My First Brisket--What Went Wrong?

Discussion in 'Beef' started by daricksta, May 18, 2012.

  1. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I just smoked my first brisket in my new MES 30 last Saturday. It came out less than I expected. I used my new AMNPS which worked great--only had to re-fill it once). I also used my new Food Network (Taylor) thermos. So, I've got three new things going. But I had issues getting both the smoker and the meat up to temp. After 6 hours when it was 7:30 pm and the family homicidally hungry, I had to take the brisket out and let it rest. According to the recipe I used, the target meat temp was 180 degrees but it got up to only 178. The smoker temp was supposed to be 215-220 but for a lot of the time was around 213.

    When I took the brisket out, it was still a little tough which meant it was under done. I was not happy. But here's where it gets weird. The next day I tried grilling pizzas on my Weber kettle grill and, job done and coals still hot, I put the leftover brisket on the grill for about an hour. When I took them off they were charcoal black but more tender than the night before. I ate a couple of slices of the brisket. Later that night, I got a bad case of food poisoning which lastly through most of the next day. It was the worst case I've ever had. I still have no idea about why putting the brisket on the grill to re-cook caused it to go bad. I didn't get sick when I ate it the night before.

    Oh, the wife took a couple of pics but they're not worth posting. Me holding up the brisket in front of the smoker. A far shot of the brisket on a rack inside the smoker. I could have taken some pics but my hands were full of dry rub.
  2. fishin33

    fishin33 Newbie

    Can you explain your prep process a little more?  Was the brisket fresh or frozen?  Fully thawed? 

    Did you start the MES first and let it get up to temp?  Or did you put the brisket in then start it all up?  

    The other thing I noticed is you said 6 hours.  How big was your brisket?  I know the rule of thumb is 1.5hrs a pound.  I actually have a brisket we are eating tonight and it took right at 12 1/2 hours.  I was allowing 20! So it's in the oven at 175 until dinner after resting in the cooler for 3 hours.  I've seen other posts on here with guys stating that a fresh brisket can definitely run through quite quicker than one that's been frozen, but I'm sure there are quite a few variables such as how often you opened up to check it out, the fact your smoker didn't get up to temp very well, etc.  

    Sorry to hear about the poisoning - I had it a few weeks back from burgers at golf tournament.  RUINED my weekend!  Keep at it though.  You'll get it figured out!
  3. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The five-pound brisket was kept refrigerated in the shrink wrap it came in from the store. It was never frozen. I applied a dry rub to it Friday afternoon and then vacuum sealed it overnight. I preheated my smoker and thought it was up to 215 degrees when I took the brisket out to it but I think it was in the 180's or something--possibly higher--but I put the brisket in anyway.

    It took a lot longer for my MES to heat up than I thought it would. I first tried to get it up to 275 to heat off the oil coating on the AMNPS but it didn't get that high and it got to the time where I had to put the brisket in the smoker or it wouldn't be ready. I got the AMNPS fired up right away, but after an hour the smoker temp wasn't up to my target 215 degrees. I also had to move the thermos probe a few times because it would get stuck at a temp, I'd move it and it would jump 10 degrees and then get stuck again. Whenever I opened the smoker door I lost 20 degrees interior temp.

    Jeez--you smoke a brisket for over 12 hours? I know that's how the pros do it. I think now I was being lazy by putting it up so late. I also didn't know that the wood pellets had burnt out until maybe 30 minutes or so too late.

    When I served the brisket, it had great smoky flavor but as I said, it was still underdone. I was looking for melt in your mouth, shredded meat tender but it was still a little chewy. I rested it for about 10 minutes I think because I was trying to get dinner on the table before 8 pm.

    So to summarize, the 5 lb. brisket was fresh not frozen, the smoker never got up to temp and neither did the meat. I'm going to try it again but next up will be spareribs.

    Wonder what was wrong with those burgers you ate? Did you get the muscular aches along with the stomach cramps and nausea? I hope I never get that again.
  4. gersus

    gersus Smoking Fanatic

    It doesn't make sense that moving the probe would make the temp jump and moving it several times didn't help keeping your temp up. 

    Don't give up. Read some more brisket posts here to see how others are doing it and in the mean time try smoking something else and see how that goes for ya. 
  5. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Actually, I've seen the same temp boosts when using a probe while cooking burgers and chicken breasts in my kitchen. Maybe some parts of meat "grab" the probe better than others. But what I didn't like about the thermos I'm using is that it would seem to get stuck at 118 degrees, for example, and keep alternating between 118 and 117, back and forth, sometimes going up to 119 but retreating again. I would move the probe and the thermos would display 128/127, move it again after 30 minutes or so and it would be at 138/137. I tried testing the thermos in a cup of boiling water and it showed 210/209, then jumped up to 213 and back down to 211 and back up again. So it is accurate but it's the only thermos I've ever used where it alternates between two adjacent degree readings. Have no idea why it seemed to get stuck at different temps while I had the probe inside the smoker.

    I will be reading more brisket posts. My son is bugging me about ribs so spareribs are next up.
  6. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Rick , it takes a lot of patience for a Brisket, I've sat for 26hrs. to finish a big brisket . The change in temp. was the probe hitting different layers of and different muscles in the meat...

    Push the probe into the thickest part of the Point and leave it there . Cook to a temp. of 200* to 210* befor puling the Beast out and double wrap in foil and place in a cooler to rest. Remove the Point and chop to go back in for Burnt Ends.

    Just be patient, rick , let it do it's thing through the "stall zone" (a Twilight Zone for Meat). It can last a short time , or test your patience to the lenght of Job's ...[​IMG]  , but the wait is definately worth the wait.[​IMG]

    Have fun and...
  7. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    You think 12 hours is a long time? Ask SmokinHusker how long her brisket took! They do take time and as Fishin33 said, 1.5 hrs/lb so that would put your 5lber at 7.5 hrs minimum and you said you pulled it at 6 hrs. Be patient and cook to temp not time and always plan for extra time.

    As far as getting sick, that doesn't make sense. Do you think it could have been something on the pizza that did it? Or, what did you do with the brisket during the time you had it the night before and when you put it on the Weber? Something could have got introduced to it then.
  8. I've done brisket that for sous vide (48 hours) plus smoking (8 hours) came out to 56 hours. I once did a 24 lb chuck roast for 48 hours total. My last one was 42 hours.

    Crazy tender. Less sliced brisket that I'd liked as it tore apart as I handled it. The fastest I've done was 30 hours.

    What was the internal temp of the brisket? The only thing I can think of is that the brisket was frozen then thawed for display, but the center was still frozen - No that's not right with an IT of 178, easily over bacterial killing temps, unless... You said it was still tough, 178 is well above the point where brisket gets tender, but that's usually over double the 6 hour cook time. I dunno. That's mostly why I don't prefer trimmed briskets, and I generally refuse briskets less than 12 lbs.
  9. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm grateful for this reply, everyone.  I had thought about the different densities of the muscle affecting the temp probe as well, so thanks for confirming my suspicions. But I never knew there was a stall point. That's what I love about this forum.  So it looks like I've got to prepare for no sleep the next time I do brisket. Not sure I can fit 12 lbs. on a rack in the MES 30. I'm not even sure how to choose a brisket. There were only two on the shelf in the meat dept. and I picked the smaller of the two.

    As far as what might have introduced the bacteria into the brisket between the smoker and the grill the next day, I don't know.  The pizza's been perfectly fine since we've been eating leftovers during the week.  Maybe the bacteria got in when the brisket was on the grill as the charcoal was cooling down over the hour I had it on there underneath the lid. I don't know.  I'm going to find SmokinHusker in these forums. This is such a great place to learn--and there's so much to learn!
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    From what you describe, it is unlikely the brisket got you sick. Was there a topping you put on the pizza that no one else had? Worst food poisoning I ever got was from a pizza topped with house made Garlic in oil...It was before I knew about food safety. The owner of the pizza joint made his own and would leave it out all day on the counter. Really bad thing to do...JJ
  11. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Garlic in oil at room temp?  Sounds like a botulism bomb to me!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  12. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    How does garlic in oil develop botulism? I never read that before.

    As for the pizza, here's where the plot thickens, or sickens, as it were. Everyone ate both pizzas and nobody got sick; I was the only one to eat the brisket that night and boom comes the food poisoning. That's why I'm suspecting the brisket.
  13. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

  14. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thank you neighbor!!

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