I think I screwed up my brisket! Any opinions??

Discussion in 'Beef' started by zcomanche, Jul 20, 2014.

  1. I always follow the brisket sticky here and have had great success.

    However I met a fellow smoker who has a BBQ stand at a local grocery store and we got to talking about our pellet smokers....

    He was not satisfied with the volume of smoke he was getting from his Fast Eddie smoker between 225-250 and he told me that he smokes for 8-10 hours at 175 degrees and then foils, he stated at 175 he was able to get enough smoke on his brisket.

    So I put my brisket on at midnight last night at 175 degrees....decided to foil at 10 am no matter the eternal temp. since I should have plenty of smoke at 10 hours.

    At 10 this morning I opened the smoker and the top looked awfully dry! 

    Do you guys think im ok or is this gonna be a $35 mistake, man I hate trying different methods for this reason!!
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    At 175F you're not going to get much apparent "juice" since briskets get their succulence from melted connective tissue.  That tissue doesn't even start to melt until an internal temp of 170F.  Keep on doing what you're doing but once you wrap it, I'd crank up the temp to 250F so the connective tissue will start melting.  Do your poke test and check the IT in the 195-200F range in 2-3 hours.  You'll get juicy then and salvage your smoke.   
    cinnamonkc likes this.
  3. That makes sense, I have always smoked @ 230 and every time I foiled it was pretty wet looking on top.

    Shes foiled at 250 now, internal temp is 162.9.

    We got company coming out, I hope this is salvageable.

  4. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you're running out of time you can crank the temp up even higher.  Read any brisket recipe online for ovens in the house and you'll typically see oven temps in the 350F range.  Before I started smoking that's where I cooked briskets myself and they always turned out great.  Once you've wrapped, the brisket is basically in a little mini oven so don't sweat the chamber temp if it goes above 250F. All that higher temp will do is shorten the cook time.   
  5. Good deal, I got the temp at 250 and im at 185 now.

    I anxious to pull the foil and see what she looks like.

    Ill post and update.
  6. cinnamonkc

    cinnamonkc Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Post some pics, I'm interested to see the results!!
  7. Not true. Collagen starts melting down in the 120s... It just takes forever. This is why you can sous vide a brisket at 135 for 72 hours and end up with a tender medium rare brisket.

    Fat won't render at 135, of course, but collagen will melt.

    The rest of your advice I agree with. Foil and then bump the temp. But I wanted to set the record straight on the connective tissue (collagen).
  8. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great.  A chance to learn something new for me: 

    From many sources:

    1. When you cook, collagen begins to melt at about 160F and turns to a rich liquid, gelatin. This gives meat a lot of flavor and a wonderful silky texture. When cooking it is important to liquify collagen.

    2.  After a bit of time at 70ºc, the collagen cells start to dissolve into the gelatin that you’re after.  (70C is 158F).

    3.  154°F / 68°C: Collagen (Type I) Denatures.  An animal's connective tissues provide structure and support for the muscles and organs in its body. You can think of most connective tissues-loose fascia and ligaments between muscles as well as other structures such as tendons and bones-as a bit like steel reinforcement: they don't actively contract like muscle tissue, but they provide structure against which muscles can pull and contract.

    4.  160-205°F (71-96°C). Tough collagens melt and form luscious tender gelatin. The process can take hours so low and slow cooking creates the most gelatin. Dehydrated fibers begin to fall apart and release from the bones. Meat becomes easy to shred. Even though the fibers have lost a lot of water, melted collagen and fat make the meat succulent.

    I was off by 10-16 degrees. 

    I will also admit I've never used the sous vide method of cooking, so I looked it up. 

    Sous vide:  Sous-vide (/sˈvd/; French for "under vacuum")[1] is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam environment for longer than normal cooking times—72 hours in some cases—at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55 °C (131 °F) to 60 °C (140 °F) for meats and higher for vegetables. The intention is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside, and retain moisture. 

    I don't have time this morning to explore the physics of sous-vide cooking in an airtight, plastic bag, but I wouldn't recommend it on a smoker.
  9. Nor would I [​IMG]  

    I haven't tried brisket yet in the sous vide, but I've done 147 degree / 48 hour sous vide cooks of short ribs, and they were tender enough to cut with a spoon!
  10. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This is good.  Learning lots. 

    The physics of sous vide is "food cooked in a vacuum."  Basically it is the opposite of cooking in a pressure cooker.  Sous vide would lower the boiling point of water (depending on the degree of vacuum achieved), while pressure cookers increase the boiling point of water.  One is a slow anaerobic process and the other fast aerobic process.  Both add quite a different set of variables to the equation folks won't find in their ambient smokers.  Sous vide is all about reaching thermal equilibrium at a lower temperature over a longer time while pressure cooking does the same thing in a shorter time.  Seems like that might just be another version of the low n slow vs hot n fast discussion.  Thermal equilibrium occurs in smokers too at but at ambient pressures.  Bottom line eventually any piece of meat will reach the temperature of the smoker at any cooking temperature if left long enough whether in a vacuum, pressurized, or at one atmosphere on the smoker.        

    The italicized quote above is GREAT concerning the behavior of connective tissue and one can imply it is meat in general, not meat in a vacuum.  Obviously you could smoke a packer brisket at 175F for say two days to reach thermal equilibrium and have a tender product.  Would I?  Nooooo.  But, if you can figure out how to get true smoke in the vacuum bag, you might have something!  

    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  11. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    There's something that sous vide users use, I think, it's called a smoking gun. It shoots smoke into the bag right before you seal it. Most places the sell sous vide equipment offer them. I've never seen one myself but I've worked at places that have done a lot of sous vide so I'm familiar with the process. The restaurant that I work at has sous vide pork belly where it gets sous vided for ten hours and then cold smoked. Tell you the truth I like regular ole bacon...

    Sous vide chicken? Yawn!!!

    Sous vide short rib? Now your talking!!! Unbelievably tender, medium rare from tip to tip, give it a quick sear and season it up and that's good stuff!
  12. The vacuum isn't all that important. From what I understand, the primary purpose of vacuum seeking is to ensure the food is making good thermal contact with the liquid. If you have a bag full of air, it makes it harder to get effective heat transfer.

    Likewise, the boil point remains unchanged because the water is not under pressure or vacuum. You don't need to lower the boiling point to keep water at sous vide temps because no phase change is involved. It's only if you want water higher than 212 that you need a pressure cooker.

    But you're on point that it's entirely a "low and slow" technique, particularly for cooking tough proteins. Ever had succulent, tender baby back ribs cooked to medium? I love smoking ribs, but sometimes a change of pace is fun and this gives that.
  13. I have a thought to do a brisket flat, smoking it for a few hours at a low temp with the AMNPS to give it flavor and bring it up to temp, then dropping it into the sous vide to cook it the rest of the way. Best of both worlds! I don't think I'd quite get the bark, so I'd probably have to sear it on the grill afterwards.

    If I didn't have a smoker, I'd consider a smoking gun or just using liquid smoke. But there's no reason to do that if I can just smoke it first.
  14. kurtk2000

    kurtk2000 Newbie

    I'd consider doing the opposite.

    sous vide first for 14 hours (after being rubbed and vacuum bagged for 24 hours) at 165 and then smoke for additional 4 to 5 hours at 220.

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