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Realtime 14th May - First Brisket - The Disaster Unfolds

FFchampMT

Smoke Blower
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Joined Jul 2, 2020
I never wrapped it. It took ages - 8.5hours to reach 200 internal temperature.
The biggest feedback I can give you is that 200 doesn't necessarily mean "done".
When you poke it with the probe in a few places and it goes in smooth "like a knife through butter" it's done.
Could be 200, 201, 203, I've had done briskets at 196.
Temp is a guide, feel determines when you pull it.
 

gaz0001

Fire Starter
39
11
Joined May 14, 2021
My you have had a time LOL!
Looks like mostly flat with a bit of point still on it. Kind of a sloppy cut but a really nice flat.
Your trim job looks fine.
If you try to keep low temps (to me 225 is a low temp) with a fire-breather you'll go insane. Mine is comfortable
between 260 and 280 which is where I get the best TBS, so that's where I run it and everything cooks just fine.
Ambient temperature and sunny or cloudy does make a difference and it's always going to be hotter at the firebox end.
I notice your stack choke is mostly closed. Run it wide open and use your firebox intake to control!
Consider wrapping after it's through the stall and leave it wrapped to the finish. You'll have enough smoke on it by then.
I have what many consider a COS ($300 CharGriller) and I'm happy with it.
Sorry about your tribulations but that's how we learn :-)
We're spoiled over here since the shops have stayed open. Do yourself a favor and when you get a chance stock up on spices and get a stiff blade fillet knife (and a sharpener).
Well I guess I've rambled on enough! Your brisket looks good enough to eat!
Don't give up and welcome to the forum!
Dan
That's interesting to know that you also cook at 260 to 280f.
I honestly thought that 225 was ideal and 250f was acceptable but in the high side. Anything over 250f was not slow smoking or acceptable.

My exhaust was exactly 50% open. I was using the advice of a youtube smoker, where he compared 100% open versus 50% open.
He concluded that 100% open required more attention and care for the fire and that the fire required to be smaller. Whereas 50% open let load the firebox more and sustain temperature for longer with lower maintenance.
I need to experiment more with mine, but a small observation that I have made is when the exhaust is 100% open the temperature difference between the two ends increases from 10f to 50f!? I need to verify this again next time, and play with it a little more.

My Chargriller was seriously cheap! Around 100 USD!
 

gaz0001

Fire Starter
39
11
Joined May 14, 2021
Hi there and welcome!

Also welcome to the world of the brisket :)

When cooking brisket it is only done when it is tender. It is tender when you can stab all over with kabob skewer and it goes in like going into butter. You check for tenderness starting at 200F Internal Temp (IT).

My guess is that it was dry and a little tough not dry and falling apart. This is classic indication that it didnt go long enough.
Also know that temp probing a brisket is very DIFFICULT to get correct. I put 3 probes aiming for the thickest and centermost part of the flat muscle and go based off the lowest reading. This works like a charm.

Good news though. If you pour some bbq sauce and a little water into that pan and cover with foil and then put into the oven for a while it will finish cooking your brisket and you can shred/chop it up for the most amazing brisket you can eat so understand that you aren't defeated yet :)

One last thing. The cut they gave you looked very trimmed down.
If you attempt this again do not worry about your smoker temp as long as you aren't burning the brisket. Briskets don't care if it is 225F or 400F smoker temp as long as you aren't burning the brisket.
You were doing right to avoid the thick white smoke so keep that up.
Finally, the cut they are giving you looks mostly trimmed and I'm guessing the Flat muscle so I wouldnt mess with it at all. I would season and smoke. Flatts can be a little dry on their own so at like an internal temp of 180F-190F I would wrap in foil with a splash of water (1/4 cup at most) and then go until it is Tender and ready.
Plan so you finish 4 hours early and hopefully you just finish on time :)

I hope this info helps and again, your brisket can still be saved and turned into amazing chopped bbq brisket as I mentioned above! :)
Thanks for all the tips.

You guessed correctly, it was dry and a bit tough.

I am not naturally a good chef. So I don't have these basics.
I'm very good at following precise instructions and recipe cards though.
I read the brisket cooking guide and basically they said at 200f it's done. So that what I I did.
When you say check for tenderness, I can do this next time.
But is there a temperature range that I can use as a guide? Ie check for tenderness every 2f between 200 and 210f? Is their a maximum that I should never let it reach?
 

tallbm

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Thanks for all the tips.

You guessed correctly, it was dry and a bit tough.

I am not naturally a good chef. So I don't have these basics.
I'm very good at following precise instructions and recipe cards though.
I read the brisket cooking guide and basically they said at 200f it's done. So that what I I did.
When you say check for tenderness, I can do this next time.
But is there a temperature range that I can use as a guide? Ie check for tenderness every 2f between 200 and 210f? Is their a maximum that I should never let it reach?
You are on the correct learning path my friend.
First thing you will need to do is really learn your system doing more controlled smokes. Don't worry about 225F-250F to much higher temp smokes. The key is that the food get's cooked properly and gets the correct type of smoke (Thin Blue Smoke [TBS] not thick white) and the correct amount of smoke (you can under smoke or over smoke).

To answer your questions I check beef brisket for tenderness at 200F Internal Temp (IT). If I'm doing a USDA Prime grade brisket I check at 198F IT. If not tender I check every 2F degree increase. You won't overdue it this way as long as your thermometer alarm goes off when you hit the 2F limit.

IMPORTANT: There is a major issue people do not understand or just don't know about when it comes to the IT of a brisket. The issue is that getting correct probe placement to get accurate IT of a brisket is DIFFICULT to accomplish. This is why people report such wildly different temps of when their brisket is tender and therefore done!

MAGIC SPOT: The spot to aim for on a whole packer brisket or one cut like you had is the thickest yet center-most spot of the FLAT muscle. The Point muscle will always come up to temp faster and will be tender and better, the FLAT muscle is the problem child.

Here is a picture of where I put 5 probes into a brisket aiming for the proper spot and you see how different they can be.
KYSsBbE.jpg



Beef brisket is a hard one to start learning with and it is likely you don't have access to Pork Butt/Shoulder cuts of meat where you are at in the world so I'm not sure what you have access too that is cheaper to practice with. Maybe mutton or lamb.
What I'm getting at is that if you can practice your big long smokes on a less expensive cut of meat you can dial in your smoker and your process then come back to briskets.

Once you have your smoker/system figured out for long smokes you can then do most long smokes with confidence.
Same thing applies for shorter smokes.
THEN, you can start working on how to tailor your cooks/smokes for each different cut of meat as they always have different quirks or tweaks you have to make based on the meat NOT based on your smoker.

For example. Any poultry (chicken) with skin on you should know that the skin will be like leather unless you cook/smoke at 325F or higher. Also whole birds and white meat should really be brined.
Dark meat doesn't need to be brined and get seasoned and thrown right on.

HOWEVER, skinless poultry can be smoked at any temp BUT white meat brining still applies. At least with skinless you can smoke at lower smoker temps to get more time in the smoke.

So, you see doing chicken has different processes inside different process which are different from doing brisket.

So this is why I always recommend that new smokers 1st work on controlling their smoker heat and smoke out put. Do shorter 3-6 hour smokes at 325F. Also do them at 225-250F but don't fret if you can't stay that low because in the end it's just heat and smoke that matters not necessarily a specific temp (unless doing bacon or sausage haha).

Move on to longer smokers for things like briskets.

Finally start learning the processes each different meat wants/needs.

I hope all this info helps :)
 

gaz0001

Fire Starter
39
11
Joined May 14, 2021
Guys,
How important is the consistency of the temperature? When compared to say the overall temp?

Is it better to keep the Smoker at a consistent more regulated temperature for a longer period, rather than fight with it at a lower temperature?

If would have better luck keeping it between 275f and 300f. With those temps i can catch it at 260f and bring it back up easily - all whilst keeping the wood lit and that nice thin blue hue smoke.

When trying to keep it at 250f, i have to fight it and micromanage it, and i get swings from 190f to 275f, with varying quality of smoke. I dont seem to have that Intake sweet spot dialled in to keep the naked flame going at 225/250f. (I will continue to search for it)
 

gaz0001

Fire Starter
39
11
Joined May 14, 2021
You are on the correct learning path my friend.
First thing you will need to do is really learn your system doing more controlled smokes. Don't worry about 225F-250F to much higher temp smokes. The key is that the food get's cooked properly and gets the correct type of smoke (Thin Blue Smoke [TBS] not thick white) and the correct amount of smoke (you can under smoke or over smoke).

To answer your questions I check beef brisket for tenderness at 200F Internal Temp (IT). If I'm doing a USDA Prime grade brisket I check at 198F IT. If not tender I check every 2F degree increase. You won't overdue it this way as long as your thermometer alarm goes off when you hit the 2F limit.

IMPORTANT: There is a major issue people do not understand or just don't know about when it comes to the IT of a brisket. The issue is that getting correct probe placement to get accurate IT of a brisket is DIFFICULT to accomplish. This is why people report such wildly different temps of when their brisket is tender and therefore done!

MAGIC SPOT: The spot to aim for on a whole packer brisket or one cut like you had is the thickest yet center-most spot of the FLAT muscle. The Point muscle will always come up to temp faster and will be tender and better, the FLAT muscle is the problem child.

Here is a picture of where I put 5 probes into a brisket aiming for the proper spot and you see how different they can be.
View attachment 496381


Beef brisket is a hard one to start learning with and it is likely you don't have access to Pork Butt/Shoulder cuts of meat where you are at in the world so I'm not sure what you have access too that is cheaper to practice with. Maybe mutton or lamb.
What I'm getting at is that if you can practice your big long smokes on a less expensive cut of meat you can dial in your smoker and your process then come back to briskets.

Once you have your smoker/system figured out for long smokes you can then do most long smokes with confidence.
Same thing applies for shorter smokes.
THEN, you can start working on how to tailor your cooks/smokes for each different cut of meat as they always have different quirks or tweaks you have to make based on the meat NOT based on your smoker.

For example. Any poultry (chicken) with skin on you should know that the skin will be like leather unless you cook/smoke at 325F or higher. Also whole birds and white meat should really be brined.
Dark meat doesn't need to be brined and get seasoned and thrown right on.

HOWEVER, skinless poultry can be smoked at any temp BUT white meat brining still applies. At least with skinless you can smoke at lower smoker temps to get more time in the smoke.

So, you see doing chicken has different processes inside different process which are different from doing brisket.

So this is why I always recommend that new smokers 1st work on controlling their smoker heat and smoke out put. Do shorter 3-6 hour smokes at 325F. Also do them at 225-250F but don't fret if you can't stay that low because in the end it's just heat and smoke that matters not necessarily a specific temp (unless doing bacon or sausage haha).

Move on to longer smokers for things like briskets.

Finally start learning the processes each different meat wants/needs.

I hope all this info helps :)
Helps very much. Thank you.
And yes, you are correct. We can get pork here, but its almost as expensive as gold and the quality can vary massively.
For now, we're on the Beef & Chicken (Mrs doesnt like Lamb).

For my next test, i will grab some Beef Short Ribs i think. Slightly shorter smoke time to manage, and should help with my training on identifying when the meat is tender.
 

tallbm

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
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Joined Dec 30, 2016
Helps very much. Thank you.
And yes, you are correct. We can get pork here, but its almost as expensive as gold and the quality can vary massively.
For now, we're on the Beef & Chicken (Mrs doesnt like Lamb).

For my next test, i will grab some Beef Short Ribs i think. Slightly shorter smoke time to manage, and should help with my training on identifying when the meat is tender.
For the meats you are doing I feel it is more important that you get a consistent heat going rather then up and down swings. For what you are looking to cook between 275-300F should be no issue as beef ribs, beef chucks, briskets, and chickens don't care.
Skin on chicken will have leathery skin unless you smoke at temps of 325F+ so you have even more incentive to run hotter there.

A brisket smoked at 225F vs 350F can come out equally tasty and tender but at 350F you finish faster. I would also argue that at 350F you may lose less moisture due to lack of time exposed during the cook but I have never ran tests though it is a hunch based on educated guesses from stuff I've smoked.

So if your smoker wants to run at 275-300F I say let it. If you can figure out how to run it lower then great but if not well you know what your system's limitations are.

Controlling temp super tightly at lower temps mostly matters when you are doing sausage, bacon, jerky, and ground-formed sandwich meat.
It also helps if you are doing meat that finishes based on lower IT and you want it in the smoker longer. Things like boneless skinless chicken breast, beef ribeye roasts, and other stuff you pull off when IT hits 135F-165F. At higher heats they just don't get as much time in the smoke.

If you are sticking to briskets, beef ribs, chucks, and chickens your higher temps will be super helpful.

Pro Tip: When doing whole chickens or chicken breast you will want to read up on brining them. A nice and simple equilibrium brine will do wonders with keeping the meat from drying out :)
 

gaz0001

Fire Starter
39
11
Joined May 14, 2021
For the meats you are doing I feel it is more important that you get a consistent heat going rather then up and down swings. For what you are looking to cook between 275-300F should be no issue as beef ribs, beef chucks, briskets, and chickens don't care.
Skin on chicken will have leathery skin unless you smoke at temps of 325F+ so you have even more incentive to run hotter there.

A brisket smoked at 225F vs 350F can come out equally tasty and tender but at 350F you finish faster. I would also argue that at 350F you may lose less moisture due to lack of time exposed during the cook but I have never ran tests though it is a hunch based on educated guesses from stuff I've smoked.

So if your smoker wants to run at 275-300F I say let it. If you can figure out how to run it lower then great but if not well you know what your system's limitations are.

Controlling temp super tightly at lower temps mostly matters when you are doing sausage, bacon, jerky, and ground-formed sandwich meat.
It also helps if you are doing meat that finishes based on lower IT and you want it in the smoker longer. Things like boneless skinless chicken breast, beef ribeye roasts, and other stuff you pull off when IT hits 135F-165F. At higher heats they just don't get as much time in the smoke.

If you are sticking to briskets, beef ribs, chucks, and chickens your higher temps will be super helpful.

Pro Tip: When doing whole chickens or chicken breast you will want to read up on brining them. A nice and simple equilibrium brine will do wonders with keeping the meat from drying out :)
Thanks for the reply.
I feel I can definately keep it running clean at these temps.
I'm super motivated to tey again.

Gonna head out now, grab myself some ribs, a boning knife and a spritzer bottle.
Ready to go to war
 

forktender

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6pm update
I forgot to take a photo of the finished full piece.

I never wrapped it. It took ages - 8.5hours to reach 200 internal temperature.

Took it off, left it in a cool box for 1 hour.

Taste was good, outside had a good texture. But the inside was a bit dry.
Was hoping for better.
I'm so tired. View attachment 496281
The dryness at tenderness could be the peice of meat itself. You will never make a lean brisket moist without larding it. It must have great marbling to start with because even with low temps and time it will always result in dri'ish meat. Injecting it with Butchers Block/ phosphates will aid in retaining any fat the meat has naturally but it won't add any moisture. If that makes any sense at all. Start with great marbling if you want to finish with fork tender moist meat.

We've all been there bro, me more than others until I figured out not even the pros can make moist meat out of lean cuts its gotta have fat and lots of it.
By prime or better if you can if you want really moist Q!!!
 

gaz0001

Fire Starter
39
11
Joined May 14, 2021
The dryness at tenderness could be the peice of meat itself. You will never make a lean brisket moist without larding it. It must have great marbling to start with because even with low temps and time it will always result in dri'ish meat. Injecting it with Butchers Block/ phosphates will aid in retaining any fat the meat has naturally but it won't add any moisture. If that makes any sense at all. Start with great marbling if you want to finish with fork tender moist meat.

We've all been there bro, me more than others until I figured out not even the pros can make moist meat out of lean cuts its gotta have fat and lots of it.
By prime or better if you can if you want really moist Q!!!
Over this way, we don't have the same levels or rankings of you do in the states.

Mine that I ordered was Greater Omaha Beef Brisket.
Since it was my first brisket I can absolutely say I have no idea whether it was well marbled or not.
I guess I'll learn this over some time.

What I do have for tomorrow is 1KG Beef Short Ribs Premium Grain Fed Antibiotic Free from Australia.
Pic attached.
Also my first time touching short ribs, but they look very good. Very well butchered with a perfect 4-6mm layer of fat on top.

No idea what Short Ribs cost you guys, but God damn. These were expensive 1KG 23.50 USD.

20210523_230657.jpg 20210523_230702.jpg
 

gaz0001

Fire Starter
39
11
Joined May 14, 2021
Ladies and Gents I have one more question with regards to the amount of Wood/Smoke to use.

I know if it's wrapped in foil, no need to waste wood.

You can see my firebox here. I have 1 fresh chunk and 1 spent chunk in there with the standard size briquettes for reference.
So each of these chunks is, I dunno, maybe 2 large fists in size. They are basically oaklahoma Joe splits, that I cut in half.

They burn out in around 40 to 50 min.

How many of these chunks should I actually be using for a long smoke on say the brisket.
If memory serves me correctly I used 6 of these last time,and my meat was super smokey. It was so smokey the leftover smoked out the fridge.
Good taste though, but just wondering how much smoke you guys also use?
20210514_100018.jpg
 

forktender

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Jun 10, 2008
Personally I would only use one chunk that size if it is a strong tasting wood type. If it's a more mild wood maybe one and a half or two chunks that size then just coals to finish it off.
 

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