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Using foil on a brisket

DavidRDavidR Posts: 178
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
Tenderness. I WANT TENDERNESS!! And I ain't gettin it, at least NOT to my satisfaction. Now, it might be that I'm getting spoiled from all those successful pork butts, or all of those 'falling off the bone' ribs, but the fact still remains that when I put a piece of brisket in my mouth . . it's tough.[p]Now, I want to try using foil, and the idea comes from the ribs. I grill them direct at 220* at 45 minutes on each side. then I braise them in foil for an hour, then take them back out, and go direct at another 45 minutes per side. They come out perfect. [p]But it's that hour in the foil is where the tenderizing comes in. The cooking out of the foil is for everything else . . smoking, mopping, basting, etc.[p]But the problem is I don't have a clue as to what would be the best time to put foil on a brisket, and for how long. Like in 'before the plateau', 'during the plateau', or 'after the plateau'.[p]Can anyone help me out on this? Or should I just forget about it, and stick with the pork butts?

Comments

  • YBYB Posts: 3,861
    DavidR,
    I have never tried this..Let us know how it is if you do.
    Larry

    [ul][li]Brisket in Foil[/ul]
  • YB, i just read the recipe attached then read it over again . am i reading this wrong or does it say the total cooking time is 3 1/2 to 4 hrs / ?. reg

  • YBYB Posts: 3,861
    reg,
    Thats what it looks like to me also...Robert Worsley cooked this at Eggtoberfest 98...He also cooked a butt the same way...Maybe someone else can chime in.
    Larry

  • YB,
    I have used this method on a butt that I wanted to slice and not pull. If you are looking for a juicier butt then this is the way to go. If you want to pull it for pulled pork, I would not reccomend it. You will have to dry it back out after the foil phase and might as well go low and slow if you want to pull it. I kept it in foil for about 2 hrs at 250 and then removed until I got the desired internal temp.

  • DavidRDavidR Posts: 178
    reg,[p]I was wondering the same thing about the cooking times. That doesn't seem right to me at all, especially if I want to do a 10 or 11 pound untrimmed packer brisket. [p]I read the posts below. I found a few that mentioned foil, but wasn't able to get any particulars as to when to use and for how long.[p]I think I'll try Nature Boy's method of doing it at 250 over an empty drip pan, but . . . my problem is that the meat drys out to much for my liking.[p][p]
  • DavidR,
    The Texas crutch, foil will tenderize brisket but it will also give it the texture of pot roast. If you are going to foil, do it after you reach 175 to 180º. If you do it sooner you are stewing it in fat, if you like that then by all means foil early.
    Brisket in my mind should: cut 1/4" thick should when pulled on both end have a small stretch to it and come apart easily. It will have some tooth to it, if you can place a piece in your mouth and press against the roof of your month and make mush out of it doing so it's pot roast not brisket.
    A brisket cooked without foil will have better texture and some bark done correctly. If your brisket is tough, why did you take it off the cooker?
    Jim[p]

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,283
    DavidR,
    Good tips below. Read Jim's closely. Though a brisket can be cooked like a pork butt, the product is totally different. And a brisket is more picky. There are many factors to achieving success, and they all need to fall into place.[p]Also, the quality of the meat can make or break a good chunk-o-chest. There seems to be a big difference between the worst and the best. Sure, experiment with foil if you want, but unless you want steamed meat, then do what Jim says....and wrap it post-plateau, and not for long. Remember though, that the foil is not necessary to acheive success. It could be another factor. Then again, you might find that if you foil, it will turn out just like you are envisioning.[p]And don't expect that it will have that same warming-mouth-coating feel of pulled pork. The flat will is pretty lean, and keeping it moist takes all the factors coming together. The point is more forgiving, and will probably be more like what you expect.[p]Have you been cooking choice angus (CAB)? If not, that is worth a try.[p]Just a few thoughts.
    Cheers!
    NB

    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • DavidRDavidR Posts: 178
    Nature Boy, thanks for responding.[p]"Have you been cooking choice angus (CAB)? If not, that is worth a try."[p]I've seen you mention CAB briskets. Do I need to order them special from a butcher, or are they available at places like Sams?[p]And maybe I'm not being as clear as I should be about what I want from a brisket. I know that brisket IS different than a pork butt, but I do want the brisket to be moist and juicy. If I can't have that, then why should I bother. [p]I know that 165* is officially DONE. But what happens exactly 'after' 165*? The collegen has broken down, so why do you keep going after that? And what do you look for to keep the meat from drying out? If I'm not going to put it in foil, then I need to do do something to keep the moisture in.[p]

  • DavidRDavidR Posts: 178
    Jim Minion,[p]You make a good point. If want pot roast, then I'll buy a pot roast. But like I mentioned in my response to Nature Boy, maybe I'm looking for something I shouldn't be when it comes to brisket.[p]"If your brisket is tough, why did you take it off the cooker?"[p]Well, at what point does the meat start drying out? There;s a fine line there, isn't it?[p]"Brisket in my mind should: cut 1/4" thick should when pulled on both end have a small stretch to it and come apart easily. It will have some tooth to it, if you can place a piece in your mouth and press against the roof of your month and make mush out of it doing so it's pot roast not brisket."[p]True. But it will do the same thing if it's dried out, won't it?[p]I apologize if I'm being a pain. I'm just trying to get cued in on what changes I need to make to get what I want. Everything else that I'm cooking is turning out great. But the brisket is giving me a real hard time.[p]

  • DavidR,
    Your question are legit, first 165º internal is NOT DONE,
    at this point the connective tissue has been breaking down for only the last 5 degrees. A brisket will be done from about 188º to 205º internal. The spread is because of the fat content of the brisket, the higher the fat content the lower the finish temp will be.
    If you cook a brisket at 225 to 250º indirect using water in the water pan I would say is the best bet for success at this point until you feel comfortable with briskets.
    CAB's are not easy to find on a regular basis but when you can their worth a try.
    Not all briskets are created equal and it is the toughest cut to get down right.
    Time and internal temp is just a guide, once you get into the that 188º range start testing the brisket for tender.
    If you use a Polder, use the probe to slide into the flat. If it goes into like it's going into butter, it's done. If there is resistence let it cook longer and retest later.
    Be sure that you are going into the flat and not fat when you test.
    Jim

  • Jim Minion,
    One other thing you can try is once the brisket reaches 188 to 190º internal pull it off the cooker and wrap in plastic and foil and place into a dry cooler. Let it set for a couple of hours, it will tenderize and will stay moist.[p]You will find that once you start cutting brisket it starts to dry out quicker than most other cuts you cook (those slices) knowing that you can pour apple juice on before closing up the package and place it in the cooler.
    Jim

  • DavidR, why not just try a 5 or 6 lb flat with a good fat cap , at least 1/4 inch , cook it until it reach's 180 internal , about 7 or 8 hrs at 250 , remove , foil with a little basting liquid ( beer , worchester , olive oil and some of your favorite sauce ) then toss it back on until it reach's 195 or 200 . remove , let it rest in a warm cooler for an hr or so . then remove the foil . if you like you throw it back on to set the surface and sauce if you like it , then cut across the grain and see what you think . if you flip it you can plainly see how the grain runs . then you can really start getting down to the nitty gritty lol . reg[p]
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,283
    Howdy DavidR,[p]You said "And maybe I'm not being as clear as I should be about what I want from a brisket. I know that brisket IS different than a pork butt, but I do want the brisket to be
    moist and juicy. If I can't have that, then why should I bother. "[p]Well, the reason I bother, is that the flavor of the brisket is like no other. You should be able to achieve moist and tender results. Juices usually should pour from the hole when I remove the polder probe. But I would not call the meat juicy...well maybe in certain parts of the point.[p]Again, read Jim's posts closely. We are lucky to have him sharing his wisdom on this forum! If you use water in the drip pan, make sure to monitor your cooking level temps to ensure it is warm enough there. I found differences of over 60% from the dome temp.[p]Beers onya! We'll be listening for your success....on your next brisket.
    NB

    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • CatCat Posts: 556
    DavidR,[p]After reading all the good suggestions below, I'd like to underscore Jim's point: it's the fat/collagen breaking down that makes a tender, juicy brisket. That process starts around 150-160, and it takes hours. A brisket that's been idling at 165 for 4 hours will be significantly more tender than one that hit 165 a few minutes ago.[p]What temp are you cooking at? Are you allowing the brisket to stay in the plateau until the internal temp starts rising again? Maybe you just need to try a little lower and slower.[p]I have no religious objection to foil, but to my mind nothing beats the taste - or texture - of a brisket cooked in hot smoky air. As NB says, it's a bigger challenge than pork butt...but what a rush when you finally get it right![p]Cathy[p]
  • DavidR,
    Are you talking about a whole brisket, a flat, trimmed, untrimmed,lean? FWIW - Cut and fat-cap may be an issue.

  • DavidRDavidR Posts: 178
    NYFerg,[p]I'm using those 10 to 15 pound cryovac untrimmed Packer style briskets with the big fat caps on them.

  • DavidRDavidR Posts: 178
    Cat,[p]Believe me, I don't want to use foil. It's just that I can't figure out what's wrong with my setup. I'm using those untrimmed Packer briskets with the fat cap on them. I cook it over a water-filled drip pan that's inside an inverted plate setter at a dome temp of between 225 and 250*. I stick the Polder probe into the flat from the side, and I try to get it where it's not touching any fat. And when it reaches the plateau, I even fine-tune the temp a little to ensure that it stays in the plateau as long as possible. I don't even lift the lid until the internal reads at least 190*.[p]What makes it even more agonizing, is that when I smell the aroma coming out of the slide/daisy after the plateau has been reached . . . . it's like sheer heaven. There is nothing in the world that beats that smell.[p]And yet, when I pull it off . . . the meat is tough and dry.[p]Yeah, it's a little exasperating.

  • CatCat Posts: 556
    DavidR,[p]Well, your setup and cooking temps sound fine. Is it possible you're cooking too long? Try the initial fork test at 185. Other than that, all I can suggest is trying a different source for the meat. [p]Or maybe this is just an example of the power of personal taste. Many people here like their ribs falling off the bone; I prefer them when the meat pulls away from the bone cleanly but still has some bite. Could be that foil is the only way to achieve the texture *you* want, and that's what matters most. [p]Anyway, good luck and enjoy the learning process. A dry brisket would make great hash or chili.[p]Cathy
  • ZipZip Posts: 372
    DavidR,[p]One thing to consider is that when a brisket is cooked as outlined below to a higher temperature, the moisture is diminished. However the perception of a moist cut of brisket is actually due to the fat and collagen breaking down when taken to the higher temperature. If the collagen is not broken down to a liquid state, the brisket will be /can be tough. [p]I'm not sure this makes sense, but maybe Mike O or Cat knows what I'm saying and could maybe clarify. I think this is touched on in "On Food And Cooking".[p]Ashley
  • MarvMarv Posts: 177
    Cat, I agree 100%, foil has it's uses......like on my TV antenea.[p]Marv

  • Zip,
    Look at this way as the temp of the collagen raises it breaks down, but if you do it at a high pit temp the brisket will dry out. If you raise the internal temp slowly the moisture content will remain higher and the collagen breaks down during that long stall we hear complaints about.
    The moisture loss is less at 225-250º than it is at 300º.
    Jim

  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Jim Minion,[p]Wow. It took Harold McGee several pages to make the same point! ;-} [p]I've learned a lot from your posts on Basso's board (like the apple juice tactic for reheating brisket), and it's good to have your perspective here. [p]Cathy

  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Marv,[p]Foil isn't my preference, but it might be what David R needs to achieve the brisket of his dreams. Hey, if you're gonna invest all that time and effort in barbeque, it should end up the way you want it! [p]Foil on your TV antenna, huh? Time to check out cable or satellite. ;-}[p]Cathy
  • ZipZip Posts: 372
    Jim Minion,[p]I'm in complete agreement on the lower cooking temperature for briskets, but I was speaking to your advice to David to taking the brisket to a higher temp. The point I'm trying to make is that when the collagen melts and lubes the strands of meat, the mouth feel is associated with moisture content by most folks and this is not always the case. [p]Jim, if you have the book I referenced above see page 108. The book I am looking at now is the 1997 edition. My other copy is the older edition but it is at the restaurant, so I can't say it would be on the same page if you have a earlier edition. It should be under the same section about the importance of fat in the "Meat Cookery" chapter.[p]I have played around with a soil moisture meter without any real success, but I would be nice to have one specifically for food for stuff such as this.[p]I hope this better explains what I was trying to say. [p]Ashley
  • Cat,
    Really enjoyed How to Read a French Fry, Thanks
    Jim

  • Zip,
    Your right, I miss read part of the point, If the collagen is broken down as it should you will get moisture to spray from the brisket as it's cut. You know you have a winner when this happens.
    I don't have that book either, another that needsto purchased.
    Thanks
    Jim

  • Cat,
    I've had to use foil before, your competing and turn in is 2 1/1 hours, the brisket is at 175º still in the stall. You have tomake a move to get a product that you can turn in, foil goes on and a Polder is inserted. Watch the temp close, it hits 185º you start checking for tender. At one hour before turn in the fol comes off and now you try to dry out the exterior a little and glaze if you are going to.
    If I'm at home there is no foil going on that brisket because I know the best brisket I've ever done got foil on them only after the cook.
    But what we need to do for DavidR is get him the best info so he can have that first success, then and only then does he want to cook more briskets and at that point he can then teach others.
    Jim

  • DavidRDavidR Posts: 178
    Jim Minion,[p]I just want to say a big thank you for all your input. And everyone else too![p]And believe this! If . . . no . . when . . I get that brisket that knocks me on my butt . . you're gonna hear me hollerin. ;)

  • ZipZip Posts: 372
    DavidR,[p]Now that is the spirit. BTW, where are located? Maybe you could get together with someone and team up on a brisket.[p]Ashley

  • DavidRDavidR Posts: 178
    Zip,[p]I live in the Houston, Texas area. Wait a minute! I'm from Texas . . I should know how to do a brisket, right? ;)

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