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Mixed brisket results, What was the difference?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

A month ago I smoked a brisket and two pork butts for my daughter's 2nd birthday. Because I have a Landmann vertical box type smokier I placed the brisket on top, foil pan on the grate below it to keep it's juices separate from the pork, and two butts below that. At 6 hours I foiled the butts. For the brisket I just put it in the pan that was gathering all it's juice and covered that with foil. Pulled the brisket off at 190 degF and butts at 205 degF. Party was the following day so I drained all the juices into jars for use during the reheating process. Next day I put the jelled juices back into the brisket and pulled pork (separate) and reheated in the oven. Results were some of my best, especially for the brisket which was moist, tender, and flavorful. Having everything come together perfect for 30 people is just fantastic, leftovers are even better.

 

So I decided to smoke a brisket this weekend because, well do we really need a reason? Did the same precooking steps as last time. Because I had some thermometer problems with the smoker which I caught before putting the meat on I was running an hour behind for dinner. To account for this I ran at 240 instead of 225 degF. Only other difference was that for the first 6 hours I didn't have a pan on the grate below the brisket. Instead I just let it drip into the smoker's water pan. After 6 hours I simply wrapped it in foil and let it finish to 190 degF. Let it rest in a cooler for 1.5 hours wrapped in blankets, sliced, and ate. Problem is this go round the meat wasn't as tender or juicy. It's still good but not as good. Really I am splitting hairs here because this is still better than I can get at most any restaurant and our friends had thirds last night so they obviously liked it.

 

Here's the question: Was the difference caused by 20 degF of cooking temperature or not having the foil pan with a little juice already in it? I am leaning towards the second but wanted your opinions. Either is easy to reintroduce.

 

On a side note, I smoked with a combination of apple and cherry with a lump of walnut thrown in. Walnut gave a nice smoke hit complemented by the sweeter side of the fruit woods.

post #2 of 9
When you foiled this one did you add any liquid to the foil wrap? If not that could be the difference. Anytime you foil you want to add some liquid so that the meat basically braises in the liquid. Without liquid more juices will come out of the meat in the foil.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

I didn't add anything to the foil this time. I know for pork people add apple cider, apple juice, and/or apple cider vinegar. None of this would really work with beef in my opinion. What is normally used for beef if I didn't have the drippings?

post #4 of 9
Beef broth would work good.
post #5 of 9
A little broth is the way to go.. Fo sho
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have a lot of venison broth that my mother makes. Lots of flavor and no real game to it. Maybe I will try a little of that next time, or I can just get a foil pan and recreate the one from July. Thanks for the help. Man I love this stuff, too bad all the meat costs so much. I was going to do beef short ribs for the first time but all Wegman's had were small, already cut up shorties for $7.50/ lb. Considering I may be laid off in a couple months that's too rich for my blood and I didn't know how the individually cut pieces would turn out. Went with a brisket because it was $7/lb without bones. Beef rib experiment will have to be another time.

post #7 of 9
$7/lb for brisket?huh.gif I was in the store this morning and saw whole standing rib roasts for $7.99/lb and thought that was high.
Start watching all your local stores weekly specials, you can usually view them online. That's what I do and I buy whatever's on sale.
post #8 of 9
It has been my experience that cooking to temp as opposed to tenderness will produce inconsistent briskets. I switched to the probe test and have turned out the most amazing briskets since. Starting at 185° I will probe the flat. If there is resistance to the probe, keep checking every 20 minutes or so. Once you can slide the probe in with ease, pull it of and rest it in the cooler for at last an hour. Some briskets are tender at 185, some at 205+. Briskets are a tricky piece of flesh. Good luck on your next one.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for all the advice. It was tender in that a prob would push through easy. Really it was the moisture that I wasn't happy with and I think the lack of moisture caused it to seem less tender. I reheated some today with collected juice poured over it and the meat was actually better today than yesterday. Guess I just need to practice more... oh darn. Now for a little smoker modification to fix the thermometer problems I am having, had to put in a temporary one during that last cook.

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