Brisket w/ Q-View... Came out dry? What did I do wrong?

Discussion in 'Beef' started by bwarbiany, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. So, I smoked a brisket and made some bacon-wrapped asparagus last weekend. The brisket came out dry, which hasn't happened before (and I didn't expect since it was prime).

    Below is my process... Let me know what I did wrong, if you can spot anything.

    1) Wet-aged in the cryo for ~40 days. Unfortunately I couldn't smoke it yet, so I had to freeze it for a few weeks at that point, then defrosted it for several days in the fridge prior to smoking day. After wet aging, I did seem to have more juice in the bag than I usually do when fresh.

    2) Day of the smoke, I rubbed it with a 1:1 kosher / CBP (by weight, not volume) rub with some cayenne added. Time between taking it out of the fridge and going into the smoker was ~1 hr at most.

    3) It went into the smoker, which is a Masterbuilt 40XL propane smoker. I just got an AMNPS, which I used for the first time. Due to the issues I've heard about keeping it lit (due to not enough O2), I put a shim at the very bottom of the smoker door to allow air in. The smoker was set up with sand in the water pan instead of water, as I understand the humidity can cause issues with AMNPS. Brisket was put directly above the sand pan with my ET-732 thermometer probe on its own rack between the two. Thus the sand pan did block some airflow to the center of the brisket, and the AMNPS may have blocked some airflow to the point, which was over on the same side of the smoker as the AMNPS. (In the future, I'll put the thin end of the flat over the AMNPS, not the thicker point.

    4) Smoked overnight at a temp probably closer to 210 than 225. Brisket stall seemed to occur lower than usual, around 145 degrees rather than 160. Would this be due to the dry chamber, or due to the wet-aging process?

    5) Towards the end, I boosted the temp up to ~260. 

    6) Started probing the brisket IT of 195. Kept trying every ~30 minutes, but even up to 205 IT the very center was still tough. Point and the end of the brisket were both yielding fine. At 207, the middle was starting to yield, so I pulled the brisket and wrapped in foil.

    7) It was too early for dinner, so I wrapped in foil and towels, and it went in the cooler for ~4.5 hours.

    Everyone LOVED the flavor, and my mother-in-law told me it was the best brisket she'd ever had. But they're not BBQ aficionados and prefer their meat burnt anyway, so I can't trust their judgement. To me, the flat was just way too dry. The point was still nice and moist, which was good.

    I've never used the AMNPS, I've never wet-aged my brisket, and I've never smoked anything without a water pan before. I know I should have an AMNTS for a propane smoker, but other than that change, what can I do better?

  2. im going to tag myself in here so i can hear some advice. 
  3. Not sure what you did wrong.  I have never wet aged Prime beef......maybe that caused it to be dry?  Not sure.  I take mine and all is fine.  Maybe someone else has more info.

  4. 3.69/lb [​IMG]

    it's 9.99 here 
  5. You are getting SCREWED [​IMG]
  6. If the stall happened earlier than usual, and your meat turned out dry in the end, maybe you therm is reading low and you overcooked the meat. Do a boiling water test on the probe. (Just a guess)
  7. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Several things that I could suggest that may have resulted in it becoming dry...

    Freezing and thawing will result in some moisture loss. The high concentration of salt in your rub will also have resulted in even more moisture loss before cooking. This is not likely to have had such an impact on the finished brisket though.

    Did you foil the brisket after the first 3 hours - or did you subsequently mop it regularly to help retain moisture when cooking. I always foil mine.

    When you say cooler do you mean refrigerator or an insulated ice box?

    Personally I think it will more likely be due to the moisture loss while cooking unwrapped.

    Just my 10c worth...
  8. Don't think so... It's been a few months since my last boil test but when I was probing the meat with the instant-read, the area near where the Maverick probe was sitting was reading the same temp on both. So I think I'm okay there.

    That said, I may have overcooked as it did get above 205 as it wasn't probing tender before that.
  9. I was worried about the freeze/thaw cycle. Like I said, I did seem to see more juice in the bag when I pulled it out of cryo than I usually get.

    I don't think the salt was very high, as I did 1:1 by weight, which meant it was probably 3:1 by volume in favor of the CBP over the kosher salt. If anything, it was less salt than I usually use.

    I didn't foil, as past briskets I've found that using Prime meat generally stays nice and moist without foiling... But maybe I need to do that on the next one. I also didn't mop, which I haven't done in the past either.

    Another difference I forgot to mention was that while I smoked it fat cap DOWN to protect from the direct heat (as I've done before), this time I did score the fat cap which I haven't done before. Perhaps that allowed a lot more "drainage" of the moisture in the beef and contributed to the dryness.

    And in the "cooler", I mean a simple store-bought beverage ice chest. 
  10. Hello.  This is my opinion.  I KNOW others will have other opinions, but I haven't had a dry brisket in about 30 years or so.  Going WAY out on a limb here!  They may not have been the best brisket I have ever cooked but they weren't dry.  I know I sent you my process, which is also the same process as my friend Gary S.  I also sent you his process.  I may draw wrath from this but why buy prime and then smoke low and slow?  Prime USUALLY has less fat.  Fat keeps the brisket moist.  As I told you I don't wrap, I smoke at higher temps and I don't trim before smoking.  I also smoke fat side UP.  Dogs bark and bark belongs on trees, pulled pork, ribs and burnt ends; not brisket.  There is a reason they are called "burnt" ends.  LOVE burnt ends, beef candy.  IF you got that bark WITHOUT adding sugar 1 of 2 things went wrong.  Your chamber therm is off or your IT therm is off.  That brisket was over cooked by several hours.  That brisket just can't achieve that bark without sugar or over cooking.  These are only my opinions.  I will link my friend Gary S. posts below.

    WOW!!  I am gonna get hammered over this one!  [​IMG]   [​IMG]   Keep Smokin!

  11. dish

    dish Meat Mopper Group Lead

    I just smoked my first brisket last week and had the stall in the 140*.  I injected it before hand with beef broth and also wrapped it.  It was 11lbs and took nearly 13 hrs.  One thing that might help if you have a dry brisket is to slice it and put in a slow cooker with beef broth for a while.  I love this because if you want leftovers just turn the slow cooker on and you'll have a juicy brisket all over again.
  12. Hello.  I just looked at the weight of that brisket.  For a choice brisket that weight I would have smoked it 6-8 hours, 10 AT A PUSH at 350.  Wrapped and rested for 2 hours.  Keep Smokin!

  13. My understanding is (and has always been) that Prime had *more* fat inside the muscle -- hence why Prime is better marbled than Choice or Select. Also why I was expecting it will better retain moisture than a Choice or Select and not need to foil. It all seemed to be true on the last one I did anyway!

    I generally trim out the hard fat between the flat and point, but on my most recent smoke left the fat cap intact. This time I scored it, and probably shouldn't have.

    I like to smoke it fat side down because my vertical propane smoker has the heat source directly below the meat. That said, one of my biggest concerns right now is the way the water/sand pan blocks airflow right in the center of the smoker. I do worry that I get hot areas around the sides while the center (where the thickest part of the brisket flat was sitting) remains cooler. That said, I cut the flat from the center out, and it was still on the dry side. I think I very well may have overcooked the end of the flat, but that ended up being "leftovers" which I gave to the neighbor...
    I've never tried the brisket hot and fast. Given that I'm working on propane, I'm not sure how to keep my wood chunks from flaring up and creating nasty white smoke at that kind of temperature. That was one of the reasons I got the AMNPS, as smoke management has always been a problem. But the AMNPS doesn't like temps above 275, from what I've read.

    Any ideas on how to smoke hot and fast and keep the wood chunks from igniting in a vertical propane smoker?
  14. reinhard

    reinhard Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think a lot of good ideas and help are in these posts.  As far as the grade of beef as Prime,  Prime has more marbling internally in beef and more of a fat cap externally.  Then comes choice and then select. Reinhard
  15. Gentlemen I stand corrected.  Of course prime has more marbling as you well know.  Don't know what I was thinking.  It has been 15 yrs. since I was back home.  In the U.K. we don't have the options of prime or choice.  I WAS WRONG!

  16. That's okay... I'm sure Select boils just fine... [​IMG]

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