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Extra slow brisket question

skihornskihorn Posts: 600
edited 12:53PM in EggHead Forum
Does cooking a brisket even lower and slower than 250 dome make for a better brisket?

The reason I ask is that everyone seems to agree that you shouldn't try it lower than 250 dome. I mostly hear two reasons. First, some people have trouble getting their Egg stable below 250. Maybe I just got lucky, but I had no problem keeping mine at 225 dome. The second reason is that it just takes too long. However, I find that a plus. If I start a brisket on Fri night it is going to be done in time for lunch. However, I usually want it for dinner.

I just did an 11 lb brisket. I put it on at 9:00 p.m. Friday and pulled it at 4:00 p.m. Saturday with a 192 internal temp. (19 hours cooking time) That was perfect timing as I wrapped it, put in an ice chest, and then sliced it at 7:00 p.m. as my guests were arriving. That also gave me just enough time to put a bunch of chicken on the Egg.

The brisket was outstanding. Very tender and moist. Was it because I cooked it lower and slower, or did I just get lucky with a good brisket?

Freddie
League City, TX

Comments

  • hornhonkhornhonk Posts: 3,841
    Probably a little of both. :) I'm doing one tomorrow. Hope it comes out as good as yours. Actually, I did one last week at 250 for 17 hrs and it was incredible. It weighed 12 lbs.
  • I usually start my brisket at 180 and up it to 220 when I go to bed or the internal gets to 160. It seems to pick up a bit more smoke flavor that way. I also add a bit of beef broth when I foil it, adds some moisture.
  • skihornskihorn Posts: 600
    Wow Phrettbender that is some serious low and slow. How long does a brisket take using your temps?

    Freddie
    League City, TX
  • BigGreenDonBigGreenDon Posts: 166
    Freddie,

    Some folks worry about the brisket being in the 40 to 140F "danger zone" for too long of a time. It is generally accepted that you should not leave your food in that zone for a cumulative time of more than 4 hours. This includes prep.

    That being said, this food safety rule does not account for the use of smoke, which is a preservative on its own.

    Don
  • skihornskihorn Posts: 600
    Don: Does the danger zone apply to meat as it is being cooked at temps well above the danger zone? In addition, to the smoke being a preservative I would think the external heat would be likewise. In other words, even though the internal temp may in the danger zone, the exterior is well above it. That would at least kill any airborne issues.

    On a large piece of meat I would think that the internal would rarely reach 140 in the first few hours of a low and slow, especially if you factor in prep time. I am not questioning your stats. I just know that a lot of these safety issues seem a little too conservative for the real world.

    Freddie
  • BigGreenDonBigGreenDon Posts: 166
    Freddie,

    I can't really argue with your reasoning. I just wanted to mention the danger zone thing as something to think about. I have done very very slow cooks as well, and have not been too concerned about this. You asked for possible concerns with going slow-slow, and I supplied one.

    The surface temperature will certainly get to 140 faster... You might want to be really careful with your temp probe, however, since any bugs on it will have been used to "inoculate" the center of your meat (which will be in the zone longer)! If this stuff worries you, you might wipe off the probe with alcohol before inserting.

    At 225F dome, you might be surprised to find that you get to 140F internal faster than you think. The temperature of the meat changes fastest at the beginning of the cook. Heat flow is proportional to the difference in temperature between the meat and the grid temp, so since this difference is greatest at the start, the meat temperature slope is greatest at the beginning. Slightly lower dome temperatures slow up the latter part of the cook more-so than the early part.

    I think you are OK, really. There may be others in the forum more into food safety than I that would argue otherwise (and if so, I am interested in learning more too!), but I think the presence of smoke buys us a LOT...

    Don
  • skihornskihorn Posts: 600
    Don: Thanks for the thoughts. I am not very good about cleaning my probes. I should probably do better.

    Freddie
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