I hate brisket

Discussion in 'Beef' started by elohel, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. elohel

    elohel Smoke Blower

    I just smoked my third brisket last night. Just like the first two, this one was an abysmal failure.

    For all 3 of them, I've rubbed them in a pretty simple/general BBQ rub. Into the smoker @ 225 (I tried 250 on this last one) with oak. At around 160-165, I foiled them and then brought them up to 190.

    All three of them have been horrendously dry. They just taste severely overcooked and reminiscent of shoe leather. It's driving me nuts!

    I'm not sure if it's just the meat I'm getting (pre-packaged briskets from Target, not sure if it's the point or the flat), if I'm just preparing it incorrectly (should I be brining it? injecting it?), cooking it at the wrong temp, cooking for too long, etc.

    It's just really disheartening because brisket is my favorite and my sole reason for getting a smoker, yet they keep turning out worse than the last one!

    Any advice would be enormously helpful, thanks!
  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    What kind of liquid did you add when foiling?
  3. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Oh man that sucks. I have a few questions.

    1. Are you getting a full packer? If so are you separating the point from the flat or keeping it whole when smoking it?

    2. Are you injecting it at all? from what I read it sounds like you  aren't. I inject mine and they are very juicy but then again some people don't inject and theirs are juicy as well.

    3. Are you trimming a whole bunch of fat off the brisket?

    4. Are all of these briskets that you are comparing from Target? If so get one from somewhere else  to have something to compare to. I get mime from Walmart  or Sams Club  and I love them.
  4. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds like you're getting the flats and not the whole packer, which has more fat.

    I would take Ross's advice and try one from a different store.

    Your doing the right thing with your smoker temp at 225º, I don't like to go any higher.
  5. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    What ever Rap says..... he's my brisket hero..............[​IMG]
  6. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Raptor brings up a good point. I don't know what you are doing but I use to separate the point from the flat but I finally tried to leave  it whole until it was done and I will never ever separate the point from the flat again until I reach higher temps.
  7. elohel

    elohel Smoke Blower

    Yeah, I'm definitely just getting one or the other. Target pre-trims the brisket so it's not the entire thing.

    I don't inject or brine it (should I?) as I never though people did that with beef. I also never put anything in the foil, but that seems like a good idea. All of the briskets have been from target, and they're generally pretty lean, so I don't trim much if any fat off of them.
  8. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    You need to put a little something in the foil.  Apple juice with a bit of vinegar  is a good basic foiling liquid.  As the brisket cooks it gets "braised" by the steaming liquid.  Willing to bet that is your problem.  You can always dry it up or firm it up a bit when you remove from the foil if you want by putting it back on the smoker.  Once you reach the temp you are looking for you can rewrap in foil and put in the ice chest to further break down the collagen if you are pulling.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  9. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I agree with all the above, I also wanted to remind you to cut across the grain or it will be like leather in trying to eat it.
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Update your Profile to include your location.There may be a member that could stop by to help...Is the Brisket Choice or Select from Target? I think trying a different brand may help as well...JJ
  11. I've never had any luck cooking just the flats.  They come out dry every time.  Full packers from Wally World or Sam's is the ticket for me.  I trim the thick slab of fat off and smoke it to 165 foil and then put in a cooler at 195 for a couple of hours.  Some are better than others but the worst is always acceptable.  The point is always moist and tender.  If the flat comes out dry I just chopped it and add sauce.  I then pretend that I meant to serve chopped beef.  Try a whole packer cut, I think you will be surprised at the difference.
  12. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    There's your problem's in my opinion. I have done the cuts and they always seam to be dry, not shoe leather dry but dry. Since I have started doing briskets this way I have not had a dry 1. I also use water in a disposable pan, for added moisture.

    Here is how I do my briskets;

    Trim fat cap 1/4 -3/8 inch,  score fat cap, cover with mustard slather, cover with rub, wrap in saran wrap, place in fridge for at least 12 hours longer if time allows. Re cover with rub, place in 200 – 225 degree smoker, try and maintain 215 degrees, spritz every couple hours after 4. Smoke till IT 190 degrees, Pull, spritz, wrap in HD foil, place in towel lined cooler for couple hours. Slice thin, de-fat drippings and juice in foil, add 1/4 cup beef broth, 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp rub, and few shakes chipotle Tabasco sauce, reduce for Ajue. Drizzle Ajue over slices; serve with remaining Ajue on the side.

    Mustard Slather

    1 – 16 oz bottle cheap yellow mustard

    2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce


    1 – Bottle Kroger stake seasoning (size of bottle escapes me, none in cupboard to check. Think its 8 or 12 oz)

    1/4 cup dark brown sugar

    1 Tbsp Beau Monde seasoning (secret ingredient)(leave this out and rub totally changes)

    1 Tbsp dry mustard

    1 Tbsp smoked paprika

    2 tsp garlic powder

    1 1/2 tsp chili powder

    1 1/2 tsp onion powder

    1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

    1 1/2   tsp Lawry’s seasoning salt

    1 tsp cumin

    1 tsp ground coriander

    1/2 tsp ground ginger

    Mix everything together sample, add chipotle chili pepper to adjust heat as needed. I always add 1/2 Tbsp then sample, and go from there.

    1/2 - 2 Tbsp chipotle chili pepper (heat varies with each bottle and brand)


    8 oz Apple Cider (100% Apple juice good substitute)
    6 oz Jack Daniel’s (Evan Williams’s good substitute)
    4 oz water
    2 oz Apple Cider Vinegar

    Here's a thought if you don't want to buy a full packer buy the smaller cut lean  briskets and put bacon on it. Change the bacon as the fat renders out, never tried this but I'll bet it works
  13. I usually smoke flats and I've never had a dry brisket.  What I do...
    • Dry rub, cut criss cross pattern in the fatty side
    • Smoke at 225°F - 1.5 hours per pound fatty side up
    • Put beer in the water tray in my smoker
    • baste every hour with a beer/bbq sauce mixture, or spray with apple juice.
    • Meat is basiclly done absorbing smoke after 3-4 hours, so if it's cold out I'll wrap it in foil, baste heavily with beer/bbq mix and put in the oven at 225° to finish at 190°
    I've done apple juice instead of beer and no bbq sauce, that turns out good too.  When I do kobe beef briskets I could pull them apart.  Hereford beef (or any other standard breed) stays fairly juicy too.  

    Sounds like you're drying out.  
  14. miamirick

    miamirick Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    get some STUBBS beef marinade / sauce and inject it then add it when foiling,   this is a good tasty marinade and will help keep it moist

    the other problem you might have  is paying too much attention to your avatar and not concetrating on the brisket!  
  15. ktotheb

    ktotheb Fire Starter

    Make sure your temp probe(s)and smoker temps are calibrated correctly. You may be overcooking it thinking it's not done yet. Ask me how I know.LOL I have smoked several since and not a bad one yet. Let us know how you make out.

  16. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    As you can tell, there's lots of members that have good advice.

    Just don't give up!!!

    It's a simple obstacle that can be overcome.

    Hang in there and you'll get the results your looking for.  [​IMG]
  17. The brisket isn't doing anything wrong, you're cooking it too low and losing all the mosture. Try the same routine at 325. Also, yes inject it.
  18. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    [​IMG]  I didn't even think bout that, you may be right

    Extremely good point, and one I spaced off suggesting.  
    Interesting concept. I have herd some folks were ditching the low and slow on the comp circuit, but the jury was still out on the results of doing this. I always do low and slow and don't dry my briskets out, unless they are cuts with little fat, that's why i only use packers now.
  19. I always let the brisket set out for a couple of hrs befor putting on the smoker,cris cross cut the the cap and season and let sit I always use wholr packer...
  20. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Sounds like you have a lot of good advice & the next one should be a winner. When you foil it I would use an aluminum pan with at least 1 cup of beef broth in it.

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