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Beef Brisket Failure

ZmokinZmokin Posts: 1,922
Well, not a total failure.
It still is edible, but it came out with the dry texture of turkey/chicken breast meat. (for me, even the moistest of breast meat has a dry texture).
I marinated it with 3 parts homemade beef broth (low sodium) to one part balsamic vinegar, then added some soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, & onion juice for 18 hours in the fridge.  Then I rubbed it with olive oil and applied a dry rub (salt, black pepper, & garlic powder).  Let it sit wrapped in cellophane for 2 hours to warm up some from the fridge.  Then on the smoker at 220 until internal temp hit 150.  Wrapped in aluminum foil and continued cooking until internal temp of 205. Then pulled it from the smoker to rest for an hour in it's own juices.
Was 18 hours in a diluted vinegar too long?
Large BGE in a Sole' Gourmet Table
Using the Black Cast Iron grill, Plate Setter,
 and a BBQ Guru temp controller.

Location: somewhere West of the Mason-Dixon Line
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Comments

  • cazzycazzy Posts: 9,028
    I actually think your carry over likely went long because you rested it in the juices. Just a thought. Why 205? Just cause or is that when it probed tender?

    Alot of variables because your technique was very elaborate. I've never marinated my brisket in anything, so I don't know if the vinegar had any fault in the tad bit of driness.

    Even at the end of this post, I still think you took it too far and overcooked it a tad.
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • SGHSGH Posts: 23,418
    @Zmokin said-Was 18 hours in a diluted vinegar too long?
    Im going to go out on a limb and say no. In a time gone by I have marinated them for over well over 48 hours.
    Now for a few questions that may help us solve your problem.
    1. Was is just a flat?
    2. How did the raw brisket feel? Was it stiff or floppy?
    3. What was it weight?
    4. How well was it marbled? Not asking about the fat cap but fat in the muscle grain.
    5. How was its appearance? Did you see any yellow any where? This is a sign of oxidation due to exposure.
    6. When did you start checking for tenderness? 205 is not the magic number. The only time they usually have to be taken that high is when they are cooked at high temps. There are exceptions of course.
    7. What was its grade?
    If you can answer these few simple questions myself or some else should be able to unravel your mystery. Look forward to hearing from you.

    Location- Just "this side" of Biloxi, Ms.

    Status- Standing by.

    Arsenal-Just a small wore out and broken down Weber kettle. No other means to cook at all.
    Virtus Junxit Mors Non Separabit
    The greatest barrier against all wisdom, the stronghold against knowledge itself, is the single thought in ones mind, that they already have it all figured out. 
  • SGHSGH Posts: 23,418
    @Zmokin
    I want to ask one more question if you dont mind. Did you get 205 internal out of Myron Mixons book? I ask because he is very famous and that is the temp he uses in his book. Im not saying its wrong but you have to cook the way he does to get consistant results by going by temp alone.
    Let me explain. He cooks at 350-375 over an 8 gallon water pan. He boats after a few hours. He injects a ton of liquid. That is why he can take them to 205 and it work well. There are briskets that have to be cooked that high some times but not many in my experience. Just thought i would ask.

    Location- Just "this side" of Biloxi, Ms.

    Status- Standing by.

    Arsenal-Just a small wore out and broken down Weber kettle. No other means to cook at all.
    Virtus Junxit Mors Non Separabit
    The greatest barrier against all wisdom, the stronghold against knowledge itself, is the single thought in ones mind, that they already have it all figured out. 
  • Philly35Philly35 Posts: 720
    Was it tender?
    NW IOWA
  • ZmokinZmokin Posts: 1,922
    edited March 2014
    SGH said:
    @Zmokin said-Was 18 hours in a diluted vinegar too long?
    Im going to go out on a limb and say no. In a time gone by I have marinated them for over well over 48 hours.
    Now for a few questions that may help us solve your problem.
    1. Was is just a flat? No
    2. How did the raw brisket feel? Was it stiff or floppy? I don't have a lot of experience fondling briskets, so I don't know exactly how stiff or how floppy it can be.  With that said, it didn't seem to be an exceptionally hard piece of meat so I'm prone to say I don't think it was stiff.
    3. What was it weight? 4.5 lbs
    4. How well was it marbled? Not asking about the fat cap but fat in the muscle grain. not as marbled as I would have liked it to have been, but I picked the most marbled the butcher shop had (they had just received a shipment that day and I got to select which packer they cut a piece of for me)
    5. How was its appearance? good Did you see any yellow any where? None whatsoever This is a sign of oxidation due to exposure.
    6. When did you start checking for tenderness? 205 is not the magic number. The only time they usually have to be taken that high is when they are cooked at high temps. There are exceptions of course. I went by temp only.  I had read several recipes and comments about 195 to 205, with one saying 203 was perfect.
    7. What was its grade? That, I don't know.
    If you can answer these few simple questions myself or some else should be able to unravel your mystery. Look forward to hearing from you.
    I'm more experienced with Pastrami that never comes out dry, but I do use a different process.
    I smoke the pastrami to 150 or 160, then pressure cook it for 40 minutes at 15 lbs.  I'm pretty sure the Pastrami goes over 205, but then it is in a 100% humidity chamber.

    I do smoke Pork butts, no marinade, but the same process as the brisket and they have always come out moist and delectable.

    The French dip sandwich I enjoyed today with my brisket meat was tasty, but I could still detect what I consider an undesirable texture in the meat.  I'll get through it, but I might not ever try smoking plain brisket again.
    Large BGE in a Sole' Gourmet Table
    Using the Black Cast Iron grill, Plate Setter,
     and a BBQ Guru temp controller.

    Location: somewhere West of the Mason-Dixon Line
  • SGHSGH Posts: 23,418
    @Zmokin
    Brother dont give up on brisket you will be cheating yourself!! I will be glad to offer step by step instructions on selecting,prepping and cooking brisket as well. There are many others on here that would be more than willing to help.@cazzy is a very experienced cook and i know he would be willing to help. I dont know where you are from but if you are close to me you are welcome to come by and i will be more than glad to let you watch me prep and cook one. Just dont give up brother.

    Location- Just "this side" of Biloxi, Ms.

    Status- Standing by.

    Arsenal-Just a small wore out and broken down Weber kettle. No other means to cook at all.
    Virtus Junxit Mors Non Separabit
    The greatest barrier against all wisdom, the stronghold against knowledge itself, is the single thought in ones mind, that they already have it all figured out. 
  • ZmokinZmokin Posts: 1,922
    I'm in Northern CA, near Sacratomato.  I don't think I've ever even ordered brisket at a smokehouse restaurant.  I usually get ribs.  And with a few exceptions, I normally eat beef on the raw to medium rare side, so picking the brisket was a deliberate attempt to try something new.  Yes, I said raw, I can't seem to get all of my meat slices into the marinade when making beef jerky. The london broil just looks too good to wait for all of it to turn into jerky so I snack on some of the tender strips while slicing.  Anyway, for roast beef sandwiches, I usually carve up a rib roast after a spin on the rotisserie.  I knew where most of the brisket would end up (sliced and bagged in my freezer for sandwiches) and knowing how much more I like my rib roast, I'm more inclined to stick with what I know I like, but yes, maybe I need to have someone serve me a brisket done right so i know what to expect.  Maybe I'll order it the next time I'm at a smokehouse restaurant.
    Large BGE in a Sole' Gourmet Table
    Using the Black Cast Iron grill, Plate Setter,
     and a BBQ Guru temp controller.

    Location: somewhere West of the Mason-Dixon Line
  • ZmokinZmokin Posts: 1,922
    Philly35 said:
    Was it tender?
    yes, I would describe it as tender but not fall apart tender like pulled pork is, it wasn't tough, but dry feeling in the mouth like chicken breast.
    Large BGE in a Sole' Gourmet Table
    Using the Black Cast Iron grill, Plate Setter,
     and a BBQ Guru temp controller.

    Location: somewhere West of the Mason-Dixon Line
  • smokesniffersmokesniffer Posts: 2,016
    @Zmokin, give it another try. With people like @SGH and @Cazzy, and others, you will be well advised. They all helped me out with my first brisket recently. Lots of support here, step by step.
    Good Luck with the next one.
    Large, small, and a mini
  • SGHSGH Posts: 23,418
     With people like @SGH and @Cazzy, and others, you will be well advised. They all helped me out with my first brisket recently. Lots of support here, step by step.

    Thanks for the kind words my friend.

    Location- Just "this side" of Biloxi, Ms.

    Status- Standing by.

    Arsenal-Just a small wore out and broken down Weber kettle. No other means to cook at all.
    Virtus Junxit Mors Non Separabit
    The greatest barrier against all wisdom, the stronghold against knowledge itself, is the single thought in ones mind, that they already have it all figured out. 
  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 938
    If you over cooked the brisket it tends to become a stringy mess, if it is dry and you can still slice it I vote for it being under cooked.

    Gerhard
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,699
    Grind it up, warm in a broth, serve on hoagies with onions and peppers and cheese.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,742
    Zmokin said:I normally eat beef on the raw to medium rare side, so picking the brisket was a deliberate attempt to try something new.  Yes, I said raw,
    Man after my own heart! There are a few of us here....true carnivores. Pantsypants and I ate about a pound of raw lamb yesterday.
    You need to pay attention to the meat grade with brisket. I don't think I would marinate it unless I jaccarded it. Injecting yes wet marinade no. As others have stated, take it off when the meat gives way to a probe like butter.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • cazzycazzy Posts: 9,028
    If you over cooked the brisket it tends to become a stringy mess, if it is dry and you can still slice it I vote for it being under cooked.

    Gerhard
    Undercooked at 205? I highly doubt that. I usually see it dry when the fat bands between each muscle are completely rendered. Very apparent when you cut across the grain.

    Example of a slightly overcooked brisket:

    image

    Example of a way overcooked stringy brisket

    image
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • ZmokinZmokin Posts: 1,922
    Mine was definitely NOT like the "lady behind the curtain" image.
    Mine tastes drier than the slightly overcooked looks, but I don't think the grains of meat were separating when I sliced it like that picture shows. After chilling it overnight in the fridge, I was able to slice it up thin on my meat slicer. I would have to thaw a package, but I could post a picture of it after slicing if that would help.
    Large BGE in a Sole' Gourmet Table
    Using the Black Cast Iron grill, Plate Setter,
     and a BBQ Guru temp controller.

    Location: somewhere West of the Mason-Dixon Line
  • QDudeQDude Posts: 662
    I suggest doing the whole packer the next time.  The point can be amazing.  I also suggest that you simplify your next brisket.  Get a choice or better brisket and there is no need to inject or marinate it.  A simple salt and pepper rub is great.

    It took me a few briskets to get it right but keep trying!  It is worth it and once you nail a few, you will want to keep on doing them.

    A northern Colorado Egghead since 2012!

    XL and a Small BGE.

  • cazzycazzy Posts: 9,028
    QDude said:

    I suggest doing the whole packer the next time.  The point can be amazing.  I also suggest that you simplify your next brisket.  Get a choice or better brisket and there is no need to inject or marinate it.  A simple salt and pepper rub is great.


    It took me a few briskets to get it right but keep trying!  It is worth it and once you nail a few, you will want to keep on doing them.
    I agree. I hope to nail a brisket one day though.
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • Don"t give up on brisket.  It is the hardest cut of meat to cook well.  Took me 3 tries till I got one I really liked.  I like to inject my brisket and allow it to set for at least 8 hours, but briskets can turn out well without all the work.  Have to try till you find the process that works well for you.
  • ZmokinZmokin Posts: 1,922
    QDude said:
    I suggest doing the whole packer the next time.  The point can be amazing.  I also suggest that you simplify your next brisket.  Get a choice or better brisket and there is no need to inject or marinate it.  A simple salt and pepper rub is great.

    It took me a few briskets to get it right but keep trying!  It is worth it and once you nail a few, you will want to keep on doing them.
    Sorry, but one, I'm not going to pay for 12+ lbs of meat to ruin it.  And even if I had it come out perfect, I can't very well sit down and eat 12 lbs of meat.  I have no interest in trying to freeze that much.  Second, I had point and flat in the 4.5 lbs I cooked.

    And personally, even if I was to learn how to smoke the perfect brisket, I bet I would still prefer a nice rare Ribeye.

    Anyway, I think I'll stop at the Sierra Smokehouse on my way home from work someday this week and try a 1/4 lb of their brisket to see if I like it.
    Large BGE in a Sole' Gourmet Table
    Using the Black Cast Iron grill, Plate Setter,
     and a BBQ Guru temp controller.

    Location: somewhere West of the Mason-Dixon Line
  • cazzy said:
    I actually think your carry over likely went long because you rested it in the juices.
    @cazzy Could you please explain what you mean by the statement above?

  • cazzycazzy Posts: 9,028


    cazzy said:

    I actually think your carry over likely went long because you rested it in the juices.

    @cazzy Could you please explain what you mean by the statement above?


    It was just a guess. If there were enough juuces, the heat from the juices prolly made it longer for the core temp of the brisket to drop. That potentially "could" mean it had a longer carry over cause there was residual heat from the juices. Especially since it was still in foil.

    If I'm ready to eat, I will just leave it on the cutting board with a foil tent and let it rest for a hour.
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • That's prob why my last brisket came out a bit drier in the flat and looser in the point than the one before. The idea was to foil it from 165 to 203, then rest FTC for 3 hours fat side up and let it saturate in it's own juices to moisten/infuse it in a rub soak. What actually happened is most of the rub washed off, and apparently it overcooked some due to a rendered fat driven "carry Over."

  • cazzycazzy Posts: 9,028
    edited March 2014

    That's prob why my last brisket came out a bit drier in the flat and looser in the point than the one before. The idea was to foil it from 165 to 203, then rest FTC for 3 hours fat side up and let it saturate in it's own juices to moisten/infuse it in a rub soak. What actually happened is most of the rub washed off, and apparently it overcooked some due to a rendered fat driven "carry Over."

    The whole "FTC for 3 hours fat side up and let it saturate in its own juices" part is honestly way over thinking it.

    Wrapping in foil for the majority of your cook was the major problem. Foil doesn't breathe so that likely killed what ever bark you spent hours developing.

    Have you ever cooked your brisket traditionally? IE...start your fire, stabilize fire, trim and season brisket, throw in some wood, put briskrt on egg, don't open egg till its 190, pull when it probes like butter, rest for 1 hour. I suggest you succeed traditionally before you start tweaking your approach.
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • Ladeback69Ladeback69 Posts: 4,320
    I think you used to much salt, when you used both soy sauce and worcestershire sause. Then you added more salt. I was also told not to use olive oi, because it won't let the smoke in. If i am just doing straight brisket I take it to around 165 to 175. If i want to do the tip for burnt ends I take it to 165, wrap it in foil then finsih it to 200 to 205. Let it sit for 20 minutes, cut it into cubes then sauce it and put it back on for about an hour. Burnt ends are like meat candy if done right.
    XL, WSM, Little Kahuna, Coleman RoadTrip Gas Grill

    Kansas City, Mo.
  • ZmokinZmokin Posts: 1,922
    I think you used to much salt, when you used both soy sauce and worcestershire sause. Then you added more salt. I was also told not to use olive oi, because it won't let the smoke in. If i am just doing straight brisket I take it to around 165 to 175. If i want to do the tip for burnt ends I take it to 165, wrap it in foil then finsih it to 200 to 205. Let it sit for 20 minutes, cut it into cubes then sauce it and put it back on for about an hour. Burnt ends are like meat candy if done right.
    It's not salty.  I use way less salt any pre-packaged rub.  The corned beef I use to make Pastrami is probably 100 times saltier and I never have had my pastrami with this off-texture.  I'm positive it wasn't the amount of salt, but I appreciate the suggestion.
    Large BGE in a Sole' Gourmet Table
    Using the Black Cast Iron grill, Plate Setter,
     and a BBQ Guru temp controller.

    Location: somewhere West of the Mason-Dixon Line
  • ZmokinZmokin Posts: 1,922
    OK, I stopped at the Sierra Smokehouse and bought a 1/4 lb of smoked beef brisket today on my way home from work.  I've decided my first attempt was not a failure.  I'm putting the blame on the meat, my personal preferences, and maybe a tad over-cooked based on the less marbling.  The brisket as prepared by a professional with lots of winning awards decorating his walls I could tell was more marbled than the cut I had.  But it still exhibited some of the texture I find un-appealing.  I attribute that to my preference for rare to medium rare beef.  I think my displeasure in my result is I just generally don't care for beef that is well-done.  It really needs to be smothered in a gravy of some kind for me to like it.  So a pot roast loaded with gravy, or Beef Stroganoff, I like.  I will be able to get through my sliced brisket as either French Dip sandwiches or beef & Swiss cheese with lots of mayonnaise.  I do like beef ribs with a nice BBQ glaze on them, preferably a bourbon based BBQ sauce.  I've decided I won't try a plain brisket again.  I will continue to smoke Pastrami & ribs to high temps, and I will smoke a rib roast to medium rare and tri-tip to medium, but plain beef brisket is officially off my repertoire.  Thanks for all the feedback.
    Large BGE in a Sole' Gourmet Table
    Using the Black Cast Iron grill, Plate Setter,
     and a BBQ Guru temp controller.

    Location: somewhere West of the Mason-Dixon Line
  • cazzycazzy Posts: 9,028
    I would still attest that you haven't experienced brisket nirvana yet. I love me a medium rare steak too, but there is nothing I enjoy more than a perfectly executed piece of point. The perfect amount of fat to meat, melt in your mouth texture, and salty/peppery bark.

    IMO, you might not be able to find brisket nirvana in Cali, but I do think you can achieve that in your backyard. Your piece of meat was 4.5 pounds, yet you said it wasn't a flat. The weight alone leads me to believe it was a flat. Especially since you said the marbling wasn't that great. If you just got a point, it would be heavily marbeled.

    Don't give up on brisket! I truly believe that you started off with the wrong meat, did too much to it pre-cook and likely overcooked it a tad.
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 22,793
    cazzy said:
    I would still attest that you haven't experienced brisket nirvana yet. I love me a medium rare steak too, but there is nothing I enjoy more than a perfectly executed piece of point. The perfect amount of fat to meat, melt in your mouth texture, and salty/peppery bark.
    Little heavy on the "meatspin"....you should be a food poet.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • ZmokinZmokin Posts: 1,922
    cazzy said:
     Your piece of meat was 4.5 pounds, yet you said it wasn't a flat. The weight alone leads me to believe it was a flat. Especially since you said the marbling wasn't that great. If you just got a point, it would be heavily marbeled. Don't give up on brisket! I truly believe that you started off with the wrong meat, did too much to it pre-cook and likely overcooked it a tad.
    As I said before, I was allowed to select how much I wanted cut off an entire slab o brisket at a meat market.  the kind of meat market that will butcher entire animals if you bring them your own kill.  It's not in the city, it's out in the sticks up in the foothills.  So I had them cut straight down through both point & flat.  At it's thickest, it was probably about 4.5 inches thick, about 1.5 inches of flat, 1/2 an inch of fat, 2 inches of point, and another 1/2 inch of fat.  And while the point was thicker at it's thickest, I know there was still more flat than point.  I had them cut off from the thickest end about 8 inches down the slab.  And yes, when slicing it whole on my meat slicer, I could see I was cutting across the grain of the flat and along the grain of the point.  I know I probably should have separated the 2 before slicing, but as I was slicing it less than 1/8 thick, I don't think it will matter that much in sandwiches.  And yes, the point had more marbling that the flat, but still not as much as I would have liked.  The corned beef I turned into Pastrami has lots more marbling in it's flat portion, than my plain brisket had.
    Large BGE in a Sole' Gourmet Table
    Using the Black Cast Iron grill, Plate Setter,
     and a BBQ Guru temp controller.

    Location: somewhere West of the Mason-Dixon Line
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