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My First Brisket

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Made my first attempt at smoking a brisket yesterday. Did a 5 lb brisket (flat I think). Didn't come out all that great.


I recently completed a WSM Mini following directions given in this link: I chose to include two racks. Measured down 1 1/2 inches and 5 inches from top of pot for rack placement. Went with a Maverick ET-732 thermometer rather than the Tel Tru model. I also made a charcoal ring same diameter as the grate and 3 1/2 inches tall from expanded metal.


Used 4 oz. of hickory chips to start fallowed by a couple small hickory chucks and Kingsford blue charcoal. Smoked at between 200 and 250, mostly around 225 for 9 hrs. Hit the stall at 140 degrees. Stayed there for 6-7 hrs. Got impatient after 8 hrs and bumped up the temp to 350 degrees or so for another hour. IT went from 140 to about 155 and seemed to stall again. Got worried that it had been going for 9 hrs and still had not reached the 190-200 degree range. Decided to pull it off. Let it rest for about 30 min and then cut into it. Was disappointed in how chewy it was. Guess I pulled it to soon. Based on what I've read I thought a 5 lb brisket should have cooked in 6 hrs or so but even after 9 hrs I just couldn't seem to get the IT up to 190 degrees. Should I have let it ride. Do you think it would have eventually reached an IT of 190 degrees if I would have left it alone? How much longer should I have let it ride? Should I have wrapped it in foil? I did remove smoking chamber from grill base to add coals and wood chunks once and took the top off the smoking chamber a couple times to baste but that's about it. Is there anything I can do after the fact to make brisket more tinder? Can stick it in the oven to finish ot off or something or is it to late. I should mention that I placed the brisket on the top rack and a 9 x 9 inch pan of bbq beans on the bottom rack. Cooker temp probe was next to beans on bottom rack about 4 inches below brisket (on top rack). Meat probe was inserted from the widest side to depth of about 4 inches.

post #2 of 8
Assuming that your cooking temperature is where you think it is, which it probably is with the maverick, that does seem like a long cook for a 5 lb brisket flat.  You might double check the accuracy of the maverick with the ice water test.  Nevertheless, sometimes a hunk of meat will shock you with how fast it cooks, and other times with how long it takes.  It would have made it to 190 eventually in a smoker running at 225.  190 is a ballpark figure for when it's done, but you really want to check for tenderness.  A toothpick should slide in with little/no resistance. Sometimes I take them to closer to 200.  I don't even keep a probe in it, just check periodically.  You can wrap in foil at around 160 and crank the heat up in the oven or smoker. I do this routinely and have never had any complaints.  

Edited by Jesse T - 7/13/15 at 3:20pm
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Jesse T. Im not familiar with the ice water test but will look into it. My Maverick is new and untested. It could be off I suppose. I did a chicken a couple days ago which turned out well. The Maverick seemed to work well on it but that's pretty much the extent of my use/experience with the Maverick. I'll keep the "tooth pick test" in mind next time. After the fact I sliced off a 1 1/2 - 2 lb portion of the brisket and stuck in in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. Made a big difference. I didn't wrap it as you suggested and consequently it dried it out a little but it was much more tender. Went from very chewy to being able to cut it with a fork. It took a little effort to do so but non the less I was able to cut it with a fork. Think maybe I just need to be patient and trust the Maverick.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Did the ice water and boil tests on my Maveriick ET-732. Did pretty well on both test. Food probe was +4 degrees at 216 and Bbq probe was +1 degree at 213. Didn't do quite as well on ice water test. Food probe was +2 degrees 34 degrees and Bbq probe was off a little at +7 degrees or 39 degrees. Seemed to meet expectations in the important area or 200+ range. 7 degrees off on the Bbq probe ice water test seems to be a little much but within reason for a $50 meter. Would you agree?

Edited by llbaker2 - 7/13/15 at 7:23pm
post #5 of 8

That sounds like a reasonable margin to me. On things like pork butt and brisket, you're way beyond safe temperatures and just looking for tenderness so even if you're a few degrees off, it's a good indicator to start monitoring tenderness. On your bbq temperature that margin won't matter either.  I get a little more careful on things like pork loin and poultry where the line between safe internal temperature and too dry is close.  For that I use a thermapen probe that I trust more for exact temperature.  On your next brisket, I suggest doing it with no deadline and lots of patience.  

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Part of the issue may have been the cut of meat. I got it from Walmart. Not a lot of fat on top (none is places). I live in a small town. Not a lot of choices when it comes to places to shop. Also have a Kroger. May try it next time. Need to look around for a nice butcher shop. Not sure if there's one in town or not. So far I've done a chicken, slab of St Louis style pork ribs, salmon fillets, and a brisket. Everything except the brisket came out great. Salmon was my favorite. Plan to do a pork roast next and then maybe give brisket another go. Having fun. Guess that's the main thing. Thanks again Jesse T for your comments.

post #7 of 8

You had best bring a lot of patience on stand by when you go for that butt... depending on size, fat content, foil or no foil, smoker temp,..ect.

 i have had butts take upwards of 20 hours and as few as 8 hours. chunks of meat that size pretty much have a mind of their own.

I also agree, that w/ brisket the "tenderness probe test" is very important...  As far as WAL-MART meat i refuse to buy it i like Kroger, Ingles, and local butchers and small time shops is where i get my meat 

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks Jcollins for the heads up on smoking a butt. Good to know it can be a looonnng process. Guess I leaned a lesson from doing the brisket. No more Walmart meat.

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