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2nd brisket much better than 1st

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I smoked 10lbs of Boston butt and a 9lb brisket for a 4th party my wife and I hosted this weekend (sorry no q-view). The butts were great (of course since it's very difficult to mess them up), and the brisket was really good. I smoked my first brisket a couple of weeks ago to "practice" before the real thing this past weekend, and my first brisket turned out a bit dry. I decided this time to marinade my brisket longer, score the fat cap a bit, and foil it once it hit the 161F mark (neither of which I did with my first brisket). The reasoning for each of those was to try to keep it moist. Well, it worked. Once foiled, I continued smoking until 180F (for a total of 14.5 hours all together), and I was amazed that the brisket was still very moist. I spritzed the meat regularly throughout the smoke with apple juice and I kept a good size water bath in the smoke chamber which decreased in volume by about 1/2. So, I believe the steam had to help too.

My guests really enjoyed both the brisket and butt, and several folks had never had brisket before. I watched them go back for more and more, so I know they weren't just telling me how good it was to keep from hurting my feelings.

I, however, had only one complaint with the brisket -- namely, I felt like I could taste the marinade (which tasted just fine). Quite frankly, I really don't want to use a marinade that is so strong that it injects alot of flavor into the meat since I want to be able to taste more smoke than marinade flavor. I was just really trying to keep the brisket moist. It seems that perhaps a simple water/salt/sugar brine could serve the same purpose as the strong marinade, and so my question is what advise do you have for marinading/brining the brisket?

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 10
Try just a basic rub, no marinade, then foil but use some apple juice mix in there.

That will keep it moist while its foiled and cooking, but not too overpowering.
post #3 of 10
Like Herky said. Give it a shot with nothing but a rub on it, should give it a nice bark, some great smoke on the outside and meaty briskety heavenly goodness on the inside.
post #4 of 10
Might it be that you "tasted" the marinade because you knew what it was?

A rub containing salt should keep it juicy when wrapped in foil. Did you cook after the removing the foil too?

post #5 of 10
As was said just spritz and add a heavy spritz when going into foil. I no longer inject or brine my briskets nd they seem to come out nice and juicy. When I go to foil I spritz so heavy its about like pouring in some juice
post #6 of 10
see no reason to brine, marinade or inject a brisket. Dry rub helps to develop a crust. That and good technique, and a brisket that's not too lean should be all that's needed for a tasty juicy brisket.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
I like the idea of not using a marinade since that way I can be guaranteed that I won't taste any of the marinade flavor ;) The brisket only cooked 2 hours in the foil (from 161F to 180F). I waited until 161F because I wanted to make sure I was out of the plateau. It spent about 3 hours or so at the 151F-152F mark and then started rising again. However, once it reached 159F, it then started dropping (all the way to 153F). This didn't alarm me, but it took a little bit to start rising again. Once it did, it rose at a quicker rate, and once it reached 161F, I assumed it was out of the plateau. That's why 161F was my "magic number".

I don't want to foil before I'm sure it's through the plateau because I don't want to speed the cooking up. I believe it needs to cook as slowly as possible (especially there) to make sure all that tissue breaks down. I too spritzed the brisket down heavily at foiling time, but I'm wondering how much that actually helps with only 2 hours of cooking left.

Sorry to sound skeptical, I'm just trying to determine what factor that most influenced the moistness this time. I know that it was a combination of all the extras that I did this time, but I have also read that some folks don't notice a big difference in brined beef. However, I did stumble across a brisket recipe of Alton Brown where he brines his for 10 days.


Of course I won't cook mine like he does (as it will be smoked in the smoker), but there must be some reason for the extra work. Perhaps it's not that you can't brine beef but that you need to brine it for a longer time to get the same effect as pork and poultry, say.

post #8 of 10
Maybe they mislabled that recipe and it should have been for Alton Brown's corned beef brisket because that's what he made.
post #9 of 10
Gotta get some pics of them smokes on here...
In my opinion, I say get rid of the marinade and try a good rub. Like you said, you want to taste the meat and not the marinade and a good rub will only enhance a good cut of meat. As far as your brisket drying out, keep a bowl of water in there, and use that apple juice on it every 30 minutes or so. I personally like to mix apple juice with captain morgans spiced rum. 50/50 mix. When doing a rub, dont foil as this will prevent a good bark from forming. Keep that smoker at 225-235 degrees and ride out the stalls that the meat will go thru. Once your internal temp hits 190, pull it out and wrap it in foil, A FEW TIMES, to ensure its somewhat air tight. Get an old cooler, and put a pillow in the bottom, then the brisket, then another pillow. (old down ones of you have them) It will stay HOT for HOURS. And I think, the longer you keep it in there, the more the meat will relax and the juices will distribute thoughout. The brisket I did before this one I had in a cooler overnight into the afternoon hours the following day and it was still too hot to handle with bare hands. And juicy? Oh yeah, it was juicy. Thats my 2 cents worth. I have included the rub that I used on this last one. Mix it up, dry your brisket off with a towel, cut the heavy fat areas off a bit but not too much, and spread that rub all over it to the point where the brisket wont hold anymore rub. Then wrap it in plastic and into the fridge overnite cuz those spices need time to get to know each other.

2/3 cup kosher salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 T granulated garlic
2 T granulated onion
2 T paprika
2 T chili powder
2 T black pepper
1T ground thyme
1 T ground cumin
1t ground nutmeg
2t cayenne pepper
post #10 of 10
That is AB's Corned beef brisket as somebody mentioned, and he boils it slowly. Not good for Texas style BBQ briskets

Try smoking fat side down. This will give you a nice protective layer from the heat, and keep the brisket from drying out. Spray / mop on top, and once you are ready, foil, this time with the meat side down with most of the juices.

Let us know!
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