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Brisket Problems

I just tried cooking a brisket, and it turned out really tough. I inverted the plate holder to get indirect heat, and then put the brisket on. I started it at 9pm and the temp was steady around 250 for about 2 hours. I kept closing the vents to get the temp down to 200. By the time I went to bed, the temp was still above 200, but the vents were almost completely closed. By the time I checked on it at 5:30am, the coals were out, the temp was 100, and the brisket was cool (about 120). When I cut into it, it was cooked throughout, but really tough. Any advice on how to cook it better?

Comments

  • Sorry you had problems. You should cook a brisket at 250- 275 deg. dome temp. The cook time will vary but should be from 14-16 hrs. Pull when meat temp is at 200 then foil and place in a cooler for 1-2 hrs. The temp will be much easier to control at these temps. You might want to invest in a remote thermometer to monitor the temps.
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,521
    Howdy Paul
    Just looking at your experience, it seems like simply keeping your fire going and cooking the meat until the connective tissue has a chance to break down and create some tender goodness. Setting your alarm every couple hours is a good thing.

    briskette.jpg

    Better luck next time!
    Chris
    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
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  • Paul,

    You chose the hardest lo-n-slo one to cook. Not sure if you're an experienced temperature stabilizer yet, but that's the hardest thing I had to learn about the egg.

    When you fire up the egg for a slow cook, always try to approach your target temperature (start shutting down the vents) from about 50° below it--on the way up. It's much harder to get the temp back down than it is to get it up in a cool egg. Once the ceramic heats up, it's more than just adjusting the air flow. It's waiting for the whole egg to cool down.

    I've done 4 briskets. Only the last one was acceptable. Quality of meat and thickness of meat have a lot to do with the results.

    If you're a new egger, I think you'll find that it's much easier to hold a temperature at around 250°-240°(dome). Anything below that takes a lot of constant attention. Some Eggers use those computer controlled fans for such cooks, and they evidently do wonders for temperature control.

    If you haven't tried them yet, smoke a boston butt or two for practice. They're very forgiving, and of course very tasty. Temperature variation doesn't make as much difference with them.

    Hope this helps.

    Better luck next time.
  • I've only had the egg since Saturday. So yes, I'm very inexperienced with it. Thanks for the good advice. What do you all think of putting a pan of water in the egg. From my viewing the forum, it seems like the egg really doesn't require it. It couldn't hurt, correct? Would the water have anything to do with the tenderness, or is that more of a cooking time and connective tissue breakdown?
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    Paul,

    Do you have any idea how high the temp got inside the brisket?

    Kent
  • Paul,

    Generally speaking, the egg retains moisture so much better than metal cookers, that water in a drip pan isn't usually needed. A lot of folks put some liquid in their drip pans to make the drip pan act more as a device that accomplishes indirect cooking...a barrier, in place of a plate setter. It doesn't hurt anything to use a liquid there, and some (including me) use it when cooking ribs, but only for a short time.

    I think the problem you had with your brisket had more to do with other factors. How thick was the flat? How much did it weigh? Was it a choice cut or a select cut? Did you load up with enough lump in the beginning?

    From what you've described, it probably wasn't at a low and slow temperature long enough to get done. Perhaps while you were sleeping the temp went too high for a while..Maybe you'll never know.

    If I were learning about temperature stabilization, I wouldn't do any all night cooks unattended. Brisket is really much harder than other meats.

    JMHO

    Regards
  • JeffersonianJeffersonian Posts: 4,244
    Yep, and I also put water in my drip pan so the grease that falls into it doesn't scorch or burn and produce acrid smoke to get into my food.
  • tjvtjv Posts: 3,716
    Here is my take on brisket:
    1. choice grade meat or better; Using tuff meat (select grade) on a tuff cook is beyond me.
    2. raised grid and indirect; make sure the indirect piece is under the entire brisket. Fan out foil if needed for 100% coverage
    3. prepping the brisket; noting fancy other than trim loose fat areas and rub generously, it's a dense piece of meat. Fat cap is important, only thin out but leave intact for protection during the cook. On injecting, I'm too lazy most of the time.
    4. egg temp, 225-245 grid temp.
    5. smoke chunks, pecan or oak, maybe some fruit if it's handy.
    6. load the meat with fat cap down, thick end to the back of the egg, double check to make sure indirect piece has 100% of the meat protected.
    7. cook till 195-200 degrees in the center of the flat cap. I like flats so I don't fool with the point other than it makes good burgers.
    8. foil and cooler for at least 1 hour, 2 hours better.
    9. slice against the grain when ready to serve. Sliced brisket drys out fast, so slice when ready to serve. If you like, add drippings to your bbq sauce for flavor.
    10, If the sliced brisket is dry or tuff, then it’s chopped beef time. Standard explanation to wife is wanted to try something different than the usual sliced pieces…….

    Hope this helps. Tom

    rigextenderflat.jpg
    www.ceramicgrillstore.com ACGP, Inc.
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