First time brisket smoker, observations

Discussion in 'Beef' started by carz, May 7, 2015.

  1. carz

    carz Newbie

    first time brisket smoker.......first time smoker period! I got myself a 2.5lb brisket to try....covered it in a mix of seasonings and threw it in my MES smoker for about 3.5hrs. Used mesquite wood chips. I have it wrapped in foil now in the cooler.......should be ready when I get back from the gym =)

    the one thing I noticed was that the bark was not black. There are some images ive seen from you guys where the bark is dark as night.......mine is still reddish (must be from all the paprika). Is that ok? I also noticed that it wasnt very smoky. Could it be from the type of wood chips? Im expecting thick clouds of smoke, am i wrong?

    The whole process was very simple! watched tons of youtube videos last night. one thing i know was messed up was the meat itself....the butcher cut off most of the fat cap from it, i know its going to play a huge role. Never the less, I will post pictures later tonight and let you know how it tastes.
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  2. carz

    carz Newbie


    - got 2.5 lbs beef brisket, flat, the butcher cut off the fat cap (didnt realize this till i got home)

    - rubbed it with oil, rubbed it with my own mix of seasonings

    - loaded my MES with water, mesquite wood chips, got it up to 250 degrees and put in the meat on the top shelf

    - changed the wood chips every hour or so

    - kept the heat at a consistant 250, cooked for 3.5 hours

    - pulled it out, wrapped it in foil and a towel and threw it in the cooler


    - bark not dark as i thought it would be

    - VERY moist

    - did not fall apart easily

    - might have over cooked it.

    Overall, not bad for my first attempt, but i still need practice. I think using oil was a bad idea, made the rub very wet and moist. What do you guys think?

    heres a picture of what it looked like:

  3. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    3.5hrs seems awfully quick even for a 2.5lb, I'm assuming it's a flat.. Do you know what your temperatures were? (Internal meat and smoker).

    The smoke you are looking for is thin blue smoke (aka TBS).

    After eating, I'd suggest sitting back, relaxing and reading the following threads by gary about smoking brisket.
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  4. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You beat me to it!

    Your process seems fine to me, your brisket is just undercooked. Next time, smoke your brisket until toothpick tender (toothpick slides in like a knife through room temperature butter) instead of a specific timeframe.
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  5. You cannot go by time to know when the meat is "done". Temp is not a good indicator either. Use a probe. It works every time. When the probe passes through the meat "like butter" it is done. Temps can range from 195 to 215, it just depends on the particular piece of meat. Enjoy!!!!!!!!
  6. carz

    carz Newbie

    I used a regular kitchen food thermometer, it said 190, so I assumed it was ready. didnt look under cooked at all considering all the examples ive seen had a pinkish color to the meat.

    i guess i gotta to buy a real cooking thermometer.

    so basically what the rule is.........cook it until it starts to fall apart, which happens when you cook it long?
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  7. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ideally you want a dual probe thermometer to read the internal temp of the meat and your smoker temp. I use the Maverick 733 and it works great. Tons of other options out there though. You can browse the "Reviews" section of SMF to find one that best suits your needs.

    The general "rule" for brisket is, cook until toothpick tender. As vmastros stated, this can be anywhere from 195F - 215F or more...At these high temps the connective tissues in the muscle of the meat will breakdown and creates the moist and tender brisket you're shooting for.

    I think the pinkish color you have seen in other examples is the smoke ring.

    I don't consider your smoke a failure by any means!

    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  8. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    I believe the others have you on the right track.  If you want to make the rest of your leftover smoked meat a bit more enjoyable, throw it in a crock pot for a few hours with some sauce to finish, will make some great sammies.  

    A few thoughts on your cook...seasonings...with brisket, it is a large cut of meat, you can just about season it with anything and it won't over power it.  Some go as simple as salt and pepper while others go quite complex or use store bought brands.

    As far as color, you probably didn't reach that black color due to a couple reasons, electric smoker and short cook time.  the short cook time was a factor for sure, having never used an electric rig, I am just making an educated guess.

    As the others have stated, use the IT just as a guideline for when to start checking for tenderness, anywhere from 190 to past 210.  Once it is toothpick tender, pull it, vent the excess heat, then off for at least a 1 hour rest. 
  9. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The brisket was definitely undercooked.  Here's the long and short of it.  Brisket has a lot of connective tissues between the muscle fibers.  This tissue starts to break down once it hits about 140 degrees and it takes time.   Breaking down the connective tissues makes it tender and unlocks the juices.   That said, if you overcook the brisket, it will start to fall apart.  There's a small little window where the brisket will transition from being somewhat tough to falling apart.  THAT is where you want to hit.   The way to tell when a brisket is done is to use the probe/poke test.  Poke the brisket with a probe in various spots of the thickest part of the flat.  When the probe goes in and out with no resistance, like a knife through room temp butter, the brisket is ready. 

    BTW, a nice bark takes time to develop.  3 1/2 hours is nowhere near long enough for that to happen.

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