Brisket came out tough/bad - Help Me

Discussion in 'Beef' started by adam d, Jan 1, 2015.

  1. adam d

    adam d Smoke Blower

    So I'm new at smoking. So far I've made a batch of beef jerky which came out good and pork loin, which came out good.

    Today I decided to smoke a brisket.

    I could not find anything at the grocery stores so I went to the local italian meat market and all he had was a frozen brisket. So he cut it in half for me and I came home with a 7 pond frozen brisket.

    This was on Tuesday.

    I let it sit in the fridge till Wednesday and when I got home Wednesday from work I put it in a zip lock bag and put that bag in cold water and back in the fridge.

    Replaced water a few times.

    Today at 10am I took it out, put it on counter and got my smoker going. Around 10:30 I got the rub on and by 11 it was on the smoker (weber smokey mountain, with just a bit of water in the pan, a tea pot worth)

    I kept a temp of 220-230 pretty much up until around 6-7pm when it "stalled" around 145-150. So I took this time to put it in tin foil and added some apple juice.

    I closed it up and let it sit a few more hours. When it hit 180 I went back out, and removed the top layer of tin foil.

    It seemed to drop now down to about 170. So I got the smoker up to about 250-260. It didn't seem to help so I wrapped it back up in tin foil and the smoker went up to about 275. By 10:30 I had a temp of 195 so I removed the top tin foil and let it go another 30 minutes to try and get that bark. The temp started dropping to about 185 so I removed it.

    I wrapped it in fresh tinfoil, wrapped a towel around it and stuck it in a dry cooler for an hour.

    I went to cut it and this is what I got:

    NOT exactly a good looking/tasting brisket. It smells good but it did not taste good. It was very tough and as you can see, it's not how a brisket should look.

    Any idea what went wrong? Was it just a bad cut of meat (and frozen which did not help) ???

  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wow, I've never seen a brisket with that color unless it was corned or severely undercooked.  I suspect it was the latter because there's no mistaking the taste of a corned brisket.  That color should not be there for a brisket that reached 195F IT.  I wonder if it was still frozen in the core when it went on the smoker. 

    Don't get rid of it.  As long as it isn't a corned beef just cut it up in little pieces and make chili out of it.  It will tenderize nicely braising in the liquid for a couple hours or more.
  3. adam d

    adam d Smoke Blower

    I tossed it. I don't like corned beef. Ya know now that you mention it it KIND OF tasted a bit like a corned beef would.

    This was not in a cryopack i don't think. I can't tell... it was just a brisket from the local italian place, already frozen. I don't know if it was in a vacu bag or what not. It had a small pepper pouch with it (which they accidently cut when they cut it in half) if that helps identify it... not sure why a brisket would have a pepper pouch with it.

    Maybe it was frozen? And the outside cooked but the inside never did, but again it was 195 internal... i dunno, it really hit me hard to see it turn out this way. 12 hours of work and I end up with something only the dog would like.

    VERY VERY tough, i could not even pull it apart at all. And the taste was more of a corned beef taste as you mention based on the looks now.

    It's 1am here now, i can't do much more cooking, i have work in the morning. The idea was to spend my day off doing a brisket... perhaps i'll try again with a cryo sealed one, from maybe costco since I can't find them in my local supermarkets. (I'm from Long Island).

    This way I at least have an IDEA on what i'm getting rather then just a frozen "brisket" from a local italian store with no other info on it...

    Does it seem like what i did above though was right? With the steps I took, outside of it being frozen
  4. adam d

    adam d Smoke Blower

    Ya know... after I wrote the post I went back and rescued the meat. You are right... i DO BELIEVE it is a corned beef brisket I bought. Does corned beef brisket usually cost more than regular brisket? As I paid $42 for about 7 lb's which is high, but I figured the local italian place is always high priced anyway so that was why.

    When I finished thawing it, the brisket smelled REALLY good... which i found odd, yet appealing, as why would the meat smell so good if it's yet to be cooked? Most likely because as you said, it was a corned beef brisket.

    I cut it up and yeah she looks like corned beef. Now I'm irish, but i'm not a fan of corned beef. However my grandfather & wife LOVE corned beef. So I cut it up and put it in a container. I'll let my grandfather try it tomorrow and he'll tell me if it's good or not.

    Lesson learned: Stick with regular cryo-packed beef brisket and stay away from frozen UNKNOWN stuff.

    The brisket does actually taste nice, being I don't like corned beef, it does have a great taste to it. I'm sure it'll taste wonderfull in a sandwich... just too bad I hate corned beef. (yeah st. pattys day is no fun for me)
  5. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I haven't bought corned beef in a while but they always come with a seasoning packet.  Brined, pre-cooked corned brisket freezes really well so no worries there.  Hey, at least that mystery is solved. 

    You can still braise it, shred it, and make hash for the family who likes it.  I love corned beef and pastrami but only make it once or twice a year.      
  6. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Its a corned beef brisket. The person who sold it you you should have told you that.... I would bring it back and ask for a refund. If they wont return it I would slice it thin, steam it and have some sammie's

    My 2 cents

  7. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    X2... now you have pastrami.
    Try slicing cold.and paperthin
  8. adam d

    adam d Smoke Blower

    I've already sliced it, about the size you'd slice for regular brisket... we'll see how my grandfather likes it. I can always shred it for sandwiches if it's too thick.
  9. adam d

    adam d Smoke Blower

    I brought it to work... they seem to be enjoying it... so at least it's not a total loss
  10. Well not a completely bad ending to the story. Honestly, I'd be back in that Italian deli blowing up a storm cause they sold you the wrong piece of meat!
  11. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    You might visit the beef section that says Meat selection and processing here. and do some reading so the next time you go to the market you are prepared with all the information you need to find what you are looking for. Also, the search bar at the top of the page is really good. Know before you go.
  12. superdave

    superdave Smoking Fanatic

    Did you or the butcher trim off all the fat cap?  Brisket or corned beef, that would have been a dry piece of meat. 
  13. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    As a fellow Long Islander, brisket is hard to come by, especially a full packer which seems to be the choice of most of the brisket experts on this site. Not sure where you live, but at my local Costco and BJs brisket is $6 and higher. Two places I recommend are the Farmingdale Meat Market, who occasionally has them for 3.99 per pound and if you have access, Restaurant Depot has them for under 4 bucks a pound most of the time. If you salvaged it, I second the advice to slice it thin for pastrami, or even cube up any thick pieces and make a breakfast hash out if it. One thing I have learned from this site is that even a bad smoke can make a delicious meal if you repurpose the meat wisely. I have only done a couple of packers and a couple of flats and even following step by steps from this site have gotten only decent results. It's the hardest meat to perfect in my opinion so don't get discouraged. I also agree that the butcher should compensate you in some way. It is his job to know everything there is to know about meat.
  14. adam d

    adam d Smoke Blower

    I just recently found out about Farmingdale Meats so plan to stop by there at some point to see what they have. I don't have access to Restaurant Depot unfort.

    I took the meat to work, people there liked it, so it did not go to waste.

    Costco is really $6 and higher, i figured they would be cheap... wow
  15. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

  16. adam d

    adam d Smoke Blower

    I went there today and picked up some flank steak and a 9 lb brisket. What a fine looking brisket it is. Can't wait to smoke it Saturday.
  17. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    What did they charge for the brisket if you don't mind me asking? Haven't putchased one since the summer time
  18. adam d

    adam d Smoke Blower

    I'm not sure exactly...

    I walked away with a 9lb brisket and 2 pieces of flank steak (just under 4lbs) for $89.

    I wasn't looking for a "bargain" right now, looking to get a quality piece of meat locally.
  19. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    please let us know how it turns out. i've done 25 smokes so far. my only real failure was brisket. i ate it, but it was tough n stringy.

    mostly, i smoke pork butt because it's always yum.
  20. adam d

    adam d Smoke Blower

    I will... I've only smoked maybe 4 things so far

    2 batches of been jerky

    pork tenderloin

    and my FAMOUS corned beef brisket, which, came out good considering the entire recipe was for regular brisket

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