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Botched Brisket...HELP!!

Discussion in 'Beef' started by cripplecreek, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. Smoked my first brisket this past weekend and the results were disappointing.  I have no qview but here is what i did step by step.  Would appreciate any feedback I can get.  Bought a 4lb brisket from Wal-Mart (it didn't say flat or point but i assume it was a flat).  It had about 1/4" fat cap on it.  I scored the cap and rubbed it down with Jeff's rub and let it sit all nite.  The next morning I put it in a aluminum pan and put it on the offset at 225 using charcoal and a hickory chunk.  (put water pan on lower rack).  All seemed to be going well but the meat IT never leveled off around the 140-150 mark like I've heard that it would; just slowly,steadily climbed. (I'm thinking maybe the meat was too lean and had no fat to render off).

    The smoke chamber temperature varied from 225-280 (still having a little trouble keeping temps constant).  After 6.5 hours the IT hit 165 and I put foil tightly over the alum pan.  At 203 IT I foiled the meat,  wrapped it in a couple of towels, and placed in a cooler for 1hr.  By now it was 7:00p and we were ready for dinner.  I cut the meat in 1/2" slices (with the grain which didn't help).  The meat was dry and a little tough.  I had saved the drippings so I poured them over the sliced meat which helped a little with the dryness by not the toughness.  Flavor was really good. But I was dissappointed in the final product.

    I'm determined to get this right.  If ya'll will straighten me out I promise to learn Qview and will try another brilket and will provide pics.

  2. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like you main gremlin was temperature - you might have just had to much heat for to much of the time. With brisket it is very important to keep the temps low, especially with a smaller leaner piece like the flat. One thing you can do when you do a small flat like that is dump a can of low sodium beef broth or a beer into the bottom of the foil pan when you cover the pan at 165°. That really helps it to stay moist, and gives you more ajus at the end. I freeze any left over ajus into ice cubes and use them to make gravies, sauces, ect.
  3. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I agree with the hight temps. Temperature and time make brisket one of the hardest meats to q in my opinion.
  4. Thanks for the reply.  I was hoping the fact that it took 8hrs to get to 203 IT might save it. I had all air intake shut down but couldn't keep temp down. I guess i need to try reducing charcoal amounts to a minimum.   
  5. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Also, it is imperative to slice against the grain and don't slice any thicker than 1/4 inch. If you are lucky enough that you have meat done to the texture where it slices but then falls apart or "pulls" when cut with a fork, then your diners won't have to chew the meat. If you ask me, chewing beef destroys my appetite for it.

    If you slice along the grain, you might as well serve a plate full of rubber bands... Good luck on your next one
  6. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Having done, (and screwed up) several smaller, 4 to 5 pounders, that are on the lean side I have come to this conclusion. The smaller leaner briskets do benefit from a slightly higher heat but they do not benefit from longer smokes. When I do these now I only take them up to 150-160 IT and then slice them. Yum! The larger full packer briskets with better marbleing will do much better with the low and slow method as the fat rendering moistens and tenderizes the larger cuts as they slowly cook.

    I'm not saying this is right or this is gospel, this is just my opinion on this topic. Would love to read others opinions as well.
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now I'm almost agreeing with placebo in saying that a smaller brisket might need to be smoked to a lower temp. I haven't smoked anything smaller then 12 lbs so I'm not really to good referance for this subject. Now with the larger they do have more connective tissue to break down and more internal fat to help with the moistness. Maybe next time you should try it.
  8. Thanks guys

    So had that been a full packer brisket you think my results (based on my procedure) would have better??
  9. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The temp spikes would have still bit you, but other than that you did fine. A full packer is a tad more forgiving than a lean flat, but not as forgiving as a pork butt or a chuckie. Once you can maintain your temps easier you should be able to do a full packer no problem.  On the plus side it's all edible! [​IMG]
  10. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    Yup, this, and cutting across the grain in smaller slices.

    Technically the meat IS dried out at those temps, but you can do some thing to make it seem less so. Parts that were overlapped in the point / flat fat tend to seem juicier, you can inject, or as you did, pour some juice on it after slicing. You'll notice the meat will almost soak up the juices.

    Mostly a good bark and tender slices are what make up a great brisket without injections or sauce IMHO.