What did I do wrong to my Brisket.

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Original poster
Aug 8, 2007
I did a brisket this weekend. Very disappointed. The first one I did was wonderful. I modified my char-griller by putting in the baffle and dryer hose to help with temperature. it was a little thicker than the first one, but I smoked it to about 190 degrees in 7-8 hours.

I'm not sure what I did wrong... It looked beautiful and tasted OK, but it was tuff as leather. I'm not sure if I dried it out or what and not sure what to correct next time.

I had a pork shoulder in there too which really didn't fall apart that easy so I thought maybe it needed longer. Since there were 2 I left the 2nd one in for another 3 hours after I took out the first for a total of about 10 hours and it didn't fall apart any better either.

I'm not sure what I did different, except the baffle made the internal temps cooler, but... they got up to temp slowly so I don' t know... :( It tasted good at least.
Possibly a poor cut of meat
I do not do briskets much, so cannot say for sure. If you reach the internal temps that you were shooting for, the brisket should have been good to go. Maybe the baffle might add time, but should alter the moisture any.
Maybe it was the cut. I'm going to go by a really good temp gauge for air temps this week so I know for certain what the temp was. The one I have said it was about 220-230. I agree with you about the baffle which is what I can figure out. It definitely did add time because the first one I cooked clear to the firebox and that was the hot side. Figures... I threw that one on for 6 hours and hardly even checked anything. This time I even out the smoker temp and monitor the temp and it's not as good.
If you were using the built in thermo on your CG, then the cooking temps may have been off. Mine isn't even close. If you cook a brisket with too much heat, it will be tough.

Hope this helps!

Take care, have fun, and do good!


I tried doing a baffle with mine... took it back out. Tried turning the main chamber rack upside down, turned it back over. I leave mine all the way down.

For a brisket to get done that fast, it mush have only been about a 3 pounder.....

I too would suspect that you may be using the stock thermometer to cook by. Mine was off by about 50 degrees. I quickly got me a cheapo oven thermometer and place done main chamber rack. Now I use several digital ones.

If it cooks too fast, it will not stay in the plateau long enough to break down the collagen and will be chewy and still have good taste.

Hope that helps.

I agree probly off on temps, and remember, time is just a guide line not some thing to live by. you may try a pan of liquids in there also ,it helps me. and again possible poor meat, but 3 chunks same cook ,doubtful.
I did a 13# packer in 10hrs to 190* and cooker never got over245* averaged 228* and was very juicey, but that is very odd to happen,
Keep trying ,practice make perfect.
As has been eluded to already ...... too much heat. The objective it not to just bring the internal temp up to 200* (after pulling out at 180 for foiling) but to bring it up SLOWLY. Keep the pit temp down to a max of 225* to 240*. And this should be accurate. Get a good digital thermo and check it's calibration (probe in boiling water = 212*). You can take a brisket from refer temp to 200 in a matter of minutes with enough heat but the meat will be like shoe leather ...... got to do it low and slow. Give the meat time to break down. When done right, it's a beautiful thing. Smoking temp is all important.
You learn something everytime you cook. One thing I've learned is to keep the temp at 225 or so. If it's hotter it will need to be taken to a higher internal temp. Anymore I "feel" my boston butts and brisket, although I still use a thermom to see where I'm at.

A butt is easier to "feel" when it's done, check the bone and just try pick'n it up........you'll just know.

As far as brisket, I will poke it w/a thermom when it hits 200-205. If the thermom goes in very easy it's done, if not I let it go longer. Usually only have to poke it twice therefore I don't loose much juice.

You can actually smell when it is about done also, it takes practice but you just know.

BTW, we like our brisket so tender that you have to slice in 1/2" thick slices or it will fall apart. Thats just how we like it.

Good luck, and the best part is practice!
One other thing about briskets (or any big hunk of meat) is:

Just because the meat temp gauge says you're at 190* doesn't mean that the meat is done. It's been drilled into my head by some that know, that a better test is to take a two tined carving fork and when you can twist it 180 degrees in the thickest part of the meat with little effort, that's when it's done.

Some folks cook their briskets at 300* up to the point that the internal temp reaches about 160, then they drop the pit temps to about 220-240 and let it render until the fork test says it's done. This does cut down on the overall time a little, doesn't dry it out, and still gives a great overal product.

I did an 11 lb. packer in about 12 hours. It was actually ready at 180. I usually take them higher, but when I stuck the thermo in it, it slid right in. I pulled it wrapped it and stuck it in the cooler for a couple hours. I only had one little taste, before vacuum sealing it all and it was very good. I gave some to my folks, and they said it would melt in your mouth and asked when i would be cooking another one.

Don't go by the termo on the CG. Mine hasn't went above 150 yet. Get a good digital. You can also get bad cuts too. I got a flat at Sam's 2 weeks ago. It was tender and juicy, but had an awful taste. It was nasty. It smelled fine before I rubbed it, but I guess something was wrong with it. We ended up chunking the whole thing.
Thanks for all the advice. I think my first one may have been a little bit smaller. What really threw me off is I feel like there is no way I had it hotter this time w/ the baffle than last time when I cooked it on the hot side by the firebox. I might have to have a brisket test day this Saturday, it has been bugging me for 2 days now.

There was a ton of juice in the foil maybe it all ran out. I will say since I changed it up the spares I did were the best ever. I have been using a regular meat thermo to test air temps, I have a nice remote one for internal temps. I think I will test that on AND get a nice one so I know exactly what the air temps are.
There's a chance you didn't cut it across the grain, I know every one is talking about the temp. but there's a chance you didn't cut it right. I cut one with the grain one time and it had me chewing for hours. It's just a thought.
I had the same problem with my first two tries. On the third attempt, I kept the heat at 225 and smoked all day. It cut like butter when I was done.
Very good point, Michael. Cutting against the grain keeps you from having to chew the long fibers. That can certainly make a difference.
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