2nd attempt at Brisket

Discussion in 'Beef' started by irishpride114, May 17, 2013.

  1. This is my second attempt at smoking a brisket (ever). I got the gen2 40 MES a few months ago, and so far my attempts have been so-so. The first brisket was pulled to soon, as I over slept and my smoker turned off. I didn't do enough research and didn't know about stall times, and just figured 1.5 hours per pound and went to sleep. It was good, but not slap your momma good. LOL.

    So here I am trying this again, and I finally started looking at the internal temp of the smoker and new meat probes (I threw away 4 after my attempt at a Boston butt). I realized my internal temp was off by almost 30° and my factory meat probe was also off by roughly 12°. So nonetheless, I ordered a Maverick Wireless BBQ Thermometer Set - Maverick ET732  today, but I do have instant one that got today from Wal-Mart (surprisingly dead on by the boil test) that will get me by till Tuesday when it gets delivered. I am also using a oven thermo till the Maverick comes in as well. Sorry about the back story, I will get to the heart of the post.

    I trimmed this last night about 630pm, and the used a standard mustard rub and then I used my own seasoning that I have been making myself for about 6-7 years. Wrapped in foil and let it sit over night, then took it of the refrigerator an hour before I was ready to put in the MES. If your wondering, I put it in about 715 this morning, as I am no hurry as to when it is done (it was a 6.60lb brisket before trimming). Like I keep reading everywhere here, it will be done, when its done. Besides, I am still learning as this is completely new to me (smoker and the act of smoking itself).

    Before I forget, I am using combination of cherry and pecan wood chips. And I am also spraying with apple juice (in a sprayer) every hour. hence the reason the puddle on top of the brisket in the second picture.

    There will be pictures and updates to follow.

    This the brisket at 7am this morning at letting it sit on the counter for just over a hour.

    If there are any pointers, or I am forgetting anything, let me know please.

    This was just after 4 hours

  2. 05sprcrw

    05sprcrw Smoking Fanatic

    Looking good, your well on the way to a good meal.
  3. ats32

    ats32 Smoking Fanatic

    What temp are you running at? That pale color after 4 hours is a little strange but nothing to be worried about. I usually run my MES at about 240F for briskets.
  4. Well on your way.  I would only suggest you only spritz.  You don't want it to start steaming.  I don't have your smoker but I am curious why you trimmed that brisket?  I have used a few type smokers/grills and I never trim.  For a brisket that size I would probably  just use my Old Smokey ( 6 hrs. ).  Maybe my offset If I really wanted heat control and really long and slow.  I also rarely baste, spray or spritz.  Just may be a personal choice.  In England I can still go to the local ( village ) butcher to order my meat.  He gets the carcass from the local slaughterhouse cut in half.  I order my brisket by the kilo, usually 7 - 8 kg (14 - 18 lbs ) removed from the bone and totally untrimmed.  British butchers trim most if not all the fat off most meat ( that's why I special order ).  It has more fat than packer trimmed.  These I cook in my offset.  I trim when I slice. Long and slow.  Let that fat break down and add flavor and moisture to the meat.   I ask only to learn.  Hopefully someone with more experience can enlighten me.
  5. I am now cooking at 225°. It took awhile while tinkering with boiling water and a oven that when my smoker was saying 225°, it really ment  185°. I know now why my first several attempts were not very good. But anyways, I have now since adjusted accordingly and hopefully is smooth sailing. I just sprayed the brisket again, and this is what it looks like now that the temp is now where I wanted it to be in the first place.

    Also note I soaked up the extra apple juice.

    Last edited: May 17, 2013
  6. Yes, I don't know why, but the brisket fell and started collecting the juice, but I have since soaked up the extra juice.

    I typically don't trim the brisket, but this one a little more fat then what I wanted on top, and it also had the knarled side from the slaughter house. So all in all, I only probably lost maybe a pound of garbage that I would have had to trim at some point.

    I have a offset as well, but I was never very good at it. But now using this MES and reading pages and pages of advise, I realized I was always doing it wrong. Sooo, at some point I am going to go back and try to use it again.

    Thanks for the advise.
  7. iebbqman

    iebbqman Fire Starter

    Use the temp probe to make sure you reach temp.  Remember after the internal temp reaches 160 degrees the meat will not take much if any more smoke flavor at all.  Most people run their brisket to the 200-205 range.  Personally I use the push the temp probe in and see how easy it goes in.  If it has little or no resistance, then it is ready in my book.

    Other then that, good on finding out the way your unit looks at temperature.  Unfortunately they can be off.  I would talk to the manufacturer to see if there is a way to adjust it to be closer to the proper temp.  But that is just me and my desire to ensure my temps are accurate.  

    Do not be worried, it can take several attempts to get brisket perfect, and when I still make it, i stress out if it is not progressing the way i expected it too.  

    So put your feet up and grab a beer cause when it is done, you will enjoy it.
  8. It's at 161° now, been there for about 2 hours. I have read that it can take several hours to break the stall, but man it sure is nerve racking. Is there a proto-typical or rough standard of time it takes for the stall to be breached? I ask this because I keep thinking it is going to over cook itself.

    Yes, I put the last batch of wood chips in about 2 or 2.5 hours ago (just so happen to be the last I has soaked as well).

    What do you mean "people ruin their brisket in the 200-205° range"? When do you typically start the toothpick/temp probe prodding?

    Thanks again.
  9. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think he posted "run", not ruin.

    I've had briskets stall anywhere from 1-1/2 hours to almost 4. It just depends on the brisket; no two are alike.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: May 17, 2013
  10. Lol gotcha. Speaking of the stall, mine finally broke. It is now 170°, so hopefully in about 4 hours it should be done. Thanks again.
    Last edited: May 17, 2013
  11. So I have a question. Half the of the brisket is now at 200°, but the other half (the big thick side, sorry I don't know the terms) is still around175-185° based on where I probe it. Should I cut it half, or just let it ride?
  12. how did it turned out?
  13. Sorry about the delay. It finally got up to temp about 745pm last night. Then I let it rest for 45 mins before slicing it. As far as taste goes, it wasn't to bad. The top half next the lasrge fat cap was amazing, but the bottom half in my opinion was a little dry. I was really thinking it should have been as moist as pulled pork. Now with that being said, it was good don't get me wrong, I just really expected something else. But the last hour it was on the smoker, I did bump the temp up to 250°. So honestly, I have no idea why part of it was a little dry (for my liking). Maybe you guys know something that I don't.

    But here is a picture of my brisket right before I sliced it.

    But like I said, the bark had great taste, as did the upper part of the brisket. But it just seemed a little dry. But much better then my first attempt at Easter. 
  14. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I noticed two things. One, it appears you cooked with the fat-side down. Half of the people here will say that that is the correct way; the idea being that the fat will act as a heat shield and keep the meat moist. The other half, myself included, cook fat-side up, with the fat rendering down into the meat in order to establish the same goal. Which is really best? Who knows? Also, when trimming the fat cap, I usually leave at least 1/4". Some folks don't trim much at all.

    The other thing is it didn't sound like you foiled. Again, it's personal preference, but wrapping it in a double layer of foil when it hits 165°-170° will keep all the remaining liquid from evaporating. This is commonly known as a "Texas Crutch". You end up with a moister meat that way, imo, and it will also speed the finishing time. However, the down side is that this method will soften the bark considerably. So you sort of have to choose which road you want to go down. It's all part of the learning curve.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: May 18, 2013
  15. No, I cooked it fat side upand no I didn't foil it till it was done and time for it to rest.

    When you foil it at 170°, is that after it finishes stalling? Also, does a person keep it in the smoker for this or take it to the oven? Either way, do I keep
    a probe in it?
  16. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    My stalls usually occur in the 150°-160° range. But every piece of meat is different.

    Yes, after you foil you are no longer adding any smoke to the meat so you can finish in your smoker, or transfer to your oven if you wish. Either way, DO keep the probe in. It can be a little tricky juggling a hot brisket with the probe attached, but it can be done.
  17. Thanks for the heads up. Do these tips also hold true for pork shoulders?
  18. wtipton

    wtipton Fire Starter

    I had the same issue with my first Brisket, I solved it by injecting. I inject 1 part Rub and 2 parts water or beef broth (depending on your preference) I found this does 2 things: 1. it helps moisten the meat 2. gets the spice flavor into the meat. 

    I have always foiled but the last one I did a few weeks ago I dd not foil and fond the the moisture content was the same and had a better bark. 

    Hope this helps

  19. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Irish, yes you can do the same with pork shoulders, but they are more fatty throughout, whereas a brisket flat is more like a solid piece of meat with a thick layer of fat on one side. (The point end of the brisket is more marbled.) Pork butts or shoulders can take the heat w/o foiling and still be fine. Again, it's personal preference.

    Injecting is a great way to introduce flavor deep into the meat. But I have done many with injections, and without, and I haven't found much difference in moisture retention.
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
  20. iebbqman

    iebbqman Fire Starter

    Some people trim the meat between the point and the flat on their brisket.  Unless yours was missing one of those parts.  this will reduce the cooking time and also allow you to get more seasoning on the meat.  Keep cooking fat side up, and I do inject my meat with beef broth in order to help keep it moist.  

    I probably would not have soaked up the juice sitting on the meat when cooking.  This moisture will turn into steam, which will help keep the meat moist, or it may just seep back down into the meat.  Make sure you are properly spraying, mopping, or squirting with a fire hose your meat down regularly to ensure proper moisture retention.  This is not so important if you foil at around 160-170.  

    Limit how often you open your smoker.  Every time you open it you let heat, and moisture out of the cooking chamber.  Plus you increase cooking time, because the smoker has to recover the loss of heat.  

    Most importantly do not worry so much about the temperature of the meat, as how tender it is when you hit it with the probe. If you temp probe runs through it like melted butter you are done.  check the temp to make a mental note of how hot the meat is.  Cooking brisket is more of an art form then technical.  You learn to understand your smoker and the meat best if you don't worry about hitting temp when you expect it. Be one with the meat and the wood.

    And in regard yes i meant run not ruin.  Dang spellchecker.

    Fortunately you cook in an area where your elevation and temperature is not a wide swing.  you can for the most part know what the average temp is in your are for any given time of the year.  Myself I cook near the coast (cooler, low elevation) and in the dessert (hot, dry, and sometimes high elevation).  So my cook times are always different.  They all run around the same time frame but are never a match.  So good luck and may we see many more cooks form you.

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