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Brisket is dry and not very tender...what happened? (with pics) - Page 2

post #21 of 34

Those competition guys like that do get better meat than you or I would hardly ever see many times in our lives. That makes a difference as well. Unless you raise it yourself or your neighbor does for you like me.

post #22 of 34

Here is some good reading from our site founder Jeff. http://www.smoking-meat.com/february-7-2013-smoked-brisket-low-n-slow-start-high-heat-finish

post #23 of 34
Thread Starter 

From timber's linked article: 

 

        "Place the brisket directly on the grate and let it smoke cook until it reaches about 160 degrees. You are probably looking at about 3 hours."

 
He recommended using a 10-12lb packer cut brisket in the recipe (mine was 12lbs).  How does this square with SuperDave's statement about getting to 160F within 3 hours being a clue/warning??  Jeff's even had the entire fat cap on, untrimmed, which seems like it would slow temperature rise, if anything.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by timberjet View Post
 

Here is some good reading from our site founder Jeff. http://www.smoking-meat.com/february-7-2013-smoked-brisket-low-n-slow-start-high-heat-finish

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
 

The red flags were waving for me when you stated that a 12 lbs packer reached an IT of 160 in 3 hours.  While you've verified that your internal temp was believable, I would think the box temp is a mile off. 

post #24 of 34

I know, some conflicting info there but if you were a 325 starting out that could have been your problem. Also, I remember the article jeff wrote when it first came out and he even said it was no where near as tender as low and slow in his comments on this website.

post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rorschach View Post
 

From timber's linked article: 

 

        "Place the brisket directly on the grate and let it smoke cook until it reaches about 160 degrees. You are probably looking at about 3 hours."

 
He recommended using a 10-12lb packer cut brisket in the recipe (mine was 12lbs).  How does this square with SuperDave's statement about getting to 160F within 3 hours being a clue/warning??  Jeff's even had the entire fat cap on, untrimmed, which seems like it would slow temperature rise, if anything.

 

 


He did trim the fat off one side. I don't know but for me it's low and slow all the way.

post #26 of 34
Thread Starter 

Ah, okay.  Welllllllll....we'll see what happens here with the temperature tonight and hopefully that'll help solve the mystery.

 

Pork butts must be as forgiving as heck - smoked two on the top rack in that thing and they've been juicy as all get-out!

 

Thanks for the continued feedback, timber, Super, gary, and brandon.  Incredibly helpful to a baby smoker.

post #27 of 34

Because even the most seasoned veterans can have a bad brisket, I take no chances and crutch all my briskets to insure some moisture and tenderness.  True bark fans will protest but I'd rather have good meat. 

post #28 of 34
Thread Starter 

Update on the temperature according to the smoker's built-in cabinet temperature sensor:

 

Tested the built-in temperature sensor at two set-points - 200F and 240F.  A trusted wireless temperature sensor (accuracy verified in boiling water this past weekend) was used as a temperature reference.

 

Reference probe position:  The reference temperature probe was stuck completely through a raw potato and placed on a rack, with the entire body of the probe being nearly horizontal and the tip of the probe positioned less than 1" away from the smoker's built-in temperature sensor.

 

Procedure:  The vent was 100% closed on the smoker, the smoker set-point was entered, and then the cabinet was allowed to come up to temperature until both probes showed (roughly) stable temperatures.

 

Data:  At a set-point of 200F, the built-in sensor read steady within +/-1F of 200F.  However, the reference probe rose to temperature rather quickly and shot beyond it (I suspect this is intentional, with the purpose of reducing smoker warm-up time), then bounced repetitively between approximately 216F and 221F.

 

The target temperature set-point was changed to 240F.  Again, the built-in sensor rose to 240F and stayed within one or two degrees of that target.  Once the reference probe reached steady-state, it bounced between 246-266F.

 

Conclusion:  Even though the cabinet temperature seems to be higher than the built-in digital sensor indicates, the difference between reality and expected temperatures doesn't seem like it would be enough to drastically throw off the brisket smoking results.  But I could be wrong about that.

 

Comments/questions/ideas?

post #29 of 34
Thread Starter 

I also was just reading one of gary's posts on smoking brisket and came across this quote:

 

"Most briskets will be done around 190° to 205°. Now if you buy” Choice grade” it can be tender and juicy around 180° to 185°." (source: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/166136/how-long-to-cook-a-brisket-or-the-misconception-of-the-1-to-1-5-hour-rule)

 

Is it possible that, because the cut was USDA Choice grade, that taking it to 195F severely over-cooked and dehydrated the brisket?

post #30 of 34

If your meat probe thermometers are accurate, the smoker temp being high or low doesn't matter.  When you get to that 190-195 IT of the meat, then you can start doing things like a toothpick test and go by the feel of the meat instead of the temp.

post #31 of 34
Thread Starter 

Okay - can anyone either provide a video link or give some guidance as to the feel of the toothpick test?  When I slide the temp probe into and out of the meat at various points during the latter stages of the cooking process, it felt pretty smooth, so I'm not exactly sure of the feel you're going for with any of those tests relying on poking.

 

Would the best thing to do, since I have no frame of reference for 'like butter' or 'buttery smooth' with regards for this test, to start probing when I know for a fact that the brisket is underdone, then go by comparison to feel where it starts to soften up?

 

Also, is there no downside to poking lots of holes with temperature probes and toothpicks in a piece of meat?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by jbills5 View Post
 

If your meat probe thermometers are accurate, the smoker temp being high or low doesn't matter.  When you get to that 190-195 IT of the meat, then you can start doing things like a toothpick test and go by the feel of the meat instead of the temp.

post #32 of 34

Like a hot knife through butter. Try it on your next rack of ribs too. It really does work.

post #33 of 34
Thread Starter 

10-4.  At this point, I'm leaning towards it being over-done.  Can't wait to try to catch it before it gets there next time (via toothpick test or some variation).

 

Questions though:

 

1) Can the final product's quality be negatively impacted by poking it too much with toothpicks?

 

2) Once the brisket's internal temperature reaches what is considered to be in the ballpark of where it should be at its juiciest, is there a 'best' time interval or temperature interval at which the brisket should be checked for done-ness?  For example, once 180F internal is reached, should I check the meat every 30min until it feels right, or, at 180F, should it be checked for done-ness every 3F rise in internal temperature?  Something like that?

 

Thanks.

post #34 of 34

I wouldn't even poke it until it hits 195 internal. I have never had one done any less than that. You don't have to perforate it. just poke it in the thickest part one time. You can kind of feel when it is right. It will be squishy and jiggly. if that is a word. lol

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