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Seeking advice on why my meat is not moist

Discussion in 'Grilling Tips' started by cayal, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. cayal

    cayal Newbie

    Hi all,

    First post here so hopefully I am posting this in the right place.

    I've been doing the low and slow for a year or more now. I enjoy it and generally the food comes out nice (imo) however I can never get that really moist\pull effect you see on the TV shows or in restaurants and I am not sure why.

    I have read up in a few books and looked online and I believe I am following them how they do it but never comes out the same.

    I'll give 2 examples of how I have cooked in the past.

    Also my smoker is a Fornetto 18" Basso Bullet Smoker - Coals at the bottom \ water pan above it \ 2 racks on top.


    Pork Ribs

    In preparation I trim the fat, remove the membrane. I put on my rub and let it rest overnight (or I do it in the morning and let it rest for 4 hours or so).

    I use heat beads BBQ briquettes, get the temp to around 107c/225f

    Put on my ribs, bone side down and cook for 60 - 90 minutes (usually 90). I spritz it once or twice with apple juice

    Around that time I try the toothpick test and it seems to go in easily.

    After 90 minutes, I will either wrap them (2 or 3 times) in Aluminium foil or I will put in a mixture of brown sugar, melted butter and honey and place the ribs on top of that and triple wrap in al-foil and cook for another 90 minutes.

    After that, I take them off and inside and remove the foil but they come out like a normal cooked rib rather than being moist/soft and the bone isnt able to be pulled out on it's own.

    2nd example:

    I did a Brisket on the weekend. It wasn't a big one so I am wondering if this may be part of the problem.

    Anyway, left the fat cap on (it wasn't thick) and prepared it with Worcestershire sauce and a rub. Sit overnight.

    Prepared my smoker @ 107/225 - it did fluctuate a little between 225 - 250 but not much I don't think, put the meat in fat side down and cooked for 5 hours.

    After I tested the temp, getting it close to 165f degrees.

    Then I wrapped in it baking paper - I've never used baking paper before, usually use al-foil - and cooked for another 5 hours and it was about 190f when I took it off.

    I let it rest for 30 minutes - this is something I am not sure if I need to do or not (or longer) and then cut into it. It looked like a well done steak (it wasn't tough to eat but needed a knife to cut into it). It was a little juicy near the fat cap but not moist at all.

    The 2 above are based on some books I've followed - most of them seem to say the same temps/time anyway - but doesn't come out the same.

    Does anyone have any suggestions or see anything obvious I am doing wrong? Any youtube videos I should check out maybe?

    One idea that I've come across is putting some liquid in the alfoil when I wrap it? Does anyone do this/recommend it and if so, how much generally should I put in?

    I tried to make this as detailed as possible in an attempt to gain some advice.

  2. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Sounds to me like you didn't cook either one of them long enough.
    Pork ribs usually take about 6 hours to get done & I usually take my briskets to 200-205 IT.
  3. fullsmoke

    fullsmoke Smoking Fanatic

    Yes like al said ribs 6 hours of cook time and brisket IT at least 200 I let mine rest in a cooler for 45mins- hour
  4. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    Firstly, what are you using to check temperature with, and have you done the ice water or boiling water accuracy test? A thermometer that is off a few degrees when used to measure internal meat temp is the blame for many a tough piece of meat.
    If you are going by the smokers temp gauge for cooking chamber temps, this could be a big source of your problems as they are notorious for being off, sometimes as much as 50 degrees!

    Try the 3-2-1 method for your ribs. use the search feature on here for details, but basically 3 hours cooked unwrapped, then foil with apple juice for 2 hours, then unfoil and bag in the smoker for another hour to tighten up the bark again after steaming in the apple juice.

    I can attest that small briskets are a bear to keep moist! At the stall, I foil with beef broth and brewed coffee until they hit 195° before I start probing them for tenderness. Most small ones will probe tender at 200-205 IT, but I have had large packers go to 210-212 before they probed tender.
    Personally, I would bump up the heat to 250° and cook there. use a good external thermometer, preferably with dual probes to monitor smoker temp as well as internal temp of the meat.

    I would cook a couple of pork butts to get the temps and techniques dialed in before doing brisket again

    With a few adjustments to your earlier methods, you will be cranking out great BBQ in no time! Good luck, and keep us posted
  5. wanna-be-smoker

    wanna-be-smoker Smoking Fanatic

    like others said you need to cook longer but dont go by time and always by Internal temp.

    its hard to temp ribs and there are many ways to do them and you can play around with variations the 3-2-1 method to find your perfect rib. I dont mess around anymore with wrapping and just do my ribs 6 hours bone down and either baste or spritz when i feel its needed. I remove the membrane on the bone side of the ribs

    pulled pork you cant take to the 203-205 range for pulling and bone should pull out easy by hand.

    I dont look for a certain numbers for a finished brisket but start checking at 195. At 195 i will start probing it and when the probe goes in and through like a hot knife through butter it is done. Sometimes that will be 198 or maybe 207 you just never know.

    Its not so important with pork but Beef needs a rest when its done.
  6. cayal

    cayal Newbie

    Hi all,

    Thank you for your replies. I have a bit to try so I will test it out and get back to you.

    Thank you again.
  7. cayal

    cayal Newbie

    Just an update.

    I did 2 Pork Shoulders on the weekend and happy to say they came out as I was hoping. Moist and pulled apart as I think it should (and 2 days later still tastes as amazing as it did when it was cooked). I have added some photos.

    Just wanted to say thank you to all of you who replied and offered advice. It really helped out.


    Rings Я Us likes this.
  8. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

  9. gitaryzt1985

    gitaryzt1985 Fire Starter

    The difference in being able to "pull apart" and being dry can be as little as 5 degrees in my experience. I've pulled off butts that were at 195-200 and were difficult to pull in sections. I've found that 205 is the magic number. Sometimes though, I just don't have the time to let it keep cooking and I use a finishing sauce to moistening it after pulling.

    Just gotta melt the fat that holds it together. Simple as that. Best ribs I ever made were the ones that I "forgot" about and let overcook. Smoker ran at 350 degrees for an hour towards the end. It was a windy day and I was doing yard work. Talk about fall off the bone. Sometimes we get impatient.

    Also, forget cook times. Plan for 2 hours more than you need, and don't open the lid. Cook my temp until it's done...don't cook by time.

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