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Help me successfully smoke a cut of beef

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Okay, we have tried to smoke brisket, an eye of round roast and a chuck roast with little success. While they smell great, none of them have been tender, and honestly just a little tough. I suspect that the problem is that since there are only 2 of us, and we tend to buy 2 lb roasts, the cuts of meat are too small for them to cook to the desired fall apart tenderness that I long for.
Is there a minimum weight we should be going for? I should probably add that we're using an electric smoker and it cooks at a steady tempersture of 225 deg, there is no changing that.
post #2 of 9
Size shouldn't matter. It all depends on what internal temperature you cook it too. For example for a brisket to be tender it's internal temp is usually between 195-200. For a chuck roast to be tender it needs to get to 205-210 for pulled beef. Eye round has a low fat content and is best cooked to medium rare. Maybe 140 internal temp at most in my opinion. Get a good thermometer like the maverick and it takes all the guess work out if it
post #3 of 9

Beef cuts can be tricky.  Some fat is needed, and time is needed to break down the connective tissue and tenderize the meat.

 

Consider a covered pan with some liquid to finish with a braise?

 

Cheating to some, but it works.

 

Good luck and good smoking.

post #4 of 9

What finished product are you looking for? Are you trying to get pulled beef or sliced beef? As mentioned above, some cuts go to 200 while others only go to 140. I have had good luck with smoking tri-tip to 140 for sliced beef sandwiches.

post #5 of 9

I would suggest you get some tried and true recipes to use from this website. I recommend Bear's step by steps for this as a starting point. Get yourself a good dual probe digital thermometer setup like a Maverick or Igrill. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/159333/bears-step-by-step-index

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by worktogthr View Post

Size shouldn't matter. It all depends on what internal temperature you cook it too. For example for a brisket to be tender it's internal temp is usually between 195-200. For a chuck roast to be tender it needs to get to 205-210 for pulled beef. Eye round has a low fat content and is best cooked to medium rare. Maybe 140 internal temp at most in my opinion. Get a good thermometer like the maverick and it takes all the guess work out if it

This sums it up the best. For the smaller cuts though braising in liquid for a portion of the cook can help.
post #7 of 9

Yeah cooking for two can seem to be a issue but it's really not.  We are empty nesters here but that doesn't stop us. I still smoke 11-12 lb briskets. We eat our fill that evening, then during clean up we portion out the remaining into dinners for two, place them in foodsaver bags, suck out the air and into the freezer.  Thawed and warmed they are still great!

 

Regarding toughness and brisket: (remember I'm coming from using whole packers, point and flat still attached...) its all about getting the brisket to the color you like, then we double wrap tight in foil and put it right back on.  This helps power through the stall AND preserves the moisture.  It's done when it done - i.e. when a probe goes in the thickest part of the flat without resistance (like a knife through butter).  BTW: go in from the top not the side or all that wonderful juice will flow out! 

 

You'll notice I made no mention of temps there...that's because temp is not the first but third in the priority of elements when smoking briskets with the first two being look and feel.  Personally, when the color (that we like) is reached my temps are somewhere in the 145-160º range. Every brisket is/can be different, not to mention type of smoker and temps used. I know from past smokes approximately how long it will be before it finishes after wrapping and start probing it 1/2 hour early.  I use a thermapen for the feel so by default the temp reading comes along for the ride.   Finishing temps again vary (can't stress this enough, it's done when its done via the "feel") but their range seems to end up between 198-215º. Guess a good thumb would be 203º.

 

Good luck & Keep Smoking - it's get better!

 

Matt

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you everybody for the advise. I'll definitely be making use of the step by step posts. We decided this morning that we are going to 'upgrade' to a better smoker since the one we have now is a basic one I bought when my husband said 'get me a smoker for Christmas' and I had no clue about anything. I'm eying the 40" MES at Lowes as a definite possibility. Being able to adjust temps will make some things easier to accomplish, plus the have been times when we've needed more room.
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by lnares View Post

Thank you everybody for the advise. I'll definitely be making use of the step by step posts. We decided this morning that we are going to 'upgrade' to a better smoker since the one we have now is a basic one I bought when my husband said 'get me a smoker for Christmas' and I had no clue about anything. I'm eying the 40" MES at Lowes as a definite possibility. Being able to adjust temps will make some things easier to accomplish, plus the have been times when we've needed more room.

I love my 30" MES except that it is a little small. The 40" appears to be a great smoker and a lot of people on here use it.

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