longer, or should I have taken it out sooner? Should I have gone even lower with my temps? What do you guys use as your reference point?

    --- AS AN ASIDE ---
    How are you guys reheating your brisket the next day? I just recently bought the Anova Precision Oven, which has steam and sous vide modes among other things. Would it be better to heat up a hunk of brisket in that on a wet setting, or would it be best to slice my brisket first and then zap it in the microwave for a few seconds with a teaspoon of water covered in plastic wrap?

    I will probably try doing a hybrid brisket in that thing (sous vide mode) and compare results next week.

    -- edit ---
    To address some of the comments, I wanted to clarify:
    * The brisket was a USDA Prime packer from Costco. I can't remember exactly how many pounds it was before I trimmed it, but it was an $85 cut, and quite large relatively speaking.
    * I salted it quite liberally and added an additional rub made of fresh, coarsely ground coriander, black peppercorns, and garlic powder. I let it sit for 24 hours with this rub before cooking it. I will admit, however, that it could have used even more salt despite the generous amount that I used along the entire outside.
    Last edited by coreyo; June 17, 2021, 05:38 PM.

    #2
    I have no brisket wisdom to impart; however, Jacob Burton has a lot of good content on the Anova in his recent podcasts. You can find them at the Stella Culinary website.

    Rob

    Comment


      #3
      The worst thing to do with a flat is compare it to a point. I reheat in foil at 300 (250 convection oven) until 165 internal. When cooking for large groups I have to cook quite a few briskets ahead of time and just reheat them the day of serving.

      If I'm going to reheat for serving I do not hold them in a Cambro after the smoke, I just let them sit at room temperature until they are down to 135-internal, then go to the freezer until cold to the touch, and then to the refrigerator.

      Comment


      • Ahumadora
        Ahumadora commented
        Editing a comment
        What he said . If the flat is pull apart tender is wasn't over or undercooked. Maybe just a knarly old steer...

      • coreyo
        coreyo commented
        Editing a comment
        Or maybe it actually WAS overcooked? I probably need to learn to cook according to the flat and ignore the point. My only reservation was that it could have been more "jiggly" wrt the wubba wubba test. It still jiggled quite a bit, but not as much as I've seen in gratuitous YouTube videos.
        Last edited by coreyo; June 17, 2021, 05:40 PM.

      #4
      Temping the thickest part of the flat is pretty much the go to method. As Jarod said, the flat and the point are two very different pieces of meat, and it's not really fair to compare the two. I highly recommend the hybrid method for brisket. I use it exclusively, and see no reason to change.

      Comment


        #5
        You got some serious "brisketing" going on.
        I seem to have a good brisket when I leave the fat in the au jus to baste the slices and burnt ends.

        Comment


          #6
          You can't compare the taste, texture, juiciness, whatever of the flat and the point. Although they are part of the same named cut, i.e. a brisket, they are 2 very different pieces of meat. Think about them like this, until the cow is butchered, every piece of meat is part of the same "cut", i.e. the cow, but there's a huge difference between what will become the rib eye and what will become a flank.

          Comment


            #7
            To clarify, if you can't chew or pull the flat apart, it ain't done. Anything crumbly and falling apart is plenty done.

            Sometimes the thickest part of the flat ain't the toughest. I never trust my leave in probe as final say.

            Cooking a full packer, ignore the point, get the flat to probe tender or 203. If it ain't probe tender at 203 I just wrap and pop in a 170 oven for at least 2-3 hours. I'd rather use a hot hold to eek out the rest of the tenderness, rather than beat it with more smoker heat.

            Comment


              #8
              coreyo what I don't see in your post is where you were monitoring the brisket. You should always monitor the thickest part of the FLAT, not the point. The point will get to temperature much quicker than the flat in my experience, but it can also handle higher temperatures. I monitor my brisket in the thickest part of the flat, avoiding the deckle - the layer of fat between flat and point.

              I feel that your flat was not done. Don't take it off the cooker before the entire thing probes and feels like warm butter. Next time you may want to increase the cooking temperature to get there faster too, if that helps.

              I've never held the brisket longer than 5-6 hours, but as long as you can hold it above 140F, a longer hold is fine.

              One last thought - you never said what grade of meat this brisket was. I usually do USDA prime briskets. I suppose its possible to have a tough flat on a lower grade brisket, but I'll assume for now you had good meat to start with.

              Comment


              • Jerod Broussard
                Jerod Broussard commented
                Editing a comment
                The flat was pull apart tender, it was in the smoker for18 hours, and was in a faux cambro for 12 hours. I'm 100% positive it was tender.

              • coreyo
                coreyo commented
                Editing a comment
                I finished the brisket just after midnight, did the full faux cambro thing (i.e. filled a small cooler with boiling water, let it sit for a bit, then dumped it out, placed two thick towels in the bottom, put the brisket in (wrapped in new butchers paper lined with smoked tallow), then put two more thick towels on top of it and kept it shut for 12 hours. I let the brisket internal temp go down to 185F before placing it in the cambro. When I pulled it out, it was still pretty warm.

              #9
              I know that the flat and point will inherently have different characteristics, but my point is that if the flat always comes out like this, I'd rather just cook the point and save money on the flat. I'm pretty sure that we can do better. Since the flat could be pulled apart relatively easily with my fingers, I'm leaning towards maybe it was overcooked a bit? One of the corners on the back under the point was definitely dried out and overcooked ... but that might just be a section that I should have trimmed off from the beginning. I cooked the entire brisket flat-side down, fat-cap side up, rotating the brisket by 180 degrees about 4x throughout the cook. The flat was technically closest to the heat, although I had the ceramic plates underneath and pressed firmly together ... I haven't done any temperature readings to see if it's significantly hotter over the deflectors or around the edges. At any rate, here's a video showing the texture of the flat and point respectively. Maybe some of you will know by sight:

              Flat: https://photos.app.goo.gl/YRA5HJ8gfysEEEfY8

              Flat + Point: https://photos.app.goo.gl/kSx2YrMwEouDXocw6

              For the record, my 2 and a half year old daughter that you can hear in the background devoured that brisket and threw a tantrum when she couldn't have more today before her nap. I promised her it would be ready when she woke up.
              Last edited by coreyo; June 17, 2021, 03:17 PM.

              Comment


                #10
                I serve a lot of sliced flat from Select briskets and they do alright. Some folks prefer a lean piece of meat with ZERO fat.

                I make sure and dry brine 2-3 days; I use a complicated rub with 12 ingredients; I focus on bark bark bark; I make sure to leave 1/8-1/4 fat cap under the flat so it's there for whomever wants it; and I'm not afraid to chop up dry stuff that people can add sauce to.

                Comment


                • coreyo
                  coreyo commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I ALWAYS ask for the fatty cuts. Not sure why anyone would want the lean stuff, but I hear you. People be crazy. My wife wants the lean cuts for some reason ... I think some people are indoctrinated at a young age to think that fat is bad for you, or "gross" for some reason. I wonder if this doesn't stem from misinformation spread decades ago that is hard to shake... anyway off of my soapbox.
                  Last edited by coreyo; June 17, 2021, 05:35 PM.

                #11
                I know low and slow is the bench mark of smoking and I am far from an expert on brisket but an 18 hour smoke is just too long in my humble opinion.
                I understand it was a large piece of meat and you may have needed the time, in my case I cook hotter and shorter.
                Ahumadora makes a great point was it 'prime' beef or some milked out old Holstein.

                Comment


                  #12
                  I'm sorry, I forgot to address the issue. It was a USDA Prime cut from Costco. It was an $85 brisket, and so it was quite large. I'd have expected that 18 hours would have been normal, especially since the last 4 hours or so was at about 215F. All of the smaller brisket was sold out already, but I did like the cut since there were no skinny flaps anywhere on the packer.

                  Comment


                    #13
                    Re: reheating. Put a couple slices on a plate with a damp paper towel over top, and microwave it for 30 seconds or so. Comes out perfect.

                    Comment


                    • Jerod Broussard
                      Jerod Broussard commented
                      Editing a comment
                      It still amazes me how society underestimates the reheating goodness of a microwave. Ribs, love 'em.

                    #14
                    I wanted to do a quick update on reheating the brisket. I used my new Anova Precision oven. Souse Vide Mode on, rear heating element, Temperature 160F, steam 100%. I also used the integrated probe thermometer to measure the internal temp, which rose much more quickly than I expected given the additional thermal energy inside of the oven. I pulled it out when the internal temp was about 140F. Some juices were lost as they dripped down into the pan, but otherwise the brisket was almost the same as the previous day when I pulled it out of the faux cambro. The reheat took about 25 - 30 minutes total straight from the fridge. Not sure that my settings were dialed in optimally, but it's definitely a very good option if you have access to a combi oven. For anyone who hasn't heard of it, or who is considering one, I strongly recommend the Anova Precision Oven. It immediately replaced both our toaster oven and 95% of our standard kitchen oven uses.

                    Comment


                      #15
                      coreyo that Anova oven looks very intriguing! I don't think my wife would let me take up the counter space it would require unfortunately, so for now, I'll have to stick with the regular oven and my Anova circulator...

                      Comment


                      • coreyo
                        coreyo commented
                        Editing a comment
                        We have no counter space, but it just barely fit in the spot where our previous "Breville" toaster oven was. That thing was really good to us, but I think it's time to move on. At any rate, The Anova Precision Oven is a toaster oven, air fryer, sous vide machine, and then some. You could claim that it was actually saving space by replacing multiple items! Just a thought.

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