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Did First Brisket - Help!

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I am a newer Big Joe owner...love this thing.  Decided last weekend to try a Brisket.  I have read it is one of the harder things to do so I did lots of research.  It turned out OK, not great....I want to figure out how to do Great!  Thought maybe some of you seasoned veterans could help.  The thing is I feel like I executed exactly what I wanted to so I am not sure what to fix!  Here is the info:

Kamado Joe Big Joe

Temp: 250 (stayed pretty consistent, got p to 265 or 270 for maybe 20 minutes, then back down to 250)

USDA Choice Brisket Flat - 5.5 lbs

Did it Texas style, just salt and pepper rub, let rub set for 1/2 hour then onto the 250 grill.  Had some hickory smoke rolling on grill.

I don't have fancy thermometer set, I just have a probe type.

I cooked/smoked it at 250 for about 4 hours and did not lift the lid once. 

Pulled it off the grill after about 4 hours when internal temp was about 165 ish.

Put it on aluminum foil, added about 1 cup of coffee and sealed it up in foil, back on the 250 grill.

It was probably on the grill about another 2 hours double wrapped in foil. 

pulled off grill when internal temp was 205.

Kept in Foil and put in a cooler for about an hour.

Took out and sliced. 


Here are my observations:

* Did not get a real black or thick "Bark" like I saw in lots of the videos I watched

* Flavor was really good!  Nice Smoke, Salt, Pepper, Beef...was good!

* Had a nice "smoke ring"

* Pulled apart after slicing, did not fall apart.  But to pull apart took a little more effort than it should of, was bit on tough side.

* It was not real juicy, It was not shoe leather dry, but was not real moist either. 


So I have no idea what to try different next time...but it is a hard meat to experiment on based on time it takes and $$. 


I welcome any an all suggestions.  I would really like to have this turn out better next time!

Pic 1: Putting in foil after first smoke....notice not really any "Bark"

Pic 2: Finished product.  Nice smoke ring, still kinda tough and dry

brisket 1.jpg

brisket 2.jpg

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I agree with the above comments. Foil is pretty much a bark killer, so you might consider butcher paper, or no wrapping at all.


A choice flat by itself will likely not be extremely juicy. Try injecting, or possibly try a prime.


205° is usually pretty close, but not necessarily. Always go by probe tender, not internal temperature. Very often, a not as tender as you want, not as moist as you want means undercooked.


It looks pdg to me, especially for a first try. You're likely really close to what you're looking for, so don't change much.



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Definitely a great looking first attempt. My only brisket successes have been with full packers. It took me a long time to find packers at a decent price which is why I went with flat my first few cooks. Turns out Walmart carries choice packers for under $3/lb. just grabbed 2 last weekend on sale at $2/lb.

One other observation, but 1 cup of liquid in your foil sounds like a lot for 4lbs of meat. Could have contributed to the softer bark.

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I do not foil, braise, inject, etc. so I will not speak to any of that. I will say that temp is only one part of an equation. And, probably 205° may be a little high for the flat. Anyway, use the temp as a guide and probe for tender. That might occur anywhere from 190° ~ 210°. I have had extremely moist and tender briskets @ 195° and others that weren't tender until around 209° or so.


Also your flat also appears to have zero fat cap. I'm not a big fan of flats at all but of no fat cap- not at all. My two cents...

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27 minutes ago, shuley said:

Flats are much more difficult to get a moist result. I'm wondering where all the points go....


And they are so much more expensive which also doesn't make sense to me- except for the fact that they trim off all of the fat which  makes it even more difficult to get a decent result. It is fairly recent history that most customers outside of Texas and a few other southern states have begun to gain an appreciation for fatty brisket.


So, stores needed a way to offload the fatty brisket. It just so happened that it also allowed themto  jack up the price and the profitability of the briskets as a whole– selling the flats for more per pound and selling the points in either ground beef or corned beef.

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I only cook flats on my stick smoker which I can get great bark and stay moist. I have done a couple on the kamado and have to really watch and I spray a bit of apple juice and Jim Beam on it during the smoke, I use the spray on both. Butchers paper is better then foil for the bark for sure.

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Everyone thanks so much for all this.  Lots of good things for me to try on my next one...I am not going to give up!


There was a Fat Cap on the bottom of it...but your right it was not real thick.


Got the brisket from a local market, not a super chain..can't remember how much it was a pound will have to pay more attention.  Can't even remember what I paid.


Again thanks all!



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I've never done just a flat, but I will say that mine usually turn out tender and juicy with an injection.  I use a mix of 90% apple juice, 10% worcestershire, and some bbq rub to give it a little bit of kick.


I'll also agree with the others, I think that looks like a great brisket.  Definitely one to be proud of.  In my limited experience with kamado cooking and low and slow cooks, I've already found that I'm my own worst critic.  Everyone who eats what I cook loves it but I get picky over the details.  It's sometimes hard to enjoy something you've spent so much time on and have high expectations for.


Oh and also as others have said, definitely try to find a full brisket next time.  I don't know much about the fat difference between the two as far as the flat is concerned, but I do know that burnt ends are awesome. :) 

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