First Brisket - Great Taste - Could be more tender

Discussion in 'Beef' started by chomper, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. Hi all - I am new to the smoking world and just purchased a Master Forge (Lowes) double door smoker.  Pulled some advice from here and did some ribs that came out great.  Did a brisket yesterday with great flavor but was a little tough. 

    Here was my approach:  5 pound brisket fresh from the butcher (figured I better start small), cut 1 inch slices/scores on the fat side, was generous with the rub all over, let sit in the frig for 2 days.  Smoked with Hickory chunk wood for about 8 hours (the meat got to 190 degrees).  Had a bit of a hard time controlling the temp as when the wood chunks got "charcoal like" the heat went up and I had the gas temp. control as low as it would go.  According to the Master Forge temp gauge, the temp varied between 200 and 260.  Also, the wood and water containers are pretty small so I replaced wood chunks and added water throughout the process.  I did not use a mop or marinade.

    Would love to hear any input as to why the meat might not have been as tender as it could have been as I am anxious to give it another go.  
    wingnut likes this.
  2. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    First, never trust the thermometer that comes with a smoker, they are notorious for being off.  Get a good digital with a probe and use it to check your temps.  most of us use two, one for checking cabinet temps and one for monitoring internal meat temps.  A Maverick ET-73 is a good Digital with 2 probes, it is probably the #1 Digital used by smokers...

    Also cook by temperature and not time.  I usually try to cook a brisket at around 225º until the internal temp is a 185º...  or 1.5hr per pound of meat.

    I would bet your problem stems from the way you sliced the brisket.  Did you slice it with the grain or on the bias?  If you sliced with the grain it will be tougher than if you cut across the grain. 

    Here is a good Brisket Mop:

    Brisket Mop
    • 12 oz can of beer
    • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
    • ½ cup water
    • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
    • ½ cup olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons Favorite BBQ sauce
    • 1 tablespoon B-V the beef upper or other beef broth concentrate
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    • 1 tablespoon onion powder
    • 1 tablespoon brisket rub
    • 1 tablespoon celery seed
    • 2 teaspoons MSG
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring mixture to a boil and let cool before using.
    wingnut likes this.
  3. that mop sauce sounds really good. i may have to try that on my next one.
    wingnut likes this.
  4. Thanks Paul - I did use a digital probe for the meat temp, but for the smoker temp, I was relying on the one that came with it.  Sounds like its time to get a second probe or a basic oven temperature gauge.  I did cut the meat against the grain so that should not be the issue.  However, as I read more posts I see alot of references to foiling the meat at 165 and also to towelling it after it comes out and putting ity in a cooler?  I took mine out at 190, wrapped in foil for about 45 minutes, cut off the fat cap, sliced and ate.  What is the "towelling" technique all about?

    Love this site ... lots of great ideas for other things to try!
    wingnut likes this.
  5. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Toweling and placing in a dry cooler is used to keep the meat warm until it can be served.  Doing this will hold the temp of the meat for quite some time....
    wingnut likes this.
  6. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    While it does do this, the primary purpose is to "rest the meat" to allow juices to redistribute throughout the piece of meat.  It will help with juiciness and should be done regardless of if it is serving time or not.

    Even smaller cuts like steaks or tri tips benefit from resting.

    wingnut likes this.
  7. tnbarbq

    tnbarbq Fire Starter

    I would suggest foiling at about 155 degrees and put it back in the cooker until the meat reaches about 190-200.  Pull it off,  leave it wrapped in foil and wrap in a towel then place in a cooler for about an hour.  Unwrap your meaty gift and slice thin against the grain.  It will be as tender as a mother's love.
    wingnut likes this.
  8. Hey all. My first post here.

    Chomper, I quickly discovered that OEM thermometer in the door is garbage.  I use a standard oven thermometer that I've verified it's accuracy with a digital - thus proving the door thermometer reads approximately 60* too hot.  Therefore, when it says about 290* it's only 225-230*.

    I like some of the modifications another member describes here:

    I'm thinking on purchasing the higher quality thermometer he'd suggested.  

    Coincidentally, I'm presently smoking a brisket and a Boston butt my Master Forge 2-door.  I've already used it for spare ribs, thick cut pork chops, chicken and even a coupla thick steaks.  I'm lovin' it all - especially the ribs.

    Can't wait to see how today's project turns out.  Here in TN, few BBQ restaurants serve brisket and I've been disappointed in their's.  I want my brisket tender, but not to the point of falling apart because then it's too dry.  I spent the first half on my life in Abilene TX and, during all my years away, have reminisced over the wonderful meats from the BBQ joints I grew up around - ESPECIALLY the brisket.  
  9. smokingeagle

    smokingeagle Smoke Blower

    I smoked three briskets this last weekend and tried some diffrent things i found on here.

    I used these 3 things.

    1. I mopped the brisket evry hour for the first 4 hours.

    2. I foiled the briskets at 165 degrees.

    3. I pulled the brisket and wrapped in a towel and a cooler.

    every one commented on how moist and tender the meat was.

    thanks all to have posted these 3 things because that was the best brisket i have made in first 2 years of smoking.
  10. Thanks ecducit ... glad to hear the Master Forge is working well for you.  I am only 2 smokes in so just learning.  I have purchased an oven thermometer so looking forward to testing out the accuracy of the OEM thermometer.  

    My wife is from Texas (we live in CA) so there are some pretty high expectations for the BBQ I will be smoking.  I think I will try Turkey breast next but unfortunately I will have to wait a couple of weeks until I have a free day.

    Let us know how the brisket turned out ... and being a Master Forge owner I would like to hear how long and at what temp you smoked it for.
    wingnut likes this.
  11. chefdave007

    chefdave007 Newbie

    never  exsceed  the temp of boiling 212  you will rubberize meat if you steam..smoke is 180 or ..negative reaction, example is toss meat into boiling water,,,,not ..if you cook steaks perfect and stack them ,,steam,, will rubberize,thenm the time it takes to serve them,,ok, you probably bought select meat,,not choice. The cost of feed as in sell corn for ethanol is contaminatting our fat,, think? got it ? ask me ill give you facts in reality.Chef dave, its only possible thru our membership to this great website we can resolve this..thanx
  12. chefdave007

    chefdave007 Newbie

    foil traps steam,, dont,,cover with a sceen ,,temp raises in meat by 10 to 20 degrees by the degree its takin from the heat provider..also the moisture you inject to meat from marinades etc..does apply..concentrate on brines..they retive bad liquid for good. let that rest attention or well. enjoy the love just take it thru chemistry.
  13. chefdave007

    chefdave007 Newbie

    moisture is key
  14. redhead

    redhead Newbie

    I just did one last week for the first time also, I however used a beer mop and heavily mopped every hour for the first 4 hours then let the smoker do the rest.  After smoking for 8 hours I removed it and did a double wrap of foil, wrapped it in a bath towel put it to a paper bag then into a cooler shut tight for an hour I know it sounds like a lot but wow it melted in your mouth.  I also made a chimichuri sauce smothered it over the meat while eating it!!!!
  15. gogiants

    gogiants Newbie

    This is my first post. Smokin a brisket on Sunday. Second go at it. Did ribs last week and they turn out good. Got a chick question. How often do you have to clean these smokers? MIne is a stand up with the door in the front. I assume the dirtier it is on the inside the more flavor? Tell that's the case so I don't have to bother cleanin. 
  16. shegriller

    shegriller Newbie

    Here's a chick answer.

    I clean mine every time I use it. The old adage that the leftover bits from last weekend's offering add flavor is frankly - kind of gross. My grids have a kind on non-stick coating and scrub well in a sink of very hot water and soap.

    In the actual grill, I line areas that see a lot of fat drips and ash with foil and discard before adding new coals.

    No, it doesn't look brand new any more but I try and keep a level of cleanliness even when cooking outside.

    Now another thing, speaking of chick stuff - when is someone going to make a grill/smoker in colors like pink and red?
  17. Heck, they're making pink guns now.  Not my wife's cup of tea, but if a color gets more people interested, so be it.
  18. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    Chick View #2  [​IMG]

    I hand scrub the grids on my smoker (a good soak in Dawn does a lot towards cutting grease)  here's my $.02 : I am putting FOOD that I want to put in my MOUTH on those grids. I wouldn't eat off a dirty plate and I won't eat meat off a dirty grid.

    I foil line my water bowl, new foil every time. It's easier to tear off sticky greasy foil than it is to clean that bowl and I am terrified of grease flareups hurting my meat.

    But the door and the walls? Meh... no food touches there, so I don't really worry about it. If it starts to look built up and cruddy, I have heard that an old credit card goes a long way towards scraping the yucky chunks off.


  19. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    GoGiants, first off, welcome to SMF. Please stop by Roll Call and tell us a bit about yourself. Now to answer your question-I use a reverse-flow smoker and when I pull the meat off, I build up the fire in the fire box to get the food chambers good and hot-I get them up to 350°-400° and then hit the inside of the smoker with the water hose, close the doors and let thing steam. I then hit the cooking grids with a wire brush, give thing another rinse and leave the doors open while things dry out and let the fire in the box die down. 
  20. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I put foil on the bottom for easier clean up & the bottom of the firebox. Also remember the ash sitting in your firebox will eventually start to cause rust!!

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