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Brisket timing? Inconsistent results.

MeatosBanditosMeatosBanditos Posts: 259
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
Happy Memorial Day to all the eggers out there!

I have an issue that is giving me some confusion regarding cooking beef briskets. Last year in prep for a KCBS contest in Minnesota I practiced on 14.5# briskets from Sam's Club. My method was to apply a wet rub and dry rub, and cook on the offset egg (at 235 degrees) uncovered until 160 degrees, at which point I would foil it and add a cup of water before returning to the egg to cook until it gets to 190 degrees.

My practice cooks all ran right about 10 hours (pretty consistently too). About 6-7 hours in I'd put them in the foil and they'd come off tasting great and consistent each time. Then, at my competition, I followed all the same routines at the contest but my brisket cooked about 2.5 hours faster than planned. I had no idea why this was and then it happened again last night.

Last night I cooked two briskets following the same above method and my food was 2.5 hours ahead of schedule again. I have always used my DigiQII to maintain the temp in the egg as well as monitor the brisket temp. Is there something I am doing wrong or is this purely a meat issue? I'm absolutely baffled by it and have begun to wonder if the DigiQ is giving me incorrect temps? The dome temp in my egg doesn't really read very accurate so I don't use it for any accuracy comparison.

Any comments or thoughts are appreciated!

Thanks
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Comments

  • Rezen73Rezen73 Posts: 356
    Do you need to recalibrate the digiQii?
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  • ScottborasjrScottborasjr Posts: 2,152
    what kind of meat was it? Was it pre soaked in a solution or just the meat and the blood?
    I raise my kids, cook and golf.  When work gets in the way I'm pissed, I'm pissed off 48 weeks a year.
    Inbetween Iowa and Colorado, not close to anything remotely entertaining outside of football season. 
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  • Maybe so. I don't believe I have any of the paperwork left for the DigiQ. Is there an easy way of doing this?
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  • @Scottborasjr

    It was fairly standard, I did inject it with some liquid seasoning and only did that on
    last nights cook. I didn't put very much in as I was just trying it out.

    Is that what you're asking about?
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  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    You're cooking a piece of meat..not heating up a frozen pizza..or even baking bread...no 2 pieces of meat will ever cook exactly the same..and brisket is one of the most inconsistent pieces of meat you can cook..it's done when it's done, you can "practice" your spices or technique...but you cant predict timing.
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  • Thanks Wess--

    I just find it hard to believe it'd be off by that much for the same size meat. I guess it just makes me feel like I did something wrong.
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  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    Not at all...brisket is the toughest to master...I like to use the twisting fork method to judge doneness..but by no means consider myself a brisket expert..just go with what you know..
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  • ScottborasjrScottborasjr Posts: 2,152
    No, around my neck of the woods they sell pork and beef that has been pre-injected with solution as they call it. You actually have to look for stuff that isn't injected before market.
    I raise my kids, cook and golf.  When work gets in the way I'm pissed, I'm pissed off 48 weeks a year.
    Inbetween Iowa and Colorado, not close to anything remotely entertaining outside of football season. 
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  • Alright--thanks for the tips. Maybe I'll have to spend more time consistently finding a similar piece of brisket aside from just the weight. I know the marbling can vary quite a bit between pieces.
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  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,329
    The placement of the temp probe is key to getting consistent times, and even then adjustments may need to be made. My guess is your probe was on the hotter side of the cooker, which would result in lower overall temps. When competing, I put multiple probes at different places in the cooker to give me a better idea if the cooker is running hotter or cooler than I think.

    Good luck with getting your times down. Big swings like that at a competition will not help your chances.

    Hope it helps!
    Happy cookin
    Chris
    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
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  • Thanks Chris.

    If the temp probe is in the hot spot which means the rest of the cooker is cooler--wouldn't that mean my cook times would take longer rather than shorter? They were 2.5 hours shorter than expected which makes me wonder if maybe it was the reverse then--the probe being in the cooler spot while the egg was really hotter and cooking it faster.

    Placement of the temp probe is a good place to start with troubleshooting and I appreciate the recommendation to look into that though.
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  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,329
    Duh. Good point. Got it backwards but same principle.

    Yes, if it went faster than expected, your probe may have been in a cool spot. When timing is critical, like at a competition, I usually look at two different grate temps AND the dome temp and fine tune until I am comfortable.

    You may find that if you continue to observe where your internal temp is at a certain time, you can make adjustments. Like I know that if my brisket is at 155-165 at 5am then it's right on schedule. If it is 170 or more then I back off the cooking temp a bit.

    Lots of factors at work here, so observation and adjustment seems to be the key to nailing down competition timing.

    Good luck!
    Chris
    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
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  • All good tips! I appreciate the help too.
    B)
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