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Why did my brisket not turn out right?

I started my 4.6 lb. half brisket cooking last night at midnight. I kept a watch on the temperature and saw that it didn't get over 250 degrees and tried to keep it close to 200 degrees. Then somewhere between 2am and 3am the fire went out and I had to get it going again. I continued cooking it then between 200 and 250 and about 9am this morning thought it looked done and did the fork test and it seemed done. I took it off the egg and let it cool and then proceeded to cut into it. It seemed a little bit crunchier than it should be and as I got into more of it I found that it was too done on the side without the fat cap. In fact, about half of the brisket was dry and too done. What did I do wrong? I was so looking forward to that moist, delicious, melts in your mouth brisket that we'd had before at Dr. Chicken's house. This was my first time useing the indirect heat method. Could that be why I had trouble keeping the fire going? Next time I will definitely try a larger whole brisket instead of the half brisket. Nature Boy said that a brisket is easy and you almost can't get it wrong. Well, I guess you can write me down as someone who can. I could use some pointers on what I can do to keep this from happening again.[p]Thanks,


  • CatCat Posts: 556
    ChickenHawk,[p]It sounds to me as though it simply cooked a bit too long. Brisket does dry out easily (which makes indirect cooking a good idea) - and if this was a relatively thin one nine hours may have been too much.[p]Were you monitoring the internal temp with a Polder thermometer? That's a good indicator of when it's near done, and takes some of the guesswork out of the process; I find that somewhere between 180 and 190 mine are tender and juicy. But every piece of meat has its own personality and timetable.[p]Chop this one up for brisket or BBQ beef sandwiches, and look forward to the next one. You'll be a pro at this in no time - it runs in the family![p]Cathy
  • Cat,
    Thanks for the advice. I need to get me one of those polder thermometers. I'd better do that before I try cooking me another brisket in the future. This one was a pretty small and thin brisket. I didn't think it was that small until after I cooked it and saw how much it cooks up when you cook it. We probably will make this one into BBQ beef sandwiches, except some of it may be even too done for that. I'll just have to really pour the BBQ sauce on it. Thanks for the good idea.[p]ChickenHawk

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    ChickenHawk,[p]Along with the Polder you might make life easier on you by using a min temp of 220 as its just lots easier to hold and at that temp you get a better chance that the fire "won't" go out as easily - especially if cooking direct where drips could put out a small 200 deg fire.[p]Tim
  • ChickenHawk,
    I think the brisket is the most mad whack piece of meat
    on the planet.. and toughest to que right. If you cant find anything but a trimmed flat though, and your set on brisket
    for dinner, you can always pour he smoke to it early,
    like 4 or 5 hours and the spray her and double wrap her in foil and throw it back in to finish.. No bark, might loose a little smoke, but very tender, and fool proof. ( and a lot quicker)[p]Dylan

  • ChickenHawk,
    Chalk this one up to experience! Cat, Q.N.E.tyme and Tim M have all steered you in the right direction. A polder or simular temperature gauge is a must (almost!)! I flew by the seat of my pants for a long time, but the goof-ups almost always pointed back to over cooking, without the polder.(I'll get one this weekend)
    Not all of my cooks have turned out perfect or even good! The brisket I cooked last night & today turned out tender, moist, but not much flavor! I blame that on not allowing enough time for the rub and/or marinade to penetrate the "chunk of chest"! I was sure looking forward to the Jamacian Jerk recipe too! (the hotter the better!) But the end results would have been bland to my deer-hunting buddies in Wisconsin! I mean, cottage cheese would have had more kick than either of the brisket chunks. Back to the drawing board![p]It works like that sometimes! If we asked Tim M, Cat, NB, King-O-Coals, GFW, Sprinter, C~W, Spin, Elder Ward and any of the other old timers, they'd say the same thing! Not everything turns out perfect everytime! Remember, I said to throw away the book that came with the Egg? That's the reason its being re-written.[p]Like I said before, chalk this one up to experience, but use it as a learning experience![p]
    Dr. Chicken

  • Cat, where can you find a Polder thermometer. I called the Radio Shacks around here and they did not have any.[p]Any thoughts on where else they may be found.[p]Thanks, Frank

  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Franco,[p]Lots of cooking catalogs carry them - Professional Cutlery Direct (, Williams-Sonoma, Chef's Catalog etc.
    So do many housewares stores. Sometimes the brand name is Perfect Temp, not Polder, but it's the same product. [p]Cathy

  • Franco, thermometers identical to the Polder are available with names like Sunbeam, Timex, etc. They sell for anywhere from $30 to $5, depending on who is discontinuing them. Last Christmas Sears sold-out their Polders for $5. Marshalls had them for $8 recently. Check the discount places, as well as Wards and Sears, for availability and a good price.

  • BamabobBamabob Posts: 246
    Howdy,one other place you might check if you have a store handy,is either Home Depoe or Lowes. I bought one for a friend a couple of weeks ago, can't remember which store. It cost about $15.00 with tax,It was almost identical to my Polder and half the cost.Good luck. Bob

  • JimWJimW Posts: 450
    If some of is too done for sandwiches, try making it into chile. The liquids will reinvigorate the meat and the meat will give a great flavor to the chile.

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