Amateur Smoker--questions about the brisket I smoked on Mother's Day

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by barrygs, May 12, 2014.

  1. First, let me apologize for not having pics to share.  I was so concerned with getting things right, that there was just not a good moment to take a picture.

    My affection for smoking began a couple of years ago when I purchased a Brinkmann vertical smoker from Home Depot.  I had smoked ribs on it several times with some success, but that was about it.  A few months ago, I purchased a Bayou Classic Cypress Ceramic Grill.  For those who may not be familiar with this particular grill/smoker, it is a kamado style grill.  I have read both good and bad reviews for this grill, and I took a gamble on it and purchased one from Lowes.  I have done pizza on it with great success as well as ribs, pork tenderloin, and a tbone steak.  On Mother's Day, I took on the task of smoking a brisket. 

    In preparing, I went to various forums, watched YouTube videos, as well as several episodes of BBQ Pitmasters--great show BTW.  So I was ready, at least I thought so.  I decided to go low and slow (200 - 225F for 1.25 - 1.5 hours per pound). The brisket I purchased was 7.57 lbs untrimmed.  I trimmed it down to about a 6 lb brisket after getting rid of a lot of fat.  I rubbed it down with a great rub I have used on ribs as well as a pork shoulder I did in my gas grill (which is my next thing to do in the kamado) and let it sit in the fridge for 12 - 14 hours.   I pulled it out about 3 hours prior to placing it on the grill so it would come to room temp.  I got my grill going with lump charcoal and hickory wood.  I have had fun experimenting with various woods for different meats.  So far, I have used apple wood with ribs and the pork tenderloin and cherry when I did the tbone steak.  It has been working well.  I have read and have watched videos where others have used either post oak or hickory when it comes to brisket.  I could not find post oak but hickory was available so I purchased a bag of chunks and used it for my brisket.  I started my fire at 5:30 am so I could get the brisket on by 6:30 so I could cook it for 9 hours.  My target temp on the meat was 195--based on what I've both seen and read. I had plate setter in the smoker legs side up with a drip pan underneath.  I placed the brisket on the grate over the drip pan fat side up.  I have a Maverick ET733--great thermometer BTW--and placed a probe on the grill as well as one in the thickest part of the meat.  As I have mentioned, my target grill temp was between 200 - 225F.  The actual temp range that I ended up smoking the meat at was 200 - 235F.  Even though it seemed to go higher than what I was thinking, it did not cause me great concern.  My biggest concern was that my target meat temp never reached 195F.  I closed the lid and did not open it unless absolutely necessary.  I ended up somking the brisked for about 10 hours.  Right before taking it off the smoker, I checked with a meat thermometer that I use for steaks and other things and found that in some thinner areas the temp was between 195 and 200.  In other areas it was around 182 - 184.  Despite this, I took it off, poured the drippings from the pan onto the brisket, wrapped it up and let it rest the last 45 minutes before cutting it. 

    Even though I pulled it before it was at 195, when it cut into it, it was nice and moist and done all the way through.  Everyone seemed to love it.  It had the right amount of spice from the rub and just all around great flavor.  Mother's Day was a great success.  I am just curious as to why I had trouble getting to my target temp on the meat.

    If anyone has any ideas, I would be most appreciative.

    Thank you.
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    With a desired IT of 195° the Smoker temp needs to be 20% higher or 230°+, most of the cook unless you have lots of time for it to get to your temp. This is irrelevant because if the meat spends sufficient time above 160°, the Collagen connective tissue will breakdown to the point that the meat will become tender. So if you were happy with the tenderness don't sweat the IT...JJ
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
  3. Thanks for the response.  Yes, I was happy with the overall results.  I will note your comments for future cooks.  Thanks again.
  4. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Something else to consider is that internal temp is just a guideline.   Briskets and other meats don't know what temp they are and they don't care.  They are done when they are done.   You could smoke two seemingly identical briskets and one might be "done" at 185 while the other won't be "done" until it hits 205.    The way to know that they are ready is to do the probe/toothpick test.   Stick the probe in a couple of spots around the thickest part of the flat and if it goes in with very little resistance (like a knife through soft butter), then the brisket is "done" regardless of the temp.

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