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First time smoking a brisket

jack bbq

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In my area near Boston, it's hard to find brisket, so when I saw a 6 pound flat for $4.99 a pound, a spent the $30 to give it a shot. Here's a pic after a little trim:

Here's another pic after resting with a rub for 4 hours:

I fired up my MES 30 to 225 degrees, filled my AMNPS with hickory pellets, and put the brisket on the third shelf down at 10pm. I put a piece of foil a few inches about the AMNPS, a foil wrapped brick in the water pan, and a tiny aluminum loaf pan with water on the top shelf. Then came bedtime.

The next morning when I checked the IT, it was right at the stall temp of 160 at 5:30am, 7.5 hours into the cook. Even thought it was still dark, I noticed I was no longer getting any smoke from my AMNPS, which surprised me since it was filled up the night before. Here's the proof when I finally opened up the smoker later in the day:

I'm not sure how long the smoke lasted since I was sleeping, but I'm curious if anyone would have any ideas why it wouldn't last at least 7.5 hours. I place the AMNPS on the rails to the bottom left of the smoker. Too much air entering through the wood chip chute that was pulled out a couple of inches?

I decided not to wrap the meat because I was afraid it would speed up the cooking time too much (it wasn't even 6am and I wasn't going to eat until 5pm. What I didn't expect was the length of time it took the meat to get to 200 degrees. A total of 18.5 hours for a 6 pound brisket flat. Everything I read made me expect 1.5-2 hours per pound, and I ended up with a little more than 3 hours of cook time per pound. Wasn't a big deal since I took the meat out at 4:30pm. Definitely glad I started the night before. Next time I'm going to wrap in butcher paper when I hit 160 degrees, but maybe I should cook at 240-250 degrees?

Here is the meat when I finally opened the door:

At this point I wrapped in foil to rest for a little over an hour.

Here are a couple of pics when I sliced it:

And here it is plated:

For my first brisket, I'd say it was a little dry. The bark had lots of flavor and just enough crunch. When i reheat the leftovers, I'll definitely use a sauce. The wife liked it and thinks I'm being too critical but it seems like I'm like a lot of people on this site, and are up for the challenge of trying to perfect what they cook.

I'd love some feedback on how I can get my AMNPS to smoke longer and my brisket to cook shorter.

Thanks!
 

SmokinAl

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Nice job on your first brisket!

They are sometimes hard to get right, and you did real well.

Al
 

jack bbq

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Thanks Al.

I guess since a brisket is notoriously difficult, I should view this as a success for my first time since my wife liked it, but the meat was too dry for my liking, and I wouldn't have felt right serving it to guests without masking the dryness with sauce.
 

tropics

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Jack what kind of probes are you using?

2nd You can get full packers in Walmart for less

Richie
 

okie362

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I seem to get better results with flats if I don't trim them.  I prefer smoking whole briskets to be honest.  Flats seems to dry out more and especially if the point is removed.

Also an 18+ hour cook may have been the culprit.  I don't really go by temp on brisket, just probe till you get the tenderness you desire.
 

jack bbq

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I use a Taylor thermometer that was only used once or twice a year before I got my smoker. Is this not very accurate? Should I upgrade? I will check out Wal Mart, thanks for the tip.

 

tropics

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I use a Taylor thermometer that was only used once or twice a year before I got my smoker. Is this not very accurate? Should I upgrade? I will check out Wal Mart, thanks for the tip.

You can do a boiling water test to check it,I check mine 3 or 4 times a year.Were you using that for the Cooking Chamber or the meat?

Richie
 

jack bbq

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Thanks Okie. I can't say there was too much trimming that I did, as the fat wasn't much thicker than a quarter inch. Since I have a MES 30, I don't think I'll ever be able to smoke a whole packer (unless I get good at this and decide to upgrade!).

My goal is never to open the door until the meat is done because I don't want to extend the cooking time by releasing the heat. I might have to revise that strategy though, or maybe get a better thermometer.

I thought going by temp was the best method? I know Al's method on smoking ribs to temp seems to work well for most.
 

okie362

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I use an iGrill thermo and start probing for tenderness when they reach 195 or so but they usually have to get to 200 or better before they get to the tenderness I want.  I typically slice and share with folks who let's say don't chew as well as they once did so I need them to be very tender.  I ALWAYS make sure to give them a good couple hours wrapped ina cooler to rest before even attempting to slice.
 

jack bbq

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Richie - The probe was in the thickest part of the meat. I guess I'm just trusting the MES 30 digital readout is accurate...

Okie - I did wrap in foil and place in a cooler for almost 90 minutes. I would've waited longer but after an 18.5 hour cook, I needed to taste the darn meat at that point! I don't think resting longer would've lessened the dryness in the meat. I think the long cook was the culprit. Next time I'm planning on wrapping in butcher paper at the stall, and take out at 195 if the cook is long (or 200 if things are moving nicely), and rest for 2+ hours in the cooler.
 

tropics

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Richie - The probe was in the thickest part of the meat. I guess I'm just trusting the MES 30 digital readout is accurate...

Okie - I did wrap in foil and place in a cooler for almost 90 minutes. I would've waited longer but after an 18.5 hour cook, I needed to taste the darn meat at that point! I don't think resting longer would've lessened the dryness in the meat. I think the long cook was the culprit. Next time I'm planning on wrapping in butcher paper at the stall, and take out at 195 if the cook is long (or 200 if things are moving nicely), and rest for 2+ hours in the cooler.
That is what I figured get another probe,I had a gen #2 and made the mistake of trusting their gauge.You control the temps will enable better results,its a learning curve

Richie
 

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