Help - need to improve brisket for reunion

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TheNewsmanCooketh
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Help - need to improve brisket for reunion

Postby TheNewsmanCooketh » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:31 am

So I (perhaps foolishly) promised a brisket for my girlfriend's family reunion. I have only ever cooked two, both as test runs for the big show next month. The flavor was good on both of them, but neither was very juicy/tender. I'd appreciate any help y'all can give me to try to impress a family of Texans. Not sure if you'll be able to help from descriptions and a few pics, but I need to try something.

My setup is nothing fancy, but it fits my budget.
20180712_133930.jpg
My rig


Brisket #1: packer, 9.5 pounds, select (I believe - just got it from HEB), salt and pepper rub. Fat side up, post oak at 250 for about 9 hours, water pan next to the meat, then wrapped in foil around 165 internal temp. Another couple hours closer to 300 until internal temp was around 200, let it rest for an hour. Good smoke ring, good flavor, but quite dry and fairly tough.
20180714_174920.jpg
Brisket #1


Brisket #2: packer, about 10 pounds, choice, salt and pepper rub. Butcher suggested fat side down to hold in juices until ready to wrap, then flip. No idea if that's legit, but it sounded good. Water pan closer to heat source this time.
20180804_065623.jpg

Post oak at 250 for about 10 hours, spraying with apple juice every 1.5 hours, then wrapped in foil and flipped at 165 internal temp and another 1.5 hours closer to 300. Let rest for about an hour still wrapped. A lot less drippings this time around, so I was hopeful, especially with the better cut of meat, but still dry and even tougher than the first. Still a good smoke ring and good flavor.

Help?
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Rambo
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Re: Help - need to improve brisket for reunion

Postby Rambo » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:39 am

Fat side up/ fat side down is one of Barbecues biggest arguments. There are better cooks here than I am; I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong; maybe choice of meat; when you get to showtime I’d buy the best piece of meat I could
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TwoGuysBBQ
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Re: Help - need to improve brisket for reunion

Postby TwoGuysBBQ » Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:00 pm

My opinion would be fat side down especially if your cooking at 300 degrees, second thing cooking at that high temp I would inject the brisket to retain and add moisture. I personally use Butchers injections or Kosmos. You didn't mention if you added any liquid to the brisket when you wrapped it. if you didn't I would try doing that as well. You can use a few different things, I have used beef broth, coke, and even root beer. Kosmos also has a product called brisket mop that is real good. If you don't want to inject I would lower your cooking temp down to 225--250 and still add liquid to the wrap process.

Just my opinion I'm sure others will chime in as well.

Good luck.
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Re: Help - need to improve brisket for reunion

Postby GTR » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:10 pm

Looking at your pit, I'm wondering about your cook temps too. The temp guage being that far from the grate can be off 15* +/-. So you could be running 315-320* squeezing the moisture out early on. I'd do another test run and as sujested stay 225-250*. Although I'd try to stay closer to 225*. Wrap as you've done and bump to 250-275*. Injection is something I do and you may want to try. I use Goya beef bouillon, strained to prevent clogging. The last thing is meat quality, you can't beat prime, unless you want the dime on Wagyu. Yes I've done it, it's worth it and I will do it again. Yet until you're confortable at the craft I wouldn't go there.
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Drewlooker
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Re: Help - need to improve brisket for reunion

Postby Drewlooker » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:15 pm

Just going with a prime brisket over a select could make a world of difference.


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Txdragon
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Re: Help - need to improve brisket for reunion

Postby Txdragon » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:07 pm

That char-griller offset has a sweet spot of 300 deg. Do you have a grate thermometer? If not, get one. The door thermo is off by a lot.
My advice...
Don't cook to temps. Temps will vary greatly from hunk o' meat to hunk o' meat, and each one is done when it wants to be. You can use them as a general guideline.. Go by the probe test for tenderness. When you can probe it with little to no resistance, it's done. I'll add to the fire here: fat cap up! This allows the fat to melt down into and/or over the meat. Start it out at 300 deg, cook it fat cap up for about 4 hours, then put it in a pan with about 2 cups of water or apple juice, or a mix of both, and cover tight with foil for about 3 hours, then pull it and let it rest for another hour. Uncover, second rest for 30 minutes, then slice away!
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TwoGuysBBQ
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Re: Help - need to improve brisket for reunion

Postby TwoGuysBBQ » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:31 pm

I know I'm starting something here but here goes anyways, :dont: The fat side up vs fat side down has opinions and reasons on both sides.

I am a fat side up fan and here's my reason:

Cooking fat side up is NOT going to melt the fat into the meat. It will cause the brisket to char on the bottom, Cooking it Fat side down protects the bottom of the brisket especially on the cooker being used. If it was a reverse flow cooker with the heat coming from the top? I would say Fat side up because now your protecting the brisket from heat on top.

Another thing is you stated you let it rest for an hour? how? in a cooler or out on the kitchen counter? either way from what I've seen, read and actually do. Don't slice until internal temp is at a minimum of 145
this may take a few hours. What I hear is this is the magic temp where the meat fibers tighten and the juices stay inside.

Nothing against TXDRAGON advice just my opinion.
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bsooner75
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Re: Help - need to improve brisket for reunion

Postby bsooner75 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:38 pm

Well - since we are stirring the pot here…

I used to be strictly a fat side up guy. Now I let my cooker determine. Similar to what Ric was saying, I let the cooker dictate fat side up or down based in whether the heat comes from the top or bottom. Use the fat to help shield the meat from the heat source.

Something I picked up at a bbq class I went to and have started doing with good results is buying my briskets in advance. I like to buy them 3-4 weeks in advance and keep in the bottom of the fridge. Think of it is as wet aging. Just make sure the bag is sealed. I also flip it once a week or so if I think of it.


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Rambo
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Re: Help - need to improve brisket for reunion

Postby Rambo » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:14 pm

To confuse him further; I trim my briskets darn near all the way off and dang near separate the flat and the point trimming the hard fat in between those 2 pieces. After butcher paper wrap I unwrap and basically butterfly it and get rub and crust in between those 2 pieces
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Re: Help - need to improve brisket for reunion

Postby bsooner75 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:30 pm

As you can see. There really is no right or wrong way. It’s about finding out what works best for you.

I’ve never tried this myself but KAM has posted his brisket method on here several times. He’s a pro and I know it is his tried and true method and he shares every detail. If you can find one of those old threads it would be worth a read.


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Re: Help - need to improve brisket for reunion

Postby verapx » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:35 pm

If you are cooking until probe tender, you need to let the brisket cool down enough to quit cooking before you let the brisket hold and rest. When I started pulling briskets at probe tender I would wrap them tightly in foil and stick in a cooler with towels like I thought everyone suggested and the briskets would be dry and crumbly, over cooked. Once I let them cool down some before holding, briskets came out great. I’m very satisfied with my briskets since changing that one thing. Good luck and stay on it. They’ll get like you want them.

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