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Dry Brine Question: Chuck Roast

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    Dry Brine Question: Chuck Roast

    Hi there! Hope everyone is staying safe and well! New member, but I've read tons of the free material over the years. Thank you so much for all that you do!

    Recently I've been experimenting with dry brining my meat. One of my favorite cuts to smoke is a chuck roast, however whenenever I've brined it, it seems like it comes out dry and tough when compared to not brining it. I've had a similar experience with dry brining pork ribs (ie no brine, just salt and pepper seasoning comes moist and tender, but brine is tough and dry).

    I have an offset barrel smoker, I monitor the meat and internal temp with digital thermometers (albeit cheap ones). and I put a water pan in the first level of the smoker. This past weekend, I dry brined 3 lb chuck roast with Morton Kosher Salt 12 hours prior (put on a plate in the fridge and covered with foil), smoked for 6-7 hours at ~225 until internal temp of 160 (sprayed with water/vinegar solution every hour or so), then double wrapped in foil with some chicken broth and cooked in oven at 250 until internal temp of 180. Only seasoned with fresh black pepper prior to smoking.

    Am I doing something wrong with my dry brine that is making the meat come out dry and tough? Or is it simply a coincidence that each time I brine the meat comes out dry, and I probably have some issue with my setup? My only other comment is that I haven't had problems with the chuck roast or ribs whenever I haven't dry brined, everything else stays the same...

    Really looking forward to some feedback! Thanks so much!
    -Greg
    Last edited by gnasso1988; June 3, 2020, 10:09 AM.

    #2
    I think it's probably your setup since dry brining a chuckie for that amount of time should be good. I always did brisket years ago when I had my offset. If yours is getting too dry, I'd first say its too close to the firebox.
    Last edited by raywjohnson; March 6, 2021, 09:02 PM.

    Comment


    • rickgregory
      rickgregory commented
      Editing a comment
      Except he says nothing changes except for the dry brine.

    • N227GB
      N227GB commented
      Editing a comment
      Ahh, missed that!

    #3
    Are you using 1/2 tsp Kosher salt or 1/4 tsp table salt per pound on the meat? The amount matters a lot.

    Comment


      #4
      This could definitely be the problem... I have never actually measured the salt, just held the box and gave it a good coating on both sides.

      I take it 1/2 tsp of kosher per lb might fix my issue?

      PS - Thank you so much for the thoughts and responses! I've never been a part of a community like this, really looking forward to future discussions!

      Comment


        #5
        well you're only cooking it until 180 it's going to come out dry and tough. you need to get past the point of the collagen melting. chucks are full of chewy gristle until you cook it out. you should be aiming for ~203 for slicing and ~210 for pulling internal temps.

        Comment


        • RonB
          RonB commented
          Editing a comment
          ^^ this^^ 180° is kinda in between. It's past well done and the collagen and fats have not had time to render. That's what helps prevent dryness and it also adds to flavor.

        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          Yup +2. It's one of those strange phenomenons, cooking it longer past a certain point makes it more tender. All large clogs of muscle are just that way.

        #6
        I love smoking chuckies! They're like mini briskets, which is great because with my current work schedule I am unable to spend 13+ hours smoking a brisket on my day off.

        I would definitely start measuring salt, and cooking to a higher internal temp as suggest.

        The other thing that I didn't see mention was what grade of meat are you using?

        Comment


          #7
          Yeah, 180 internal sounds low for chuckie but if you have been doing that in the past with success then i would start with measuring the salt. If it still comes out dry try taking it to a higher internal temp.

          It could be pure coincidence that you just got a unhappy cow each time you did the dry brine but depending on how many times its happened i would put that bottom of the list.

          One thing i have never previously considered or tested is whether an over night dry brine could lend itself to having to take it to the higher internal temp...it doesnt ring true to me from what i know on the science of salt but i am by no means an expert.

          Sounds like you might have some experimenting and reporting back to do! Looking forward to the results.

          Comment


          • Steve B
            Steve B commented
            Editing a comment
            I like the new hair cut....

          • grantgallagher
            grantgallagher commented
            Editing a comment
            Steve B its my covid look

          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            Yea but it seems like you got sun burned....and grew a beak....I mean what up ????

          #8
          I have only done a couple chuckies but they came out mostly good.

          The first one, my big mistake was dry brining with way too much salt. Meat came out moist, but it was SUPER salty. If you're not tasting salty meat, then I don't think you've over dry brining.

          Second chuckie came out great. If I can do them this well every time, wife will be happy. Some keys were
          1} getting a roast with good marbling
          2} take it up to 210
          3} not screwing it up the cow's hard work
          4}wrap at 160
          5}holding it in warm oven for 2 hours before serving

          I think the high finish temp and hold time are essential.

          Chuckie wobbled when I poked it. Probe check was like a hot knife through butter.

          Just my 2 cents, and a lot of folks here have done way more than I have.

          Good luck! Send pics..... Or invite us over for taste tests
          Attached Files
          Last edited by BFlynn; June 3, 2020, 11:38 AM.

          Comment


            #9
            I second the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. But I have a feeling that your internal temp is the culprit here. I would surely go to 205 at least.

            Comment


              #10
              As mentioned above. Even though you said you go to an IT of 180* either dry brined or not. I am sure this is the problem.
              I have smoked my share of chuckies, one of my favorites, I have never pulled one under 203* and in a cambro for at least 2hrs. 3 or 4 even better. I don't think the dry brining is the fault at all. I don't measure, just a light coating using Kosher salt. Another thing, I also place the meat on a wire rack and leave uncovered, Preferably for 24hrs.
              Do some experimenting and let us know.
              OH question do you know how accurate are your thermometers? Your temps may be way off from what you think.

              Comment


                #11
                This whole experience has totally made my day. I am so happy I joined! Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond, I can't wait to get another one and try out the suggestions, and post an update!

                Last question: I have really no idea how accurate my thermometers are. Any suggestions on how to test them...? My initial thought is boiling and freezing water...?

                Thanks again!

                Comment


                  #12
                  Boiling and ice water will tell you if they're off drastically. If you can, I'd invest in the XR-50 from SNS or the Smoke from Thermoworks. Both are well built, the former has 4 probes, the latter 2.

                  Comment

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