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Why was my Brisket Dry?

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    Why was my Brisket Dry?

    Well, it didn't turn out good. I smoked a Sam's brisket at 225F in my Oklahoma Joe Bronco to 203F and it was dry. Some KC sauce helped with the dryness, but the meat was definitely not as juicy as in the past. I suspect it was one of the following reasons.

    1) I didn't check the thermometer accuracy. I was using a brand new Thermoworks "Smoke" and just assumed it was already calibrated out of the box.

    2) I normally don't use Texas Crunch but this time I did. But as the recipe says..."take a nap" after you put the meat on, I did just that and when I started the crunch, the stall had been going on for a few hours. So I was late with the crunch.

    3) I only had time to rest it in a cooler for maybe 30 minutes before carving.

    4) Possibly a bad grade of meat (too lean) ??

    5) Maybe 203 was too hot for this meat?? I should have checked it at 195F (I didn't).

    6) Some put a can of water or a shallow water pan in their Bronco smoker....I didn't have any water. This is the first time I smoked a brisket in the Bronco....normally I use my pellet grill. I also had dry beef ribs in my last smoke. I'm confident the temperature is OK....I have three different digital thermometers and the dial on the side is approximately the same.


    Things I don't think mattered....I dry brined as I always do, I usually smoke fresh, but this meat had been frozen, and I "dried the bark" by smoking out of foil wrap after the Texas Crunch reached 203F.

    Any suggestions as to what went wrong?
    Last edited by dlaslo; April 12, 2020, 02:29 AM.

    #2
    Crutch, not Crunch. :-)

    Comment


      #3
      Addressing some of your questions:

      1. The accepted wisdom around here for brisket is not to cook to temp, but rather to start probing with a meat thermometer, or a metal skewer starting at around 180 and pull when the probe goes in like you were putting it into butter.
      2. Using the crutch later than planned really shouldn't have a big impact on the moistness of the brisket. Keep in mind that the crutch is used to help power through the stall. A lot of pitmasters, myself included, don't wrap at all.
      3. A short rest shouldn't really have a negative impact on the moisture content, it helps with tenderness.
      4. Hard to say as you don't indicate either the grade of the brisket or whether it was a packer, a point, or a flat. It is quite possible this was the problem.
      5.See #1.
      6. Could be. I normally do brisket in my PBC and there's never a need to use water in a PBC as the design of it ensures that the air inside is really moist.

      How long did you smoke for after unwrapping to "dry" the bark and what was the final temp? My best guesses here are:
      • Just a dry piece of meat.
      • Overcooked. See #1.
      Brisket can be hard to master. Unless I can find a Prime packer (which here in the GWN are hard to find for a reasonable price), I much prefer doing chuck or short ribs over brisket.
      Last edited by pkadare; April 12, 2020, 04:32 AM.

      Comment


        #4
        may have been an angry cow. Was it a whole packer? How much fat cap did you leave on it?

        Comment


          #5
          Flats will always be dry, so be sure to leave a generous fat cap on the flat (some say 1/4", I think that's minimum, personally I leave 1/2") but even if you have Prime the flat will be dry which is why that strip of fat on each slice will be important. Lately I have found that mid- to upper-190s is adequate, (197 seems to work well for me) not the 200s. I don't think your ThermoWorks Smoke was the culprit. Like texastweeter said though, you could've had a angry steer. 3 briskets ago I had one that was tough, reminded me of grass fed. It was the usual that I always cook, just cooked up a tad on the dry and tougher side. It happens. But even dry brisket leftovers work well in omelets and chili!

          Comment


          • texastweeter
            texastweeter commented
            Editing a comment
            I always inject Flat. Something with salt, sugar, phosphates and msg.

          #6
          Originally posted by texastweeter View Post
          may have been an angry cow. Was it a whole packer? How much fat cap did you leave on it?
          It wasn't the whole packer...and it wasn't prime. I trimmed the fat cap pretty good.

          Comment


          • Ahumadora
            Ahumadora commented
            Editing a comment
            No matter how much love you give it during the cook, if it is super lean flat it is not going to improve much. Fatty thick briskets are 100x easier to cook than lean ones.

          • Huskee
            Huskee commented
            Editing a comment
            Err on the side of leaving a little too much fat cap on your flats as opposed to removing too much.

          • texastweeter
            texastweeter commented
            Editing a comment
            Most of the time I don't remove any fat on the flat. I inject it always, and look for a brisket with a flat that is very thick.

          #7
          Originally posted by pkadare View Post
          Addressing some of your questions:


          How long did you smoke for after unwrapping to "dry" the bark and what was the final temp? My best guesses here are:
          • Just a dry piece of meat.
          • Overcooked. See #1.
          Brisket can be hard to master. Unless I can find a Prime packer (which here in the GWN are hard to find for a reasonable price), I much prefer doing chuck or short ribs over brisket.
          After unwrapping - I only cooked for about 20 minutes to dry the bark. I agree with your thoughts....I think it was both overcooked and a bad piece of meat. My wife, however, said it tasted exactly like the BBQ place in town.

          Comment


            #8
            Originally posted by dlaslo View Post
            My wife, however, said it tasted exactly like the BBQ place in town.
            If your worst is as good as the folks doing it professionally and charging money, then you're in great shape!

            Comment


              #9
              Folks much smarter than I have chimed in, but here are my two cents.
              • I'll second the 'cook to temp' comment. While I believe 200ish is almost always the right temp, it isn't always right. I start taking probe checks after 185 or so. I pull the flat when it's done (that's often 190-200ish for me) and will put the point back on and that is 200-210ish when I pull it. (My family knows '"It's done when it's done")
              • I trim my flats pretty tight as I don't want to waste rub on fat. This means watching it and checking becomes key.
              • While I'd agree that resting for that short didn't do anything negative, it likely didn't do much positive either. I like a 60-minute rest minimum, otherwise, I skip it.
              In the end, it sounds like it was received well anyway. Cooks are always their worst critics!

              Comment


                #10
                I find an offering of tabacco and beer to the brisket Gods can work wonders.
                Agree with ClubMed a longer rest would have helped, I rest minimum 3 hours.
                texastweeter probably had the best comment....angry cow, irritated to say the least, maybe down right enraged

                Comment


                  #11
                  Good comments all. I always start checking a flat at 185 and pull when a thermometer goes in smooth. Since flats vary in thickness it is critical to do it this way. Doing it by time or temp will get you an over cooked beast more often than not..

                  Comment


                    #12
                    Number 3 for sure. Numbers 4 and 5 both very likely as well. Would also agree that flat will easily be dry if too much fat cap removed.

                    Comment


                      #13
                      if I have just flat laying around...it gets the pastrami treatment, or the chili treatment. That is what ever flat hopes to be reincarnated as.

                      Comment


                        #14
                        texastweeter Concur with above posts and think likely culprit is a bad hunk of meat. That said I always check for probe doneness first. Additionally, like texastweeter I always inject. I use Butchers BBQ Prime Dust mixed in beef broth. I inject and let injection soak for at least 4 hours before the brisket goes on the smoker.

                        Comment


                          #15
                          The two most important things, in my mind ... 1. It’s done when it probes done ... and 2. Rest/hold at 170F for AT LEAST 1 hour, but better 2-3 hours.

                          Comment

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