Do I have a brisket disaster on my hands???

Discussion in 'Beef' started by id2nv2nj2ca, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    So, my first attempt at doing a brisket turned out well enough a co-worker of my wife asked us to cater a brisket dinner for 15 adults for today.  Gonna make a little extra Christmas cash. [​IMG]  Got the packer (I guess that's what it's called) from Sam's Club, rubbed it Sunday night and left in the fridge until last night, when I took it out, planning on at least a 15 hour smoke.

    A couple of issues.  

    1:  It appears I have once again lost my mojo when it comes to keeping my pellets in my AMNPS lit.  It was smoking GREAT.  Went to bed thinking it was going to keep on going, and when I got up this morning, only a total of 3" or less had actually burned.  Pathetic.  And not only did I heat them in the oven prior, I kept the torch on for over 1 minute, and let it burn for at least 10 minutes prior to putting it in the smoker.  Not a big deal as everything else in the smoker produced a lovely TBS.  Hopefully it will have been enough to flavor.

    2:  Following the suggestions from two really good threads on here and a private message I got from someone about smoking brisket, I put them (did two) in the smoker last night about 9:15-9:30pm, thinking they would take at least 15 hours as stated earlier.  Well, I woke up at 7:15am, took a glance at my Maverick, and the brisket the meat probe was in said it had an IT of 201 degrees.  Jumped up, woke up the wife, and went to go take a look.  That's when I saw nice thin blue smoke still coming out of the exhaust........and that my pellets had stopped within minutes (apparently) of me going to bed. [​IMG]  Went out and did the toothpick test on the "tip" (the thickest) side, and it went in like melted butter.  Then I tried it on the "flat" (at least I think that's what the parts are called), and it did NOT go in like melted butter.  Seemed kind of tough.  So, I let it stay in a bit longer, though the meat probe said 199 at the time.  I pulled them both when the probe on the "flat" read 201 degrees, double wrapped them in heavy duty foil, and put in a cooler wrapped in towels and blankets.

    Am I screwed?  Our "customer" is planning on slicing the meat themselves, as we suggested so it would remain nice and juicy.  I don't think that will be an issue on the "tip" end, though there is a LOT of fat, especially on that side.  Decided not to trim the fat, except a bit where it was exceptionally thick.  I just can't believe that they were both done in less than 10 hours.  Following the suggestion I got in the private message from someone that has been smoking brisket for 40 years, I upped the temperature to about 250 degrees.  Would that reduce the  cook time that much?

    I think they "look" great, but...............and it's killing me not to be able to try it before delivering to our customer.

    I love this forum, and thank everyone that participates and is willing to help.  Merry Christmas. 
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    You didn't say how big they were... You guessed 15 hours based on what? At 225° it takes 2hrs/Lb. At 250° it closer to 1.5hrs/Lb. Are you delivering Hot? Was the Flat and Point both butter soft when you were finished? Need more info...JJ
  3. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the reply, Chef.  One was just shy of 13 pounds, the other was right around 15 pounds.  It was just a guess on the time, based on how long it took me to do the last ones I did, (which came from a 15+ pound packer) where I actually did a LOT more trimming of the fat and ended up cutting it in half, smoking both haves at different times.  And each half only took about 7 1/2 hours to get to temperature.

    I'm still not convinced I know what part is what on these things.  I thought the thicker side was the point, and the narrower side was the flat, that the flat has the best meat, but the thicker side was where the toothpick went in like melted butter.  

    We are delivering hot and they are slicing themselves, hoping it remains nice and juicy.  Though now, I have no idea what it's going to be like since it got done a LOT sooner than expected.  I had hoped they would finish about 2pm, for a 4:30 delivery.  
  4. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What temp was your smoker.  It had to be high to smoke that fast.
  5. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    According to the Maverick smoker probe that was hanging below the upper brisket and above the lower one, it stayed around 250-255 degrees.  If it matters, my smoker is a MB 40.
  6. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That is a fast smoke at 225-250.  Ten hours on a 13 and 15 lb brisket, wow.  For me at those smoker temps I would have figured on about 30 hours.  Me I would have to taste it before delivering it. Good Luck, let us know how it does come out.
  7. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    I am tempted to pull it out and cut it in half, not only to taste, but to see how tender it really is.  It's been resting for almost 2 hours now.  Will update if and when I decide what I'm doing.  Sure don't want our "customers" to be unhappy. 
  8. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    If those IT temps are right just keep them tucked in.  They'll stay for hours if wrapped up and covered well.  As for the point and flat... I'll bet a dime on a dollar that you had the point on the right side of the rack when you smoked them.  The MES is notorious for having much hotter temps on the right.  Normally the point and flat will be done at different times.  One last thing....... the point is the part of the brisket that will make go back for more IMHO.  Although nothing wrong with the flat when cooked right.

    And I sure believe that you were cooking at a higher temp than you thought you were.  The gen 2 MES unit controllers tend to read 30 or more degrees below the actual chamber temp.  If you had the mav probe in between the racks where the meat was on you may have been shielding it from a correct temp also.  But ten hours for a 15 lb brisket is a hell of a lot hotter than 250.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013
  9. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the reply.  While I have not been smoking for years and years like a lot of the people here, I have learned to rely on the Maverick to provide accurate temps, and I realize this just defies all logic.  The probe was placed as described.  This is a night photo from an iPhone, but you should be able to see where it was.

    I don't think it was blocked too badly as the temp on the MES, that I NEVER rely on, was within 10 degrees every time I checked.  I realize that still means it's "off" by several degrees, but I had a man that's been smoking brisket for 40 years tell me to cook at 300 if possible.  I wasn't comfortable going that high, though. 

    I am happy to report that I did take them out of the cooler to try them, and they were tender as could be.  One was a little bit drier than the other, but not so much that it would be unacceptable.

    Maybe you can tell by looking at that photo above and confirming that the point was on the right as you suspected?  Thanks again.  Merry Christmas.
  10. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Yeah, the points for both are on the right. And, like I said, on the finish temps it sounds like you caught it perfect. Keep em wrapped with some finish sauce and you'll be fine.
  11. I have had the good fortune to eat brisket at Franklin BBQ in Austin and Pecan Lodge in Dallas. I've smoked and eaten brisket for nearly 50 years and these 2 establishments are standouts. Aaron Franklin has produced several videos for PBS station KRLU in Austin and I have found them very informative. They both use prime, grass-fed briskets and the quality is far superior to the Select or Choice stuff in the supermarkets and membership clubs but technique is very important.

    Here's #1 in the series, The Brisket.

    This is The Payoff, finishing a brisket.

    As you watch either of these, you'll see additional videos on ribs, pulled pork, etc. I think he did 10 - 12 total.
  12. Temp gauges are funny things. I check the one on my smoker several times a year to make sure it is reading correctly. Temp gauges that come on smokers are notorious for being off. I cook at 225 and always takes 12 plus hours. But if its tender and juicy that's all that matters. You can check your gauge before you smoke again.

    Brisket looks good !!!!!

  13. Nice looking briskets. I would only add that 225 is the best smoke/ cook temps for brisket in my experience. Share the feedback when you get it.

    Good Luck

  14. animal54

    animal54 Fire Starter

    Looks great and next time....when you wrap them in foil......put some butter on the top and let the do their magic!!! Great job!!!
  15. So what was the end result?
  16. Here are a couple of suggestions for you.

    Put a 12" X 12" unglazed ceramic tile resting on top of the metal box in the lower right corner of your unit.

    This will help deflect the heat so you don't have the hot spot on the right side of the unit above the element/box area.

    I would not use the bottom two shelf slots but move your both your meat shelves up one level. 

    Not the very top shelf but towards the top.

    People seem to get the best results in this area.

    Also try dropping down to 225 degrees for your smoke.

    Low and slow seems to work best for brisket.

    Good smoking!
  17. This is probably what made your pellet burner to extinguish!  go to search. Type MES. Scroll down to Tips for MES owners. Peel down to picks of pellet burners and read the info.  Bet this will solve the problem!!
  18. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Just a note for future reference, using the toothpick test for doneness really only works on the flat section of the brisket, due to the higher content of fat in the point end, the toothpick will slide in easily long before the fat has rendered out.  This is why you should (as you did), place the point towards the fire or heat source or hottest part of your smoker while cooking.  The higher heat will help the point finish right on time with the flat.  Let me clarify my statement, when the flat is done, the point is done as well, just may not make very good slices at this time, but it will make some killer chopped beef, but if you want to slice, it will need to go back on for a bit or cooked hotter to render out the additional fat or internal marbling.
  19. Of equal concern to me would be the fact that someone else is slicing the brisket. You can have a pretty tender brisket that is sliced with the grain of the muscle and it will be tougher to chew. I always cut across the grain and turn the brisket in different directions as needed as I slice it. 
  20. Good Point -------   Better include slicing instructions !!!!!


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