So, I smoked a brisket and made some bacon-wrapped asparagus last weekend. The brisket came out dry, which hasn't happened before (and I didn't expect since it was prime).
Below is my process... Let me know what I did wrong, if you can spot anything.
1) Wet-aged in the cryo for ~40 days. Unfortunately I couldn't smoke it yet, so I had to freeze it for a few weeks at that point, then defrosted it for several days in the fridge prior to smoking day. After wet aging, I did seem to have more juice in the bag than I usually do when fresh.
2) Day of the smoke, I rubbed it with a 1:1 kosher / CBP (by weight, not volume) rub with some cayenne added. Time between taking it out of the fridge and going into the smoker was ~1 hr at most.
3) It went into the smoker, which is a Masterbuilt 40XL propane smoker. I just got an AMNPS, which I used for the first time. Due to the issues I've heard about keeping it lit (due to not enough O2), I put a shim at the very bottom of the smoker door to allow air in. The smoker was set up with sand in the water pan instead of water, as I understand the humidity can cause issues with AMNPS. Brisket was put directly above the sand pan with my ET-732 thermometer probe on its own rack between the two. Thus the sand pan did block some airflow to the center of the brisket, and the AMNPS may have blocked some airflow to the point, which was over on the same side of the smoker as the AMNPS. (In the future, I'll put the thin end of the flat over the AMNPS, not the thicker point.
4) Smoked overnight at a temp probably closer to 210 than 225. Brisket stall seemed to occur lower than usual, around 145 degrees rather than 160. Would this be due to the dry chamber, or due to the wet-aging process?
5) Towards the end, I boosted the temp up to ~260.
6) Started probing the brisket IT of 195. Kept trying every ~30 minutes, but even up to 205 IT the very center was still tough. Point and the end of the brisket were both yielding fine. At 207, the middle was starting to yield, so I pulled the brisket and wrapped in foil.
7) It was too early for dinner, so I wrapped in foil and towels, and it went in the cooler for ~4.5 hours.
Everyone LOVED the flavor, and my mother-in-law told me it was the best brisket she'd ever had. But they're not BBQ aficionados and prefer their meat burnt anyway, so I can't trust their judgement. To me, the flat was just way too dry. The point was still nice and moist, which was good.
I've never used the AMNPS, I've never wet-aged my brisket, and I've never smoked anything without a water pan before. I know I should have an AMNTS for a propane smoker, but other than that change, what can I do better?