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1st Brisket Followup. Pics and Qs.

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    1st Brisket Followup. Pics and Qs.

    Howdy All,

    I finished my first brisket cook on my Rec Tec pellet popper with mixed results. Took about 15 hours at 225.

    Pics attached include the rubbed brisket pre-cook, some plated slices from the flat and a look at leftover, unsliced portions of flat and point.

    General technique and notes:
    Followed Meathead's technique from the free site.
    • Meat was a 14lb Prime Packer from Costco
    • I trimmed the fat cap off. Did Not leave 1/8 to 1/4" of fat cap as Meathead recommends (my fault, didn't reread that part first)
    • When trimming, I found a large amount of connective tissue and fat running up the long axis of the Brisket, between the flat and the point. I trimmed most of that out. Don't know if that was good, bad or neutral move.
    • Dry brined with 3 parts kosher salt to 1 part Lawry's seasoned salt for 24 hours before cooking.
    • Injected with beef stock.
    • Dry rubbed with Meathead's BBBR (with a few mods) for 1 hour or so before cooking.
    • Put it on the Rec Tec at 225 at Midnight, the night before serving, with a goal to maximize smoke time on pellet popper.
    • Left myself option to either push through the stall or crutch it if it wasn't progressing fast enough.
    • The point was kind of overlapping the flat. First Brisket, so I don't know if that is normal or not. After I trimmed out the connective tissue there was a clear flap of point I could lift off the flat.
    • The thing stalled much quicker than expected. About 3 to 3.5 hours in above 150. (The "Temperature Chart" on the Rec Tec app is awesome, BTW, for really understanding what happened during the cook). I thought for sure it would be done much earlier than I expected.
    • I let it push through the stall and didn't wrap, hoping to maximize bark. Had the option to wrap later if it just wasn't moving.
    • I had probes in both flat and point. After it came out of the stall, the point took off and started cooking faster. I asked for help in this post and got excellent advice (thanks all).
    • It kept rolling slowly toward the finish. Finally took it off about 3 PM when the flat hit 203. The point had gone beyond 203 a bit.
    • I pulled it. Cut off a few inches of each end (for burnt ends), then put it in a faux cambro and held it for 3 hours.
    • Sliced and served the final meal when the meat in the cambro was down to about 145.

    This is where the questions start.
    1) When I pulled it, the point was passing the "wobble" test and the fork test, and looked great (again, point was attached to flat still). The flat however was certainly not passing the wobble and fork test, but was at 203 and I was afraid to push it any longer.

    Question: Should the flat pass the wobble and fork test and be pulled-pork tender? I just don't see that possibility when I look at the flat and look at past brisket's I've eaten.

    Tasting Notes:
    • Bark was awesome. Tons of flavor. Very thick.
    • However, bark was hard and made it hard to cut through, even with my slicer
    • Point was great, fatty like a ribeye, slices had good balance of beef and fat.
    • Flat was tough, hard to cut, a bit dry. Generally a disappointment.
    • I also thought flat seemed thin overall, but it's my first one, so I don't know what to look for. Please see pics and comment.
    • For burnt ends, I cubed up the parts I cut off the ends when pulling, and used Meathead's method of crisping them up in rendered fat from the trimmed fat cap. Then tossed them back on the smoker with my preferred sauce and a few pats of butter and gave them a couple of stirs until it was glazed up well.
    • Burnt ends were a hit even though meat was tough and dry. Great flavor from bark and glaze.

    More questions:
    2) Leftovers (see pics). Any reason I can't cube these up and reheat them and then turn them into burnt ends?

    The bark has even better flavor now that it's cold. Good stuff.

    Thanks as always for your feedback and advice.

    Attached Files

    #2
    Probably a little overcooked for Prime. Those are usually done somewhere in the 190's. Try wrapping next time and see if you like it better that way. I have more consistently good results when I wrap.

    Comment


    • ajgrills
      ajgrills commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, Steve R., I didn't know that about Prime. Great tip. I figured I'd wrap the next one to see the difference. Definitely on the agenda.
      Last edited by ajgrills; February 14, 2020, 12:20 AM.

    #3
    The driest, I mean dry to the max, flat I ever cooked was Prime and it was injected, wrapped at the stall, and taken to 203.

    Next time:

    1. Keep it simple- dry brine with 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt per pound. Apply only on meat side 1-2 days ahead of time. That's it.
    2. I trim plenty fat off, including the deckle of fat between the two muscles.
    3. Use the Big Bad Beef Rub
    4. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the flat. When it gets to 190 start checking for tenderness with a THERMOMETER PROBE in the flat in various parts. It needs to go in easy with little resistance. Stick a fork in the fork.
    5. Watch your bark, when it gets good and dark, which will be close to 190, it is OK to wrap so it doesn't get too hard. I do most of mine all the way uncovered.
    6. Good warm rest.

    Comment


    • ajgrills
      ajgrills commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, Jerod Broussard

      That all makes sense. Wouldn't have thought to wrap just to keep the bark from going over.

    #4
    I’m no professional to be sure, and I don’t have a pellet pooper, but by your post, it sounds like your flat was a bit too thin which may have allowed it to over cook and dry out a touch. It’s still almost completely guess work for me when choosing a brisket, but one thing that has helped me have more success has been floppy brisket and the thickest flat I could find. Keep experimenting! Sounds like you’re pretty close considering, as I recall, it was your first brisket. Check out YouTube for some Aaron Franklin brisket trimming videos. The fat cap may have been the difference for your cook. It sounds like you did everything other than the trim right. That said, my limited experience has been that no 2 briskets are the same. Regardless of USDA grade. I have never injected either though, so I don’t know how that changes the cook. As Franklin says, “You only learn how to make good BBQ, by making bad BBQ.” Again, that said, doesn’t sound like you made ”bad BBQ,” just need to try again! From the pictures you posted, I’d absolutely eat it! Well done, sir! I look forward to your next attempt!

    Comment


    • Steve R.
      Steve R. commented
      Editing a comment
      "floppy brisket and the thickest flat"

      This is sound advice. Thin flats are seemingly doomed from the start, and you just know when you pick up a brisket that feels right. And those trimming videos are fantastic. When I let go of my hesitancy to trim "too much", my briskets got a lot better.

    • ajgrills
      ajgrills commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks RickyBobby. They only had about 4 to choose from at Costco and it was really hard to tell what I was getting. Will definitely look for thicker flats and will watch the Franklin videos. Sounds like accidentally did okay on the trimming. Cheers!

    #5
    You did great for your first brisket. All good advice above so I will only add the suggestion to cook at a higher temperature like 275 if for no other reason than to get it cooked faster. It won’t harm the results at all.

    Comment


    • ajgrills
      ajgrills commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, Donw. I figured on my first attempt I wanted to make sure I got a good bark because everyone seems to say the pellet grills won't put out as much smoke, etc. Probably went a little over on the bark, so I've got higher temp on my radar.

    #6
    Dry smy, with some slaw and whistleberries that's a keeper in my books any day for a first shot at a brisket.
    Coupla beers or a good red wine are always helpful too.
    I can't add anything to the above advise except keep trying.
    RickyBobby nailed it, no two briskets smokes will be exactly the same so experiment with different technics.

    Comment


      #7
      I agonized too over my first brisket cook, now with quite a few under my belt, I feel you "overdid" a few things.

      1. Don't trim off so much fat - I leave at least 1/4" fat cap on the fatty side of the brisket. On my kettle, I tend to start with that side up, then flip it after the bark looks good. On the offset I tend to leave the fat side up the entire cook.

      2. LEAVE that fat between the point and flat alone. I think removing this led to more drying out of the point. You really want it to be one big hunk of meat when smoking the full packer. I think that helps keep the flat from drying out. I separate during the carving, or just carve it "Sorkin" style.

      3. I always wrap my briskets in foil once they hit 170-ish, in order to prevent the flat from drying out so much. I've never had any complaints about the bark yet.

      4. I almost always plan to have several hours in faux cambro, where I am double or triple wrapped in foil, in towels and in a good cooler. I think this rest helps redistribute some moisture.

      5. When you unwrap, poke a hole and drain all that good "jus" from the foil into a pan, collect in a cup or bowl, and serve with a gravy ladle, for putting over the drier slices of the flat.

      6. As others said, with a Prime brisket, start checking both flat and point once things hit the mid 190's, and go by feel. The entire thing (for me) passes the wobble test, but I just probe from the top or edge, being careful not to poke through the bottom of the foil, as I don't want to lose any jus that has collected....
      Last edited by jfmorris; February 14, 2020, 08:21 AM.

      Comment


      • smokin fool
        smokin fool commented
        Editing a comment
        jfmorris Excellent point about the jus, its Chanel No.5 around here.

      • ajgrills
        ajgrills commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks jfmorris Sound advice as always.

      #8
      It looks like a really good first cook. I echo what others have said.

      1. Prime brisket is often probe tender much sooner than choice or select brisket. Every Prime brisket I've done has been probe tender at 190-195. Meathead's directions are for Choice CAB.

      2. Don't wrap at the stall. It still needs time to develop a nice bark. Wrapping when the brisket hits about 170° to 180° ensures that the bark is not too dry. Some people add liquid when they wrap; I don't because I don't want to risk a pot-roasty result.

      3. A super-thin flat is always something to avoid when choosing the brisket, because it's the temp of the flat that dictates when the meat is pulled and cambroed. The point takes care of itself. Just aim for a probe-tender flat no matter what the thermometer says. If you have a really thin end of the flat, slice it off when trimming and grind it up for burgers with some added fat. I've even folded it over (an inch or so) and skewered it. Looks weird but works well. That little bit usually gets chopped or put into leftover meals.

      4. Only slice the amount of meat that will go into the first serving. Leave the rest of the hunk of brisket intact until you're ready for seconds.

      5. Leftover brisket is delicious, chopped and sauced for sandwiches or cubed and added to chili. Chopped is also good for tacos and nachos. It doesn't hurt to chop a dry flat and add some of the drippings from the wrap, if you have any. Meathead's Texas Barbecue Mop recipe is pretty tasty too, if added to some of the chopped portion.

      Congrats on doing so many things right. You did your research and it showed. Your next brisket will be even better. Because you know exactly what you did, you know for the next time which one or two things you might change. It's smart to keep a log like that. It will make you a brisket master much sooner.

      In smoking, the meat is the boss, especially a skinny brisket flat, so we have to keep trying to outwit it. You did a good job of that.

      Kathryn

      P.S. jfmorris and I were writing our posts at the same time, but he was much faster off the mark than I was. Looks like we both like the numbered format.
      Last edited by fzxdoc; February 14, 2020, 09:05 AM.

      Comment


      • jfmorris
        jfmorris commented
        Editing a comment
        Great minds think alike! I didn't think about warning him against slicing up the whole brisket. Very important tip there. I cringe when I see photos people post with the entire brisket cut into slices already...

      • ajgrills
        ajgrills commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks fzxdoc I think the big take away from all this great advice is buy the thickest flat and wrap it late in the game, and Primes will be done earlier . I didn't even bother probing it in the 190s. Lesson learned.

      • jfmorris
        jfmorris commented
        Editing a comment
        ajgrills its often hard to find a thick flat. I often end up with a different size brisket than I planned on when going to Costco, as I tend to base it on marbling and fat cap, but also on the thickness of the flat. Watch out for some where Costco has the flat folded over on itself, making it look thicker than it is inside that cryovac.

      #9
      There's another option here. Separate the flat from the point. Cure the flat ala Meathead's recipe for making corned beef on the free side, then smoke it and make pastrami. There's also a great post somewhere here from, I think, Potkettleblack about SVQ pastrami.

      Then just smoke the point as you will.

      Comment

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