Brisket Issues

Discussion in 'Beef' started by bigjim, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. bigjim

    bigjim Newbie

    I smoked my 2nd brisket today. I can only guess it was just the flat because it was only 5.32#. This brisket was bought at Costco, the first one I did i got from a butcher and that one was a whole untrimmed 10+#'s. For both of these I used a recipe from,00.html

    So the problem I am having is this. The brisket just isnt tasting like bbq I have had at some pretty decent bbq joints. The first brisket I did, i cooked it by time and not temp. There was a boat load of fat rendered off of the brisket and it was pulled because there was no way it would have been able to be sliced. The 2nd one was sliced and was cooked to temperature. I smoked this second one for appx 3 hour in a foil pan, then put foil over the pan and threw it in the oven @225 with the mop sauce until it reached a temp of 190. This brisket is not as tender as it should be and I didn't notice a plateau with the cooking temp.

    The brisket really tastes more like a pot roast than good bbq. What is going wrong with my method. does brisket need to be foild to be tender? I was going to sear it but my propane grill ran out of gas and my smoker uses pellets so I couldnt sear it on that. Neither of the briskets i made had a good bark on them. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    my 10 lbers briskets, take any where from 10 hours to 14 hours.......what i smoke it at @ 250 or so.....till it reaches 170.........then i foil it.........put it BACK on the smoker......... OR you can finish is off in the oven, if you would like some sleep.......brisket is a allnite MY family atleast.........its a rite of passage.........when it reaches bout 200 in the foil..........wrap it it a couple blankets and put in a least a hour.......or till when your meal comes around...........take it out.......slice the flat, and pull the you have to watch the need to cut ACROSS the grain.....and the grain will change directions on you bout half way thru the slicing......

    i know this sounds CORNFUSING.........but it does werk..........

  3. glued2it

    glued2it Master of the Pit

    Yea what d8de said!
  4. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    i use a foil pan for the first couple hours......just to catch the juices........then i pull the pan the bark will firm up........

    and i don't sear it the moment have to way to sear one.....

  5. chris_harper

    chris_harper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    In my opinion, if you smoke it in a pan the whole time, you are simmering it. i lay mine right on the rack, until it hits 170°, then i foil it. When I get a way to sear one, I am going to try Smokie Okie's method.
  6. If I can suggest, this is how we Que or Briskets:

    Set up your smoker or gas grill for indirect heat with a water pan. Use wood chips, chunks, or logs, and keep up a good level of smoke. Maintain a temperature of between 210F and 250F. Place the brisket in the smoker, as far from the heat source as possible. Mop every 30 miniutes, rotating the brisket to cook it evenly, keep the fat side up at all times. Add charcoal or wood every hour as needed to keep the heat even in the Que. The meat is done is done when a thermometer reads 185F at the thick end or when a probe goes through with little resistance.

    An untrimmed brisket 8 to 10 lbs will serve 10 to 12

    {Note a good rule of thumb}: Generally cooking time is 1 hour per pound at 250 degrees F. ,but you have to add another 15 miniutes for everytime you open the lid or let the fire go below temperature. Most of us figure 1 1/2 hours per pound to be on the safe side, or just say 15 hours for a 10lb brisket.
    Yield: Once you remove the fat cap and allow for shrinkage, the brisket yields about half of the weight you started with, so a 10lb brisket should yield about 5lbs of cooked meat....................Enjoy
  7. bigjim

    bigjim Newbie

    Thanks for the responses. I have a Traeger smoker so it does a pretty good job of keeping a consistent temp. The first brisket I did I foiled after smoking for appx 7 hours, but even that one was more like a braised brisket because it was just steaming in its own juice.

    Guess it is just a matter of learning from your mistakes.

  8. glued2it

    glued2it Master of the Pit

    Welcome to wonderfull world of smoking meat!
  9. fat sal

    fat sal Fire Starter

    I have a saying that I always tell my nieces and nephews when teaching them how to cook: "You have to screw-up a recipe three times before getting it right."

    Chin up. You're almost there, my friend.
  10. bigjim

    bigjim Newbie

    i am wondering if I should foil and leave on the smoker so some of the juices can run out of the foil? I will post more when I try the next one. I have to prepare for a turkey now for thursday.
  11. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    Ditch the foil and the pan and you will get away from the pot roast feeling. Go 100% of the cook unwrapped. Put the rub on, put it on the smoker at around 240 degrees. Don't monkey with it or even peek at it until it hits 195 internal. Pull it off and let it rest (wrapped) for an hour at the minimum. It will taste more like you are used to having from restraunts/Q joints. Those places don't generally wrap due to the extra time and costs involved.

    As long as you can control your heat well you will be fine.
  12. fat sal

    fat sal Fire Starter

    Hey, Fatback Joe:

    I have very little experience with briskets, but am trying to get my legs under me because I plan to do a brisket smoke shortly after New Years.

    Can you describe the difference in the end product when foiling a brisket at 160/170º vs. leaving it unfoiled during the entire smoke?

    Personally, I'd rather do a purely unfoiled smoke--but is there a high probability that the end-product will be dry?

    Thanks, dude. Most people seem to acknowledge that brisket is an especially tough smoke. I suppose that's why so many foil.

  13. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    To me, the foil gives it what is probably described as the pot roast texture......not sure of a better way to put it. Makes it to where you are really smoking and braising a brisket instead of just smoking it. IMO it takes a lot of the "skill", for lack of a better phrase, out of cooking one.

    Yep, smoking one unwrapped from start to finish increases the odds of a dry brisket. But if you have a good piece of meat and control the temps, it will stay moist.

    I am struggling to come up with a good way to describe it, but basically foil or not foil is just two different textures to the meat and I think that is what Jim is trying to find......the right texture. Unfoiled is just kind of a good way.

    Sorry I can't describe it better.
  14. fat sal

    fat sal Fire Starter

    Thanks, FBJ. You actually did a pretty good job of explaining.

    I just pulled my July/August 2007 edition of Cook's Illustrated magazine. They had an article on Texas-style brisket.

    In this article, they recommended brining the brisket for two hours (recipe called for the flat only). They claimed that this increased the odds that the slices will be juicy

    Interesting (and surprising) advice, because (to my knowledge...and I have nearly the entire collection) CI has never before advocated brining beef.

    Perhaps this technique might allow a bit more wiggle-room with an unfoiled brisket smoke.

  15. bigjim

    bigjim Newbie

    what exactly do you mean by controlling the temperature?? To not have too much of a swing?

    You say to keep it around 240 so does that really mean a range of 225-250?

    You are right in me trying to find the right texture which i havent had yet. The first one was closer than the second but the first one would never had been able to be sliced, only pulled. I am particularly worried about it drying out, which is why I "cheated" and foiled.

  16. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yeah, I remember that article........had the same thoughts as you about them not advocating that before. Haven't brought myself to try it though. May as well just inject and get it over wth if you are going to brine IMO.
  17. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yeah, 225 to 250 will work. Yeah, by controlling the temps, I meant not too big of swing up and down and not a whole bunch of smaller ones either. If you can stay steady in the 225 to 250 range (closer to 250 IMO) you should be fine.

    No shame in foiling..........everyone is doing it.........including me (most of the time). It is good insurance against drying the sucker out.
  18. bigjim

    bigjim Newbie

    I am wondering if foiling were done if it would be more beneficial to start the foiling right before the plateau range (150*) or maybe that would not make a difference.
  19. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The foiling will speed up the process and get you through the plateau quicker, but when I tried that in the past, I wound up deciding to only foil after the plateau.........can't remember why exactly, but I know I decided to foil after and not before. Now I always watch for the temps to stall and then wrap after the temp starts moving again if I am going to wrap. Seems like forcing that collagen to breakdown quicker didn't help anything.

    LIke with all of this stuff, the best way is to experiment and find out what works for you. The results still taste good even if the texture isnt quite what you want.
  20. bombo80

    bombo80 Smoke Blower

    Hi Guys,

    I haven't done a brisket before, but I really would like to.

    If I start it in the smokehouse @ 240*, on a 10lb flat, how long would it be until it will hit the temp plateau ??. Just curious. I like the idea of overnight in the smokehouse. With my electric element, I can maintain a consistent temp very easily.


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