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Need some helpful hints for my next beef brisket on pellet grill

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by gmiller818, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. gmiller818

    gmiller818 Newbie

    Hey guys,

    I'm new to the smoking world...been grilling for years, but smoking is new to me. I recently acquired a Pit Boss Pellet 8 in 1 smoker/grill. I tried smoking a 15 lb (pre-trimmed weight) beef brisket last weekend @ 225* degrees, with some success, but I was really surprised at how quickly the meat came to full temperature. From everything I had researched, I was expecting the brisket to have an initial smoke time of 8-12 hours to get to 165* degrees, followed by a foil wrap for an additional 3-5 hours. After about 6 hours, I checked the internal temperature for the first time, and to my surprise, it had already reached about 180* degrees. I pulled it from the grill at that time and wrapped in foil and returned to smoke for a couple of more hours. When I checked the temperature at that time, it was already at about 208* degrees. I then let it rest for 2 hours prior to serving. For the most part, the meat was delicious, however there was a really hard layer of bark on the bottom end (the point side, I believe) which came out way too hard and not really edible.
    Does anyone have experience with pellet grills...and should I expect them to smoke meats much faster than everything I read online, which is mainly geared for traditional type smokers?
    Any constructive criticism on what I may have done that caused a section to come out really hard on the brisket?
    Does an overall time of 9 hours seem way too soon to completely smoke a large brisket? I purchased the cut from Costco @ 14.8 lbs and probably trimmed 2 lbs of fat from the meat or so...

    Thanks in advance for any help or insight y'all can give a newby!
  2. bregent

    bregent Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Food in a pellet grill does typically cook faster than other types of smokers because there is more convection currents created by the fans. But if you haven't already, make sure to test the temp at the grate with another thermometer. It may not be the same as what is set/reported on the controller.

    Regarding the hard bark, what did you use for rub? Did it contain a lot of sugar?
  3. greg1

    greg1 Smoke Blower

    As mentioned above check your temp at grate level. Bet you cooking a lot hotter then you think. You time was about about right. Packers normally take me 9-11 hours with my grate temp running 215-230. Hope that gives you a starting point.
    gmiller818 likes this.
  4. gmiller818

    gmiller818 Newbie

    Thanks for the response: I used a rub of course salt, cracked peppercorns, & garlic powder. Prior to the rub, I coated the brisket with olive oil.
  5. gmiller818

    gmiller818 Newbie

    to test the grate temperature, can i just lay my probe thermometer on the grate and close the lid to see the reading?
  6. jbottorff

    jbottorff Newbie

    Did you go fat-side down on the cook? If not, it might help to do so in the future.
  7. gmiller818

    gmiller818 Newbie

    NO - I did fat side up. I realize that I centered the meat on the grill directly over the position of the burner pit (even though the smoker sliding lid was close), which may have caused a more concentrated heat area. Maybe next time I will position the meat towards the end side of the grill to avoid this?
  8. I have a Pit Boss 820 DLX.. Did you cook with the temp setting at 225 degrees? If I do this then I get some crazy temp swings on the high side. This pit can hold 300 degrees & up with good accuracy. Within 10 degrees up or down..

    Not so much at 225.. You could see swings as high as 75 degrees (300 degrees) before it goes back down.

    I did a full packer on mine with the fat side down and it came out excellent. I used the smoke setting with a pid setting of either 1 or 0. I could hold 225 within a couple of degrees up or down that way. It made for a much more even cook.

    I have a maverick temp probe that I use at the grate level to tell me the true temp of the pit.

    Hope this helps


    P.S. My brisket took about an hour per lb to get done.
    gmiller818 likes this.
  9. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    You wont want it directly on the grate. If you don't have any grate clips you can wad up a loose small ball of foil and stab the probe through it so the foil gets it up off the grate.

    I'm guessing like everyone else that your temps are really much higher at grate level then you think. Also if you cook fat side down in that case you should mostly burn up any fat in that situation thereby saving the meat from that crusty inedible fate :)
    gmiller818 likes this.
  10. SmokinAl

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

    If possible I would smoke it on a grate on top of a foil pan, fat side up. I would also put some French onion soup, garlic, onion, celery, & carrots in the pan. With the juices from the brisket this will give you a good base to make an AuJus. And the pan veggies will protect the bottom of the brisket from the heat.
    As the others have said I think you were cooking at a much higher temp than you thought.
    I run my offset at 270-280 & a brisket takes about 1 hour per pound to cook.
    gmiller818 likes this.