Brisket with hard underside on Pit Boss

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Mffl84

Newbie
Original poster
Mar 16, 2018
29
10
Fort Worth, TX
Hey there everyone,

Sorry in advance for the long post...I can get a little long winded.

I have a Pit Boss 820D3 and I love it for the most part. I have made some great food with it. I cooked a brisket this weekend and something I have run into is that the bottom of my briskets (and pork butts to an extent) have been overcooked and hard, which makes slicing difficult, not to mention losing some meat. There is definitely a hot spot on these smokers above the sear plate area, so I tend to place the point side over that area as opposed to the flat, and the burned parts of the brisket are definitely more prominent in the point because of this.

I am looking for some solutions to prevent this in the future. My typical method for my briskets is to smoke fat side up, and after 5 or six hours (when I like my bark) to wrap. I used to wrap with butcher paper, but I have recently been using the foil boat method, which I love for pellet smokers, in particular. Since nice bark is a bit harder to achieve on pellet smokers, I like that the top is exposed for the duration of the cook so that the bark develops as much as possible. I also like that the flat is then continuing to cook in a pool of tallow. Once the brisket is ready to rest, I then wrap in butcher paper. I pour the tallow that has settled in the foil over the brisket before I wrap it. It then rests for several hours.

There are a few things that have come to mind as possible solutions to overcooking the bottom of the brisket. Some might say to cook fat side down, and I guess I could give that a go...but I have just always been a fat side up guy, and being from Texas, that is the way it is supposed to be.

Another though I had was to foil boat it sooner. Since the top with be exposed for the duration of the cook anyway, maybe it wouldn't be so bad to boat it sooner than usual. The foil may add an extra layer of heat resistance and prevent the overcooking.

I have also been looking for some sort of mod to the grate level or maybe even a stand alone product I could buy that would fit inside the smoker that would raise the grate level so it is not as close to the sear plate. There is a second shelf in my smoker, but it is small, and too close to the top of the smoker to fit any large cuts of meat like briskets and pork butts.

I also wonder if the Flame Diffuser from Smokes Like A Boss would help in reducing that hot spot over the sear plate. The downside to that is that I use the searing feature pretty regularly, so having to remove that in order to sear anything seems like a pain.

Have any of you guys run into this issue on your long smokes? If so, what have you done to mitigate it? Thanks so much!
 
This thread comes to mind.
They actually discussed that, and used water pans to even out the heat. However, this did involve an extra rack/shelf. I bought the jerky racks for my camp chef and want to use them in this fashion to try evening out the hot spots
 
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I use the fat cap as a heat shield, and all of my cookers have the heat below the meat. But if you want to cook fat cap up.... why not save some of your trimmings and put them under your brisket for some of the cook?
 
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Probably no need to go into the definition of insanity here. Bottom line, it's always about creating good eats regardless of method & equipment. Either go fat side down as @BigW mentions or at least position the brisket on top of the excess trimmings like thirdeye thirdeye said. Maybe don't trim the fat cap much and put it down would be my first approach. Looking at the grill I suppose the smaller 2nd shelf is not deep enough to hold a full packer, correct?
 
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I had the same thing happen on the first brisket I id on my pellet grill . Not real bad , because I moved it to the side expecting this could happen .
I used a broiler pan from the oven in various ways in the pellet grill . Works great and cleans easy . Sometimes I use just the bottom , or put the meat on the top . This makes a nice deflector .
1643663407180.jpeg
 
I used to cook briskets fat side up forever as well because I thought it was the right thing to do. As the years have passed and I've read, discussed, and learned so much I finally decided to put the fat side toward the heat - in my Yoder pellet cooker that is fat side down. There are several things to consider when the bottom of the brisket becomes over cooked as I have had happen a few times as well but my success overall has improved since putting the fat side down in the pellet cooker. I also get a beautiful (as well as flavorful) bark on the meat side that is up since changing up my fat cap position. In my experience this seems to produces better and more consistent results.

I guess fat cap positions are kind of like chili recipes :emoji_laughing: Everyone has a different opinion and truth be told probably the majority are correct. Sometimes there's not a right or wrong but a slight difference in final product.
 
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You can check on every time the question "Fat Side up or Down" was asked, I always give the same answer------"If your Smoker is like an MES and the heat and Smoke gets to your Meat from all different directions, put the Fat Side Up" However "if your Heat comes directly, or mostly from under the Meat, put the Fat cap down to protect the Meat."

Bear
 
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First off, I'm a Texas born Texan. I always have cooked fat side down, as do most of the people I know around here. So, there's that. -From an offset stick burner, to Masterbuilt propane smoker, to Masterbuilt 1050 and the EX 6 I'm using now. The fat don't run back into the meat if it's right side up. It will run right off of it
 
Hey there everyone,

Sorry in advance for the long post...I can get a little long winded.

I have a Pit Boss 820D3 and I love it for the most part. I have made some great food with it. I cooked a brisket this weekend and something I have run into is that the bottom of my briskets (and pork butts to an extent) have been overcooked and hard, which makes slicing difficult, not to mention losing some meat. There is definitely a hot spot on these smokers above the sear plate area, so I tend to place the point side over that area as opposed to the flat, and the burned parts of the brisket are definitely more prominent in the point because of this.

I am looking for some solutions to prevent this in the future. My typical method for my briskets is to smoke fat side up, and after 5 or six hours (when I like my bark) to wrap. I used to wrap with butcher paper, but I have recently been using the foil boat method, which I love for pellet smokers, in particular. Since nice bark is a bit harder to achieve on pellet smokers, I like that the top is exposed for the duration of the cook so that the bark develops as much as possible. I also like that the flat is then continuing to cook in a pool of tallow. Once the brisket is ready to rest, I then wrap in butcher paper. I pour the tallow that has settled in the foil over the brisket before I wrap it. It then rests for several hours.

There are a few things that have come to mind as possible solutions to overcooking the bottom of the brisket. Some might say to cook fat side down, and I guess I could give that a go...but I have just always been a fat side up guy, and being from Texas, that is the way it is supposed to be.

Another though I had was to foil boat it sooner. Since the top with be exposed for the duration of the cook anyway, maybe it wouldn't be so bad to boat it sooner than usual. The foil may add an extra layer of heat resistance and prevent the overcooking.

I have also been looking for some sort of mod to the grate level or maybe even a stand alone product I could buy that would fit inside the smoker that would raise the grate level so it is not as close to the sear plate. There is a second shelf in my smoker, but it is small, and too close to the top of the smoker to fit any large cuts of meat like briskets and pork butts.

I also wonder if the Flame Diffuser from Smokes Like A Boss would help in reducing that hot spot over the sear plate. The downside to that is that I use the searing feature pretty regularly, so having to remove that in order to sear anything seems like a pain.

Have any of you guys run into this issue on your long smokes? If so, what have you done to mitigate it? Thanks so much!
With the smaller pellet grills there is no place to indirect cook unless you have a upper shelf, if so use that shelf and not the grate. Back when I had a GMG this dried up brisket and PP bottom was a problem. Here is how I went around the issue. Cook 225-250* for about 5 hours. This is getting you really close if not into the “stall” at that point take the meat off and place in a foil pan cover tight with foil and into the kitchen oven for the finish At same temp the grill was running. There is no shame in this method and it produces really tasty food, maybe not competition grade, but darn good.
 
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What B BigW. said....fat side down.....or elevate & fluid pan. There are other venders but this would help elevate it and you can get a small tin to put a water pan under or beef broth to catch the drippings, then use the tin for the boat when you wrap....

https://www.recteq.com/products/small-interior-shelf
This is great...I am absolutely on board with having a water pan under the brisket, and that shelf looks like it could do the trick!
 
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I probably need to give fat side down a go, since so many have recommended it, and it does make sense. A lot of the BBQ guys I follow here in Texas are running stick burners, so of course they go fat up. I'm learning and adjusting with every cook and fat down may just need to be an adjustment I need to make when it comes to direct heat cooks. I appreciate all the feedback! Feel free to keep your ideas coming! ;)
 
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I have a pitboss Austin xl. Like yours my firepot is in the middle. I smoke briskets and butts fat cap down. On my offset I go fat cap up. If you must go fat cap up on the pitboss you can use a aluminum pan with a wire cooling rack over top. Works great
Screenshot_20220131_173758.png
Screenshot_20220131_173822.png

Not a brisket but you get the idea
 
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In my Pitboss or stick burner I do fat down
 
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