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First brisket (sorry in advance for the length)

Discussion in 'Beef' started by Mffl84, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. What's up guys!? Been a while since I have been around...had my first kid a couple months ago, so life has been changing! It has been great though...

    I wanted to detail my first brisket cook for you guys and see what your thoughts are on what I need to do differently. I will try to be as clear as I can, as there are many variables, and I will also be including some info about my buddies brisket that he cooked at the same time. Sorry for the lack of pictures...I wish I would have taken some. :/

    I bought a 13.75lb CHOICE (I know...but it was on sale for $25 and I didn't want to botch a prime brisket, ha!) packer from Kroger. Friday night I trimmed it down to 9lbs (I cut 1-2" off the flat so it would fit in my SV18), seasoned with a 50/50 blend of coarse salt/coarse pepper, wrapped in plastic wrap and set in the fridge overnight.

    Got up at 4am, pulled it out of the fridge to come up to room temp. The cooking was taking place at my buddies house, so by the time I fed the baby, got to his place, set the smoker up and got the brisket in, it was 6am. He was cooking a brisket as well, CHOICE from Kroger, on his small offset smoker and he got his brisket on at 5am. We were following Aaron Franklin's youtube and PBS videos, so our target cooking temp was 250. I was trying out the A-maze-on pellet tube for the first time on this cook, and had a heck of a time keeping it lit. I must have been doing something wrong, or maybe the heavy wind that day was causing issues? I'm not sure. I messed with it for about an hour and a half before giving up and putting pellets in the tray because I was tired of the lack of smoke and having to open the smoker to mess with it. Smoker temp was holding steady and my IT was catching up to my buddies. He had his own set of issues due to the wind causing backdraft and throwing his smoker temps all over the place. He got a spare dryer hose and attached it to his smoke stack and that eliminated the backdraft issue.

    Around 11am, I was happy with the color of the brisket and decided to wrap in butcher paper. Meanwhile, my buddy's brisket had been wrapped since about 7am as his bark developed rapidly. After wrapping, temp was steady around 250 and I was waiting for the stall to occur.

    Around 12:30 or 1 it hit 175 and sat there for about an hour, then steadily began to rise. IT hit 195 by 2:30. I probe tested and it felt tender, 195 in thick part of the point and around 203 in the flat. I decided to pull it out and rest, because I was terrified of overcooking it. Wrapped it in a towel and put it in the cooler.

    After adding the dryer hose, my buddy was able to control his smoker temps better. His brisket hit the stall at 180 and sat there for 3 hours. We had planned on eating dinner around 6:30-7. His finally broke through the stall at around 4:30 and SSLLOOOWWLY began to rise. By 6 it had only risen to about 191. I suggested he probe it to check for tenderness and temps in the flat, etc...it was really tender, but IT in the flat were reading >180. We were really confused, but decided to pull his off and rest it for an hour. Not as long as we wanted, but it was dinner time, mine had rested for 4 hours at this point, so we figured we could cut into mine and give his more time to rest.

    My finished product was less tender and less juicy than I was hoping, but the flavor was really good and it wasn't dry. I have definitely had worse brisket (Dickies anyone?) Overall, my first brisket was okay, but it could have been much better. My friends brisket was much more tender and juicy. Mine cooked for 8.5 hours and rested for 4, while his took 11 hours and rested for 1, AND it was a smaller brisket. So, all that to say...my thinking is that mine just cooked too fast. Maybe 250 was too high? Should I try around 230 next time? Did the lack of smoke early on effect it by delaying the bark buildup? Anything else seem off to you guys on either brisket? I want to pick ONE thing to change for the next cook so that I can try to pinpoint what may have gone wrong. I appreciate any an all input!
  2. SecondHandSmoker

    SecondHandSmoker Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    sounds like your brisket was under cooked.
    Mffl84 likes this.
  3. bregent

    bregent Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Exactly. Don't overthink it. It didn't cook too fast. I've cooked briskets successfully between 200 and 300 that finished with a pretty wide range of internal temps. The exact temp of your pit is not that important. And don't worry about final IT, just pull when it's tender. Sounds like you were close but it just needed to cook a bit more.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
    Mffl84 likes this.
  4. radio

    radio Master of the Pit

    Most likely undercooked as SHS said above. That being said, briskets can vary greatly from one to the next, even from the same store and the same day. Some finish quickly and others lag behind for hours even if they are the same weight.
    I have never seen a full packer robe tender at 180 or even 190°. I have had a couple done at 197-198°, but most probe tender in the flat at 200-203 with some going as high as 207°. Far more briskets are pulled too early than too late IMHO. The biggest down side, if any, to overcooking is the meat is just fall apart tender, especially in the point which renders more than the leaner flat.
    I would also suggest checking the thermometers in both ice water and boiling water to see if they are reading correctly and also use one of the probes to monitor the cooking chamber temperature. Factory thermometers in mosr units are off, with some being waaaay off!
    Mffl84 likes this.
  5. SmokinVOLfan

    SmokinVOLfan Master of the Pit

    I agree with the others it was a little undercooked. Let it roll until you are getting tender all over and more importantly the thickest of the flat.

    And as far as the tube goes they say they are better for propane rigs but trying to keep it lit in there is a pain in the ass from what I hear. I have an SV24 and I usually toss a couple good size wood chunks in it and it burns for an hour-two before having to refill.
    Mffl84 likes this.
  6. I wasn't going off of the factory thermometer. I have a ThermoPro TP-08 that I have used with turkeys, chicken, sausages and haven't had any issues, so I doubt it is the thermometers. We did determine that my buddy's thermometer on his smoker was off by about 25 degrees.

    Sounds like a consensus so far on it being undercooked. I think I did overthink it, because I really didn't feel like it had cooked long enough. I'll be a bit more patient next time and not worry so much about overcooking it. Any guesses as to how my friend's was so much better when it didn't even hit 180 in some places?
  7. I was even telling my buddy the whole time, "it's not so much about the IT as much as it is when the meat gets tender.". I should have listened to myself, haha!
    SecondHandSmoker likes this.