Hello from California

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by beef wellington, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. Hi all,

    I am out in CA and have had a 22" WSM for about 5 years now and have tried smoking quite a few items including: Turkey (whole, legs & breast), Salmon, Trout for dip, Cheese, Meatloaf, Ham, Pulled Pork, Baby Back and Spare Ribs, and most recently Brisket.  I read up on Brisket techniques before starting and it turned out fairly well but not perfect.  It took longer than expected and dried out a bit. 

    I had a couple questions specifically to the stall temperatures I witnessed which is why I am joining the forum.  Should I post on this thread or create a new one under a brisket category? 

    Looking forward to participating on this forum. 

    Happy Smoking. 
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey BW, welcome to SMF from NorCal.  Glad you are here with some questions.  We love to give answers, and often they make sense!

    You can use the Search feature in the upper corner for "Brisket Stall" and will get a lot of answers.  Try that first and you make find exactly the information you are seeking. 

    Now, I've seen big hunks of meat stall anywhere from the high 130's to the high 160's.  The lower the smoker temp, the longer the stall.  

    As far as the meat being dry, a couple things.  Not cooking it long enough will leave a tough cut tasting dry because the collagen hasn't melted.  Cooking it too long will cause the same result because all the collagen has melted then was squeezed out of the muscle tissue.  That's where the probe test comes in.  Poke it with a temp probe, toothpick, ice pick, double pronged fork, etc.  When it slides in like warm butter, it's done.  Might happen at 185F internal temp, or not until 210F IT.  Meat can be weird at times.  I've had one cut (a chuck roast, neighbor to the brisket) that never got tender.  Ended up making chili with it.  Was GREAT chili!

    Raising the smoker temp, and choosing a point to wrap the meat, is about technique.  The experienced folks all have their own technique.  Since you and I have the same equipment here's my technique.  I dry smoke BTW; no water in the water pan, or very little (2 quarts) if I want to lay down more smoke on the meat in the beginning of the smoke.  I don't use the water to control smoker temps.  I used the vents until I got a blower.  Now the WSM is like setting the oven because of the blower.   

    1.  Light the smoker and watch for hints of light blue smoke.  With my blower that's usually about 30-45 minutes.  Up to 90 without the blower.  If using water, this is when I add the boiling water to the pan, just when I'm ready to add the meat. 

    2.  Pull the brisket out of the refrigerator, apply rub, and throw in the smoker.  I'm a hot n fast guy so I'm at a smoker temp of 275-300F until I wrap it.

    3.  As soon as I see the internal temp of the meat at 170-180F or so, it's out of the stall and that's the IT when I double wrap the meat in HD aluminum foil with a little beef broth.

    4.  Crank the WSM up to 350F once wrapped until the IT is 200F, then probe it right through the foil.  Remove at the butter stage and let rest for 1-3 hours in the wrapping in a cooler or on the countertop covered in old towels.

    This technique works for me for both beef brisket and pork butts/shoulders.

    Have fun!

  3. Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the response and advice.  Interesting technique dry smoking, I figured the temp would be difficult to keep low.  Sounds like a good reason to practice though. 

    The question I had with stall temp was if anybody had ever seen the temp go up to 180 then drop to 170 and set in for a long stall?  When the temp got to 180 I figured I had missed the stall so I wrapped it in butcher paper and put it back in the grill.  I figured the temp drop had to do with the meat being out of the smoker and that it would quickly climb again.  However it stalled at that point.  Once we were about 30 minutes until dinner time I put the brisket in the oven in a backing pan on a rack (see pic).  I then covered in foil and increased the temp to 275, then 300 then 325.  it finally came up to temp and I removed at 201. 

    When it finally came up to temp I noticed in the bottom of the pan was juice and I figured I should have wrapped the entire thing in foil and kept those juices close. 

    What do you think?  

    Thanks again for the advice.
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I like to smoke my brisket in a pan sitting in it's own juices from the start.

    That has always worked for me. If you decide to foil, then just cover the pan with foil.

    I usually just let it ride without foil & baste it with the pan juice every hour or so.

  5. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You'll get about 30-50% less smoke flavor dry smoking compared to wet smoking on a WSM.  My wife is a "super taster" so I have to be careful how much smoke flavor I put down on the meat or she won't eat it.  Dry smoking solved that issue.   

    Meat can definitely stall more than once.  When the temp is dropping, the muscle is sweating out the water.  What you described above BW was definitely another stall. 

    Tough cuts that must be cooked to a higher internal temp get their juiciness from melted collagen, some fat, and not necessarily water.  I find when I wrap too early, say at the first stall, I get LOTS of rendered fat in the final drippings.  If you like saving the fat and using it for gravies, great.  My wife thinks that's disgusting, so I have to be vewee, vewee sneaky when I'm making gravy from fat drippings. 

    I'm not concerned about capturing the water sweating out of the meat.  I want to catch the melted collagen.  By wrapping later I get less fat and more flavor-packed, pure protein gelatin, that looks like au jus when hot.  Using a fat separator I'll add the jus back to the meat.  If saved to the next day it will gel in the refrigerator and be 90- 95% gelatin that can be reheated and added back to the meat.   Jus makes great gravy too BTW.        
  6. Hello!

    Welcome from New Mexico

    I also cook my brisket hot and fast, I cook in a pan 325-350 for 3 hours on smoke, 1 hour covered in foil at 350. Then pull the whole pan still covered wrap in old sleeping bag and let rest for 4 -5 hours. have never had a brisket I didn't like using this method. I use to be a low and slow on brisket and had inconsistent results. Some were tender some tough some dry. But utilizing the method I mentioned above, same results every time. I also use a fan kit so its easy to keep my smoker flowing 350.

    I use a Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn reverse flow modified.

    Good Luck!
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016

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