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QView - My first brisket - the challenge of the stall

Discussion in 'Beef' started by rob27502, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. rob27502

    rob27502 Newbie

    Yup, I'm the same guy who posted last night in a panic! [​IMG] My first brisket and second smoke ever, the thing stalled on me and I may have panicked a little. In the end, it turned out really good, but not great. My main "beef" (haha) is that it was a little on the dry side. The flavor was there, but not the moisture. First the pics and then I'll get into some specifics.

    First, I injected it with beef broth, worcestershire and garlic powder. Then I dry rubbed with mustard, brown sugar, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder.


    The cut was a somewhat small brisket flat from BJ's. I didn't want to do anything larger for a first time.


    Here it is at the start of the smoke, just before 9am - rubbed and ready. Yes, I know, I need to invest in some nicer thermometers. [​IMG]


    As I said in the other thread, I smoked this over mesquite and charcoal (Stubb's) until it reached about 158. At that point, we had snow flurries in NC, I had a good 4 hours of smoke on it, so I decided to take it into the oven. This was at about 1:30pm. I wrapped it up in heavy foil and popped it in at 225.

    By about 4:30, it reached 170 and then absolutely stalled on me. Just after 8pm, it was still at 170 and I was worried. My thought was - if the rule of thumb is an hour and a half per pound, and the thing weighed 4.75 pounds, then at the outside, it should have taken me 9 hours, tops. Of course, in hindsight, the lesson I learned is that sometime you just have to wait it out, right?

    To end the stall, I cranked the oven to 250 and that seemed to do it. By 10pm I was at 195 and decided to take it out of the oven. I let it rest for 30 minutes in a cooler with a towel wrapped around it.

    Here's the finished product;


    And carved...


    I think that for a noob, I achieved a nice smoke ring and good flavor. But it was kind of dried out. It was edible and actually good, but it would have been supreme with a little more juice left in.

    So where did the juice go? My ignorant guess is that by ending the stall with the heat cranked up, I also dried it out. I'll be the first to admit, I'm still learning heat management, so even when it was on the smoker, it ran up around 250 most of the time.

    Any advice for next time? Thanks everyone!
  2. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Ok this is what I'm thinking. Run right out and get you a real jump up and down yahoo thermo meter thingie. Before you smoke anything else. I thinl the themro that your using now is crap. That meat stall or not shouldn't have been that dry. Thats thing looks like it would get the dirt off your shoe better then fill you belly. Now I would also smoke a chicken or somethig like that first. You should try to learn how to smoke on the lesser priced pieces of meat. Ok have yo signed up for the e-courseyet???It's free and it will give you tons of info and the basics of smoking and fire handling too. So keep it up and I again want to say that your doing fine it wasn't thats long ago I was in your old dried out shoes.
  3. Did you have it foiled when you put it in the oven? If not, that is why it is so dry, ovens have really dry heat.
  4. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You were doing good till you cranked the oven up. The idea is to keep the heat low 210-220°, and let it work its magic on tenderizing the meat. But as soon as you crank the heat up you start to drive the moisture out of the meat and the muscle fibers start to contract and tighten.

    Chalk it up to lesson learned..... best part is you are left with a very tastey "mistake" that is still very edible and looks good! [​IMG]
  5. papagreer

    papagreer Meat Mopper

    I agree totally with getting a real thermometer. This will make a HUGE difference. I got a cheapo wireless from Wally World ($15) and it works quite well. Now you can either get a Maverick E-73 with a smoker probe and a meat probe (which are now on sale because of the E732 coming out..Check with Todd, he has them for a great price...http://www.amazenproducts.com

    Also, keep those temps down. 250 is a little hot for the smoker or the oven. Low and slow my man. 

    You did get a great smoke ring and I bet it still tasted awesome. Keep it up and kill it next time. At least we can still eat our mistakes....not such a bad thing huh? 

  6. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Once you slice it, the brisket will dry out quickly. Probably before it hits the table. This is normal, but doesn’t always happen. Take the reserved juices and pour some over your serving dish. I will usually carve the whole brisket, use some juices for the dinner portion and save the rest of the juices for left overs. Just toss the meat and juice into a ziplock bag and it can be frozen of refrigerated and reheated easily.
    If not placed in foil, the juices probably evaporated on you or dripped away.
  7. rob27502

    rob27502 Newbie

    Thanks for the advice everyone. An upgraded thermometer set up is definitely going to be my next purchase, probably before I do any CG mods.

    Just for the sake of saying so, I did have the brisket foiled in the oven. In general, too much heat seems to have been my downfall. And really, what that means is that I need to learn patience! [​IMG] Given that I'm still learning, it was just SO frustrating to smoke/cook a 4.75 pound brisket for just over 13 hours. But I guess that's the lesson - some of these pieces of meat have a mind of their own.

    I do have another heat management question. Given that I haven't done the CG mods yet and the thing still leaks heat and smoke like a piece of swiss cheese, and that I'm still learning to control and manage a fire; What will it do to the meat (any kind of meat) if my heat is up and down and not steady over the course of the smoke? I mean, obviously I don't want to take it up to 350 and then let it fall to 150, but if I can stay within 10-20 degrees of 225 either way, will those short variances affect my quality?

  8. One other thing.  That flat looked like it was trimmed pretty close.  The leaner the cut, the easier it is to dry out a piece of meat.  You may want to try a big ole gnarly full packer with a full fat cap on it.  That is good insurance aganst dry meat. 
  9. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Another thing you can do, if concerned about no or little juice. Make up some Au Jus. My wife always have some packets in the pantry. They'll cover your butt when juices are low.
  10. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would make the mod's before you do any other long smokes. The Char-griller mods are really easy to do and only cost about $20-$30 depending on the mods you do. That will even out your chamber from side to side and should make temp. controll a lot easier.
  11. SmokinAl

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

    The one thing you didn't mention is did you put some juice in the foil when you put it in the oven? Anything will work beer, apple juice, beef broth. Just put a cup of liquid in the foil & it will make the brisket tender & juicy. I take mine to 205 in foil then rest it on the counter in the foil for an hour or so, before slicing. You certainly had a nice smoke ring, too bad it was a little dry. It gets better each time.
  12. I have the same smoker & do briskets all the time. As was suggested, you need some fat cap (1/4" or so thick), add some beer or something to the foil when wrapping. I've had to finish in the oven for different reason (too windy, need some sleep, etc). I learned sometime back, low & slow, so even while in the oven....I never turn it above 225. Some ovens may be hotter than the dial is set.

    One of the best mods I did on my CG is slowing down the leak on the back between the lid & chamber. I've tried glueing oven rope seal on the lid....doesn't last, falls off, etc. What I do is cut a piece of the oven rope seal to the length & roll it in some foil leaving extra foil, then hanging the seal on the outside of the chamber & fold the excess foil over the lip where the grates sit. When lid is shut it mashes the ropeseal/foil between the lid & chamber & the grates are sitting on the foil which hold it in place. The rope seal lasts & lasts, doesn't burn-up, get dirty etc. May have to replace the foil roll every now & then but the rope seal is still good for more smokes.

    Having a coal basket in the side fire box is a great idea as well.

    Your brisket looks wonderful & you say it tasted great........keep on smoking.......and learning like we all are........thats part of the fun.
  13. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree with the advice above

    1-get a good thermo.

    2-keep the temps low and slow, 215º-225º

    3-get a brisket with a fat cap on it,or get the full packer it's got plenty of fat

    4- (you've already learned) Dont Panic[​IMG]

     Not bad for your first try,Keep on smokin' you'll get the hang of it
  14. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Other than it being dry it looks great... follow the advice about on adding liquid to the foil next time and you should be right on the mark...
  15. rob27502

    rob27502 Newbie

    Actually, I did add liquid to the foil, a can of beer.

    I really think the dryness came from running a little hot all day. Lesson learned.

    Thanks again everyone!
  16. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

     If you ever have that problem and don't need to eat the brisket that night for dinner you can save it the next day by putting it in a crockpot with the drippings, on low for about 4-5 hrs. It will reheat it slowly and allow it to suck up some juices. I have saved several trimmed flats that way with really good results.