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Brisket fail

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
So I went and smoked a 4.5 # brisket today, tossed it in at 11am, then went about my business. About 5pm I opened up the door of my MES to spritz it with some juice and the temp read 160. I adjusted my thermometer to be further inside the meat at the center, but I must have poked it out the other side because 20 minutes later it went off, beeping at 190 degrees! I pulled it from the smoker and wrapped it up per the sticky brisket post, and stuck it in a cooler for a couple hours. When we finally dove into it, it was tougher than nails. Talk about disappointment and epic fail. icon_frown.gif

What kind of thermometers do you all use to track meat temp? I use one similar to this one http://www.weatherconnection.com/pro...9298&s=froogle
post #2 of 17
GL, sh*t happens, friend! I hope you didn't toss it out. It can be sliced/cubed and made into a killer stew. There's a multitude of other things you can do with "tough" brisket - just use your imagination. Next time, I wouldn't put that much faith in a thermometer - I don't care what brand it is or how much you paid for it. There's nothing like peeking in ever hour or two and seeing/feeling how things are going.

Better luck next time,

post #3 of 17
The more you smoke the more of a feel you'll get for when things are done the way you want them. A beef brisket will take everybit as long as a butt to cook or longer. I'm kinda goofy on the temp thing to. If it's something I'm smokin to 190 plus I'll usually trust my temp probe I've been cookin with. If I'm takin a loin to 155 then I'll double check with another meat therm. 6 and a half hours isn't gonna take a brisket to 190. I know this because I've done enough of em to know it takes longer. First time out of the gate.... don't let it slow you down. You just learned somethin. And like tanker said... there are lots of ways to turn that into somethin gooooood to eat.

PS.... no such thing as a failed brisket.... there are some that are better than the last one and some that aren't quite as good as the last one. Now you have one to go by.
post #4 of 17
Been there too, I used the wrong probe on one of my digitals..................whoops. Things didn't turn out like it should have. Now I go more for how the brisket feels and use the therm as a guide. We all smoke and learn.
post #5 of 17
I have a couple MES's and they are great electric smokers; but not all of them are accurate. Use a thermometer that reads 212º when water reaches a boil, that will be the thermometer you can trust. Now poke it through a potatoe and set the potatoe on one of your MES racks and see what your thermometer reads when the MES reads 160º. If you have a newer style MES I would also suggest checking the meat probe with the same trusted thermometer.

Todays brisket will make some outstanding chili.....
post #6 of 17
Hey GrueL, This will be but your first disappointment but it is indeed a step in the right direction. Take what these folks tell ya and proceed. The next time you will remember this time and it wont happen again. Smoke on...
post #7 of 17
I personally wouldn't wait 6 hours to check it. I would check it everytime I added chips. Good luck next time.
post #8 of 17
My thermo crapped out on me last night. I turned it on, new batteries and it tried to tell me it was 120 degrees right away. Stuck it in ice and it read 32 then right back up to 120 so I had to do a smoke with out a good thermo, used a grill one that I couldn't leave in but things turned out alright, I've even smoked without checking temps, though not usually recommended unless you have a feel for your meat...

Hopefully you didn't toss it. Listen to what these guys tell you, it would make a great stew, chili, many options.
Don't give up on it, next time will go much better I'm sure.

And I agree with Ron, I wouldn't personally feel comfortable leaving it unchecked for such a long period.
post #9 of 17
Don't let it get you down. If you go through the posts here and find guys that have been members since they started smoking, you'll find PLENTY of threads where things didn't go exactly as planned.biggrin.gif I know I've had my share of those.

To check meat temp I use one of these


but with a brisket, you'll want to smoke it until when you stick the probe in, it feels like you're sticking it in butter. That happens somewhere between 190° and 205° ususally. Remember the digital thermos measure temp right at the tip of the probe so be careful about inserting the probe in too far. I don't even put a probe in the meat (brisket or butt) until about 6 hours in but then I usually do packer briskets (10 to 12 pounds).

Hang in there. It gets better.

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the kind replies. I only felt down for about a 1/2 hour, then I baked some wings in the oven for an hour doused with some Ass Kicking Wing Sauce to compensate. :-)

Like I said when I first joined this site, I am jumping in head first after careful consultation of the wisdom of this site and other Google results. I'm 50/50 right now I think, but will continue to take notes and record what I've done to date and what has and has not worked yet. Thanks!
post #11 of 17
Just a note... The first thing you must consider is that internal meat temps are just a guide. Each and every cut of meat, beef in particular, is different. I've had briskets that were tender at 188° and there have been a few that I've taken all the way to 205° before they gave up.

When the hunk of meat in question is getting close to the temp that you consider done, start poking it. Yes, poke it... with the temp probe, a fork or other similar pointy object. When the pointy object enters and removes from the brisket with little to no resistance it is, and only then, done. Don't forget to let it rest before slicing.

Brisket is one of the hardest things in the Q world to perfect, but once you do, you will know it!
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Also, I want to mention that I in no way discredit the basic brisket smoke recipe given on this board. Everything I've read on here leads me to believe that Dutch knows his stuff, and I mean no discredit to the technique described in his sticky thread. To live and learn another day!
post #13 of 17
I'd toss it back in the next day and bring it up to at least 190° to 205°, wrap it up and try 'er again, bet it'll tender right up on ya! If not, main course, soup!
post #14 of 17
Sounds like a good plan. I have done this before and it did turn out OK for me also. Sounds like you are on the right track and I am sure you next will be much better.
post #15 of 17
Connective tissue takes time to break down. When you cook a brisket 10 to 14 pounds then 1 to 1 1/2 hours per pound can be used as a guide, along with internal temps. If you are cooking a 4 to 5 pound brisket the hour a pound guide is no longer any good because that is not enought time to break down the connective tissue so feel is the guide. If it doesn't feel tender it's not done.
post #16 of 17
When I first started out I remember throwing out a meal. I think I overcooked and oversmoked it. We all struggle at times. Just when you think you know it all, you don't. That's the beauty of smoking meat, no two smokes are the same. You always seem to encounter something different weather its the elements, cut of meat etc.

Hang in there it gets better!
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
I learned my lesson for sure, I will definitely give it more time regardless of the thermometer next time.
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