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Brisket Problems

joe317joe317 Posts: 28
edited June 2012 in EggHead Forum
I need some help cooking brisket. Today I made my fifth brisket on the egg. Both today's brisket and the last one I made didn't turn out awesome like my first three. They were good, but nothing like Rudy's BBQ (Texans know what I mean). The brisket today had a nice coating on the outside, but the inside was almost too tough. Still edible, but not melt in your mouth. Not sure what I'm doing wrong.

The briskets I've been making are on the small side (2 - 4 lbs). Today's was a 3 lb. I always coat it with mustard and a dry rub the night before and then start cooking around 6 am. I cooked it steady at 225 F on the egg thermometer, but it did jump up to almost 275 F mid day before I caught it and brought it back down. I cooked it with platesetter legs up and a drip pan beneath with 2 beers poured in. Also all the briskets I've been cooking are grass fed beef. Not sure if that makes a difference.

Anyway, internal temperature stalled out today at 171 F about 4 pm. It was still at 171 F at 5 pm so I decided to peak. I cut off the end piece and could tell it went a little too long so I pulled it off and let it rest about 15 minutes before slicing. I was shooting for 195 F which I achieved on my first three briskets which turned out amazing.

So egg experts, what am I doing wrong?

Are these briskets too small to shoot for 195 F internal temperature? Should I be going for a lower internal temperature? The entire cut is only about 1" thick.

Does grass fed beef need a different internal temperature than a regular brisket?

Is 225 F too high of a temperature for these briskets?

Am I wasting my time and beer (I always use the cheap beer) by putting it in a drip pan? I did my first three that way and then decided to not use any drip pan for #4 and it didn't turn out well. I attributed it no beer in the drip pan so I went with the beer today, but with today's result I'm not so sure anymore if the beer makes a difference.

Look forward to people's advice.
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Comments

  • ribnrunribnrun Posts: 174
    Different pieces of meat are different. I have never had very good luck with those little cuts of flat, they just don't cook right for me. I always try to get them to 190 plus on the grill. Did you try the fork test? Stick a fork it the meat and give it a twist. If it twists easy, it's tender, and delicious!
  • Well, I see many issues and as a matter of fact, if you explained what you were cooking and didnt tell me the outcome, I would have said "that's going to be tough".

    1) 3-4 lb briskest are very difficult to get tender under the best of circumstances. You cannot cook them to a lower temp, you have to get them to 185-200. The smaller cuts almost always dry out before getting there.

    2) Many times, these small cuts are trimmed of all the fat. This is the kiss of death for a low and slow brisket. You must have a nice, full fat cap on a brisket if you are going to get good results. You need to ensure that you are buying a full flat, or a whole packer cut. These will come in cryovac from twhe processor and not wrapped in cling wrap in a styrofoam tray at the grocery Store (I'll post pics in a few).

    3) never cook grass fed brisket. It it devoid of intermuscular fat which is essential to get a good moist brisket. Brisket is not health food so look for the fattiest (choice or above) briskets you can find. Corn and grain fed briskets are far superior to grass fed FOR BBQ. Grass fed meats are just fine and they do have health benefits but not for low and slow BBQ.

    4) use water in the drip pan if you use one. Beer will just evap faster and it's a waste of a perfectly good beer. Pour that in your gullet next time you are cooking a corn/grain fed full flat or whole packer and you will see much better results.

    Your temps are fine but I do mine a little hotter (250-260 depending on where the egg settles in)

    Hope this helps.

  • Ok joe, here are a few pics.

    Pic 1 is of full Flats and packers in cryo from the processor.

    Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

    Pic 2 is small
    3-4 lb trimmed flats wrapped by the store (no Bueno)

    Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

    Pic 3) this is what you want (choice or above in the full cryo packaging. Start here and many of your troubles will be taken care of.

    Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

    Good luck and let us know if you have any more questions. Glad to help where we can.

  • Rolling EggRolling Egg Posts: 1,985
    Also, something that I have always been told and live by. If it feels loose and real floppy in the cryovac, it's a go. If it's stiff as a board ( and I dont mean froze), theres a good chance that may be the way it turns out. Always choice cryovac, and prime occasionaly when I want to splurge.
  • Also, something that I have always been told and live by. If it feels loose and real floppy in the cryovac, it's a go. If it's stiff as a board ( and I dont mean froze), theres a good chance that may be the way it turns out. Always choice cryovac, and prime occasionaly when I want to splurge.
    Correct. Floppy like this is what I look for:

    Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


  • Rolling EggRolling Egg Posts: 1,985
    Heres some from a prime I did a few months back. This thing was nicely marbled.

    2012-01-26_22-00-10_818.jpg
    3264 x 1840 - 1M
    2012-01-26_22-13-18_597.jpg
    3264 x 1840 - 2M
    2012-01-27_16-52-28_173.jpg
    3264 x 1840 - 2M
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,902
    This thread is full of great info for those who are starting (or been there awhile) down the brisket highway.  C-T you should package all that info and start the "all you ever needed to know about a brisket but were afraid to ask" thread.  Of course, if one did a bit of research they might get the same but not all in one place.  And who wants to do that heavy lifting these days...
    Louisville
  • Most of its out there cap but the grass fed was a new twist so it thought I would chime in again.

  • cazzycazzy Posts: 5,506
    +12,000

    I agree, grass fed and small flat were likely the downfall.

    Rudy's Brisket?? I'm from Texas and I'm far from impressed by their brisket. There are far better places to get brisket IMO...especially my house and I've only done one. Lol

  • +12,000

    I agree, grass fed and small flat were likely the downfall.

    Rudy's Brisket?? I'm from Texas and I'm far from impressed by their brisket. There are far better places to get brisket IMO...especially my house and I've only done one. Lol



    I love Rudy's.

  • cazzycazzy Posts: 5,506
    +12,000

    I agree, grass fed and small flat were likely the downfall.

    Rudy's Brisket?? I'm from Texas and I'm far from impressed by their brisket. There are far better places to get brisket IMO...especially my house and I've only done one. Lol



    I love Rudy's.
    They have been very underwhelming my last 5 visits so I've just stopped going.

    Texas Pride
    Harmon's
    Morton's
    Salt Lick
    Many places in Lockhart

    God I love Texas BBQ. Rudy's is like Bill Millers too me...ok a little better but still commercialized.

  • +12,000

    I agree, grass fed and small flat were likely the downfall.

    Rudy's Brisket?? I'm from Texas and I'm far from impressed by their brisket. There are far better places to get brisket IMO...especially my house and I've only done one. Lol



    I love Rudy's.


    They have been very underwhelming my last 5 visits so I've just stopped going.

    Texas Pride
    Harmon's
    Morton's
    Salt Lick
    Many places in Lockhart

    God I love Texas BBQ. Rudy's is like Bill Millers too me...ok a little better but still commercialized.
    Then you must go to Franklin's and J. Mueller's in Austin. They have been on the cover of TX Monthly in the past few months. Best I've ever had (even better than anywhere in Lockhart)



  • +12,000

    I agree, grass fed and small flat were likely the downfall.

    Rudy's Brisket?? I'm from Texas and I'm far from impressed by their brisket. There are far better places to get brisket IMO...especially my house and I've only done one. Lol



    I love Rudy's.


    They have been very underwhelming my last 5 visits so I've just stopped going.

    Texas Pride
    Harmon's
    Morton's
    Salt Lick
    Many places in Lockhart

    God I love Texas BBQ. Rudy's is like Bill Millers too me...ok a little better but still commercialized.


    Then you must go to Franklin's and J. Mueller's in Austin. They have been on the cover of TX Monthly in the past few months. Best I've ever had (even better than anywhere in Lockhart)


    and if you do go back to Rudy's, get the extra moist. I think you will be pleased





  • cazzycazzy Posts: 5,506
    +12,000

    I agree, grass fed and small flat were likely the downfall.

    Rudy's Brisket?? I'm from Texas and I'm far from impressed by their brisket. There are far better places to get brisket IMO...especially my house and I've only done one. Lol



    I love Rudy's.


    They have been very underwhelming my last 5 visits so I've just stopped going.

    Texas Pride
    Harmon's
    Morton's
    Salt Lick
    Many places in Lockhart

    God I love Texas BBQ. Rudy's is like Bill Millers too me...ok a little better but still commercialized.


    Then you must go to Franklin's and J. Mueller's in Austin. They have been on the cover of TX Monthly in the past few months. Best I've ever had (even better than anywhere in Lockhart)




    and if you do go back to Rudy's, get the extra moist. I think you will be pleased




    I usually ask for moist cause I hate the flat. Maybe it's the "extra" that I'm missing.


  • cazzycazzy Posts: 5,506
    +12,000

    I agree, grass fed and small flat were likely the downfall.

    Rudy's Brisket?? I'm from Texas and I'm far from impressed by their brisket. There are far better places to get brisket IMO...especially my house and I've only done one. Lol



    I love Rudy's.


    They have been very underwhelming my last 5 visits so I've just stopped going.

    Texas Pride
    Harmon's
    Morton's
    Salt Lick
    Many places in Lockhart

    God I love Texas BBQ. Rudy's is like Bill Millers too me...ok a little better but still commercialized.


    Then you must go to Franklin's and J. Mueller's in Austin. They have been on the cover of TX Monthly in the past few months. Best I've ever had (even better than anywhere in Lockhart)


    Been to Franklin but not J. Muellers.

    That was in my rib lust days so I need to go back and try their brisket.

  • Hmmm, I never cooked one smaller than 10 lbs. I have had success with both "slow" and "fast" methods. For both methods I pull the meat when it reaches 195. I then triple foil wrap and toss it into a cooler to rest another 2-4 hours before slicing. I would try to let the meat rest longer than 15 minutes to help prevent the good juices from running out. Perhaps, if your brisket does not have a good fat cap you could place some bacon on top of it to help keep it from drying out. Check out my "Christmas Brisket" post if you would like to see some pics and a description of the fast method that I used on a massive brisket. Good luck.
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,902

    All I can get are flats (and always available).  Generally run 5-8#'s and I do use NororiousPAT's recommendation regarding use of bacon to enhance (?) the fat cap.  Seems to help but hard to tell with the variations in the way briskets behave.

     

    Louisville
  • joe317joe317 Posts: 28
    Thanks for all the advice. I pretty much thought the grass fed beef and the small size were the problem, but it's nice to get confirmation from people who have been there done that. Thanks for the pictures Cen-Tex. I have seen those cuts in HEB before so that's what I'll try next time.
  • Thanks for all the advice. I pretty much thought the grass fed beef and the small size were the problem, but it's nice to get confirmation from people who have been there done that. Thanks for the pictures Cen-Tex. I have seen those cuts in HEB before so that's what I'll try next time.
    If you are in TX, HEB, Sam's and Costco are great places to get whole packer cut briskets. Actually, Sam's and Costco are better. HEB carries select all the time and has choice or CAB (Certified Angus Beef) in better stores and around holidays. If you see CAB, get it. they are great quality. Costco has prime brisket from time to time but I'm skeptical that it makes much difference. If it's significantly more $, just get a decent choice packer and you;ll be off and running.

  • joe317joe317 Posts: 28
    Thanks for all the advice. I pretty much thought the grass fed beef and the small size were the problem, but it's nice to get confirmation from people who have been there done that. Thanks for the pictures Cen-Tex. I have seen those cuts in HEB before so that's what I'll try next time.
    If you are in TX, HEB, Sam's and Costco are great places to get whole packer cut briskets. Actually, Sam's and Costco are better. HEB carries select all the time and has choice or CAB (Certified Angus Beef) in better stores and around holidays. If you see CAB, get it. they are great quality. Costco has prime brisket from time to time but I'm skeptical that it makes much difference. If it's significantly more $, just get a decent choice packer and you;ll be off and running.
    Cen-Tex: If CAB isn't available at HEB, do you get the super trimmed brisket or just the regular? I was looking at HEB yesterday and surprised at how much fat was on the regular brisket compared to the super trim.

    My family and I love Rudy's. There may be better places out there, but not where we live. We're in the middle of nowhere on the border with Mexico. I had to drive 350 miles just to buy my egg. So the fact we have a Rudy's and HEB nearby is pretty nice. I'd have to drive the same 350 miles to go to a Sams or Costco.

    I'm going to stay away from the grass fed beef brisket now, but the rest of the grass fed beef we get is amazing. If you haven't tried it yet, you don't know what you're missing. My wife has never been a big beef eater and has even flirted with only fish and vegetables at times. She actually got me started on the grass fed beef. The flavor of steaks, burgers, stew, and roasts is amazing. Definitely pricey ($6/lb ground beef, $18/lb t-bone), but so worth it. We now eat beef several times a week whereas before we ate it  maybe once a week. So the food bill is much higher now, but the quality and taste is also way up. You do get what you pay for.
  • JWBurnsJWBurns Posts: 334
    Stupid question here - is the full packer the point and the flat? I've read somewhere that the point is not very good eating, just the flat is. Thoughts?
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,902
    You are correct in that the packer is both point and flat.  The point has much more fat than the flat but is great eating when trimmed.  Always cut across the grain which is easy with the flat as the grain is pronounced and runs in one direction.  Point requires paying close attention as the grain pattern is random at best.  Enjoy both-
    Louisville
  • Hey joe. As long as they leave the fat cap somewhat in tact, it's ok to buy the trimmed. If they take it completely off enerr you can see the meat grain on both sides of the brisket, those are harder to keep moist and you should avoid. HEB is a great resource for brisket so you should be able to work with what they have.

    I do like grass fed beef but it has vey little intramuscular fat and that's not good for BBQ. I eat grass fed almost every week in the form of ground beef and/or steaks but never for BBQ.

    I like Rudy's a lot too and eat there all the time. We are fortunate to have some very good BBQ places all around me, but Rudy's is 5 minutes from my house and I eat the almost every week. The other places are a treat but Rudy's is our regular joint.

  • joe317joe317 Posts: 28
    I made my 8 lb HEB brisket last weekend and it turned out better than the grass fed beef. It cooked for about 10 hours at 230 F dome temperature, but the internal meat temperature never got above 175 F. In fact after it hit 175, it started dropping. Finally after about an hour it had dropped to 172 F so I decided to pull it. Wrapped it in foil and towels and placed in a cooler while I cooked a loaf of bread on the egg. One hour later it was dinner time.

    Even though I didn't get the meat to 195F, it still turned out pretty good. Still not as moist and juicy as I wanted, but much better than my previous attempts. The bread on the egg was awesome.

    Anyone see the internal meat temperature drop as you're cooking a brisket. That really was strange. I even checked it with my Thermapen and verified my iGrill was giving me the right temperature.
  • bookswbooksw Posts: 212
    Don't listen to me because I am new at this- I have only READ a lot on this forum and I am in the middle of my second brisket cook right now.  I am guessing that you pulled the brisket at the start of the stall- what did it look like inside?  I am hoping that one of the really experienced brisket cookers answers  your question.  So interesting that it was good at 175.  I  think I need to make a lot of briskets to learn more!!
    Charleston, SC
  • Mama RoneckMama Roneck Posts: 338
    Sometimes the temp drops a bit when the meat plateaus.  Happens with my pork butts too. With a brisket that size, you might want to foil it so it doesn't dry out while it gets to 195-205. 

    Mamaroneck
  • You guys are correct. He pulled it at the beginning of the stall. The temp can go down by a few degrees as a result of evaporative cooling during this part of the cook. Joe, you had several hours to go on that one before it was ready. you are getting closer but next time, be patient and let it come up to temp.

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,902
    As Cen-Tex would say "patience is the watchword" (or maybe it was bourbon..) but brisket is done when you probe the thickest part of the flat and meet no resistance "in-or-out".  Somewhere in the 190-205*F range and each hunk is different. 
    Louisville
  • bookswbooksw Posts: 212
    oh patience- I thought it was the journey- I have a problem with patience
    Charleston, SC
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,902

    Whatever works...

    :)>-
    Louisville
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