Brisket failures

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Tomhusker

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Jul 16, 2018
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I got hooked into the hobby of smoked meats several years ago. I've pretty much figured out pork butt, ribs, meatloaf, chicken and fish.
Brisket absolutely kicks my butt. I don't do it often due to cost. In five years, I've smoked brisket probably 8 times. 7 of those have been a failure in one way or another.
The one time I got it right was about 3 years ago, for my son's wedding reception dinner.

It's just frustrating.

Rant over.
 
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Tomhusker

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Jul 16, 2018
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if you give some details on your method I'm sure these people will help you .
Fair enough.
I have tried a few different things. All were low & slow. 225-250 free temps. The Treager holds pretty steady throughout the cook.
I've tried wrapping to get through any stalls. I've tried not wrapping at any time. I've tried injecting. I've used tallow for a binder. I've cooked them all flat side down.
I use Meater probes, that are accurate in an ice water test.

Every time but one, I've ended up with an edible, but dry brisket with a thick, hard, bottom.
I did have a nice bark this time.
 

TNJAKE

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I think your issue might have to do with the burn pot being located in the center and burning the underside of your briskets. Try putting it on a rack so it's not directly on the grate. If you don't have room on the rack you can take a foil pan and put a cooling rack on top and go from there
 

SmokinAl

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There are some excellent cooks on here & as most of us know, brisket is just about the hardest meat to get right. First I would ask, what grade of meat are you using? A Prime brisket will be much easier to get right than a Select or Choice. I was lucky enough to get a Wagyu brisket, and that is on another level. You also didn’t say whether it was a flat or a packer. Big difference in the process & outcome. I’m sure you will get plenty of responses.
Al
 
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Tomhusker

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Jul 16, 2018
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There are some excellent cooks on here & as most of us know, brisket is just about the hardest meat to get right. First I would ask, what grade of meat are you using? A Prime brisket will be much easier to get right than a Select or Choice. I was lucky enough to get a Wagyu brisket, and that is on another level. You also didn’t say whether it was a flat or a packer. Big difference in the process & outcome. I’m sure you will get plenty of responses.
Al
All have been prime grade packers.
The fire pot location did cross my mind. I even had this last one on a rack, in a large stainless steel pan, before changing my mind at the last minute when I put it on to cook.
 
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SmokinAl

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All have been prime grade packers.
The fire pot location did cross my mind. I even had this last one on a rack, in a large stainless steel pan, before changing my mind at the last minute when I put it on to cook.
I have a Rec Tec & am new to pellet smoking, just for cleanup sake I do most of my cooks the way Jake described. On a grate sitting on a disposable pan. You can even put some veggies & beef broth in the pan for an Au Jus.
Al
 

Marknmd

Meat Mopper
Jun 22, 2022
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You might check out youtube re a new method that's been going around - it's not really new but has just been gaining popularity over the past few weeks. That is, put brisket in with cooker temp at 225, cook to stall, hike cooker temp to 275, cook until internal temp of brisket is 190, wrap, place in aluminum pan with some water, seal it tight, hold for 10-16 hours at 150 F. Perfect brisket every time. Fool proof. I tried it a couple weeks ago and everybody threw roses.





Pitmaster X saw the vid and he loves it too. He calls it the 4-2-10 method

 

Teal101

Meat Mopper
Jan 2, 2020
240
255
Fair enough.
I have tried a few different things. All were low & slow. 225-250 free temps. The Treager holds pretty steady throughout the cook.
I've tried wrapping to get through any stalls. I've tried not wrapping at any time. I've tried injecting. I've used tallow for a binder. I've cooked them all flat side down.
I use Meater probes, that are accurate in an ice water test.

Every time but one, I've ended up with an edible, but dry brisket with a thick, hard, bottom.
I did have a nice bark this time.
Are you going off the Traeger PID or an external thermometer unit? My Traeger has wild swings and is 25-45* off from the PID depending on the setting I put it at. Hard bottom and dry brisket could be a few things. Sometimes dry is from not cooking long enough. Hard bottom sounds like too hot. Maybe an elevated rack like suggested. What temp are you pulling them and what stage of probe tender are they? My biggest issue with Brisket has been over cooking them to the point the meat falls apart when cut.
 
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SmokyMose

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Aug 13, 2015
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I know absolutely nothing about pellet smokers (or what a burn pot is) but I'll take a stab.
Try cooking at a higher temp. I think a meat drys out if cooked too low for a long time.
I'm not sure what you mean by "flat side down", but I cook with the fattier side up.
I've also never cooked a prime, only choice, so maybe there's a difference.
My offset likes to run between 260 and 280 to get the TBS, so that's where I cook until it gets PAST the stall and then I wrap for the remainder. You'd be surprised how little stall you get at the higher temps.
The last one I did finished wrapped in the oven at 280 'til it was jiggly probe tender (Why waste wood?).
brisket.jpg
 

zwiller

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You might check out youtube re a new method that's been going around - it's not really new but has just been gaining popularity over the past few weeks. That is, put brisket in with cooker temp at 225, cook to stall, hike cooker temp to 275, cook until internal temp of brisket is 190, wrap, place in aluminum pan with some water, seal it tight, hold for 10-16 hours at 150 F. Perfect brisket every time. Fool proof. I tried it a couple weeks ago and everybody threw roses.

THANKS for that. I don't have the time to sit through the vids to get the cliff notes.
 
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Tomhusker

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Jul 16, 2018
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Are you going off the Traeger PID or an external thermometer unit? My Traeger has wild swings and is 25-45* off from the PID depending on the setting I put it at. Hard bottom and dry brisket could be a few things. Sometimes dry is from not cooking long enough. Hard bottom sounds like too hot. Maybe an elevated rack like suggested. What temp are you pulling them and what stage of probe tender are they? My biggest issue with Brisket has been over cooking them to the point the meat falls apart when cut.
I use two meater+ probes. One in the top and one in the flat. They are always within 5 degrees of what the Traeger says.
Probe tender is a new one on me.
I will definitely be using an elevated rack on my next cook.
 

noboundaries

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I don't use a pellet pooper, but one of the things I'd do with packer brisket is put it on a grate in a pan, fat side down. The pan prevents hot spots from toasting one part of the meat. I'd also turn the point toward the hottest part of the chamber. The extra fat makes the point as forgiving as a pork butt.

I only probe the flat for tenderness because the thick point will lie to you EVERY SINGLE TIME and tell you it's done when it's far from it. A dry brisket is an underdone brisket. An overcooked brisket will crumble but still be tender when sliced. If the flat slices and tastes dry, it needed more time.

Finally, the resting period. A long rest wrapped in foil in a warm place can right a lot of wrongs and perform magic. I use my oven set at 170°F (which is actually 155°F on the middle rack when I tested it recently making jerky). If the flat probes tender, or almost tender, a 3-5 hour rest in the oven is plenty.

Go longer, probe and temp the flat for tenderness, rest wrapped for hours, and you'll get what you want.
 

Tomhusker

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Original poster
Thread starter
Jul 16, 2018
17
22
I don't use a pellet pooper, but one of the things I'd do with packer brisket is put it on a grate in a pan, fat side down. The pan prevents hot spots from toasting one part of the meat. I'd also turn the point toward the hottest part of the chamber. The extra fat makes the point as forgiving as a pork butt.

I only probe the flat for tenderness because the thick point will lie to you EVERY SINGLE TIME and tell you it's done when it's far from it. A dry brisket is an underdone brisket. An overcooked brisket will crumble but still be tender when sliced. If the flat slices and tastes dry, it needed more time.

Finally, the resting period. A long rest wrapped in foil in a warm place can right a lot of wrongs and perform magic. I use my oven set at 170°F (which is actually 155°F on the middle rack when I tested it recently making jerky). If the flat probes tender, or almost tender, a 3-5 hour rest in the oven is plenty.

Go longer, probe and temp the flat for tenderness, rest wrapped for hours, and you'll get what you want.
Good info, thanks.
 

thirdeye

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The only two things I can add is trying wet aging, and trying a commercial competition injection.

When wet aging you need to ask the meat cutters to grab a case from the walk-in. This way you can pick the one you want, and take note of the 'pack date' on the end of the case (not the use-by date on a brisket already in the display case). 30 or so days of wet aging is a good place to start, and if you see that the case was packed 10 days ago, you can age at home for 20 days. Sometimes, you will find a 20 day old brisket, so you age at home another 10 days.

I've tried a number of injections, starting with Fab-B many, many moons ago. Then I switched to Kosmos Reserve Beef, and now like Big Poppa Cattle Prod. I mix it lighter than the competition ratio and sometimes add some Worcestershire or Minor's AuJus Prep.

For procedure, I'm in the cook it until it probes tender, then go another hour. Wrap with some beefy broth and monitor tenderness every 45 minutes. I like long rests or hot holding.
 
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BrianGSDTexoma

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I can add long resting period really helps. I try to do 4 hour. Wrap and put in cooler or I use my MES40 set to 140. To be honest most times anymore I cook a day before I need so I can let rest. I don't even peek at it. The next day so moist and tender.
 

indaswamp

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X4 on the long rest time @150-170*F and pulling in the 190's INT.... Last two I did were done this way and they were spot on perfectly cooked.

But not done in a pellet pooper. I use my smokehouse and put a water pan over the CI pan of wood chunks to up the moisture to push through the stall and to deflect flare up heat. I do not wrap until I pull it off to hold.
 

Jonok

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We do almost exclusively primes (the attached is a choice, from which we donated the front part of the flat for burnt ends at about 150f.

I have a 7500w electric heated smoker with an entirely seperate smoke generator, so we put the hurt on the briskets for a few hours with smoke and heat at about 285 until the internal temp is 140-150, and the bark is appropriate. We use either a double sugar version of our paprika garlic onion plus butt rub, or a 1-1-1 turbinado sugar, pepper and salt by rough volume. (That’s what this is)
 

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