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post #41 of 536
From a relatively newbie that has done briskets that have all come out tender and juicy.

I only buy full packers despite smoking in an MES 30. I simply cut it in half and have a flat half and a point half (I do not separate the point from the flat, the point half still has some flat to it). The packers I get (Costco) are untrimmed so you can trim as much or as little as you want

I am fortunate that the Costco by me only sells USDA Prime briskets, so I personally can't say if the cut of meat matters.

I cook without distirubing the brisket until it reaches 190F. Then I test for doneness using the toothpick test.

Usually smoke around 235 using fruit wood of some sort.
post #42 of 536
Awesome thread Danny... Thanks for starting it !

I'll jump in here, I've had awesome (packers) & fair (flat only) briskets I'd say... Nothing bad ! The awesome has been the packers with a nice fat cap on them.... The fair was just a flat that I tried, no fat cap or anything & it didn't really turn out as well as I'd have liked it to... However, I do admit that smoke was more of an experiment more than anything ! I'll explain briefly what I mean...

I have done a bunch of packer briskets & I've had them turn out real nice... Tender & juicy ! With a packer, I personally will NOT trim any of the fat cap & rub down the brisky with some EVOO or peanut oil... Sprinkle with SPOG & smoke with hickory &/or apple at 225-250* with the fat cap up ! I let it ride with the fat cap up til done... Usually done round 198-205* IT (but ultimately defined by the probe or toothpick test for tenderness) IMHO, fat cap up helps to render the fat or self baste the brisket !

The flat I smoked was done exactly as the packers I've smoked... But, there was a definite difference between just the flat & the packer IMO ! The flat had been trimmed upon purchase with no fat cap & didn't turn out as tender & juicy !

Which leads me back to my comment to start this post... The differences between packer & flat !

This pic is one example of the brisky I smoke !

However, I'am always open to new ideas & procedures on brisky smokin.... This has just been the way I've personally done brisky & it's turned out great...

But again, I'm always open to other ways or methods.... That's why I like this forum so much, great folks using TBS & each has their own way of smokin !
post #43 of 536
Originally Posted by KC5TPY View Post

There you go Ajsmokes.  A brisket "joint" bought from an English supermarket and the smoker it was cooked on.  NO fat cap and ZERO marbling.  If that is not a cr** piece of brisket I'll eat my hat!  Also as you can see that's no high dollar smoker being used ( although they are a great little smoker; for certain foods ) I don't have an after picture but it was not tough and not dry.
I'm not debating the fact that you can take cheap meat and make it tender and moist. My debate is the quality..
I use an electric smoker. I rub it in salt pepper and garlic and let it sit for 24 hours before smoking.. I smoke it at 230 till 195 I.T. let rest in cooler for at least an hour. Comes out dry...
post #44 of 536
Originally Posted by Ajsmokes View Post

I'm not debating the fact that you can take cheap meat and make it tender and moist. My debate is the quality..
I use an electric smoker. I rub it in salt pepper and garlic and let it sit for 24 hours before smoking.. I smoke it at 230 till 195 I.T. let rest in cooler for at least an hour. Comes out dry...

If you are pulling at 195 and your brisket comes out dry, then you probably aren't cooking it long enough.  Use the poke/probe test.   Take a probe and poke the brisket at various spots on the thickest part of the flat.  When the probe goes in and out with no resistance, like a knife through warm butter, the brisket is ready.   The "juiciness" of a brisket comes from the breaking down of the connective tissues between the muscle fibers.  This breakdown is a function of temperature over time, meaning that it takes more time at lower temps, or less time at higher temps.   

post #45 of 536

Looks good.  did the brisket have a fat cap ?

post #46 of 536
Thread Starter 

Hello.  Aj, I realise you are not trying to debate ANYTHING.  All is good.  I am just sort of frustrated.  I read your method and except ( as mentioned above ) for maybe the "toothpick test"; looks good to me so why are you and others having trouble with brisket?  That's what I was trying to find.  I wish more folks who have trouble with brisket would join in.  Maybe we could find a common thread and help everyone make good briskets.  How can person "A" follow "X,Y,Z" and turn out a good brisket and person "B" follows the same "X,Y,Z"  and turns out a bad brisket.  It's just crazy.  Makes no sense.  Maybe folks are not remembering to sacrifice a live wildebeest to the Great Smoking Gods before smoking a brisket.  :icon_biggrin:   Keep Smoking!


post #47 of 536
I've only been smoking for about a year, but I've done probably 10 briskets and haven't been disappointed with any of them. I'm smoking another one tomorrow, and that is what lead me to this thread. I've never done a full brisket, or even a point. I always just do flats. I'm a firm believer that simpler is better. I just rub with a SPOG and use charcoal with mesquite wood for smoke. I use a home made Mini UDS. I run my smoker at about 275 and cook the brisket until 190 IT. I then close all the vents on my smoker to cool it down and wrap the brisket in foil. I let it rest in the cooling smoker for an hour before cutting and serving.

All I can recommend to the people having troubles is to keep fine tuning your method and try different things until you get it the way you like it.
post #48 of 536

That was Danny's intent, for people to post their problems so they can some help   Great Idea



post #49 of 536
The biggest issue I see in people who have issues with brisket is patience and checking doneness with a probe test. I have certainly got tired of waiting and pulled briskets at temps between 190-200 and have had them be tough and dry. I have also had brisket that felt that way at those temps that I left until the felt right when poked that went to 215.

I have also had some that probed right at 185 and wete great. You can't just do time and temp
post #50 of 536

Thanks Danny and Gary for all the good information.  Sorry I haven't been back on to respond to the good questions, blame it on rotating shift work.  Bama those brisket pictures are amazing, that's as tasty a looking brisket of any I've seen!  Danny you asked me to describe my method, I'll make my best attempt, let me know if you need more detail.  I have an inexpensive offset smoker, I believe it is called a Charbroiler.  I get lots of smoke but it leaks out the sides pretty bad, adjusting the inflow on the firebox has little to no effect.  I start with charcoal but then transition to mainly wood from neighbors red and live oak trimmings, from those willing to water them enough to keep them alive.  I believe my main problem is keeping somewhat of an even temperature.  Until recently the only idea of temperature I had was the cheap gauge in the top of the smoker hood and tried to keep it around 250 degrees.  When I added two new gauges (as shown on Franklin's video) on the left and right side of the smoker and down low I found temperature near the fire box could be 350-400 degrees or more, while on the far end it may be 200-225, but temperatures would fluctuate to a large degree.  When temperatures started to fall I would throw more wood on, once they caught the temps would quickly spike before leveling back off.  I've only tried select briskets because that's what was available, and have used both packer and flats and tended to buy the smaller briskets.  I have tried to make some alterations to the smoker such as laying a piece of metal over the opening between the firebox and main chamber to keep the radiant heat from burning meat closer to the fire and put a pan of water in the bottom to help dampen temperature fluctuation a little.  I try to smoke the briskets around an hour a pound, but may not be that long.  After that I would bring them inside and use a meat thermometer to check their temp to see if they were done.  These were the cheap dial thermometers from the grocery store and was never very confident they were even close to accurate so end up going more by look.  Usually by then it was around dinner time so I would try to slice it up and see how it was, sometimes dry but almost always tough and disappointing.  Did not pass the stretch test.  At that point I was unsure if it was tough because under cooked or over cooked.  I've tried less than 10 briskets, but with the current price of packers being $40 to $50 I'm not too eager to experiment.  I usually don't rest them, if I do it is after I've cut some off one end and just wrap the remainder of it and let it rest and cool before putting in the fridge.  If you can narrow done what needs to be worked on I would be very appreciative.




Edited by Aggie94 - 3/14/15 at 5:42pm
post #51 of 536

Sounds like we (you) have discovered part of the problem. Drastic temp changes are a big problem, a little doesn't really hurt but jumping up to 350 to 400  need to install a deflector or buffer plate right at the FB to CC openig  Post some pics of the inside of your smoker so we can be more help fine tuning it



post #52 of 536

Wanting the temperature not to fluctuate and getting it not to fluctuate has been a struggle.  I would like to be able to set it and leave but smoking for me requires near constant supervision.  I'm sure there are better smokers to use but would like to be able to make what I have work.  I've read a number of different modifications you can do to offset smokers to over come some of their problems, guess I need to try some more.

post #53 of 536
Thread Starter 

Hello Doug.  GREAT post of your method!  gary s. is being "diplomatic".  :ROTF  You are doing some much wrong I'm not sure where to start.  Don't get me wrong.  I AM NOT! laughing AT you.  This is what I suspected.  THANK YOU for posting this!  It's what I have been looking for.  THIS is the stuff I want the experienced folks to help others with.  I want us all making good briskets.  I have always thought the folks having troubles were leaving out details.  Details THEY thought didn't matter.  Briskets CAN ( not always ) be a PITA!  You can't cut corners.


Without repeating; you have some great methods posted in this thread.  gary s is correct ( as he knows ) wild temp swings are not a good thing.  You can smoke at 225 or at 350 but yo-yo up and down is a no-no.  Smaller the brisket the lower temp I would use.  Follow ANY method posted here and you should be fine.  PATIENCE GRASSHOPPER!  :icon_biggrin:  There is the KEY!


That offset can be a "bear with a sore head" to get to grips with.  Brisket will not "usually" forgive mistakes.  Get a good dual probe digital therm and use it.  Keep your smoker probe "about" centred on your brisket.  So IF the smoker temp in that area is getting too high, move it away from the firebox.  Roll it over and swap it end for end if need be about every 1- 1-1/2 hr..  We CAN get you making good brisket!  I have some thoughts on your smoker, I will PM you with as this thread is about brisket and not smokers.  If I can help you in ANY way PLEASE feel free to PM me.  If I don't know the answer I'll rattle cages until I find someone we can both learn from.  Keep Smokin!


post #54 of 536

Danny is more straight to the point,   But do post some pictures of the inside of your smoker especially the FB to CC area, got to get you some even temps 



post #55 of 536

Thank Danny and Gary, direct is good, much cheaper than paying for lessons.  Gary will have to work on the pictures, not too up on tech things, will try to get my college daughter to help.  Trying to decide if it is easier to make the necessary modifications to producer better barbecue, or maybe I should just replace it with a better smoker.  Suggestions on what is considered an easier smoker to use?

post #56 of 536

That's why pics are so helpful, you may need just a couple of mods.   We will get you smoking like a champ then you can decide on a different smoker



post #57 of 536

I found the exact smoker I have in the "smokers and more" section.  It had 23 reviews, most folks seem to have the same problems I have in not able to control temperatures well and leaks lot of smoke. 



post #58 of 536
Thread Starter 

Hello.  I think my friend gary was trying to find a polite way of saying "Danny is JERK"!!  Thank you gary for being so polite. :ROTF  YES! Sometimes I am blunt and to the point but I mean no disrespect.  Just not a "wordsmith".  I just want to cut to the chase and help folks out where I can.  PLEASE excuse me if I may come across as abrupt.  Gary:  It's getting cold here again.  They are talking possible SNOW!!  What tha heck??


That's the smoker  I thought you had.  The mods I sent you in the PM will help a BUNCH!  Easy and cheap to do.  Those cheaper offsets can be a PAIN but simple cheap mods make life much easier.  NEVER gonna be a "set it and forget it" smoker but you can turn out some good food on that smoker.  You know where to find me if I can help.  Keep Smokin!


post #59 of 536

JeepDriver if I could cook barbecue in my oven by setting the temperature and timer I would.  Its that trying to know if it is done or not that is difficult.  Danny you come across as someone who know what they are doing, and willing to help others.

post #60 of 536
Originally Posted by Ajsmokes View Post

See now I can't cook that high.. so I'm curious if cooking low and slow in an electric smoker would be better done with a higher or lower grade meat.. that's all I'm asking.

You do not need to cook that high to cook brisket. I have a MES 30 and I set it ot 235F, for the entire cook.

In reading the posts and taking note when I just cooked mine I offer a few suggestions. I have only done about 8 briskets in less than one year but I have not had a dry or tough one yet.

1) First thing I leanred, "guestimate" cooking time by weight, estimate by temperature, finalize using the toothpick test. Cooking by temp will get you close, you may even nail it but, to be sure you have to finalize by "feel". For my smokes the best way I can describe the "feel" of the toothpick test is that the toothpick should slide in with NO resistance. Just yesterday I took the point off at 192F, but the flat had to go up to 202F before I thought it was ready. Forget the rule that you slice at 190F and pull at 200F each brisket is different.

2) Rest. Your brisket had a long jouney, 8 or more hrs in 220F + temps, all of this while starting at 40F or so. It needs to rest, let me type that again it needs to rest. Slicing right away will lead to a dry brisket. Yes you want to dig in after hrs and hrs of smelling goodness, but wait. I would wait at least an hr. I do not wrap in the smoker, but I do wrap in Al foil after the smoke and place the brisket in the cooler for 2 hrs or more, depending on when I want to serve.

3) Slice the brisket correctly, remember slice against the grain, this way the brisket will be tender and not stringy.

4) Did I mention Rest! this is so important I will mention it again. Rest your brisket.

5) Don't peak while cooking, or if you are looking you ain't cooking.

6) Enjoy, I really don't see the problem with cooking a great brisket, personally while it takes a while I find there is more forgiveness with brisket than say a steak, You can overcook a steak in a matter of minutes. Briskets are much more forgiving than that.

Sorry for the long rant. Hope this helps

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