Greetings everyone. I am pretty new to smoking and I am having an issue with my briskets. This is going to be a long read, please bear with me. I think I have identified my problems but I wanted to share here in case anyone has any more info for me and to potentially help out anyone else having a similar issue. Okay, here goes,
I did both of my briskets in mt MES 30 with the mailbox mod. I followed Jeff's suggestions in his "no fuss brisket" thread on smoking-meat.com to the letter. On my first one, I used the temp probe that is built in to my smoker and it cooked for 20 hours and never got to 190 degrees, It was WAY over cooked and dry. We ate it anyway but it was far from what I was expecting. One thing I did realize was I had placed the probe right in the middle of the fat layer in the middle of the flat and the point.
I figured that was my problem so I tried again yesterday. This time I used the built in probe and another thermometer I have. Both probes were definitely in the flat. One at the thickest part right under where the point and the flat meet and the other about three inches away. Throughout the cooking process, both thermometers stayed within a couple degrees of each other. It made it past the stall and was on it's way to 170 just after 12 hours in. I thought all was going good. Then after 19 hours total it was still 10 degrees away from 195. I pulled it out at that time, wrapped it in foil, and put it in the cooler to rest. I ended up slicing it about 4 hours later and while it was more juicy than my first, it still, once again, not what I was expecting.
Okay so, now to figure out where I'm going wrong. I think I have a couple things conspiring against me. One, The heating element on my MES 30 is only 800 watts which should be enough except for one thing, I modded my smoker with the mailbox mod. For the beginning of the cooking process, I am running the heating element and the smoke is being piped in through a three inch duct. Once I'm done smoking, I should close the vent on top to restrict the airflow through the cabinet during the rest of the cooking process, otherwise I am just pumping cold air through and forcing the heating element to work overtime to try and keep the heat up.
Two, Because the heating element is on the small side, the temperature inside the cabinet tends to run cooler than what it is set to. I think I should set it 10-15 degrees hotter than my target temp to bring up the average cooking temperature. I should probably invest in an oven thermometer as well, at least until I get everything sorted out.
And three, I think I should wrap the brisket after it hits the 170 mark to keep the juices in and just finish it like that.
Well, that's where I am now. Let me know if you know of something I am missing or haven't thought of. Thanks!