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First Lo and Slo brisket, and half the meat too dry; half seemed smoky perfection... Any tips?

Hi I am based in the UK and whenever I cook some new meat, I always look on here for tips.   Thank you all for your wisdom. I thought I’d report back on my first attempt at Lo and Slo brisket to see if I can get any thoughts on what might be improved. Since around half the Brisket was very good,, but the other half was really too dry and I assume overcooked.  I bought the meat from a top quality butchers. I ideally wanted it on the bone (to do this recipe https://www.biggreenegg.co.uk/blog/recipes/author/low-and-slow-brisket), but I couldn’t get that.  In any case this recipe is pretty consistent with other info I had read on here. The piece as around 8lb, but much much flatter than I anticipated.  And much thinner in general (2” at its thickest; and less than an inch at its thinnest):

 It wouldn’t fit on my Medium BGE!  So – seeing a tip on this forum – I folded it.   And thought this would also solve the fact that the end was very thin.  And pinned it with a wooden skewer:

 

Set up at 250 dome and a probe in the thickest piece to aim for the 195 IT which seems ideal.   Meat on at 11pm (aiming to pull at 7pm and eat at 8pm).   Went to bed.

Woke up at 7am (so 8 hours cooking time) with the IT at around 150 (I assumed I was in the Stall at this point and could be here for hours) and the dome was a little high (270 or so) so I closed the daisies a little. 

Then I went out for three hours (until 11am) but when I came back the fire was pretty much out!! And the IT went down to 130.   Not sure if this contributed to the end result not being ideal.

This is how it looked at that point:



I threw a fire lighter and relit it.  It seemed to relight and dome and IT started creeping up again.

After a few more hours of steady progress it stopped again.   This time I thought that maybe the lump was all burning out (since I had been careful to only adjust the daisy wheel very carefully).

So I took the meat and plate setter off and added some more charcoal. Lit it and waited (meat may have been out for 15 minutes or so).  Again, this fluctuation may have contributed to the end result.

At around 6pm was approaching 180 IT and thought on target.  It got up to 190 but then stopped increasing and fact went down a few degrees.

Guests were arriving and worried that the temp was reversing may have meant that something had gone wrong, I pulled it. Wrapped in foil for an hour and here it then is on the chopping board:

My first observation was: how black and small. The meat had been huge. It must have shrunk by half!

It was tasty.  The thickest pieces were very juicy, there was a nice smoke ring, the bark was flaky. All good and it went down well. 

But the thinnest pieces were very very dry.  The bark on the thin pieces was pretty difficult to bite through.

So what do the gurus here think?  Why might the fire having gone out caused a problem; and did I overcook the brisket?  Should i have had two probes - on in thick part; other in thin part?  And pulled separately?

Any tips on how to improve gratefully received! 

TMOTB 

Comments

  • CPARKTXCPARKTX Posts: 1,858
    Not a bad first out outing. You probably under cooked a bit, shoot for 195 -205 IT but go for feel not temp. Also, you'll probably get better results wrapping with butcher paper, foil doesn't vent enough and will soften up the bark. 
    LBGE & SBGE.  Central Texas.  
  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 11,958
    edited December 2016
    First and foremost, avoid briskets with thin flats. Keep the meat over the platesetter. The edges are hotter. You might want to get a larger round pan to deflect more direct heat. Seems like you undercooked it as well. 
  • Hans61Hans61 Posts: 3,409
    second getting briskets with thick flats. second the tooth pic test for doneness. 

    separate the flat from the point. keep the flat in tact, wrap and store in a cooler. 

    trim and cube the point, make burnt ends,

    keep the flat warm and wrapped till meal time, then slice and serve contemporaneously 
    “There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body.”
    Coach Finstock Teen Wolf
  • Thank you. I am new to the anatomy of the brisket.  I wish I had better pictures, and looked before I cooked, but I think I may only have had the "flat". 

    Can any of you guys tell from looking at my few (woefully inadequate) photos?


  • blind99blind99 Posts: 4,215
    It looks like some sort of flat. I found them very hard to cook and do much better with a whole "packer," which is a point and flat together, at least over here. If you got half to come out well, you have exceeded what I am capable of! 

    Thanks for posting, it's great to see what people in other countries are cooking. 
    Chicago, IL - Large and Small BGE - Weber Gasser and Kettle
  • RedSkipRedSkip Posts: 1,290
    I'd agree, one large flat and no point.
    Large BGE - McDonald, PA
  • Ozzie_IsaacOzzie_Isaac Posts: 8,797
    Was the meat on the flat crumbly?  If not, it was not overdone, probably underdone.  The second plateau was another stall.
    If it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing.

    XL, Medium, Minimax, Blackstone Griddle
  • 200-205 degrees.  Temp probe is tender like going into butter.   Foil wrap and rest in a cooler for 2-3 hours.    Start early so you can get it to rest for hours in the cooler.  
    LBGE , 22.5 & 18 WSM, 26.25 Kettle, Jennair Gasser, & a plethora of mobile Webers 
    Avid Cubs - Jaguars - Seminole fan. 
    Jacksonville, FL
  • You could have cut the flat off a couple hours earlier and cut it up put it in some of your favorite bbq sauce and made it into burnt ends. That's what I usually do. 
  • Ozzie_IsaacOzzie_Isaac Posts: 8,797
    Coach292 said:
    You could have cut the flat off a couple hours earlier and cut it up put it in some of your favorite bbq sauce and made it into burnt ends. That's what I usually do. 
    Burnt ends is usually made from the point.  The fat in the point really adds a lot of flavor.
    If it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing.

    XL, Medium, Minimax, Blackstone Griddle
  • BotchBotch Posts: 6,335
    edited December 2016
    I've only cooked flats, that's all I can find around here.  I've had to "fold" them in the past but once they shrink a bit, I've been able to finish them, er, "flat".
     
    Normally I'd agree with the posts above that it was undercooked (dry and chewy) but you said,

    The thickest pieces were very juicy, there was a nice smoke ring, the bark was flaky. All good and it went down well.  

    But the thinnest pieces were very very dry.  The bark on the thin pieces was pretty difficult to bite through.

    If the thickest part of the brisket was good, I can only assume the thin part was overcooked by then.  I've never had that happen personally, however; don't quite know what to tell you.  
    _____________________________________________
     
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
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