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Marathon Brisket - Is My Thinking Wrong?

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  • Razor
    Club Member
    • Mar 2018
    • 262
    • Pittsburgh

    Marathon Brisket - Is My Thinking Wrong?

    So I asked a similar question before, but here I am again and I need some affirmation.

    The unwritten rule is to figure roughly 1.5 hours per pound for a brisket. I know each meat and each cook is different but this current one is just completely throwing me for a loop. I bought a full packer about a week and a half ago. Friday night I trimmed it, separating the point from the flat. I like to make burnt ends from the point, and having that little bit of extra crust is divine. I dry brined it and put it in the fridge. After trimming the flat rounding up slightly was 8 pounds. The point was 4.

    I put the flat on the upper rack of my 18” WSM at 1AM Saturday night. My math said it should take ~ 12 hours to hit 203. I went to bed for a little bit. When I woke up I put the point on the lower rack at 7AM,

    Adding the point shouldn’t make that big of a difference to the flat cooking time should it? I mean it’ll add a little, but as soon as the WSM settles from the added meat and being apart for a few minutes, things shouldn’t be sidetracked too much should it?

    Referencing the attached screen shot, taken at about 7:30PM Sunday, I’m no where close to being done. What the heck is going on? As you can see I’ve done a decent job of keeping things at 225. I lifted the lid twice, and once was to add the point. I’ve added three chimneys full of new briquettes, those are the other drops you’ll see in channel 4.

    Channel 2 is the point. I had it sitting in the WSM ready for the point. That’s why you see a high temp early then a quick cool down.

    Channel 3 is a second ambient probe I stuck in the silicon probe port just to make sure I’m at the temp I thought I was. The dome thermometer was relatively close every time I checked it.

    This is not the first time this has happened to me. Just last week I had a similar thing happen cooking a butt. Is there such a thing as a butcher supplying not the best meat? Everything I seem to get from this particular place takes forever to cook. The brisket wasn’t labeled so going by Meathead’s book it’s probably choice. I managed to pick up a prime packer the other day from Sam’s Club and interested to see what the cook times are going to be for that.

    Anyone have any thoughts to offer? Please help me keep my sanity.
    Attached Files
  • Jerod Broussard
    Moderator
    • Jun 2014
    • 9723
    • 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

    #2
    Running 225, nekkid brisket flat, potentially from a Brahman influenced bovine, 12 hours would be a miracle to get to 203. Never cooked on a WSM but it would seem to not have copious amounts of airflow like an offset or pellet smoker.

    I would opt to run 275-ish.

    Comment

    • LA Pork Butt
      Charter Member
      • Dec 2014
      • 5344
      • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

      #3
      I have had probes go bad in the past, so I would bet that is the problem. Do you have an instant read to check them against.

      Comment


      • Razor
        Razor commented
        Editing a comment
        Good idea. I just checked it with my MK4 and they’re spot on.

      • LA Pork Butt
        LA Pork Butt commented
        Editing a comment
        Razor I cook on a Big Green Egg. I separate the point and the flat and I can’t remember them going longer than eight hours at 225 fluctuating eight degrees on each side of 225. I do more Boston Butts than briskets and they typically run 3 hours to 160, 6 hours from 160 to 180 and 3 hours to 200 without wrapping. I am at a loss about your dilemma. Maybe you should try wrapping at 140.
    • Razor
      Club Member
      • Mar 2018
      • 262
      • Pittsburgh

      #4
      Well, I do have a ThermoWorks Billows attached. 😂

      Would airflow make a difference on a WSM over anything else? I haven’t read anything where people say there are airflow problems with them.

      Comment


      • Razor
        Razor commented
        Editing a comment
        So less stall time?

        I opened the top vent to 100%. The ThermoWorks have to closing it down some. Prior to the ThermoWorks I had an Auber Instruments controller and it too wanted you to set the top to about 25% if I remember correctly.
        Last edited by Razor; March 22, 2020, 07:28 PM.

      • Jerod Broussard
        Jerod Broussard commented
        Editing a comment
        Essentially. I remember Spinaker had something like a 5 hour cook on the KBQ. It was sub-freezing weather and the fan had to keep blowing to keep the temp up. All that airflow cooked that puppy in no time.

      • Ahumadora
        Ahumadora commented
        Editing a comment
        I have never had a brisket take more than 8 hours. Jack up the temp n gitter dun.
    • Polarbear777
      Club Member
      • Sep 2016
      • 1680

      #5
      At 225 no crutch, full packers take me 15-16 hrs.

      with a wrap I shave a few hours off that.

      Comment


      • Razor
        Razor commented
        Editing a comment
        Strike this: (No crutch here.) Going to be ready for dinner tonight. (Monday)
        Last edited by Razor; March 23, 2020, 06:16 AM. Reason: Decided to crutch. Going to run out of room for spent briquettes. 🥴
    • texastweeter
      Club Member
      • Jul 2017
      • 2895
      • Republic of Texas

      #6
      mine usually take about 18 hours on my verticals, less on my offsets.

      Comment


      • Razor
        Razor commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm developing a theory, see post #14. Just wondering, did you use a fan? I notice you're in Texas so I'm guessing you don't have the same winter weather we've been having. 😉

      • texastweeter
        texastweeter commented
        Editing a comment
        no fan.
    • Oak Smoke
      Club Member
      • Aug 2018
      • 363
      • Central Texas

      #7
      I've had a WSM and loved it. It was a low air flow cooker much like the Kamado I use now. I would abandon the low slow approach in favor of 275 to 300 degrees. I can normally get a full packer to 203 in about 8 hours at 300. They have beautiful bark and great flavor. I buy choice angus beef and have no problem with the way they turn out.

      Comment

      • Steve R.
        Club Member
        • Jul 2016
        • 2308
        • Elizabethtown, KY
        • Current line-up of cookers: Weber 26" kettle w/ SnS and BBQ Guru adapter; Weber Smokey Mountain 22" w/ Guru adapter.

        #8
        Show that dead steer who is in charge and wrap it (foil or butcher paper to stop the evaporative cooling) once the bark is the way you want it, if that's what it takes to keep the process moving along. I have no personal experience with a WSM, so I'm no help there, but I wouldn't get too hung up on cooking at 225.
        Last edited by Steve R.; March 23, 2020, 06:48 AM.

        Comment


        • Razor
          Razor commented
          Editing a comment
          At 8am Monday morning, 31 hours in to it I finally wrapped. I can’t take it anymore. All my probes match what the MK4 reads, as well as the dome. Never saw anything like this before.
      • Razor
        Club Member
        • Mar 2018
        • 262
        • Pittsburgh

        #9
        Could 40F damp weather effect something this a much? My WSM is on a covered deck, out of the direct elements.

        Comment


        • fzxdoc
          fzxdoc commented
          Editing a comment
          Did you run 225 the whole way? 31 hours before wrapping. Wow.

          K.

        • Razor
          Razor commented
          Editing a comment
          I’ve been running 225 the whole time. Never saw anything like this. I would have thought something was wrong with my probes but the dome and MK4 pen back the data up!

        • ecowper
          ecowper commented
          Editing a comment
          I cook in cold, damp weather in Washington state all the time. I use a WSM 22. Never had a problem like this. I usually run 250F. I cook whole packers without separating point/flat and generally get done somewhere in the 13-15 hour range without wrapping.
      • Polarbear777
        Club Member
        • Sep 2016
        • 1680

        #10
        31 hours is too long. It’s likely your probes are reading right but have you verified the location of the ambient probe in the cooker. Maybe your actual temperature at the meat was lower than 225. I’ve had this happen before and caught it eventually.

        Comment


        • Razor
          Razor commented
          Editing a comment
          I placed a second ambient probe in the side and generally speaking it’s +/- 10 degrees or so.
      • Ahumadora
        Club Member
        • Oct 2015
        • 2068
        • Pilar Buenos Aires, Argentina

        #11
        31 hours of smoke?? Probably unedible after all that. Something is a miss there.

        Comment


        • Razor
          Razor commented
          Editing a comment
          Only used 2 large chunks early on. Been briquettes ever since. With that said I hope not. It’s an expensive lesson I never figured out what happened. 🥴
      • Razor
        Club Member
        • Mar 2018
        • 262
        • Pittsburgh

        #12
        So after all that it wasn’t that bad. Ended up with more of a chop brisket than sliced, but that’s ok.

        Some of it came out really hard. Can it be “saved” by using it in chili or is it best to just throw that part away? The plan was to use some of it for that.

        Comment


        • Jerod Broussard
          Jerod Broussard commented
          Editing a comment
          When I chop I will take the really fatty and really hard stuff and run it through a grinder with really big grinder plate holes.

        • ecowper
          ecowper commented
          Editing a comment
          I think you can use the "hard" pieces in a chili. I do that sometimes.
      • Arizona Packer Backer
        Club Member
        • Mar 2020
        • 10

        #13
        Originally posted by Polarbear777 View Post
        At 225 no crutch, full packers take me 15-16 hrs.

        with a wrap I shave a few hours off that.
        Same here. And sometimes I go even lower with the temp at 180 to 200, and smoke for 18 to 22 hours. Low and slow!

        Comment

        • Razor
          Club Member
          • Mar 2018
          • 262
          • Pittsburgh

          #14
          Meathead after thinking about this the past week I have a theory on what went wrong. I'm wondering if any of your science would be able to back my theory up.

          My buddy and I have been trying to make briskets in our WSM's this winter and they have always taken much longer than expected. While the winter elements have not always been the best here in Pittsburgh, our cookers have always ran at 225 thanks to our ThermoWorks Billows setup.

          I'm beginning to think that because two of the three vents are closed for the fan, I am not getting enough airflow through the WSM.

          Between with the colder outside temps, and the water pan being used, can moisture be getting trapped in the cooker? Is there such a thing as too much moister, even if the temperature is at 225?

          Comment


          • texastweeter
            texastweeter commented
            Editing a comment
            the moisture will cook it faster. The moist air transfers heat energy more efficiently, and prevents evaporation from cooking as rapidly. Think steaming veggies vs roasting them.

          • Razor
            Razor commented
            Editing a comment
            My thinking was moisture was sort of getting trapped in the meat and it wasn't releasing as fast as it normally does because of the single source of airflow, the fan.

            With that said, there is definitely an exhaust from the top vent. Is the draft the same as if all three bottom vents were open some?
        • Meathead
          Administrator
          • May 2014
          • 1331
          • Chicago area
          • Remember, no rules in the bedroom or kitchen
            Meathead

          #15
          Razor texastweeter The water pan does not put a lot of moisture in the air. There is a LOT of airflow moving through there. Combustion uses a LOT of air. So the small amount of water vapor makes little or no difference to the humidity. What water vapor does do is condense on the meat. The meat is much cooler than the air, even as it climbs in temp, so moisture condenses on the meat and that cools it and slows the cooking. Read this https://amazingribs.com/more-techniq...t-put-them-and

          That moisture is also involved in the stall. It is cause by evaporative cooling. So the temp doesn't do up until the surface dries out.

          If the temp is holding at 225, they you are getting enough airflow. The amount of air is what is needed for the combustion to level off at 225. So that should not be a factor.

          Another factor: The metal exterior is very cold and that absorbs heat from the air inside. BUT if you have a thermostat, then the air should get to temp. Where is the oven probe located? Next to the meat or close to the sides or in the dome?

          Other questions: " Longer than expected". Based on warm weather cooks or just expectations?
          Are you wrapping?

          Comment


          • Ahumadora
            Ahumadora commented
            Editing a comment
            With thin walled smokers in cold weather it will be just like firing up a cold pit where the moisture condenses on the interior of the smoker.

          • Meathead
            Meathead commented
            Editing a comment
            Ahumadora Right!

          • Limos
            Limos commented
            Editing a comment
            The water is going to deposit the same amount of heat when it condenses onto the meat as it takes away when it evaporates off. It'll time shift the energy transfer though, more heat getting into the meat initially and less during the stall (assuming you never wrap).

            Also worth noting that wet-bulb temperatures change with humidity, so that explains why my stall temps are all over the place.

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