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Brisket help for a newbie- way too dry


Joined Mar 5, 2017
Yoder 640. Did a packer brisket a month ago that came out fine. Wanted to do it again. Got the meat from a high end supplier, properly trimmed with 1/4 fat cap etc. Salt and pepper rub. Put it in at 225 last night. Had some temperature instability (went as high as 280 for an hour). I did not wrap it. Stalled at 165 about 4.5 hours into the cook, and was only at 180 internal 18 hours in and not "like butter" with the probe. I turned it up to 250, and took it our at 20hours and 193 degrees. Wrapped in butcher paper and rested for 2 hours. The point was a little dry, the flat very dry.

Where did I go wrong?


Joined Mar 5, 2017
Thanks for the quick reply. So undercooked???? It was a 14 pounder.... should I have wrapped? Seems like after 20 hours, should have been to temp much sooner!


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Joined Jun 22, 2009
If it wasn't probe tender then it wasn't cooked long enough.

It may seem strange but undercooked can seem dry.



Joined Mar 5, 2017

Meat was probe tender and it fell apart when I sliced, bark was hard as a rock and thick. Meat was bone dry.

Not sure why it took so long to get to temperature

Next time a little higher temp to cook, wrap and pray?
Joined Mar 27, 2017
I would also throw in that you cooked at too low a temp for too long.  I did a 12 lb brisket at christmas for the fam and it cooked to an IT of 200 in about 8 hours - it was tender, juicy, and had a great smoke ring.  But I cooked at 275 for the first 4 hours, 250 for the last 4 ... so it cooked a lot faster, which didn't give it time to dry out.  Also, did you use a water pan?   Dry heat will also dry out your meat - so unless you live in a super humid area, try using a water pan in your cook chamber.  


Meat Mopper
Joined Sep 4, 2015
On our YS640, with a pan of water placed on the lower rack at the far left side, we start out at 180°F for about four hours to get a bit more smoke production. The temp is then increased to 255°F-265°F, and the brisket is wrapped on peach/pink paper when it hits around 170°F. Probing begins at around 195°F, and about the lowest temp at which a brisket is ever pulled is around 203°F, with most of them being pulled in the 207°-210°F range.

 They are always juicy and with what I'd describe as a "medium" bark. If it matters, they all develop a pretty good smoke ring, which seems to add to the "presentation" points when serving.

 Many have stated that no water pan is required but we have always used one and our briskets always come out well, plus there has always been room for a pan


Meat Mopper
Joined Dec 10, 2013
I have an electric smoker, so my temp control might be a little more stable, but I smoked a 15lb brisket last week.  I smoke everything at 225' and it works well for me. I pulled it out of the refrigerator, trimmed a few spots, and rubbed it down while it sat for about 10 minutes before putting it in the smoker.

My 15 lb brisket was 23.5 hours to get to 200' IT, which is about a normal amount of time for my set up for slicing.  I do not foil unless the humidity is very low which will dry the bark a little more.  I foil to put in the cooler at least a couple hours to rest.

I agree with the above post, I would suspect only taking it to 193' is the problem.  Before studying this site I was under cooking and having the same tough problems.  It took a while to get my mind right and leave it alone until it got to 200' no matter how long it took. Success every time now.

Also, I mark my briskets before I smoke them with a toothpick so I know where to start slicing to be sure I am slicing across the grain, it is harder to tell after it is smoked.  That can be a factor also.  If I want more chopped brisket than sliced, I take it on up to 205 or 208 so it will fall apart easier.

Just keep practicing, you will get there...

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