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Brisket Gone Bad

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  • CRT
    CRT
    Club Member
    • Jun 2018
    • 4
    • Washington, DC

    Brisket Gone Bad

    Hello everyone. I'm new around here but have been smoking with a lot of success for a couple of years. A few months back I did 30 lbs of brisket with Meathead's recipe/tips/style and it came out falling apart tender and earned me rave reviews from everyone. Today, I tried to do a 3 lb point with the same style (used the same rub, aimed for 203 at the thickest point) and it came out dry as hell and overcooked.

    I'm still new and learning so I'd appreciate learning a lesson from this horrible dinner. What did I do wrong? Was cooking to 203 with just a point way too hot? What temp should I cook to if I'm ever doing a smaller cut of brisket?

    Thanks for any tips.

    Chris
    Last edited by CRT; July 14, 2018, 06:44 PM.
  • customtrim
    Former Member
    • Dec 2016
    • 1119
    • stow ohio

    #2
    Only thing I could suggest is cooking to probe tender instead of temperature,is possible it was done closer to 190 instead of the 203 you pulled it at. Every piece of meat is different so cooking to temperature only can get you in trouble sometimes

    Comment

    • Mr. Bones
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      #3
      In full agreement with customtrim
      A lil feller, like that 3#er, why, it could git dry, quick, like.
      Don't be discouraged, jus live an learn.
      Next time, ya'll be ready, even though th next piece of meat will be different.

      Comment

      • Spinaker
        Moderator
        • Nov 2014
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        #4
        Chris, sorry to hear about your brisket. These things do happen. One thing to remember is that "203 F" or "202 F" are simply guide lines. Every piece of meat that you cook is different, so there always be variables that can make that magic number move up or down. We like to tell people to use the temperatures we give as suggestions, and always use the temperature probe to "feel" when the brisket is done. It should feel like butter, especially in the point.

        Now for your brisket, perhaps your probe was not telling you the right temp. This is a pretty common occurrence, especially if you are using a dial thermometer. Even a digital leave-in unit can give you false readings if moisture, grease or shock prevent it from functioning properly. I would check your thermo probes in a pot of boiling water or in an ice bath to see what kind of readings you are getting.

        Secondly, maybe you didn't buy a high enough grade of meat. I think it is very important to buy the highest grade brisket that you can find. This only gets you ahead of the game when it comes to tenderness, moisture and overall quality.

        Finally, as Meathead mentions, "cows are not widgets, they are not all the same." It is very possible that you just got a tough animal. That does happen from time to time. The animal may have been stressed at slaughter, which can have negative effects on quality as well.

        Brisket can be tough to master, but some practice and time in The Pit, we can fix that! Let us know if you have any more questions.

        Comment


        • Rfuilrez
          Rfuilrez commented
          Editing a comment
          I definitely recommend making sure the probes read correct temperature at boiling if you’re only going to do one. The way they work, they’re less accurate at lower temperatures inherently. Where you care about what the temperature actually is, is at 190-200ish degrees. It doesn’t matter to me if it shows 35 when it’s actually 40, if it shows 190 when it’s 190.

        • Spinaker
          Spinaker commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah, I always use hot water, the ice bath is an option that some use. Rfuilrez

        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          There's no one way is better than another, I reckon...
          I will tell yall this; whenever I've stood State Health Inspections, they use ice bath, since boilin point can vary considerably, with altitude, etc.
      • Scout789
        Club Member
        • Jun 2018
        • 153
        • Texas Gulf Coast
        • Smoker: Lyfe Tyme Offset. Firebox 16" Diameter X 16" Long. Cooking chamber 16" Diameter X 32" Long
          Grill: Lyfe Tyme 16" Diameter X 24" Long.
          Thermometer: Maverick ET-732 and XR50
          For smoking, I am a committed stick burner.
          For grilling, it's all about charcoal. Almost always HEB brand mesquite charcoal. If not that, then Kingsford mesquite charcoal.

        #5
        I'm a little surprised that a point turned out dry. A three pound flat wouldn't have surprised a bit if turned out dry. Was the point trimmed of most or all of its fat? What grade of meat was it?
        I generally go for at least choice grade and shoot for about 195 deg at the thickest part. But honestly, I've never tried cooking a small piece, only whole briskets. If I am cooking only for the wife and me, I cut it in three pieces before slicing and freeze two of them. It's best right off the grill, but out of the freezer and warmed in the oven is pretty darn good.

        Comment

        • CRT
          CRT
          Club Member
          • Jun 2018
          • 4
          • Washington, DC

          #6
          Thanks for all the advice everyone. I was definitely being lazy and just watching the temp (was using a leave in probe) while watching a movie inside the house. Next time I do a brisket I'll definitely be more hands on with checking the feel once it gets up around 185 or so. I also can't speak to the quality of the meat - my wife and I do a farm share from a local farm so each week we get a box of fresh organic meat and produce from the farm for a lot less than it would cost at the store. This week just happened to have a small brisket in the shipment so I figured I'd smoke it. The flavor was good but some pieces were way too dry.

          Live and learn I suppose!

          Chris

          Comment


          • Spinaker
            Spinaker commented
            Editing a comment
            It might be where you got the meat from. It is always great to buy local, but you may have to sacrifice quality in some instances. If you can find a USDA Prime brisket and give that a whirl, I bet you will have better results. Good luck on your next cook!

          • Steve R.
            Steve R. commented
            Editing a comment
            This explains a lot, CRT. The grass fed beef, which you most likely have, is going to be inherently leaner and more prone to drying out.
        • JCGrill
          Club Member
          • Mar 2017
          • 1800
          • Minneapolis / St Paul burbs
          • Charcoal - 22" Weber Kettle
            Gas - Saber
            Smoker - Green Mountain Daniel Boone
            Portable - Charbroil Tabletop Propane Grill

          #7
          I personally think that point gets done earlier than flat (from a temperature point of view). Always gives me a hard time when I do a whole packer. Point is done, flat isn't, and they are attached.

          Comment

          • RonB
            Club Member
            • Apr 2016
            • 13143
            • Near Richmond VA
            • Weber Performer Deluxe
              SNS
              Pizza insert
              Rotisserie
              Smokenator 1000
              Cookshack Smokette Elite
              2 Thermapens
              Chefalarm
              Dot
              lots of probes.
              CyberQ

            #8
            I have nothing to add, but welcome to The Pit.

            Comment

            • Scout789
              Club Member
              • Jun 2018
              • 153
              • Texas Gulf Coast
              • Smoker: Lyfe Tyme Offset. Firebox 16" Diameter X 16" Long. Cooking chamber 16" Diameter X 32" Long
                Grill: Lyfe Tyme 16" Diameter X 24" Long.
                Thermometer: Maverick ET-732 and XR50
                For smoking, I am a committed stick burner.
                For grilling, it's all about charcoal. Almost always HEB brand mesquite charcoal. If not that, then Kingsford mesquite charcoal.

              #9
              I agree, if it is grass fed beef, it likely is very lean. Hence the dryness.

              Comment

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