A few questions about my first brisket

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mister j, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. mister j

    mister j Newbie

    Hello everyone. This is my first post on this site. So, I recently smoked my first brisket (a 12 lb packer cut) in a MES 30. I had to cut a decent amount off of the flat just to fit it in. I also cut a little off of the point, but I don't think I will do that next time. All in all it wasn't "bad" for my first ever, but there's certainly room for improvement. Hopefully I can get some help with a few questions.

    As I said, I cut quite a bit off, so it was down to around 10.5 lbs or so. I cooked it for just over 11 hours, unwrapped @ 250. However, I opened the door 1-2 times per hour for a "spritz" with water. I put that in quotes because I think I sprayed it way too much. It did not use a probe, but instead based it's doneness on time and pliability. I then wrapped it in 2 layers of foil and a towel and let it rest on a counter for about an hour and a half.

    It had a nice bark and good flavor, but no smoke ring (which I know isn't extremely important), and it was tough. I'm assuming the toughness is due to the fact that I opened the door too much, thus adding more time to my cook than expected, and therefore it wasn't done enough. I'm also wondering if I sprayed it too much, which resulted in more of a steam than a smoke cook. Lastly, it seemed like a lot of juices came out when I sliced it. It wasn't necessarily dry, but it still seemed like a lot to me. Any thoughts?

    Sorry for the long post, just trying to get it all done with one shot as opposed to multiple posts. I attached a picture to show the amount of juice that came out and the lack of a smoke ring. Thanks in advance for any input.
  2. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    It's pretty hard judging how close the brisket is from being done without even an internal temp for at least a base line.
    If I was going to spray I probably would have used beef broth. And probably not sprayed as often.
    I usually wrap with butcher paper when the brisket gets the bark I desire. " 165 degrees usually"
    An smoke to an IT from anywhere 195 - 210 which is probe tender in the thickest part of the brisket.
  3. mister j

    mister j Newbie

    Yes, I realize that after the fact. I've been reading Aaron Frankin's book and watching his YouTube videos, so I've been using his methods as a guideline. I wanted to try not wrapping because I've read that has the best bark and smokey flavor, and that spraying can help retain its moisture. I tried gauging doneness by pliability instead of IT because I'm a masochist I guess. Do you keep the probe in and wrap around it? I'm going to try wrapping in butcher paper and not wrapping, but checking/spraying less. Thanks for the input. Any thoughts on the juice that came out after slicing?
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    You will never get a Smoke ring in a MES. Not enough NO2 generated because not enough burning wood. I've not heard of a Pliable Test for doneness before this, must be sometning you get a feel for smoking hundreds of pounds of brisket a day. I can say IT followed by Probe tender never fails. It really don't matter how long you rest, as the proteins in the meat contract, moisture is squeezed out and although some is held bewteen meat fibers, some comes out when cut. It's normal...JJ
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
    gr0uch0 likes this.
  5. I had the mes40 for a few years and the best thing that came out of it was beef brisket. It's very tough to get a smoke ring using the electric smoker along with crispy skin on chicken or turkey, just the nature of the beast but usually produces a good tasting end product. I added a side box to mine that was plumed through the hole for the chip tray that helped a lot. It cost about $75.00 total for the side box, pipe, and hardware needed to complete the mod and yielded a much better color to the meat with additional flavor to boot.

    As far as ending up dry, I always used the meat probe and pulled it at my desired temp along with making sure the water tray was full and selecting a good cut of meat. I'd say most of the cuts out there are acceptable to use that one would find at their local grocery store or big box club but If you cut is overly lean, there's no way its going to come out moist. If I had to guess, I'd say it dried out because its overcooked, not from opening the door "1-2 times". Opening the door will simply let heat out for a brief moment and the electric element of the mes40 can catch back up quickly so no worries there.

    A good practice when cooking a brisket is to do some of the cook in a pan with some beef broth during the smoke portion of your cook. I like to get a pan, pour about a half quart of broth in it, add the brisket, and sprinkle with some of the rub used for the cook. This will create a nice au jus to pour over your brisket after slicing which comes in handy if its not as moist as you'd like. Certainly would have helped yours out a bit. Anyway, keep at it and you'll dial it in.

    Here's a link to the thread about my side box mod http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/170284/mes40-side-box-mod
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2016
  6. mister j

    mister j Newbie

    Thanks for the input. I will certainly look into that link. That sidebox sounds pretty cool.

    It was more tough than dry. The meat still had a decent moisture to it. I'm going to try it again with the probe and less spraying.
  7. ristau5741

    ristau5741 Meat Mopper

    Brisket is muscle and fibrous, it takes a good long time to break down that muscle fiber so the brisket becomes nice and tender. so the real key is two simple words,  LOW and SLOW.

    and lots of patience. you might want to eventually look into a remote thermometer, it is my best friend when I'm smoking. comes in real handy for not having to open/close the smoker all the time.

    Probably would let that beef cook at 225 degrees until it reached 190 or 195 internal temperature,  should probably be a good 10-12 hours.  you'll hit a few stalls on the way, that's where the patience comes in.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2016
  8. mister j

    mister j Newbie

    I have a remote thermometer. I just didn't want to poke into the brisket, but I now realize that's silly.

    Kind of a dumb question; is it ok to take the probe out to wrap the brisket? I'm not sure if I should take it out or wrap around it. I was wondering if removing it would cause juice to escape. Please answer for 2 scenarios: 1- if I wrap the brisket after it reaches 165 to finish the cook, 2- if I cook the brisket to 190 unwrapped, but wrap for the rest.

    Thanks again everyone. I'm very glad I joined this forum. Y'all are extremely helpful.
  9. Re: toughness, make sure you're slicing across the grain of the brisket. It's been my experience that many don't know about this, and that the grain changes part way through. If sliced with the grain, it's like eating an inner tube.

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