First brisket on at 3:30 just a few final questions...

Discussion in 'Beef' started by larosa94x, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. larosa94x

    larosa94x Fire Starter

    Hey fellers,
    So I got my first brisket in the smoker at 3:30Am and I just need s few more questions cleared up before I get to the last few hours..

    1. I know brisket is done when brisket is done, but when and how often should I do the toothpick test.. Start at 190 and check every 5 degree increase?

    2. I typicslly use sand in my smoker and am currently doing so, I'm now thinking maybe that was a bad idea and I should change out to water for brisket. Is it just fine with sand?

    3. Is it crucial to foil brisket to keep it moist and juicy?

    4. I like when brisket comes off the smoker looking like it is a meteor that fell from space, but more prefer it to be super moist. Is it possible to get a nice almost black bark AND foil it or do I have to sacrifice one of these ammenities.

    I think that's all for now.. If I have any other questions I'll post back!

    Thanks guys,
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  2. larosa94x

    larosa94x Fire Starter

    Guys in at a loss for words...
    My brisket got to about 160 and it stalled out so I wrapped it up splashed some apple juice in there threw it back in the smoker and within 2 and half or so hours it hit 190- so to get the bark to firm back up I unfoiled it and back in it went. The temp went from 190 all the way to 176.. It just not got back to 178 and I'm extremely confused. My brisket dropped temps when it stalled but from what I've seen is that is normal.. The brisket has been in for 11 and a half hours now and it's an 11# packer. Help guys in a little confused.
  3. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    When you wrap in foil you are causing the meat to braise in the juice. When you remove the foil and loose the juice you loose all of that extra heat so you meat cools off. 

    You are just now at an hour per pound which leaves plenty of time for it to get done in a "normal" time frame. 
  4. larosa94x

    larosa94x Fire Starter

    Thanks bmaddox.. The temps did creep up. I'm around 185 at the fattest portion of the flat again and about 192 on the thinner outer edge

    The meat is getting super tender in the edges but the middle still has a slight resistance when probing.. Do I just keep checking every 30 or so minutes?
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  5. jcbigler

    jcbigler Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Maybe I missed it. How big was the brisket when you started? Full packer or just the flat? What kind of smoker? And how hot are you cooking it?

    You should b coming up on about 12 hours now. Which depending on the size of the brisket it should be about done.

    Edit: I see you have an 11lb packer. In my smoker that would have been done by now. I would foil it and remove it from the smoker and let it rest for an hour or two.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  6. Brisket after 6 hours unwrapped 


    Brisket after another 6 hours wrapped in butcher paper

  7. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes, keep probing.   Might even reach a point where you want to check every 15 minutes.
  8. nozzleman

    nozzleman Smoking Fanatic

    There will more opinions on these questions that you can shake a stick at. I personally don't foil in order to preserve that bark that you like. The brisket will power through the stall, it just takes a little longer, but I have the time. Once you get that good outer bark started it will seal in those precious juices. How often to probe, the more you open the door the slower it will cook, go at least an hour in between, longer depending how much temp change you are getting. I don't use sand or water in my smoker but then again I am not one that opens the door all the time and they act as heat sinks to aid in the recovery of your temps after opening the door. I usually try and cook around 225-230, and for a full packer it usually is in the range of 12-14 hours.Good Luck.
  9. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Agreed for the most part.  One thing I'd point out is that there's a bit of a myth to "if you are looking your aren't cooking".   The meat itself is very good wrt heat retention.  Opening the door for a minute to check the brisket will drop the chamber temp a bit and that will take some time to recover, but really won't affect the overall cooking time that much as the brisket itself retains the heat.

    FWIW, if you take this to a ridiculous extreme, like opening the door every 10 minutes and taking 5 minutes to test, yeah, that will definitely have an impact.    Just have the probe in hand, quickly open the door, poke the brisket one or two times then close the door. 

    It's kind of like your refrigerator.   A gallon of milk is sitting there are about 38 degrees.  If you open the door and look in the fridge for a minute and then close the door, that temp of the milk isn't going to immediately spike up and take a noticeable amount of time to recover.   It will still be at 38 degrees.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  10. He Sorry, I didn't mean to confuse the issue, The butcher paper is kinda the best of both. It lets you maintain that great bark without it getting soggy and will sure help keep the meat moist.

    I have done briskets just about every way you can think of in the last 40 + years but when I discovered butcher paper I stuck with it

  11. larosa94x

    larosa94x Fire Starter

    Ok guys the brisket finished just in time for me to be able to rest it for 2 hours before our guests arrived.

    Sadly, it was very dry. Not dry to the point that it was like eating straw but definitely not juicy like brisket should be.. I pulled it at 4:30 so it smoked for 13 hours. I foiled it after 4 hours and then left it foiled for like 5 hours and then unfoiled again the remainder of the cook.. And there was also no smoke ring?!

    I cooked it just until the meat was tender and it still came out dry and I don't know why.. I'm thinking I maybe cut too much of the fat cap off.. Or the fact that it was only a select cut l.. Idk It's disappointing though because I did everything to the tee.. Maybe next time I'll nail it

    For those asking I'm using one of those charbroil vertical box propane smokers. I know it's not the best but it works just fine for everything else I've done.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2015
  12. jcbigler

    jcbigler Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I think you smoked it for too long. And unwrapping for the last few hours didn't help either.

    For an 11lb. packer that you may have trimmed some fat off of already, I think 9 or 10 hours total would have been more appropriate--depending on how hot your smoker is running. 
  13. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you have pics of any of the sliced brisket, that would help figure out what happened.    If not, did the brisket fall apart when sliced ?  Were the slices kind of elastic and took a bit to pull apart ?
  14. larosa94x

    larosa94x Fire Starter

    The brisket was actually quiet tender. It passed the toothpick test and when sliced pulled apart very easily.. It was just extremely dry.
    I smoked the brisket til 160 and waited for a little to see if it hit the stall then it began to drop in temp so I fouled it and it hit 190 so I was gonna pull it but I unwrapped it and it still felt tough so instead of foiling it again I put it in the smoker I fouled to dry up the bark and the temp went from 190 to 178 so I let it get back to 190 and by then it was super tender as far as the toothpick test goes. So then I pulled it wrapped it and let it rest in a cooler wrapped up for 2 hours
  15. bauchjw

    bauchjw Master of the Pit

    Been a while bro. Hope things are going better, just read through this! I'm still new to the Brisket world but I think it may give me a little insight to your issues this go around. Have you thought about just putting the meat on and letting it be? I spend all my energy on temp, smoke, vents, IT ( I have offset and use charcoal and chunks). I would get myself spinning in circles to the point of critical shutdown with wrap, unwrap, foil, etc. I've succeeded at a few more briskest than failed, but I still consider myself on a winning team. That being said I cannot mentally handle most tricks I read here because I'm not comfortable with the basics yet. Basic rub, put it on when cooker is at temp, then watch smoker temp, color of smoke and IT. Tooth pick test, rest on a cutting board, cut and eat! Leave it at that brother! It will be easier to see where something went wrong. Once that's nailed then we start attempting tricks! Good luck!

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