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My First Brisket Was a Bit Dry - What Happened?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi all:

Not wanting to go very big my first brisket, I smoked a 2.6 pounder in my MES. It had a 1/4-inch fat cap.

That lil' puppy took NINE hours to smoke! Glad my wife was flexible about dinner, 'cause it reached 187* internal temp at 10:00 pm local time (I guess it was an earlier dinner time somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, but not here in Wyoming).

Before smoking, I put a thin layer of mustard on it, then a dry rub. I started the MES at 225 per the cheapie oven thermometer, which means a 231 setting on my MES thermostat.

At 2 hours (expecting total smoke time of about 4 hours, give or take an hour), I flipped the meat, per the web site sticky on how to smoke a brisket, then flipped it once every hour thereafter.

At 5 hours, I ran out of beer and got impatient (coincidence? I think not!), so I cranked 'er up to 250* on the MES thermostat (250 on the cheapie oven thermometer - an interesting phenomenon that the temps match at that setting, but that's another story).

At nine hours, it reached temp, so I foiled it, wrapped it in a towel, then put it in a cooler for an hour before scraping off the remaining fat cap and slicing.

It tasted terrific (as an after-dinner snack at this point), BUT:

It didn't have much of a crust (is that because I went too easy on the amount of rub?) See photos.

It was a little dry.

What can I do to get a moister, crustier brisket next time?

Thanks all.
post #2 of 11
The trick is to take it to about 160, wrap and take to 190 for slicing. Then wrap in towel and put in cooler to absord juice. Looks good though!
post #3 of 11
Did Ya mop at all? I mop the **** out of mine.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Nope no "moppage" done. I'm thinking, based on Bassman's suggestion that I foil it at 160, that I'd add some apple juice at that time. Would that work to keep it moist?

What would it do to my sought-after crust?

post #5 of 11
NIne hours seems way to long to me for 3 lbs. Wrapping in the foil is a sure fire way to keep moisture in.
post #6 of 11
Yeah, what he said, but the apple juice would definately help keep moist and braise too
post #7 of 11
here the thread on mine this weekend


difference was my flat was 7.35lbs

Ill tell ya what I did with mine and this was only my second brisk ever

used extra virgin olive oil vs mustard (just cause we dont like mustard) -- scored the fat cap with a knife and rubbed plentiful with this rub


then I put minced garlic over the top of the fat cap and jammed some down inbetween the scores -- cooked it fat cap up with a pan underneath of apple juice and beer

cooked between 230-250 for 11.5 hours mopping about every hour with a spray bottle of apple juice and beer, also refilling the pan twice with juice and beer --- between 200-205 took it off -- no foiling - right to the cutting board slicing across the grain and then pulling it

you should also put what ur using for a smoker, coal, wood, etc etc cause it doesnt look like u got any smoke into the meat
post #8 of 11
You need to braise and foil at 160 or so. No braise, no juice or tenderness.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Why DID it take 9 hours?

I agree - 9 hours seems way too long, but I confirmed with two probes a final meat temp of 187. My smoker's temp started at 225 for the first 5 hours, then I increased it to 250, based on a cheapie oven thermometer.

Can you think of any reason for such a LONG smoke for a little piece o' meat? Can't be my elevation (6,200 feet) can it?
post #10 of 11
The size of your brisket and the long cook were the problem. I personely would not do a flat under 7 to 9 pounds. Connective tissue takes time to break down, with the small size the only way to make that work well is foiling.
post #11 of 11
PDT_Armataz_01_36.gif Friend; I've only done 9 briskets so far; but none of them have been dry. I got rained out on the very first smoke so I double-foiled it and finished it in the oven with the temperature probe still in the brisket. It was so good and took less time than I expected. So I figure if it isn't broke don't fix it. I now try to smoke at least a day ahead so the brisket has time to rest after smokeing and finishing in the oven. I heard or read on some thread about putting in some apple juice inside the foil when you put it in the oven. Some people spray apple juice on the brisket while smoking to help get a better crust or "Bark"? I think dogs bark at about anything and I eat smoked meat with or without crust. Semper Fi from Sedalia, MO and Happy Smoke rings.
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