My 1st brisket, what went wrong?

Discussion in 'Beef' started by lamrith, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. lamrith

    lamrith Newbie

    Did my 1st big brisket cook lastnight. 

    I did not inject, just put a rub on it after trimming.

    Started @ midnight 180* for 5hrs

    225* for 4 more hours, reached 160*

    pulled out and put in a big pan with 2 cups of beef broth and then foiled over.

    Back in @ 250 until 205* internal.

    pulled out of pan, separated point, foiled the flat and into cooler to rest for 4hrs (till dinner)

    The point I cubed up for burnt ends, added rub, some sweet baby rays, then back into 250* smoker to 1.5hrs.  stirred every 30min.  Turned out AWESOME!

    The Flat however was pretty tender but DRY.  Big smoke ring, rub was overpowering, but meat had good flavor otherwise.  Was actually so dry was not enjoyable to eat.

    Should I have left it in the pan to rest rather than pulling out and foiling?

    Should I have pulled it out @ 190 or 195?  I did not notice much change in the toothpick tenderness test from 195-205, it always had more than room temp butter resistance but not allot more. Seems lot of people have different finish temps, so I went for higher one.

    Can anything be done to get it more edible?  I saved all the broth (sans fat) and have it refrigerated.  Could I put in cake pan with broth then foil and in oven to reheat?

  2. Sorry it didn't turn out to you likings. That gives you a reason to try it again. First off the 180° for 5 hours was to low. You want to be breaking down the meat. Try 225°-250° next time. The pan is boiling it which destroys the bark. You didn't say what was in the rub. But it doesn't much matter. Back off on the rub next time.

    Go by the toothpick test. I have never had one go over 195° and some are down around 190°

    Remove the fat from the top of your drippings. Then put it on top of your brisket to reheat as you said.

    Happy smoken.

  3. lamrith

    lamrith Newbie

    Thanks David!

    Yes it is a reason to do it again, if it had been a complete bomb I might not want to do it again.  I will say it was not TERRIBLE by any means, the flavor beyond rub was good, and even dry it was pretty tender, just not quite easy fork cut tender after slicing. The rub was a mishmash, and entirely my bad.  I planned to use montreal steak seasoning only, but got t on there and could tell it was to much salt/pepper, maybe great for a normal steak or a pastrami, but not this brisket.  so I threw together some brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, etc, to add depth and sweeten it some

    I did the low start as I am using a pellet grill and lot of people said start for a short time lower so that they put out the smoke, often @ 225 the smoke output is...  "meh".  I will drop that and maybe try [email protected] then bring the temp up.  Then I will start doing the toothpick test after the meat hit about 185 internal.

    My family is not huge on a crusty bark, bark flavor is fine, but not the crunchiness if that makes sense?  That is one of the reason I went foiled with broth as well as hearing it made for juicier meat.

    The ends turned out amazing, seeing the wife's eyes bug out and big smile as she tried to take the entire pan away from me was well worth it...
  4. [​IMG]  If she tries to take it away from you [​IMG].

    Happy smoken.

  5. I accidently did a 180 degree 8-hour smoke once on a brisket, after that I elevated the temperature to 225.  It turned out less moist than I wanted.  Really long and really low cooks can dry out the meat.  The texture was about like pastrami.  Another time, the thin part of the brisket turned out dry, when I over-trimmed the fat off the thin part.  The fat is important to keeping the meat basted and moist.  Each time you have a problem, take your lumps and decide to not repeat the same errors.  Your cooking will eventually become spot-on. 
  6. lamrith

    lamrith Newbie

    Yeah next time I will only do 180* for probably 2hrs, just to make sure the GMG puts out some solid smoke, then up to 225*.  Foil @ 8hrs or 170* whatever comes 1st.  Then toothpick test starting @ 185* every 30min..

    Good news it I put the 1/2 flat I had left in a pan with broth today and put in over @300* until it hit 180* internal.  Sliced it up and it was ok.  Def no drier than yesterday.  Guests I had over said it tasted great (I had scraped most of the rub off)  I had some hot broth on the table for people to use and a touch of that really made a difference as well.  I reheated the remaining (about 1/2 point worth) of burnt ends along with the brisket and those vanished in about 10min between the couple we had over for dinner and my youngest son..  POOOF!!
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014
  7. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Do you have any pics of individual slices ?  It almost sounds to me like the brisket needed to cook some more.
  8. lamrith

    lamrith Newbie

    Just that picture posted.  Not sure how it could need more cook time?  1st cook I went to full 205*.  Tenderness was there and quite good, but it was dry, dry I have always heard is overcooked, cooking longer would only make it more dry?
  9. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Brisket can be dry either by being overcooked or undercooked.  When overcooked, it gets dry and stringy / crumbly.   When undercooked, it's dry with some tug / elasticity to it.  Overcooked brisket generally falls apart when you try to slice it.   With undercooked brisket, when you pull on both ends of a slice, there's some resistance to it coming apart.

    On your cook, you were at 180 degree chamber temp for 5 hours.  You then bumped it up 225 for 4 hours until it reached 160.   With this approach, the brisket wouldn't have spent very much of those first 9 hours above 140ish, which is where the collagen and connective tissues first start to break down.  That's the key part.  It's the amount of time spent at temps where the tissues break down and begin to render.
  10. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just downloaded and took another look at the pic you posted.   Definitely looks like it needed to cook some more.  Here's a magnified view of your pic:

    See the light squiggly lines in the brisket that the arrows point to ?  That's the connective tissue that hasn't broken down or rendered.  
  11. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It sounds as if you have worked out the rub issue yourself. You should make one from scratch next time - there are some great recipes on here

    As has been said before, the 180 F start does sound too low - however I have never tried it that way so it may work.

    Instead of putting it in a big pan with broth and foiling it all over, try simply foiling the brisked directly for the remainder of the cook. You do not need to add the broth for moist Brisket - I never use broth with mine. Maybe you were using it for flavouring? If so then you would be better off injecting before cooking.

    When you say you put it in the cooler - was that in an insulated cool box to keep warm or the refrigerator? From my experience the resting is one of the most important steps as it lets the internal temperatures equilibrate and the meat relax and reabsorb a lot of the moisture.  If you put it in the insulated box to keep warm, and it was still dry in the end, then it sounds as if it may have been already overcooked by then.

    If it is so dry that you don't want to eat it then you can always turn it into a big batch of burnt ends. Just use a little extra sauce. They may crumble a little but the texture and flavour should be greatly improved. Burnt ends freeze very well and that way you can bring them out and enjoy them at any time.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
  12. lamrith

    lamrith Newbie

    Thanks guys!!!

    I will maybe try a straight 225* cook next time and see how it goes.

    The pan with broth was to keep/add moisture in that final stage.  I do that with my ribs and they come out awesome, and I saw numerous recipes to do it with brisket as well.

    By cooler I meant a typical small insulated cooler.  I put it in the bottom and then bunch of towels.  It stayed in there for 4hrs or so.

    It is edible now, more-so since I scraped the rub off.  a splash of broth or bbq sauce also does wonders.  Not enough left at this point to do burnt ends with, but great idea for next time I have one not turn out great!
  13. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Lamrith,    the root of the the "problem" is that you were cooking to a target temp.    Brisket should be cooked until it passes the poke/probe test.  Stick a probe into various points of the thickest part of the flat and when it goes in and out smoothly, like a knife through room temp butter, the brisket is ready.  Depending on a number of factors, the brisket might be ready at 185, 190, 195, 200, 205, 210 degrees, or anywhere in between.    The internal temp isn't going to tell you when the connective tissues have broken down and rendered.  The poke/probe test will.
  14. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Start and keep a "BBQ Log" of all your cooks and learn from the unsatisfactory ones...


Share This Page