First try brisket troubles.

Discussion in 'Beef' started by rbranstner, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well today is my first brisket try and it has been a struggle so far. One probe says 150 and the other says 170 degrees. It seems that one part of the flat is hotter than the other???? When I move the probes by eachother they read about the same. But the problem I have is they read about 30 degrees different when they are not by eachother. I just calibrated the one to double check it was on and it was. I think I am going to calibrate the other one again to make sure it is still on. I am pretty sure they will be on as I have been using them for lots of smokes. Can a brisket be that much different depending on where you probe it?
  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I just confirmed that both probes are dead on. When I probe in one spot it reads 190 and when probed on the other side with the other probe it reads around 160. This has only been in the smoker at 225 for 4 hours.
  3. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey brother,

    Is that a flat-cut only? Or full packer?

    If it's a flat only, you may want to rotate the grate 180*, as you might have a hot/cold spot in the smoker which will greatly effect the internal temps. I find this to be a very common issue with my vertical gassers.

    I don't see a big difference in temps of the flat when I do a separated point/flat from a packer...the point, on the other hand will have big temp differences which is due to the varied thickness of the muscle.


    Edit: be sure you get the probe stem in fairly deep at a low angle...sometimes it's best to go in from the side...then it's easier to judge where the center of the meat is.
  4. fourthwind

    fourthwind Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Depending on the thickness, yes one part can be warmer than the other. especially if it's a whole packer. One of the reasons why I always split them. Try rotating like what has been mentioned. I always put the probe into the middle of the thickest part.
  5. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I will try and rotate it when I insert the probes back in. It is just the flat and it is pretty much uniform in thickness for the most part.
  6. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I had to pull the brisket off at the 5.5 hour mark. I don't know why it cooked so fast but I probed it with two probes and they both read around 207. I pulled it and threw it in the cooler. I don't know what is going on but I guess I will have to wait and see what it tastes like.
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hope it didn't dry out too badly...pretty hot for a flat, as that's a leaner cut, especially if no fat cap is left.

    Hmm...if it's the GOSM you're smoking in, the factory door thermometers are notoriously in-accurate...mine always read about 40-60* lower than actual until I calibrated it, if I recall correctly...anyway, if that's what you're going by for chamber temps, it may need calibration.

    Even a small beef chuck or a boneless picnic weighing 2-1/2 to 3 lbs takes about 6 hours for me to smoke. A brisket flat has much more bottom surface area to absorb heat, so it should take a bit less time per pound of meat.

    Could it be you were smoking at way higher temps than you thought?

  8. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I was smoking on my UDS and had three thermometers all saying the same temps. So no I don't think I was smoking higher than 225. Not sure why it cooked so fast. There was not a lot of fat cap but there still was some but I tried it cap side up. I guess I will have to see how it tastes and see what the next one brings.
  9. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Even with a thin fat cap, it can make a big difference in moisture content when it's finished smoking. Fat caps are our friend when cooking something with a low inter-muscular fat content...The brisket point is just the opposite...lots of inter-muscular fat and very forgiving to cook.

    Personally, I like doing a full packer because of having some of each type...and burnt ends from the point are to-die-for as appetizers. And, that massive fat cap holds in so much moisture when smoking...the only drawback with a fat cap is smoke cannot penetrate the fat, but you get a good smoke on one side of the meat anyway.

    Let us know how that flat came out, anyway. I for one, am interested. I have done alot of point/flat separations before the smoke and a few of the flats were a tad on the dry side...these were very lean trimmed with virtually no fat cap though.

    Good luck!


    Edit: I just read back and had a thought about the seems that alot of folks go fat cap down to protect the meat from temp swings and maybe this helps to keep it at a more even internal temp. The drum shouldn't have much in the way of hot/cold spots directly in the center of the grate, I would think, anyway.

    Maybe some drum-heads with more brisket experience will be along soon and have some info to offer.
  10. ozark rt

    ozark rt Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    Another of life's great mysteries.[​IMG] For the most part the briskets I've smoked have hit the dreaded plateau for what seems like an eternity but every now and then I'll get one that goes from 0 to 200 nearly as fast as my ex-wife's bathroom scales. Well maybe not that fast but I've had some that never stalled at all.
  11. fourthwind

    fourthwind Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Maybe it was leaner than most flat's???? man that was quick. be curious how it turned out.
  12. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Things tend to cook faster in drums. I imagine its because of all of the reflective heat coming from the sides. Plus it depends on the piece of meat as well. I've had a 14 pound packer take 16 hours on my UDS. I've had a 15 pound packer hit 195 in 10 hours on the UDS. Both were very moist and juicy when sliced. Sometimes there's just no rhyme or reason.

    As far as getting different readings at different spots -- yeah, I've had that happen too. I read on another forum that actual finish temp in a brisket will not necesarilly correspond to when it gets tender. Lots of folks recomend to cook it until the probe slides in like butter. Meaning, if you probe it and feel little or no resistance, it is done.

    Also, if you want to slice, take into account the carry over cooking that will happen while it is wrapped in foil in the cooler during the rest. Some folks recomend opening the foil for a bit then rewrapping and putting it in the cooler. I had one come off once at about 195°, had the kind of feel I wanted but ended up staying in the cooler a little longer than I had planned on. Couldn't slice it. Had to shred the whole thing. It was still tasty though.

  13. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Things got busy last night so I didn't have time to update. The brisket was awesome I thought. As soon as I sliced it open with my electric knife I said oh boy that looks dry because it had that look. After slicing half the brisket I finally tasted a piece and holy cows it wasn't dry at all there was lots of juice in the meat. Even the end pieces with the bark were juicy. We ate them plane and also on buns with cheese and BBQ sauce. Loved it!!! I will be posting some Qview here in a few minutes. Just wanted to give any update.

    And DDave I know what you are saying about pushing the probe into the meat and it goes in hard or easy to tell if it is done. I thought it would be though as heck because mine didn't not go into the meat easy at all. Maybe the rest in the cooler fixed things up. I never did try to probe it once it sat in the cooler. I might have to try that next time so I can see what it is suppose to feel like.
  14. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am glad it came out ok and in the end that is all that counts
  15. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like everything turned out OK. There's no way to pinpoint why one piece of meat will cook faster than another. It's just the meat I guess. When I did the wild pork yesterday, the hindquarter was done quicker than the much smaller front shoulder. It's just the way it happens sometimes. It's good to hear that your brisket wasn't dry anyway. I really like a brisket sandwich![​IMG]

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