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My Brisket Should Have Been More Tender. Any Suggestions? (Q-View)

Discussion in 'Beef' started by big bad rog, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. big bad rog

    big bad rog Fire Starter

    I smoked my 1st Brisket today. Always my favorite item when I chow BBQ down south. I rubbed the afternoon before, smoked (propane) at 225 until 165, panned and covered until 200, let rest in covered pan for 2.5 hrs. Looks nice, smells nice, tastes nice but it just wasn't as tender as I had expected or hoped. But the weird part is that it was juicy - just not tender. Should I have let it cook to 205 or 210? Or is there any thing else that I should try the next time.

  2. arnie

    arnie Smoking Fanatic

    Wow, that’s a puzzler.   [​IMG]

    It sounds like you did everything right.

    I don’t wrap until I pull them out, usually 195-200.

    Sometimes if I’m busy I have just cut the smoker back to 140and left the brisket set in it for a couple three hours.

    Never had a tough one
  3. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It could be your thermometer not registering properly or not inserted in the center of the meat.  At 200° it should be almost "fall apart" tender.
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     Yep...I always stab the thermometer into several areas when I think it's ready, just to be sure on the temp reads. This also gives you the opportunity to probe for tenderness, not just temps...if it doesn't probe tender with little resitance to puncturing all the way through, then, my meat stays in the smoker.

    I don't pull 'em until they probe tender...every piece of meat has it's own personality, and it will tell you when it's happy if you understand it's language.

  5. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can probe for tenderness with a wood skewer. If it goes in with resistance, leave the skewer in so you don't form a drainhole for juices and continue to cook until one goes in smoothly.
  6. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    It looks real good especially for a first try did you cut against the grain?
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Very good point...er...uh...thought?

    I didn't even think of that myself, as I always separate the point from the flat and rest the foiled flat while I doctor up the point for burnt ends.

    The muscle firbers do intersect on a full packer, so that can make a difference for sure.

    Hey BBR, was this a packer cut into two sections (halved) before the smoke? Looking closer at the 2nd pic after you started slicing, it seems that part of the point is on top, with maybe the thinest end of the point running away fron the camera, and the flat being on bottom. I can see where the grain of the meat is more biased-cut instead of cross-cut towards the top as well.

  8. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Growing up in South Texas Fajitas and Brisket were the two favorite cuts both need to be cut across the grain so I preach it all the time.
  9. big bad rog

    big bad rog Fire Starter

    i definately cut across the grain as I was careful to locate it first. 

    My guess is that I should have left it in the smoker a bit longer and certainly have probed it in a different area instead of trusting the remote probe.

    Looks nice though. And tastes good too.
  10. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    If it was not tender enough that's a therm problem, the stock ones can be off as much as 40* .
  11. smokeamotive

    smokeamotive Smoking Fanatic

     I have one on my horizon thats off by a lot more than that. @80deg brand new . use only digitals now.
  12. big bad rog

    big bad rog Fire Starter

    I don't rely on the stock thermometer for the smoker internal temp; I use my remote digital for that and a second hanging oven thermometer for verification. I suspect that maybe my Taylor stick dial thermometer may be off. I can check it later with iced water and boiling water tonight, and adjust it accordingly with a small wrench to make it accurate. 

    Let's say the meat thermometer is off by even 10 degrees, would 10 degrees be the difference between juicy and not tender and juicy AND tender?
  13. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Did you notice this meat stalling? There should have been a time period where the internal temp of the meat will quit rising and in some have even reported it going down a degree or so. The stall is when the meat eally starts cooking and the tissues begin to break down. See http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/wiki/plateau-explained  

    Now I'm wondering if your smoker temp was reading low and you were smoking with too high of a temp and pushed it through the stall too fast. You can bring a brisket to 200 on a grill or in an oven, but it won't be edible.
  14. Some briskets are just tough.  You can do everything right, and still get a chewy one sometimes. Try doing the bend test in the store before you buy a brisket.  Grab it and try and bend it.  If it's pretty flexible, you can usually count on it getting tender.  If it's stiff as a board, put it back.
  15. ellymae

    ellymae Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm with Eric on this one. Temp is just one measure - probe test is the second and most important in my book.
  16. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I'm also with Eric on this one. I would really test your thermometers atleast once a month. Then I would also do a probe test for tenderness or and squeeze test works to. Then it's like the finger poking test on steaks it will come in time and practice. 
  17. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I have read a few post from folks that don't even worry about thermometers when smoking Briskets.

     They use a butter knife and when it slides into the brisket w/ very little resistance the brisket is ready to wrap and rest..

    I  have never tried this , so i can't say wether it works or not .But it seems that it would .
  18. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I've had the same thing happen many times. The therm says done, but when you stick a skewer in you can tell it's not done. The skewer should go in with little to no resistance.