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At a lost with brisket

JBCWCHS06

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I know brisket is really difficult to cook but did alot different on my second attempt of brisket and thought it turned out good but still having the same problems. The bark wasn't sticky and thick but the first couple of pieces of flat cut good then started seemingly get tougher to cut and some of it was shredding and a bit chewy. The point sliced a little better and actually made good slices. I didn't spritz it but once or twice the whole cook. Put it fat cap down since I'm using a pellet smoker to help render the fat and take a brunt of the heat. Wrapped it in the butcher paper didn't stick. Probed it and it went right in like butter and then actually checked the temp and it said 210 in the point and 205 in the flat. I just don't know if it's my pellet smoker is just better of as a grill. I have some ribs to smoke tomorrow for a party as well and hopefully will have more success with that. Put pictures to show what it looked like done and if it's possible to see the smoker. It's got a burn pot with a heat deflector plate and then just one set of racks.
 

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SmokinEdge

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Not all briskets are created equal. Looks like you did fine. When you probe for tender forget about the point and only probe the flat,,,, all over for a push like in and out of a peanut butter jar. The point will usually always be ahead of the flat temp wise and it’s the flat that most folks want. Pick those packers wisely. Get the thickest flat section they have, the point will always be good.
 

tallbm

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I know brisket is really difficult to cook but did alot different on my second attempt of brisket and thought it turned out good but still having the same problems. The bark wasn't sticky and thick but the first couple of pieces of flat cut good then started seemingly get tougher to cut and some of it was shredding and a bit chewy. The point sliced a little better and actually made good slices. I didn't spritz it but once or twice the whole cook. Put it fat cap down since I'm using a pellet smoker to help render the fat and take a brunt of the heat. Wrapped it in the butcher paper didn't stick. Probed it and it went right in like butter and then actually checked the temp and it said 210 in the point and 205 in the flat. I just don't know if it's my pellet smoker is just better of as a grill. I have some ribs to smoke tomorrow for a party as well and hopefully will have more success with that. Put pictures to show what it looked like done and if it's possible to see the smoker. It's got a burn pot with a heat deflector plate and then just one set of racks.

Hi there and welcome!

I second the notion of probing all over, especially the thickest center-most portion of the flat musle.

Probe placement is best aiming for the thickest yet center most portion of the Flat.
Getting the location of a probe correct in that area of the brisket is so difficult I use 3 probes from different directions and follow the lowest temp reading.

Then when it is about 201F on the lowest probe I start probing ALL OVER for tenderness. I let temp keep rising until it probes tender ALL OVER.

My best guess is that your probes temps "kinda lied" to you cause the werent in the magic spot and maybe your probing may not have been allover.

Tough and dry brisket means undercooked.
I bet if you take that brisket and and throw it in a crock pot with a little bbq sauce or similarly in the oven in a pan coverd with foil and cook it a good bid, it will tender right up and make amazing shredded beef brisket!

Don't worry I bet it is still saveable.

Finally, if you dont like the outside of your brisket go unwraped for a lot longer. I dont wrap my briskets at all. I encourage people to wait until the internal temp in the thickest center most portion of the flat reaches 180F before they think of wrapping. You will get great outside texture, taste, and flavor overall if u want that long. If you wrap to early u end up with roast beef flavor and not bbq beef brisket flavor.

I hope all this inof helps :)
 

indaswamp

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^^^^^what they said! And most important...don't forget to wrap and rest above 180*F for the collagen to break down!
 

MJB05615

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Agree with all said above. I wrap my Brisket when the Flat reaches 170-175 IT. Most important is the rest time after taking it off the Smoker. 1 time I let it rest in the Smoker after I turned it off. That was one of the best ones I've made, and it was by accident.
 

chopsaw

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Your second picture tells me that you're not at a loss .
bark wasn't sticky and thick
I like 50 / 50 course salt and black pepper mix . No surface binder .
1659878212419.jpeg

I finish most of mine in the oven , and only rest on the counter about 45 minutes .
I only slice what I'm going to eat .
I had a good teacher in tallbm tallbm . He walked me through my first one . I took his info and applied what I know .
 

JBCWCHS06

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Thanks for all the help I will check just the flat next time and the thickest part of the flat. I'm going to attempt the cooler method for cooling down next time just didn't wrap it good enough to do it this time. Has anyone used that method with a towel and cooler and had success with it. Also thinking about just doing a salt and pepper rub just can't find the 16 mesh black pepper any where. Ran it at just the smoke setting for 2 hours which I sat at 180-190 then cooked it at 225 for like 4 hours, 250 for like 2 hours then wrapped it with some tallow and kicked it up to 275 for 2 hours. The texture was just weird falling apart in some places but tough to cut in others in the flat but the point was good sliced pretty good and was nice and moist. Trying some pork spare ribs today
 

schlotz

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Lots of ways to go about it. Won't say one is better. For me, it's about simplicity. Put it in at 275º and run that way without opening the door until the IT in the thickest part of the flat is 180º. Remove, wrap in butcher paper then back on the smoker. Start probing the flat when the IT is 198-203º, if not tender, wait for a 3-4º rise and retest. Repeat until tender all over the flat. Remove, and let sit open on the counter for 10-15 minutes until the IT drops a number of degrees in order to stop the cooking process. You can then rest it rewrapped in a cooler with towels.

Edit: misspelled
 
Last edited:

noboundaries

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Thanks for all the help I will check just the flat next time and the thickest part of the flat. I'm going to attempt the cooler method for cooling down next time just didn't wrap it good enough to do it this time. Has anyone used that method with a towel and cooler and had success with it.
I used to do the towel/cooler rest method. Results were never consistent for me.

I've switched to wrap in foil and rest in a 170°F oven for 3-5 hours. Straight from the smoker to the oven. The results have been consistent and incredible.
 

millerbuilds

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I agree with what everyone above has said. The only thing I would add is that I now separate the point from the flat before cooking. This allows me to get the best temp out of both the point and the flat.

- Jason
 

tallbm

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Thanks for all the help I will check just the flat next time and the thickest part of the flat. I'm going to attempt the cooler method for cooling down next time just didn't wrap it good enough to do it this time. Has anyone used that method with a towel and cooler and had success with it. Also thinking about just doing a salt and pepper rub just can't find the 16 mesh black pepper any where. Ran it at just the smoke setting for 2 hours which I sat at 180-190 then cooked it at 225 for like 4 hours, 250 for like 2 hours then wrapped it with some tallow and kicked it up to 275 for 2 hours. The texture was just weird falling apart in some places but tough to cut in others in the flat but the point was good sliced pretty good and was nice and moist. Trying some pork spare ribs today

I rest by pulling off the smoker, double wrapping tightly in foil, and then tightly wrapping in 3 bath towels and setting on the table/counter until slicing and eating 4-5 hours later. It is still piping hot at that time.
I'm positive towels and a cooler would work if towels and no cooler work for me each time :)
What you describe about the texture of different parts of your brisket makes sense to me due to the following.
  1. The point is hard to mess up and will be ready well before the flat is. I never go off the point and it's always good to go for me.
  2. The fall apart part of the flat is likely the very thin end of the flat. This part cooks up way faster than the rest of the flat and by the time the rest of the flat is done this thin area is usually nothing but hard crust because its so thin.
  3. The dry non tender part of the flat is almost definitely because it needed more time. The point and the thin part of the flat finished first. The point will stay good to go but the thin end of the flat will burn up while the rest of the flat takes time to cook and get tender.

Because of these behaviors with a full packer brisket I always recommend that people buy the bigger briskets and trim off the thin end of the flat and repurpose that good meat to something else.
The idea is to remove the thin portion of the flat, so what you leave behind is just about uniform in thickness across the entire flat muscle (not flat + point thickness, just flat thickness).
Here is a picture I made to demondstrate the trim I'm talking about:
full-png.png

Trim away the area with the green lines and what is left of the flat is about uniform in thickness. Always trim with an oval shape so there are no corners left in the meat to dry up on you, corners = dry, curves = good.

Here is an image of a small bisket I did before I started using my trimming technique. The end of the flat is burnt up and even the tapered end of the point is burnt up while the center of the flat and meat is good to go:
full?d=1507263298.jpg

You can read here in detail about the trim I suggest and what to do with the good meat you remove.

I try to buy briskets that are at least 15 pounds and try to pick ones that have the best uniform thickness as possible in the flat and a good folding bend to them.

Here's a brisket that came out amazing and is trimmed in the way I suggest (could be trimmed with less corners to it but was good to go due to uniform thickness)
full?d=1556393900.jpg

I hope this info helps you as you continue your journey on the most difficult to perfect, king of the bbq meats :)
 

JBCWCHS06

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Getting so many great tips from everyone it almost makes me want to try another brisket soon to try all these tips out. I've almost been tempted to do that millerbuilds separate the flat and the point so that I don't overcook the point while undercooking the flat. But might try to round off my brisket next time and maybe grind what I cut off have been using some ground brisket in different recipes and it's so good and different.
 

indaswamp

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Instead of trimming, you can also truss the flat side of a brisket to even out the thickness of the thin corner. this works well too, but the brisket will not cook up like a traditional brisket shape.....if you are into aesthetics......
 

indaswamp

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I've gotten to where I really don't worry about the thin corner overcooking....I bring it to my Mom as she like chopped brisket flat so this part is perfect for her. It is over cooked and falls apart...chops easy with no fat.
 

Coreymacc

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If you look up "trussing a brisket", I was able to truss the flat of my last brisket to " thicken" the areas on the flat that were thin. It helped to keep the flat a more uniform thickness so I didn't have to trim off so much. Cooked very even.

It worked very well.

Corey
 

JBCWCHS06

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I'm more into how it slices and the way it taste when it's done. So I'm totally fine with it not being the best looking brisket. So might look into trussing it as well as just trimming it off because either way I can use the meat I trim off.
 

rbnice1

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Thanks for all the help I will check just the flat next time and the thickest part of the flat. I'm going to attempt the cooler method for cooling down next time just didn't wrap it good enough to do it this time. Has anyone used that method with a towel and cooler and had success with it. Also thinking about just doing a salt and pepper rub just can't find the 16 mesh black pepper any where. Ran it at just the smoke setting for 2 hours which I sat at 180-190 then cooked it at 225 for like 4 hours, 250 for like 2 hours then wrapped it with some tallow and kicked it up to 275 for 2 hours. The texture was just weird falling apart in some places but tough to cut in others in the flat but the point was good sliced pretty good and was nice and moist. Trying some pork spare ribs today
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rexster314

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There was too much pooling of liquid in those lighter colored areas on the flat. It didn't allow any bark to form. As to doneness, I think you didn't probe that area well enough, as the outer part of the meat probed done. I'll bet that's where the meat was tougher.
 

JBCWCHS06

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There was too much pooling of liquid in those lighter colored areas on the flat. It didn't allow any bark to form. As to doneness, I think you didn't probe that area well enough, as the outer part of the meat probed done. I'll bet that's where the meat was tougher.
Oh ok so the pooling on the surface can affect the bark and make it sticky. I have been trimming and seasoning the brisket the night before so might not do that on my next cook and do a simple salt and pepper rub to see if the rub is pulling out a lot of extra moisture sitting over night. Yeah I'm going to look for the thickest piece of flat to probe next time. Might even try to make the flat even next time too with either trimming or trussing
 

Danblacksher

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I struggled when I used a trager. I know pellet smokers are great I just never could get the hang of it, but seem to do ok with charcoal and wood. Best of Luck on your bbq journey.
 

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