I smoked my first brisket yesterday, but I definitely did something wrong. The flavor was good and the meat was tender, but there was almost no bark and the texture just wasn't right. Here's my story, hopefully you guys can help me out.
We're lucky enough to live close to my extended family and we have a large family dinner every Sunday. Normally my parents host and the guest list includes; my wife and I and our two young boys, my Mom and Step-Dad, my Grandfather and his wife, and a good friend of my Mom's. I'd been itching to get the smoker out again, so this week I volunteered to host. The menu was brisket, baked beans, cheesy potatoes, and cornbread.
I grabbed a 6 lb point from the local butcher on Thursday. They only had a small selection of brisket, but It was a 'choice' cut and had good veining, so I didn't hesitate.
Here is the cut just before I trimmed it.
I let it rest in the refrigerator until about 10pm on Friday evening, when I rubbed it with salt and pepper, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and put it back in the fridge. Sunday morning I got up at 6 and fired up the smoker. I have a MES30 analog cooker and a Taylor digital thermometer. I used 100% mesquite chips in the bowl and soaked them over night before the smoke.
Here is the thermometer just before I opened the door to put the meat in. This was my first time using a digital thermometer to monitor the chamber temperature. I was not surprised to learn that the dial thermometer that came with the smoker was anywhere from 25-50 degrees low.
My intention was to cook it at 225 for the duration, but I was having a heck of a time getting the temperature to settle at 225. Being an analog cooker, the heating element is either on, or off. That said, the temperature was swinging from 220-245 most of the day.
I cooked the meat, placed directly on the top rack, uncovered until the internal temperature was about 150 (the thermometer actually read 149 but I figured that was close enough) which was about 3 hours. I wasn't in a huge rush for the meat to be done, but I'd read that using the "Texas Crutch" method was crucial to a tender brisket. So at that point I removed the meat from the smoker and tightly wrapped it in a double layer of foil with about 1/2 cup of beef stock inside and placed it back in the smoker. At that time I also refilled the water pan and put the baked beans in.
I closed it up and let it go another 2 hours.
When I checked the internal temp again it was at 200. I unwrapped the brisket, drained the juice from the foil for use in the mop sauce, uncovered the baked beans and put it all back in. (sorry, forgot to take a photo of this part).
An hour later the internal temp was 206- I pulled it out, wrapped it in foil, wrapped it in a towel and put it in the cooler to rest until dinner was to be served. Total cook time for the brisket was a little short of 7 hours and it rested for about 2 hours in the cooler.
I apologize for no sliced photo, I swear I took one yesterday, but I guess not. As you can see, there is almost no bark. I trimmed the fat vein out before I sliced it, but it was falling apart and did not slice very well. The meat was tender and flavorful. but the texture was all wrong.
Sorry for the novel, but I am hoping someone can give me an opinion of what went wrong. Did I rub it too soon? Did I cook it too hot? Was the Texas Crutch my mistake?
In any case, I guess I'll just have to get another brisket to try again this weekend.