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Jul 2, 2013 05:28 AM

Part-cooked bbq brisket

Yesterday I slow-cooked an 11lb brisket on my Weber kettle. I had to go out for a while during the day and had to relight the coals when I got back. It's a delicate balance on the Weber restricting the air using the bottom vents to keep the temp low without the charcoal going out entirely.

Anyway all-in the brisket maybe had about 6hrs in the Weber at a temp of around 250-300F, plus a little longer at lower temps. I used soaked hickory for the smoke. The internal temp of the meat never got higher than 150F, and when the coals went out the met cooled for a while too.

It's been in the fridge overnight. I've now put it in a giant Tupperware and am taking it to the cottage where I intend to slowly reheat, cook a little more, and serve.

With all the variations in temp I'm seriously worried how this will turn out. My only comfort is that I never pushed the temp up too high.

When I reheat should I take the IT right up to 200C? Or with all the time it has already had will it be dried out by then?

Help! Any suggestions appreciated!

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  1. Well I would say that the temp being 250 - 300° is too high but probably not fatal.

    I'd stick it in the oven (covered) at about 225° for about 6 hours. Then turn off the oven and just let it rest in there for another couple. Take it out and let it rest about a half hour.

    If any damage has been done, it's done. It's spilled milk. I wouldn't worry about it. I suspect it will turn out fine. Maybe not your best but fine none the less. I assume this isn't going to be judged by a bunch of Texans??


    10 Replies
    1. re: Davwud

      Thanks Davwud. It's on a propane grill now. Been on about 3hrs. Tightly wrapped with foil. Indirect heat. 225 F. I appreciate your help. I think I would have undercooked it otherwise. Is it worth monitoring the internal temp? If so what should I aim for?

      1. re: gooler

        A temp of 190F is pretty ideal, It should rest before serving.
        Are you using the Fuse Method. If not take a look at this thread where it is explained
        It works with the Vents wide open, dry Wood Chunks and no monitoring.

        1. re: chefj

          Yes I do use the fuse method chefj. I use lumpwood charcoal. The vents had to be almost shut though or the temperature seemed to get too high. Perhaps I lit too many coals with the propane torch this time, but I found it was a delicate balance between too hot and going out. The vents are starting to get a bit bent on my old WK. I'm not sure if that is making any difference.

          I'm not sure how dry wood chunks would work. I find they need to be soaked in order to create enough smoke. Does the smoke flavour get into the meat even if there's not lots of visible smoke? I found myself rotating a bunch of hickory chunks from the WK to the bucket of water to resoak. I would consider using wood entirely to cook instead of charcoal if I could get more info. I have lots of seasoned hardwood I use to burn for fuel in the winter.

          I do a reasonable amount of BBQ - until now just pulled pork, chicken, and baby back ribs. Perhaps it's time to upgrade to a fancier setup. A Big Green Egg is out of my budget though. Something DIY perhaps.

          I'm also interested in trying a fattier piece of beef like blade. This is from the shoulder and should shred kind of like pulled pork surely? And would presumably be more forgiving than brisket!

          1. re: gooler

            Save your money and check out the Weber Smokey Mountain smoker. It's a fraction of the cost of a Big Green Egg and turns out identical food.

            The quality of the product is far, far, far more dependent on the pitmaster than it is on the smoking vessel.

            1. re: gooler

              As far as heat regulation I think the problem is the Lumpwood Charcoal. When using Formed Briquets the temp. is held at around 225 with no attention at all with the vent wide open.
              Never had any problem creating enough smoke with the unsoaked Hickory chunks. I have probably done 200# of meat at this point and never had volume of smoke problems.

              If you want to make a Beef BBQ that will be like Pork Butt I would use Chuck.

              1. re: chefj

                Good point about the lumpwood. I like the fact that it has no additives though. The cost of my lump wood snobbery I suppose is the need for constant supervision. Or maybe I can just hone my technique. I've had more successful smokes with it in the past.

                Perhaps I'll try unsoaked wood next time. Where do you put the wood in fact? Directly on the coals? In a box?

                Blade is chuck - a subsection of the chuck I think. Anyway we're thinking along the same lines. Have you smoked chuck before?

                1. re: gooler

                  Since the Charcoal you use burn much hotter the soaking may be necessary.
                  This is all explained in the link I provided above but here you go:
                  I have smoked a Cross Rib Roast also know as Boston Cut or English Cut Roast. I like having the fat cap that it provides and I think that the shape and marbling lends itself better to the method .

                  1. re: chefj

                    From what I can see wood chunks burn slow, so I think I'll experiment with a varying quantities of wood chunks & charcoal - and see if how steady I can get the temp.

                    I've never cooked cross rib roast - never heard of it even. I did cook prime rib on the bbq with some smoke. It was good but I felt the hickory I used was a too strong a flavour for it. I have a good feeling about doing a long slow chuck/blade cook. Pulled beef. Oh lordy.

                    Thanks for the links. I missed the link before. This type of fuse method is slightly different to what I use and seems better. I was making a pile of lump wood charcoal and lighting just the very topmost pieces with a small propane torch. The 'ring of charcoal' approach looks like it might be more controllable.

                    1. re: gooler

                      Yes a pile is not a fuse. You would end up with much more charcoal burning at once creating much more heat.

          2. re: gooler

            At this point, forget the internal temperature. There are too many variables involved to use internal temperature as your determining factor as to when to pull your brisket.

            Instead, go by texture. After all, that is what we're looking for in a brisket right? Pull it when a probe thermometer slides in easily as if it's sliding into butter. That's when you pull it.

            Good idea to wrap it in foil. That's exactly what I would have done too. However, if this ever happens again, seal it in foil again, but cook it at 350 degrees F instead. It will yield the same tender results (or even better) but in much less time.

        2. If you are afraid that it will be too dry, why not add some beer or wine to it in the covered dish as you slowly reheat?

          1. Thanks to all for the vital assistance with this delicate situation! The brisket turned out really great. Had to keep it cold in fact a further day after finishing the cooking. I sliced it cold and reheated very gently in some cooking juices the following day. To the remaining cooking juices I added a bit of bbq sauce, a dash of cider vinegar, a dash of maple syrup, and I forget what else to make a really pretty good sauce. About half the brisket served 8 people.

            2 days later I chopped some of the remaining brisket and fried it up with chopped onions, some chopped leftover new potatoes to make a superb corned-beef(ish) hash. A bit of the sauce added at the end gave it a nice smokey flavour.

            Despite all the work (I did make it hard for myself!) I would definitely make it again. Next time I'll wake up really early to light the coals! I can only imagine how good it must be when you cook it spot-on!

            2 Replies
            1. re: gooler

              Good to hear everything turned out great.

              I highly encourage you to look into "high heat brisket". You can smoke it in 4 - 5 hours with the same or better results.

              Some of the world's best barbecue teams do it this way. I learned this method directly from Myron Mixon of Jack's Old South about 5 years ago at a competition. I haven't looked back since.

              1. re: 1POINT21GW

                Thanks 1POINT21GW. I will definitely investigate.