The title gives away the outcome, but this past weekend I smoked my first brisket on my Masterbuilt 30" Electric Smoker. The final product was not very tender (it "held together" too much) and was pretty dry. I'm wondering what the problem was with this brisket (is it over- or under-done), and where was the misstep that caused this outcome.
In the included pictures, I'm pulling the meat apart with my fingers to get the meat to form the visible voids between the fibers; it would not otherwise do that by itself if the slices were just cut and allowed to dangle. To me, it made it look more moist than it actually was.
Here's a short summary of what took place:
- 12lb packer cut brisket, USDA choice grade, trimmed and dry-rubbed the night before and placed in refrigerator wrapped in saran wrap. Rub involved paprika, salt, a few other little things, and coffee grounds.
- Removed just after 5am and placed on lower rack in smoker preheated to 240F, just above water pan.
- Temperature probe placed in the middle of the flat, about halfway between the end of the flat and the line of fat between the point and the flat. As much as possible of the probe was submerged in the meat.
- Positioned above the brisket was an 8lb Boston Butt (which came out nicely in the end, by the way).
5:15am: Brisket placed on smoker preheated to 240F, fat-side down, a few inches above the water pan, and nearest to the smoker's built-in temperature probe. Boston butt placed on top rack above brisket.
5:15am-8:15am: Temperature rose steadily from about 50F and leveled off somewhere around 165-170F at 8:15am. At this point, I left the house to go and try to find a second meat thermometer that I could probe the butt with at the same time, to no avail. Returning around 8:45am, I moved the probe further up the flat towards the point and obtained an internal temperature of about 160F.
10:07am: Temperature in brisket stayed at about 160F until 10:07am, at which point I wrapped the brisket in foil and placed back in the smoker, and placed the temperature probe into the Boston butt to check it's status, reasoning that that brisket would definitely need to sit a while more before it was ready for the cooler.
1:15pm: Moved temperature probe back to brisket flat (in foil at this point), to find that the temperature, as expected, had begun to rise again, and was now at about 178F.
2:55pm: Brisket internal temperature ramped between 1:15pm and 2:55pm to about 190F where the probe was, so I took an instant-read analog thermometer (a Taylor brand, which I'd verified the accuracy of in boiling water the same day) and stuck the brisket in several places along the flat, all reading mid-to-high 190F's. Not sure if probe slid in "like butter" or not - have nothing to compare this to. Figuring this meant the meat was done, I removed it from the smoker, placed in another layer of foil, wrapped in a towel, and put in a cooler with other towels/blankets/rugs to rest until time to slice and serve.
7:30pm: Waited until pork butt was done resting to slice/pull both at the same time. Sliced brisket against the grain starting at the thin end of the flat working towards the point. Turned out as seen in pictures. Only sliced 8-10 slices and decided that was enough for serving right then.
Slicing: the slices themselves were very 'stiff', if you can imagine. The grain was still very tight, as you can see in the pictures, as opposed to what I would describe as "loose".
So, given all of the above and examining the pictures, what happened, experts? Is it over-cooked, under-cooked, etc., etc.? I'm new to this, and want to try this within the next month or so, again.
Pictures below are links to large versions:
Edited by Rorschach - 1/13/15 at 3:35pm