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Another brisket fail... sort of

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  • Smoking77
    Club Member
    • Mar 2017
    • 310
    • Los Angeles

    Another brisket fail... sort of

    So, over the past few years, I've tried cooking four packer briskets. Three on my WSM with a CyberQ, and one on my RecTec. Always cooked around 250 degrees. For the first three tries, I would start checking for probe tender around 185, and always by the time it got to 205-210, it still wasn't probe tender. I would pull it at 210, because I didn't want to dry it out. The point was good each time, but the flat wasn't even close to what I was looking for. Last weekend, I did one on the RecTec and decided I wasn't going to pull it until the flat was probe tender, internal temperature be darned. I started checking around 185, and it was finally ready to pull once it hit 218. When I cut into the flat, the smoke ring was dark brown, almost black. Completely inedible. The meat in the middle was decent though. The point, on the other hand, was absolutely fantastic. So... what am I missing here? Am I doomed never to be able to get a flat that is probe tender between 185-210?

    Thanks.

  • Jerod Broussard
    Moderator
    • Jun 2014
    • 9741
    • East Texas
    • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
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    #2
    Don't go beyond 203 on the flat. Ignore the point. Wrap it in foil, if it isn't already, and hold in the faux cambro for at least 2 hours.

    What grade are you using?

    Comment


    • Smoking77
      Smoking77 commented
      Editing a comment
      I used prime the first 3 times, wagyu last time. So, are you saying, that even if the flat isn't probe tender at 203, pull and wrap it?
  • Jerod Broussard
    Moderator
    • Jun 2014
    • 9741
    • East Texas
    • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
      Weber One Touch Premium Copper 22" Kettle (gift)
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      B & B and Kingsford Charcoal
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    #3
    Are you wrapping at all during the cook?

    With those grades there's a good chance that they are probe tender before 203.

    Comment


    • Smoking77
      Smoking77 commented
      Editing a comment
      For the first 3, I wrapped after the stall. With this last one, I didn't wrap. Listening to what you and others have said, I started checking for probe tenderness at 180-185. It wasn't even close to ready. Then checked every 10 degrees or so. It wasn't probe tender until 218.
  • Alphonse
    Club Member
    • Oct 2019
    • 255
    • LA (Lower Alabama - gulf coast)

    #4
    Ditto on Jerod's question.

    I cook them on an LSG offset and a Yoder S-series pellet grill. But I always foil wrap them as soon as the stall shows. I do a tight wrap with 1/4 cup liquid. I always buy prime and the stall seems to occur at about 150F at my house. I always pull at 203F and they then rest wrapped in a towel in a cooler for one hour minimum.

    Comment

    • Smoking77
      Club Member
      • Mar 2017
      • 310
      • Los Angeles

      #5
      Originally posted by Alphonse View Post
      Ditto on Jerod's question.

      I cook them on an LSG offset and a Yoder S-series pellet grill. But I always foil wrap them as soon as the stall shows. I do a tight wrap with 1/4 cup liquid. I always buy prime and the stall seems to occur at about 150F at my house. I always pull at 203F and they then rest wrapped in a towel in a cooler for one hour minimum.
      Thanks for the tips. When you pull at 203, is it probe tender? Or does it become that way after holding it in the cooler?

      Comment


      • Alphonse
        Alphonse commented
        Editing a comment
        To be totally open, I don't worry about it. Since I wrap in foil, I don't want a bunch of holes in my tight wrap which would let my liquid expel. I cook with a FireBoard and I make sure I put one probe into a good spot that I can trust. When it reaches the target, I pull it off carefully not to rupture my wrap and rest it as described. I do remember my son probing one of mine recently begging for my time on the pit and I said no, we're pulling it. To his surprise it was very, very good.

      • Red Man
        Red Man commented
        Editing a comment
        Alphonse Use the existing hole in the foil that your probe is in. Remove the probe and insert it in different directions to test tenderness. But...if you’re happy with your method, don’t mess with success.
    • Jerod Broussard
      Moderator
      • Jun 2014
      • 9741
      • East Texas
      • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
        Weber One Touch Premium Copper 22" Kettle (gift)
        Slow 'n Sear for 22" Kettle
        Weber One Touch Premium Black 26" Kettle (gift)
        Slow 'n Sear XL for 26" Kettle (gift)
        Weber Smokey Joe Gold
        Weber Rapid Fire Chimney
        Vortex
        Maverick ET-732 White
        Maverick ET-732 Copper
        2- Auber SYL-1615 fan systems(Awesome!!!!!!!!)
        Thermoworks Thermapen w/ Back light (gift)
        Thermoworks Timestick
        Cambro Model 300MPC110 w/ Winco SS Pans
        B & B and Kingsford Charcoal
        B & B Pellets

      #6
      Smoking77 Ultimate tenderness is eeked out during the hold. I suspect you are expecting too much "probe tenderness" before putting to hold.

      Comment


      • Smoking77
        Smoking77 commented
        Editing a comment
        Jerod Broussard You're probably right. I might be expecting too much. I just hear people saying things like, "I pulled the brisket when my thermapen when in it like 'warm butter.'" Have never gotten that from the flat (until it was way overdone on the outside).

      • Jerod Broussard
        Jerod Broussard commented
        Editing a comment
        Smoking77 I had one go in like warm butter, it was at 203, it was a prime, and it was really overdone and dry. You need to check probe tender at about 180. That way you can get a better feel when things really loosen up later and it's ready to hold.

      • Smoking77
        Smoking77 commented
        Editing a comment
        Jerod Broussard Good to know. Thanks for the info. Looking forward to trying again.
    • Red Man
      Club Member
      • May 2018
      • 1028
      • Western Washington

      #7
      You said you’re cooking at 250...are you sure you’re ambient probe is accurate? I also suspect you’re expecting too much probe tenderness.

      Comment


      • Smoking77
        Smoking77 commented
        Editing a comment
        I don't test my thermometers before every single cook, but almost. Did not check it before my cook last weekend.
    • texastweeter
      Club Member
      • Jul 2017
      • 2895
      • Republic of Texas

      #8
      waterpan? Crutch in paper or foil? Have you checked to be sure your pit temp is right? Sounds like it was too or hot and dry.

      Comment

      • Smoking77
        Club Member
        • Mar 2017
        • 310
        • Los Angeles

        #9
        Originally posted by texastweeter View Post
        waterpan? Crutch in paper or foil? Have you checked to be sure your pit temp is right? Sounds like it was too or hot and dry.
        Didn't use a water pan this last time in my RecTec, but the other times in my WSM I did. In those instances, I also crutched in butcher paper after the stall and the bark had set. I must admit, I probably only got to hold those for an hour after they reached 203. But they were not "probe tender." I check my ambient temperature probes the same way I test my other thermometers. In ice water and then boiling water. Should I be doing the same for ambient temp probes?

        Comment


        • Smoking77
          Smoking77 commented
          Editing a comment
          texastweeter I put the brisket on (10.5 pounds after trimming) at 7:30 in the morning, and it was probe tender (at 215 degrees) at 5:00 pm. Wrapped it in paper, and put it in the oven at 170 degrees for 3 hours until dinner. I was using my pellet pooper, so was using BBQrs Delight hickory pellets.

        • texastweeter
          texastweeter commented
          Editing a comment
          why the oven, and why that hot? Bet that's your issue. Wrap it paper and all in foil, fill a cooler 1/3 of the way with towels, plop in the brisket, and fill the rest of the way with towels. Hold it there for 4 hours.

        • Smoking77
          Smoking77 commented
          Editing a comment
          texastweeter I held the wrapped brisket at 170 because I had read many posts with people saying they would hold their brisket at the temp they pulled it at for an hour or two before putting it in faux cambro. Was just following their leads. But, since I haven't had a "great" brisket yet, next time I will just go straight to the cambro. Thanks!
      • glitchy
        Club Member
        • Jul 2019
        • 598
        • Central IA
        • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill
          w/ Big Joetisserie, SnS LP, and Vortex
          Weber SmokeFire EX4
          Weber Q1000
          Fireboard 2 Drive
          Anova Precision Sous Vide

        #10
        The last brisket I did was a Costco Prime on my SmokeFire using a water pan. I pulled at 199. It didn’t probe as tender as I thought it should, but was different than it had been the couple times I tested it before that, so I pulled and rested. By far the best brisket I’ve ever made. Ive never let one go above 203, but the couple before that one went all the way to 203 before the probe tender I thought I was looking for, they both were a little crumbly. Still plenty good, but would fall to pieces on the finger test. Maybe try to sense a change in probe tenderness and then give a good cooler rest. The best ever was no wrap too until resting.
        Attached Files

        Comment


        • Smoking77
          Smoking77 commented
          Editing a comment
          glitchy Thanks for the help. Looks fantastic. Next time I'll start checking at 180 and see if I can sense a different feel every few degrees.
      • texastweeter
        Club Member
        • Jul 2017
        • 2895
        • Republic of Texas

        #11
        Assuming temps are good, and using good wood, you would have me baffled. I cook at 225° no higher that 240° on upper end of fluctuations. Crutch with butcher paper once bar is set, usually around 175°. And start checking for tender around 190°. Once I pull, it gets foil, the at least a 4 hour rest in a quality cooler packed with towels. Other notes, I inject and dry brine 2 days in advance, go straight from fridge to cooker with just enough Time in between to bind and rub. Smile with oak and mesquite. Starting to experiment with wet ageing. Was you brisket really thin maybe? A picture would help. Oh and always water in the pan or an added waterpan if on one of the offsets.

        Comment

        • Smoking77
          Club Member
          • Mar 2017
          • 310
          • Los Angeles

          #12
          Originally posted by texastweeter View Post
          Assuming temps are good, and using good wood, you would have me baffled. I cook at 225° no higher that 240° on upper end of fluctuations. Crutch with butcher paper once bar is set, usually around 175°. And start checking for tender around 190°. Once I pull, it gets foil, the at least a 4 hour rest in a quality cooler packed with towels. Other notes, I inject and dry brine 2 days in advance, go straight from fridge to cooker with just enough Time in between to bind and rub. Smile with oak and mesquite. Starting to experiment with wet ageing. Was you brisket really thin maybe? A picture would help. Oh and always water in the pan or an added waterpan if on one of the offsets.
          Unfortunately, I only have a pic of the brisket before I sliced it. Doesn't look thin to me though. I guess my question is, when you check for tender around 190 degrees, what is "tender" to you? Like a few others have commented on this post, maybe I'm expecting too much from "probe tenderness." Thanks!
          Click image for larger version

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          Comment


          • texastweeter
            texastweeter commented
            Editing a comment
            I really think it's the hot hold.
        • Mark-B
          Club Member
          • Dec 2019
          • 26

          #13
          I had the same issue with my choice brisket from Kroger. I haven’t cooked brisket in years because of the cost mainly, but I gave it a go as it was smaller and $28. The point was great, and the flat dried out. I pulled it when the point felt like butter, with my probe,about 203 degrees. To me, the whole idea of BBQ was\is to make a cheap piece of meat great, not a $200 piece of meat great. I’m cheap though! Next time, I might separate the point and flat and pull them at different times. Who knows, maybe I’ll just buy a choice point and be done with it. In the end, it made several meals though, and my wife is a master at reheating it in the microwave and actually adding moisture, so it did not go to waste.
          Last edited by Mark-B; March 23, 2020, 08:09 PM.

          Comment

          • Smoking77
            Club Member
            • Mar 2017
            • 310
            • Los Angeles

            #14
            Mark-B I've always considered just separating the point and the flat, too. But I cook brisket so infrequently, that when I do, I always decide to just cook the whole thing. Thanks to this site, every time I do one, it gets a little bit better. And like you said, unless you completely destroy the thing, it's aways going to make several decent meals.

            Comment

            • Huskee
              Pit Boss
              • May 2014
              • 15015
              • central MI, USA
              • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

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              #15
              I don't ever go for "probe tender" because that can be different to each person. I take mine to 197-205, anywhere in there, and when it arrives there then I drop my cooker's temp to 150-170 and go another 1-2hrs as the cambro hold phase. Never had it not work. Just throwing that out there. Sometimes just taking off the thinking cap is in order.

              Comment


              • Smoking77
                Smoking77 commented
                Editing a comment
                Huskee You are the first person who has every claimed that I wear a thinking cap

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