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High altitude nonBGE brisket part 2

skihornskihorn Posts: 600
edited 4:48AM in EggHead Forum
I posted this topic several weeks and wanted to follow up with the results. I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I want to include all the details so you experts will know exactly what I did and, hopefully, give me some tips for next time.

Before I got my first Egg, I had an electric dome shaped water smoker. If I did the brisket the whole time on the smoker it seemed dry. So, instead I would smoke if for 4 hours and do it about 10 hours wrapped in foil in the oven on 210 degrees. I achieved good results with this method. Very tender and juicy.

Every July I go to my Colorado cabin and smoke two briskets for my HOA. The cabin is at 8200 feet. Since I can't justify buying an Egg for the cabin (nor could I trust the renters with it) I bought another electric water smoker to keep at the cabin. I figured I would just cook like I used to before my Egg. The first couple of times I had trouble getting it done. I figured it was the altitude and the water boiling at a lower temp. So, this year I started early. I had a 6lb and 5lb briskets (much smaller than I am used to cooking) and put them on the smoker at 7:00 p.m. with several hickory chunks. About 10:00 p.m. I took it off and moved it to the oven and wrapped in foil. (Leaving it on the smoker overnight really isn't an option anyway due to the bears in the area.) Since the briskets were small, and I didn't want them to be ready until evening the next day, I put the oven on about 190. I used an oven thermometer to verify temp.

When I got up the next morning the internal temp was about 145. I moved them to the smoker with more hickory and cooked until 1:00 p.m. This was another 6 hours, in addition to the 3 hours the night before and the 9 hours in the oven for a total of 18 hours. The internal was only 160. I figured with the low boiling temp of the water I would have to finish it in the oven as the smoker was just not generating enough temp. So, I moved it to the oven for another three hours at 275. This finally got it up to 185. Since I was running out of time, I then pulled it out and wrapped it. Everyone raved about it (being polite possibly) but it really was not all that tender. I have always had better results at sea level. It was certainly "good" but by no stretch "great."

Here is the strange part. I decided to test the water smoker temp with the oven thermometer. It showed 250 degrees on both racks. The thermometer was brand new and had agreed with my oven setting so I am assuming it is accurate. However, how could two small briskets cook that long (total of 18 hours) at 250 degrees (only 190 in the oven) and not get above 160 internal? I know the internal temp was accurate, because I had two remote probes that agreed and I verified with my thermopen.

I do my Thanksgiving turkey in the same smoker. I put it on first thing in the morning, ski until early afternoon and take it off about 3:00 to finish in the oven. Again, if that smoker is really cooking at 250 grid temp shouldn't the turkey (usually only 12 to 13 pounder) be done sooner? I have no complaints about the turkey outcome. Just curious why it is cooking so slow.

Sorry for the long ramble. If anyone has any suggestions of what I should do different next year I am all ears.

League City, TX
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