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help - brisket failures

idealflawidealflaw Posts: 26
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
Hi,
I have read ideas up and down on this site and others and failed 4 or 5 briskets in the last 6 months. I need some help from people who understand what's going on.


I have a small green egg. I cook at approximately 200-250 with a meat thermostat until the brisket gets somewhere like 185. Maybe a bit more or less but each attempt has been a total failure - inedible and rubber.

Each time, I feel it cooks faster than it should, even with egg temp between 200-250.

I've tried fat side up and fat side down - they both sucked.

One attempt early in the summer, i put a drip pan and filled it with water - it was decent but not spectacular.


What am I doing wrong? I'm following the rules by the book and it's just not working.

BTW - i use rubs, no marinades, no mop sauces.... I don't open the egg even once until my meat thermostat goes off....

i pull it out and it's cooked but it's not that black crusty color it should be...


what the heck is going on? My suspicion is that it's a small egg and the coals are directly cooking the meat... the drip-pan from my least-failed attempt may have been a heat shield of sorts.


any suggestions??

Comments

  • bubba timbubba tim Posts: 3,216
    You just solved your dilemma. You are cooking the beast over direct heat and it needs to be indirect heat using a platesetter. Cooking a brisket is more about the journey than the cook. Temp 225, paint the brisket with yellow mustard, add your rub. 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours per pound is a good planning tool. Internal temp 190 tops.
    Wrap it in foil and let it rest for 1 hour. That should get you pointed in the right direction. Good luck.
    SEE YOU IN FLORIDA, March 14th and 15th 2014 http://www.sunshinestateeggfest.com You must master temp, smoke, and time to achive moisture, taste, and texture! Visit www.bubbatim.com for BRISKET HELP
  • mollysharkmollyshark Posts: 1,519
    I don't use a platesetter, but I do use a rack over a big drip pan. Think turkey setup. There has to be a barrier, but IMHO I think a platesetter is just too much bulk for no reason. I'm a fat side up person. I pour a bottle of beer or two in the drip pan, keep cooking temp at 225 or so, and let it go. Figure an hour a pound. If you use a platesetter, figure longer.

    Gonna be at the Arizonafest by any chance? I'm doing a brisket class.

    mShark
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,168
    Another thing with brisket is to cook it to tenderness and not a target temp. Some briskets are good and tender at 185, some need to go closer to 200. Undershoot or overshoot and you will be eating rubber or boot leather.

    Starting at 185* I use a probe thermometer at first to see if it is getting tender, the probe will insert with little resistance, like I am sticking it into a marshmallow. Once it gets to that point I use a fork. I insert it in a few different places and give a little twist. If the fork twists easily it is done and ready for it's nap in the cooler.

    When you pull it, double wrap in HD foil, toss it in a cooler and cover with newspaper or an old beach towel for a couple hours. It will still be too hot to touch when you remove it for slicing.

    Also, I am assuming you are using flats only and not whole packer briskets. What size brisket are you trying to cook? Smaller briskets can benefit from the ole Texas crutch - wrap it in foil with a little beef broth or beer once it hits 160-165* and let it finish to tenderness that way.
  • I'm a newby when it comes to the BGE but I've cooked briskets on it, and in my Brinkman smoker both with success. In the BGE I use a plate setter and drip pan but the drip pan is dry. Not to get personal but, I usually rub my meat the night before, or early in the day if I plan to cook overnight. Following the advice of others on here I set my dome temp at 250 knowing that the rack temperature will be somewhere in the 210-225 range. Several wood chunks just before putting the meat in makes for a nice smoke ring and taste. Using a remote thermometer I cook to 195 degrees. You didn't say how long youg cook takes but mine is usally right at 1.5 hours per pound. If you want I can send you an excell spreadsheet with my meat temperatures during the cook.

    Without a doubt the it is easier to do low and slow cooks on the BGE than on the Brinkman. With my wood burner it takes constant attention to maintain temperature and I'm adding wood to the firebox every hour. The BGE is more of a set it and forget it (well almost) operation.
  • J AppledogJ Appledog Posts: 1,046
    The grade of meat can make a difference in times and temps. We usually cook prime briskets. They seem to cook a little faster and are done around 185°. JCA
  • dhuffjrdhuffjr Posts: 3,182
    Just about all my previous brisket cooks have been select packers. The one I cooked Sat/Sun was a choice flat from Sams. It was very tender and moist. Angela said the best one we've cooked. Meat does make a difference.
  • i don't think this had anything to do with brisket quality. i think I'm doing something wrong.

    BTW, i don't know how long it took to cook but never more than 8 hours, usually no plateau or not a major one.

    I have a small egg. I find it a little tricky sometimes. Not as many accessories are available retail for them (plate setter for example) though i may be able to buy online.

    in any regards, are you guys using a drip pan or some kind of heat deflection? Or nothing at all?
    What other things are people doing? If you're using a small egg, I'd like to know.
  • i don't think this had anything to do with brisket quality. i think I'm doing something wrong.

    BTW, i don't know how long it took to cook but never more than 8 hours, usually no plateau or not a major one.

    I have a small egg. I find it a little tricky sometimes. Not as many accessories are available retail for them (plate setter for example) though i may be able to buy online.

    in any regards, are you guys using a drip pan or some kind of heat deflection? Or nothing at all?
    What other things are people doing? If you're using a small egg, I'd like to know.
  • J AppledogJ Appledog Posts: 1,046
    I have a platesetter for my small BGE. I bought it at my local BGE dealer.
  • BENTEBENTE Posts: 8,337
    my first briskets sucked monkey butt!!! i finally read thirdeye's site and his write up on brisket helped me fix what was wrong and i have had some very good briskets i used it more of a guide rather than word for word
    http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com/1996/03/brisket.html

    there is the link to the brisket page.. i wish i could help more but i am rather of a novice at briskets.. but since i have been following his advice i have turned out some pretty good ones.. at least my family liked them which is the only important thing

    05-03-08016.jpg

    happy eggin

    TB

    Anderson S.C.

    "Life is too short to be diplomatic. A man's friends shouldn't mind what he does or says- and those who are not his friends, well, the hell with them. They don't count."

    Tyrus Raymond Cobb

  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,768
    Actually there is a small Platesetter. If your local dealer is unaware of this have him call the Mothership.

    Also there is Chubby's GrateMates

    How big is this brisket you are cooking? How much fat is on it? What have you done to the brisket before cooking?
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,768
    After a year word getting to the dealers is really slow. We just need to educate our dealers better.. I am just amazed at the number of them that say the mini is a novelty.
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,168
    You mean you can actually cook on that little thing?
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,768
    Just as soon as I buy one I will..

    I have to find a job and room in my cart..
  • mollyshark wrote:
    I don't use a platesetter, but I do use a rack over a big drip pan. Think turkey setup. There has to be a barrier, but IMHO I think a platesetter is just too much bulk for no reason. I'm a fat side up person. I pour a bottle of beer or two in the drip pan, keep cooking temp at 225 or so, and let it go. Figure an hour a pound. If you use a platesetter, figure longer.

    Gonna be at the Arizonafest by any chance? I'm doing a brisket class.

    mShark

    man, I would just about fly to AZ for a brisket class at this point. I'm determined to get this right and I'm patient - I get the feeling I won't be satisfied until I'm an old man and doing it by instinct.

    I grew up in Texas and have a place in my heart for hill country bbq - Austin, San Antonio and everything in between. When you talk texas hill country, you're talking brisket and sausage.

    I live in Seattle now and had bbq today - it was more like a sloppy joe and I didn't like it at all. I'm yearning for that pecan and mesquite smoked texas brisket.

    IF anyone could suggest classes or other ways to learn this where I can be cooking with an expert, I'd love to know...
  • Fidel wrote:
    Another thing with brisket is to cook it to tenderness and not a target temp. Some briskets are good and tender at 185, some need to go closer to 200. Undershoot or overshoot and you will be eating rubber or boot leather.

    Starting at 185* I use a probe thermometer at first to see if it is getting tender, the probe will insert with little resistance, like I am sticking it into a marshmallow. Once it gets to that point I use a fork. I insert it in a few different places and give a little twist. If the fork twists easily it is done and ready for it's nap in the cooler.

    When you pull it, double wrap in HD foil, toss it in a cooler and cover with newspaper or an old beach towel for a couple hours. It will still be too hot to touch when you remove it for slicing.

    Also, I am assuming you are using flats only and not whole packer briskets. What size brisket are you trying to cook? Smaller briskets can benefit from the ole Texas crutch - wrap it in foil with a little beef broth or beer once it hits 160-165* and let it finish to tenderness that way.

    you're correct - smaller flats due to egg size...
  • one other comment - small egg,,, with a drip pan, can't fit enough coals in the egg to finish the job - have to refresh the coals which is a bitch of an operation...
  • ideaflaw,

    If you're in Seattle (I'm in Bellevue), head over to Thompson's Home and Hearth in Issaquah. Guy or Les can help you out and certainly get you the parts you need- like a small plate setter. They've really helped me out.

    As a transplant from New Orleans, I feel your pain. I long to get savvy enough with my BGEs to be able to cook food like I remember. Slowly but surely. ;)

    Oh, and one more thing, there's a great butcher shop on Front Street in Issaquah (I don't remember the name, but it's close to the library and the Issaquah Brewery) that will cut a brisket up for you. I've had great results with their meat.

    Just some ideas.
  • i have done both in issaquah. WEnt to the butcher on front street and bought a brisket - it was extremely expensive though. 4 dollars a pound? When the hell did this become a ribeye??? i bought it because i was in a hurry..
  • Yeah. They aren't cheap. My first brisket- that I bought from there- turned out pretty good, though. I haven't really looked much further. Whole Paycheck (aka Whole Foods) isn't any better and they only sell the flat.

    Keep on searching...
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