help with brisket!!

Discussion in 'Beef' started by smokymcsmokster, May 20, 2014.

  1. smokymcsmokster

    smokymcsmokster Fire Starter

    so i tried making another brisket over the weekend. it was small 4.5 pounds, it had a good  amount of fat and was a really nice cut. i put it on early around 7am thinking i would be eating by 7pm for sure because of the size. by 7pm the maverick was only reading at 187. i didn't foil for the whole process. my girlfriend and i were too hungry to wait out. so i took it off and rested it for almost an hour. it was dry and the cartilage was still not rendered. i assumed it would be a bit chewy but it was dry too why did such a small brisket take so long! i cooked it between 225-250 the entire time 
  2. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    smoky-it's sounds like you did everything right. How did you monitor your cook chamber temps? Did you use a 2nd probe on your Maverick or were you going by the factory thermometer on the smoker?
  3. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Smoking (cooking) involves heat transfer between two mediums; air and meat.  Heat flows from the hot air into the colder meat.  The greater the temperature difference between the two mediums, the greater the heat transfer per unit of time, say an hour.  That's why meat temp climbs pretty quickly until it hits the stall where the meat starts sweating.

    As the meat temperature increases and the temperature differential decreases between the air and meat, less heat flows into the meat for a given amount of time.  As you near the end of a smoke with a final target temp of say 200F, it can take what seems like forever for the temperature of the meat to climb the last few degrees in a 225F smoker.  It takes longer on a dry smoke than a wet smoke but no matter how you smoke the two will eventually reach equilibrium.

    The reason why I wrap with a little liquid at the stall is to increase that heat transfer.  I capture the "sweat" of the meat in the foil plus the little liquid I add helps too.  Liquid transfers heat 25x faster than air.  Once you wrap there's no reason to keep the temp low.  I crank it up to 275 or so to increase the heat transfer. 

    It sounds like you wrapped the meat much later in the smoke. 

    Shoot.  I'll have to let others take it from here.  I gotta run.      
  4. smokymcsmokster

    smokymcsmokster Fire Starter

    i actually didn't wrap till the end for resting, i wanted to build a good bark, which it had. yes i had the second probe of the maverick monitoring the grate temp 
  5. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    About the only thing I can think of is that you got a piece of meat that was really tough-it happens. It further adds to the proof that good que isn't cooked to any time frame-que is done when it's done.
  6. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Had this discussion in another brisket thread.    My belief is that just like with other meats, a brisket's cook time at any given chamber temp is determined by it's thickness, NOT by it's weight.

    Say that an 8lb flat takes 8 hours to cook.   IF you cut a 4.5  chunk off of the flat and cook it by itself, it will still take the same 8 hours to cook even though it's half the weight.       Here's my reasoning.    When cooking, heat travels from all surfaces of the meat towards the center.  If I piece of meant is 14 inches long, the heat will have to travel 7 inches in from each end to reach the center.   If that cut is 8 inches wide, the heat would have to travel 4 inches from each side.  If that brisket is 2 inches thick, the heat only has to travel 1 inch to the center.

    Therefore, the heat coming from the top and bottom in this case will bring the meat to temp well before the heat coming from either end or either side could possibly reach it.

    If you were to cut the brisket in half from side to side, the dimensions would be 7 inches long, 8 inches wide and still 2 inches thick.   If you cut it in half from front to back, the piece would be 14 inches long, 4 inches wide, but still 2 inches thick.

    We are accustomed to X mins per pound.   If an 8lb brisket flat takes 8 hours, that's 1 hour "per pound".   IF you cut the brisket in half, it should still take 8 hours but that brings the "cook rate" up to 2 hours per pound.  Say that you cut another pound off that brisket and the smallest dimension is still 2 inches.   You would then have a 3 lb brisket that will also take 8 hours to cook, making it almost 3 hours per pound.

    "Hours per pound" really only works when you are talking about full pieces of meat, where the difference in weight affects how thick the cut is.  Look at a full packer for example.  A 16lb packer is going to be longer, wider and more importantly, THICKER than a 14lb packer or a 12lb packer.    Similarly, a 12lb Boston Butt is also going to be longer, wider and most importantly, thicker than a 10lb or an 8lb butt.    In these cases, the difference in weight is accompanied by a difference in thickeness, which would make "X hrs per pound" pretty accurate. 

    Look at this sirloin as an example:

    Say that the sirloin is 1 1/2 inches thick and weighs 3lbs.   What determines how long it will take to cook at any given temp ?  It's length, width or thickness ?     Say that you cut right along the black line and reduce it's weight by roughly 1/3'rd, making it a 2 lb sirloin ?   Will it take the same amount of time to cook as the whole 3 lb'er ?     What about the 1 lb chunk on the right ?   Will it take just as long to cook as the 2lb'er on the left ?  Or the whole 3lb'er ?"

    That answer to all the questions above is yes.      Cutting the sirloin along that line won't change the cook times.   Both pieces will take the same amount of time to cook even though the piece on the left weighs twice as much as the piece on the right.    Also, the piece on the right would take the same amount of time to cook as the entire uncut piece, even though the whole piece weighs 3 times as much.    Why ?  Because the thickness of this sirloin is what governs it's cook time at any given temp.

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