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Same Story - Chewy Brisket, Broken soul

Joined Feb 11, 2018
First post - but hopefully tales of success in the future.

This was my third attempt at a brisket. I have been buying small flats at Harris Teeter trying to hone my skill before cooking anything bigger. This time around I found half a choice flat, which may have been my first mistake, but when smoking for my wife and I, we want to limit waste during this experimentation phase.

3.5 Lb Flat - trimmed the thick fat - maybe a little too much - tried to leave a small layer but being half a flat there wasn't much to begin with. Sea Salt **shake shake**, S&P **twist twist** - then same on the other side.

Weber Kettle, snake method, soaked hickory chips, Kingsford charcoal, did the following:

@ 225 for four hours fat up: Probed at hour 3, IT 150 degrees. At hour 4, IT 152 degrees. Temp fluctuates a bit with the Weber but generally 225.

@ 235 for three hours, wrapped in tin foil w/ splash of apple juice: At the end of three hours - meat IT 197 but felt really stiff - panicked, pulled it and let it rest on the counter still wrapped until meat had IT 160 (~40 mins). Sliced against the grain.

Flavor was good but soul, slightly crushed. My biggest issues were the meat was dry and chewy. Dry I can deal with since there is so much au-jouis in the tin foil, a quick bath and we are back to juicy.

The bigger issue was the connective tissues were still intact. Probably should have stayed on the weber and gone with a probe test, but was worried I had overdone it when the meat felt stiff at IT 197. You think I should have kept going with the probe or maybe hold it in a cooler for a few hours? Appreciate any help and next time will do pictures.


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Nov 27, 2016
Sounds like it wasn't cooked long enough. Some people go with temp, some with probe, some use temp to tell them when to start probing. When you wrap it in foil, follow that with a towel and stick it in a cooler for at least an hour.


Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
Joined Jun 11, 2015
I usually go at least 200 IT. I smoke at 225 and I don't wrap anything my personal preference. Just my $.02

Joined Feb 11, 2018
Ok sounds like I am just like every other joe asking the same question. The answer must really be just cook it longer! Next time I will start probing at 195 and wait for that butter feel. Then towel and cooler! I really appreciate the help.

HalfSmoked HalfSmoked - I did not foil the first two cooks and they came out with the same issues. I was hoping the length of the cook was my issue which is why I foiled this time around. Live and learn.

You think I can still get good results with such a small cut?


Meat Mopper
Joined Nov 24, 2017
Just some thoughts
Leave one quarter inch fat cap
Marinate over night
Use a pan of water under the brisket
Smoke for 15 hours at 230 F
Spray with apple cider or juice every hour and half
At 165F foil
Keep smoking until internal temp is 195F


Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 23, 2016
I tried flats as well when I started doing brisket. Honestly, won’t even buy one again, full packers are easier to get tender, at least for me.

I start probing at 195, but mine seem to finish @205 or higher with the probe test.


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 22, 2009
For a small flat I always smoke it in a pan with some french onion soup.
I let the brisket sit right in the soup. You can flip it half way through the smoke, but I don't.
It will stay plenty moist & if you want to foil it all you have to do is put a piece of foil over the pan.
Your brisket was tough & dry because it was under cooked. Cook until probe tender, sometimes that may be as high as 210.


Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Sep 15, 2012
As others have said - sounds undercooked. I would also have left the fat cap on if it wasn't to thick, and instead of fat cap up try fat cap down on the grate. Shielding the meat from the heat source.

Better luck next time.



Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Apr 2, 2013
Your brisket was definitely under cooked. First step to take is to learn how to tell when a brisket is done. Clear out a block of about 15 hours just to be safe. Fire your Weber up and hit whatever temp you want. Doesn't really matter. Season the brisket how you want, again, for our purposes, doesn't really matter. Throw brisket on the Weber and just let it go.

After a couple of hours, stick in your probe. When the probe hits 185ish, pull it out and then use it to test the brisket. When it goes in and out with very little resistance, your brisket is done. Once you get this down pat, then you can start messing around with different chamber temps, foiling, etc, etc, etc.

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