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Another Brisket... another round of depression

Granted.. I *know* brisket isn't going to turn out like pork butt roast.. I *know* it's not baby back ribs.. but I've tried 3 times now and always get solid A flavor... B- texture... and a D or worse on moisture.

Today's experiment was a medium flat cut (3.5 lbs)... I rubbed it with the usual suspects (salt, brown sugar, garlic salt, peppers, powders, etc..) and let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours.

Since my smoker seems to be too hot (and part of the problem at 235-245 deg) I cheated and slow cooked it over a bath of water, vinegar, juice, bay leaf for 5 hours at 220 deg and took it out. My meat therm has a dead watch battery so I have no idea what internal temp was... it "felt" like it was loosened up and soft but since it's brisket it wasn't exactly falling apart). I cooled it over night in the fridge again.

Today I stoked up the smoker until it was gushing hickory sweetness.. and put the brisket in for half hour and then flipped it to get another 1/2 hour and turned off the smoker. I pulled it out.. let it rest.. and then sliced it.. and as usual.. tasted nice.. steaky texture.. .but dry. It'll do with some sauce on it.. but I've had brisket from bbq joints that tastes similar but has a more moist, fatty taste to it... why not mine??

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  1. Flats can often be pretty lean. If you want to pull it you need to take it to an internal of
    195-200. Next time try a chuck roast or a shoulder. Has enough fat and connective tissue. Makes excellent pulled beef. It's my go to for beef on the smoker

    1. I just did a 14 pound packer cut brisket, this cut has a lot of fat, flat cut is quite a bit leaner, I just put rub on it and put it in my cookshack amerique smoker fat side up with temp probe in, some mesquite chunks and chips and cooked it at 225 for an internal temp of 200f it took 22 hours, I let it sit for an hour covered with foil and towell and it was so tender and moist I had to cut it with an electric knife across the grain or it would fall apart. It seems many have better luck with the larger and fattier packer cut, if too large you can always freeze some for later.

      1 Reply
      1. re: malibumike

        Classic technique and results. Small flats just don't measure up. Again the reason for a different cut. 14# and 22 hrs. can be a bit much for some folks including me depending on my time frame

      2. You're not cooking it long enough. I'm guessing you got it to the stall stage, but no further. Get a new battery for your meat thermometer, and cook it to 200F internal.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ricepad

          A flat cut is not going to be juicy. Not enough fat throughout. To have any kind of moisture, you have to braise it. A packer cut is what you need for a juicy smoked brisket. Smoke it for 4-5 hours, wrap it in foil, stoke up the fire and cook it about 2 more hours. I've smoked my briskets for that period of time and was in a hurry so I wrapped them in foil and finished in my oven at 300 deg for an hour or so

          1. re: rexster314

            Very much so. I just don't have the patience to let my double briskets smoke for hours upon hours upon hours, so after four hours of smoking I use the Texas Crutch (aka: wrap in tinfoil) so that it avoids the stall.

            Use a full brisket, e_bone, and freeze the excess. You'll be amazed.

        2. Simplify your process. Your smoker is not too hot. Nothing wrong with cooking at 250f or even more. Rule of thumb is about 1-1.5 hours per pound at 250, but it's done when it wants to be done. Foil at about the halfway point, add ing some liquid of your choice.

          Most importantly, throw your thermometer away. Tenderness is your gauge, not temperature. A bamboo skewer should be able to slide through your brisket with little or no resistance. After pulling it from the smoker, wrap it in foil, towels, and place in a cooler for about an hour.

          While the flat may be a little leaner, it should still be plenty moist. Based on your description, it seems like you may have overcooked the brisket a bit.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bagofwater

            My "foolproof" method is no more than 1 hour per pound in the smoker and then place in a roasting pan covered tightly with foil and place in a 225 degree oven for 30 minutes per pound. You get the benefits of smoke AND braise and it will be tender.

            1. re: ferret

              Another good method!

              Also, I was thinking OP may want to do a high heat cook with a small flat like that. It will get to tender quickly without allowing a lot of evaporation of the liquid in the meat.

          2. Get some Claude's Brisket Marinade - if it's not available in your area, goggle them. I never lost a brisket with it!