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Brisket strike out

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have probably done 4-5 brisket flats and they have all turned out with good flavor but pretty dry. I can't find full packers around me and I am wondering if that is why, lack of fat. Most have had a decent fat cap but I wonder if the internal fat in a point helps out the flat. Anyway, my major question is the internal temp people are taking them to. I have tried 205 and 200 and am thinking of going lower, maybe 190. I see people have good results here with all temps but I seem to be not having any with the higher temps. I am wrapping at 160 in foil and resting now for at least 2 hours, sometimes even up to 4.
post #2 of 11

I've dried out flats before.  They were less then 5lbs and my smoker temp was higher than 250.  I try to get a larger flat and really watch my cook temps staying between 225 and 250.  Test for done by probe going in like butter.  

 

Mike

post #3 of 11
The best piece of advice I got for brisket was to keep the temps low! 210ish is what I was told to aim for, I normally average 220 on my stick burner, and go for an IT of 205-208, no matter the size.
I've no idea how the "pit masters" manage to keep them moist at 325 and up! But they sure can.
I'd start with logging temps and times, check with tenderness as much as IT, and just slow down! I've ruined two brisket in my time, it's not hard to do! Figuring out what I didn't do right, and what I did right, I've managed to produce some decent food.
Brisket is hard and the smaller it is, the harder it is!
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Keeping the temps lower in the smoker certainly could be it. I have a brinkmann trailmaster limited edition offset stick burner and find I keep my temps on the north side of 250-275. Next time I'll try for closer to 225. Cost of brisket here is pretty high so I hate when it doesn't turn out well. Experimentation is costly! Makes the log all the more important. Thanks guys!
post #5 of 11
Ahhhhh!!! You said it all right there! Brinkmann trailmaster le! I have the exact unit so don't feel insulted when I call it a POS LOL!
Which side did you cook the brisket on, left or right? How, and where were you checking temps? Using the factory gauge? At grate level by the meat?
Sorry for so many questions, but temps are easily 40deg side to side on these pigs! 250 on the factory gauge is close to 210 on the left side, at least on my unit. There are also tons of air leaks on these pigs! The ash pan, how the ash pan mounts, the two halves of the fire box and where the fire box meets the cooking chamber! Seal as much of this as you can and a charcoal basket can make a world of difference!
Hope this helps!
post #6 of 11

Barker those inexpensive offset smokers make it a challenge to keep the temp steady.  Mine is a Chargriller, and it has the same problems as all the other ones, but the modifications do help.  I put a couple pans of water in the bottom to try and help even out the temperature a little, and I had to put a pie pan between the firebox and cooking chamber as meat near the fire was being scorched.  Added a river country thermometer on each end of the smoking chamber, turns out when the crummy thermometer that came with it read 250 degrees, it was actually 450 to 500 degrees near the fire, and much cooler on the other end.  Next time you could pull the brisket off the smoker at 160 degrees, wrap it in foil, add some liquid and then finish it off in the oven.  May help be both tender and juicy.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ah so you feel my pain. I like the unit for the most part but yes, many short comings. I had an expanded metal charcoal basket made, using steel plates for baffle and heat shield across, and have sealed some with high temp silicone. Although much of my silicone has peeled off. I cook pretty much in the center and use a fake maverick (ivation) to watch the temps at about the center of the meat and try to rotate throughout the cook as I have seen the disparity of temps within two feet. It's quite something how it varies in that small span. I was having a hard time getting the temps up and somewhat consistent but have actually found moving the ash pan in and out is the way to go.
post #8 of 11
Yup, it's amazing how that ash pan can be your friend! On long smokes, 12hrs or more, I've had so much ash build up I had to open it to get it back to temp!
BBQmods.com makes a convection plate for them, but it's $90 and I've only heard one review, so?
For what they are, and what we payed, they are workable, but it's a full time job!
post #9 of 11

You can cook brisket at chamber temps ranging from 180 - 350 degrees.  If your flats are coming out dry and somewhat tough, they are undercooked.  If they are dry and crumbly/stringy, they are overcooked.

 

Don't cook to a specific temp.  Rather, cook until you can stick a probe into the thickest part of the flat and it goes in and out with little/no resistance.  Like a knife through warm butter.

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demosthenes9 View Post
 

You can cook brisket at chamber temps ranging from 180 - 350 degrees.  If your flats are coming out dry and somewhat tough, they are undercooked.  If they are dry and crumbly/stringy, they are overcooked.

 

Don't cook to a specific temp.  Rather, cook until you can stick a probe into the thickest part of the flat and it goes in and out with little/no resistance.  Like a knife through warm butter.

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post #11 of 11

Sounds like you've made a bunch of mods already.  I hear those steel baffles do really help distribute the heat.  I have never had much luck cooking flats, packers really are easier, but if they aren't available there then you don't have much choice.

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