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Brisket failure? Tissue did not break down..

Discussion in 'Beef' started by viper, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. viper

    viper Smoke Blower


    Well, I have a post down below about questions I had during smoking because this piece of meat did not want to come up to temp.  I was also cooking some pork that was responding pretty well and came out great.  This brisket was mistakenly bought as a corned brisket at 2.5lbs.  I first brought the brisket out at 190*, let it rest for 15-20, then started to inspect a bit to see what we had.  It was obvious the connective tissues were not broke down and and the meat was tender and moist but would not come apart very well.  I put it back on the smoker for another 2 hrs to get it to 202* as a test.  It was certainly more tender but still did not pull apart very well and I feel it was a failure.  Still moist but certainly did not just fall apart...

    Oh, I should add that this was the tip only and was pointed.  i thoroughly inspected the meat before smoke and commented that it seemed ridiculously tough but really thought it would cook out.  Should I have pushed the temp higher?  longer?  Beat the crap out of it before I smoked it?
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011
  2. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think that if you had wrapped it in towels and placed in a cooler for an hour or two it might have helped it some.
  3. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    To add to what Dan has mentioned did you foil it at all?? I think that the meat needs to spend alittle time in the foil to help breakdown the connective tissue like you wanted. Now the curing make the meat alittle more tougher I think. I know that when I corn a brisket it comes out alittle tough thus the reasone that we slice it instead of tring to pull it. So nextime you need to keep a closer eye on what you are buying.
  4. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I agree with the above on slicing.  To me Brisket is not a pulling meat but makes wonderful sammies sliced.  I smoked one yesterday and I am trying a new thing and not slicing till next day.  Slice cold.
  5. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    A brisket (point ) is not real good for slicing to start with.

     It takes two things to break down the connective tissues. Time and heat.

    That's it.

     So either you had a lack of heat or not enough time.

     If you read the tutorials on smoking brisket and follow them you will get the brisket you are looking for .

     It may take more or less time than the theoretical 1.75 hrs / lb. but the system works.

     You have to be sure on your cooking temps and your internal temps .

     as for time, It's done when it gets done.Then it needs to rest a minimum of 1 hr.
  6. chainsaw

    chainsaw Smoking Fanatic

    I used Geek's basic recipe last weekend with good results. (MES 30")

    You will notice different perspectives in the tutorials regarding foiling, finishing in the oven, etc. this recipe worked great.

    I believe injecting it with all the beef broth helped a bunch. 

    It was my first brisket. The smoker died 5 hours into it but that was a different thread.


  7. viper

    viper Smoke Blower

    Well, my goal is pulled brisket, not sliced which seems more popular here.  It seems you have to push the temps higher to get pulled performance.  I am just not sure how much force you should have to use to "pull" it.  My pork comes apart pretty easy but maybe that is not a fair comparison, or is it?  I am also wanting to find out why a cured point might be tougher?  that does not make sense to me.  My brisket was not really dry, it was just obvious the connective tissues did not fulle break down because you could literally seem them holding on when trying to pull apart.  I want to do a full brisket next round but want my errors to be known so I can nail the next one.  I would plan to inject, rub, and mop, as well as sear.  

    I would also like to look at my rub a bit.  My main component in my rub is brown sugar which imparts a pretty sweat, dense bark on the meat.  Some people like sweet, some do not.  I think I should pull back on the sweetness to make more people happy.  Curious what I could put up front as a prime component?  Obviously red/black pepper go a long ways.  I prefer something that will create bark on the sear. 
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  8. Have never tried to pull brisket but have had success at smoking to 190 internal and wrapping in foil. This is the rub i use for brisket with a mustard slather.


    1/2   cup granulated sugar
    1/4   cup dark brown sugar
    3     TBS Lawry’s season salt
    3     TBS garlic salt
    1/2   cup celery salt
    1/2   cup onion salt
    1/4   cup paprika
    3     TBS chili powder
    1     TBS ground black pepper
    1     tsp ground sage
    1     tsp mustard powder
    1     tsp ground chipotle powder
    1/4   tsp ground thyme


    4     TBS yellow mustard
    2     TBS apple cider vinegar
    2     TBS good beeR  
  9. The 190 degrees is just a starting point. Every piece of meat is different and cooks different. I start checking at 190. What I am looking for is how easy the temp. probe slides into the meat. It should be like butter. If you are looking for pulled brisket then I would cook it until the proble enters like butter then give it another 45 minutes to an hour. For sliced brisket it could be anywhere from 190 to 210 degrees then I let rest for an hour as well. Hope this helps.

  10. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97 Smoking Fanatic

    eman is right on target.  I've known people to cook a chuck roast sous vide in a 140*f water bath for 3 days and it was medium, pink and the connective tissue had broken down.  So time is as important as temperature.
  11. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am not sure if you will get brisket to pull like pork does, the muscle strands are a bit differant. That being said one thing to remembe with brisket is you want gentle low heat, if you heat brisket to fast the muscle fibers conract like springs and tighten up creating a denser less tender result. If you can run your smoker between 210-220° you should be able to get a fork tender brisket provided you don't rush it.

    I usually keep the brisket rub simple (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika), and you really don't want much (if any) sugar in a rub that is going to be on the smoker for 12-18 hrs. because you stand a good chance of the sugars burning and ruining the flavor.

    My basice set up is to rub my brisket 6-12 hrs. ahead of smoke time, set up my smoker to run between 200° and 220°. Place the brisket (full packer) on my upper rack with a foil turkey pan below it that has about 3 or 4 cups of liquid (usually beer). Then I leave it alone for at lest 6 hrs., after 6 hrs. I check the internal temp - once the internal temp hits 165° I take the brisket and put it in the foil pan with the drippings and cover the pan tightly with more foil. The I leave it alone till it hits 200° (internal temp) - at 200° I take a butter knife and try poking it into the brisket, if it slides in easily I pull it off to rest for 1-2 hrs., if not I let it go to 205° and try again. I have gone as high as 215° to get that tenderness.

    Once I pull the brisket out of the smoker I double wrap it in heavy duty foil and place it in a dry towel lined cooler to rest. While it is resting I take all the liquid in the turkey pan and put it in a plastic container and pop it into the freezer for about 30 minutes. All the fat will set up on the top and can easily be removed. Re-heat the liquids in a small sauce pot and dump it over the sliced brisket.
  12. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    In my experience pork is much more forgiving than beef when it comes to pulling. I have pulled briskets before but have never been very happy with the results so I prefer to slice briskets. If I want some yummy pulled beef then I slow smoke a chuck roast.
  13. viper

    viper Smoke Blower

    Thanks for all the replies.  It sounds like testing the brisket is as critical as watching the temp and moisture.  Maybe next round I will try to test the meat a bit more and just let it go if still not right.  I could tell my pork was good to go though.  

    Also, it sounds like some people use a pan throughout the cook and some people add the pan after several hours.  I did notice that my brisket did not have much smoke flavor even using about 90% mesquite.  Might add more hickory next round...I have to wonder if that smoke rising up on the bottom helps in the smoke flavoring?  I certainly need to target a better smoke flavor next round...

    Do you guys use the same rubs for pork and beef or do they respond different?  It seems like Neither really need all that much salt IMO.  My brown sugar rub was a little sweet though the family just ate it up and said "where can I get some more?"  

    I am wondering about using molasses as a base binder for a glaze.  how does that stuff work on the meat?  I used it this round but not too much because I was not sure how it would flavor things. 

    Correct me if I am wrong but KC Masterpiece has a LOT of molasses in it? 

    OH, I also wanted to ask where you guys buy your meats and "lubes"?  I was recently at Sams but thought some of the prices were a bit high.  1.56 for butt, 1.73 for brisket, 2.27 for spares.  Just curious.  Are the larger cans of dry ingredients the right price at Sams? 
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011