I made my 2nd attempt at brisket, yesterday and I'm looking for some feedback as to what I might have done wrong, (although I have a good idea)
1st attempt whole packer no injection foiled at 160 took it to 203 (before I knew about the toothpick test) rested it for 2 hours and dug in. Flavor was great, but it was more like pot roast and it pulled apart still moist though.
This last attempt I decided to go Naked no foil. I did a whole 14lb packer Black Angus Choice grade injected the flat pretty good and the point slightly. I trimmed back the fat cap to 1/4" all over removed a large chunk of the dekel on the top of the point and underneath but still left a really good band of fat in-between the muscle, just removed the stuff that i knew wouldn't render.
Smoked it on my lang 36, used a maverick temperature probe and a thermapen for spot checking
3:00AM Roll out of bed with images of perfectly smoked brisket as motivation
3:10AM Get a chimney of charcoals going, Pull Brisket out of fridge throw on rub (S&P) (injected the night before)
3:30AM Put the chimney in the firebox and put 9 small splits on top
3:30-4:00AM Start up and clean up procedure
4:00AM Lang is stable at 275 Brisket Goes on Target 250
5:00-10AM Splits every half hour maintained 250 clean fire
10-1 Maintained 250 Clean fire
3:00PM 188 (according to maverick) Make my first butter check with thermapen
4:00PM 196 (according to maverick) Check firmness with thermapen again
4:30PM 199 (according to maverick) Check firmness with thermapen again
5:00PM 201 (according to maverick) Check firmness wrapped in foil put to cooler covered with towels to hold
7:30 Started slicing
So when I was doing my toothpick test it would glide in at the point and on the sides of the flat as you worked your way closer to the center of the flat there was a resistance. This started at about 185 on the maverick. When I decided to pull the point the Maverick was reading 201 in the deepest part of the flat, The thermapen was reading 190 on the sides of the flat and 180-185 in the center and the point was at 190.
I was worried that I was going to overcook it and dry it out and I figured that on average it was gliding in easy. The bark was great the fat had caramelized and got tacky/ sticky. I think I sort of psyched myself out here, since I don't have a reference point as I've never actually had correct brisket from a BBQ joint. Seems kinda silly that I have all this patience on a 13hour cook and then flip out on the home stretch.
When I got to slicing I realized that something wasn't quite right... the flat wasn't super moist, it wasn't tough either, the best adjectives would by dry and crumbly kind of springy/snapy. It felt like it was either right on the verge or it had just been there. The point was great.
So did I over or undercook it? I'm trying to figure out the difference since it seems like there is such a small window. At what point do you risk drying it out?
Wasn't a huge fan of the foil holding either I felt like it changed the color and flavor of the bark, went from mahogany to black, smoke went from subtle to pronounced and slightly acidic. But I guess I'm being a bit nit picky. Thinking about switching to paper.
I see lots of photos with brisket oozing juice, this was definatley not one of those. However everyone that was here ate it as fast as i could slice it, and there were no complaints.
I'd appreciate any advice from the brisket whisperers. Toothpick test only in the center? What temp do you risk drying out brisket? If its too fargone does it just end up pulling and stay moist or does it dry out? About what temperature does that happen?
Right Before I pulled
After 2.5 Hours In foil