This is my first post outside of the introduction forum, but I'm here because this site has already helped me make the best brisket I've ever made. A bit of background...
We have a fall BBQ every year, and I like to take it above and beyone the "burgers and dogs" level, so it's ribs, pulled pork, brisket, etc. Last year, I followed my friend's advice of "low and slow" for the brisket...I paid attention to the 'stak temp, but never to the internal temp of the meat. My brisket looked GREAT, but well, was tough as leather. NOT what I wanted.
Fast forward to yesterday. I said to myself "Self, I have to get better at this brisket thing", so I bought a 5lb flat and stuck it in the smoker overnight with a rub of garlic, salt, and pepper. I smoked it for a few hours in foil from the start, then put it in a foil tray. This morning, it looked gorgeous...dark brown crust on the cap (cap up, will try cap down later), but when I poked it with a fork...leather. Damn! What am I doing wrong?
Go inside, pull up Google, type in "how to make tender brisket", and here I am. Did some reading and discovered the error of my ways...It's INTERNAL temp, moron :), not smoker temp. I read on...cap up vs. cap down, foil wrapping vs. tray vs. searing w/no wrap, on and on.
My brisket was still on the smoker, so I stuck it with a thermometer and it read...140. Too low. Given that I was faced with the looming spectre of a bad thunderstorm, I set the oven to 300, took the brisket inside, poured a bottle of good IPA into the foil tray, and on the brisket it self (it was still partially wrapped in foil inside the tray, and stuck it in the oven.
An hour later, the internal temp had hit 160. Back in the oven. Another hour, it was 180, and 45 mins after that, it hit 200. I lowered the oven temp to 225, and let it sit in the oven for another hour.
Funny thing, tho...when it hit 180, I noticed a change...juice was starting to flow...the bark on the cap had cracked slightly...and the thermometer slid in without much resistance. The meat almost seemed to be separating a bit...a good sign.
My wife then turned off the oven, and we let it sit in there for another hour. At dinnertime, I pulled the try out of the oven and got out the cutting board. I tried to lift the brisket out of the pan, but it split in half...it was TENDER!!!!
Cut it against the grain, served it up with some good bread and a salad, and everyone was making yummy noises during dinner.
I'm by NO MEANS a BBQ expert, but I'd put this brisket up against any BBQ joint in the state of CT (not exactly a BBQ mecca, I know, but there are a few good places).
Check out the pics and tell me what you think.
I'm looking foward to reading some more about pork shoulder and ribs.
Thanks to everyone for the information...helped me more than anything or anyone else EVER.