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Hi, I followed the steps in this video
and I my brisket turned out dry and dense. I'm hoping you can tell me where I went wrong:

  • - ~5.5 lbs (pre-trimmed) of Prime Angus grain fed brisket point from https://shalhoob.com/butcher-shop
  • - trimmed as much of the silver skin off as I could
  • - trimmed off hard fat and tried to leave 1/8" to 1/4" of fat
  • - seasoned 24 hours prior to cook with 50/50 coarse black pepper and kosher salt
  • - used Kamado Joe lump charcoal and two medium chucks of mesquite hardwood
  • - ambient outside temperature was low-mid 80s
  • - waited until grill came up to temp and smoke was mostly clear before putting meat on
  • - put meat on fat side down
  • - cooked in Classic III using sloroller, on the lower level rack
  • - cooked with water pan on grill
  • - used Thermopro two probe digital thermometer (1 probe at grill level, 1 probe in thickest part of brisket)
  • - grill temp ranged between 245-270, but mostly 250-260
  • - took ~6.5 hrs to get to 170 internal temp
  • - wrapped in foil at 172
  • - took ~1.5 hrs to get to 203 
  • - at ~203 a wood shish kabob skewer did go through meat, but still felt a little resistance. At this point I pulled it b/c I was concerned about over cooking
  • - kept in foil, wrapped in towel, put in cooler for 1.5 hrs

The brisket had bark and a smoke ring. Pencil thin slice passed pull test. But it was dry and dense.  The attached photos are from the day after the cook and the meat is cold.


Where do I go wrong?






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Not sure I should comment on this since I have about a 250 batting average on briskets myself.  Have you verified your thermometers?  8 hours seems a long time to cook a flat at those temperatures.  I've ever done a flat before so that alone should disqualify my opinion.:wacko:

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Can't say for sure but I do not use a water pan, season right before going on, goes on right from fridge, and I set it on my upper rack (higher in the dome). 


That looks like a point, and what was the temp at the thinner parts? Since a flat is more thin than thick I typically insert the probe in the middle towards the thinner ends when it is just a flat. 

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Dry and tough....under cooked. Dry and crumbly....over cooked. 



5 hours ago, burnt_ends said:

Where do I go wrong?


5 hours ago, burnt_ends said:

- at ~203 a wood shish kabob skewer did go through meat, but still felt a little resistance. At this point I pulled it b/c I was concerned about over cooking



Its done when it probes like butter. Not at a certain temp. 

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Reads like you might have pulled it off too early.


I know hot and fast is en vogue for brisket on other forums, but that type of cook doesn't necessarily take advantage of the better qualities of a ceramic.


Another part of the equation is the wrap. I've never been a fan of the Texas crutch to push through the stall on a Kamado. I'd consider wrapping based on color and let the cooker do the heavy lifting. It might take longer, but you'll probably have more consistent brisket. 

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Do I understand you correctly that your main complaint is dryness?

5 hours ago, burnt_ends said:

my brisket turned out dry and dense

Cold brisket is quite dry and dense, no matter what you do. That's why I refrigerate it before slicing, so it slices easily. The secret to brisket is the juice has a lot of fat and gelatin that's solid when cold. 


Which is, perhaps, what I do differently. I always foil, but as a boat to collect fluid expressed as the meat moves through the stall to done. It's not insignificant, about an ounce per pound after skimming fat. Completely jellied when refrigerated, incredibly good as a dipping sauce, or pooled under slices. It really brings the rub flavors to the interior. 


I do the same things with pulled pork, and the fluid's completely re-absorbed. If you shredded it, I bet brisket would do the same. 


Have fun,


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One thing to try is to not trim the fat at all.

I know EVERYBODY does it but there's a famous lady pitmaster in central Texas who cooks three hundred packers a week and she just opens the packaging and plops them on the cook grate.

After cooking you can always cut off the fat layer if it offends, but I can't get enough myself and it does trap moisture in the meat.


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Popping open the cryovac brisket and plopping it in the smoker offers more room for error since you have so much fat to protect the tip and flat.  But that is a lot of meat for my current family of 3 (couple off to college).  In fact yesterday I cut a Smart and Final cryovac brisket into 3 separate pieces and left most of the fat, but I am sure it will not be as error proof as cooking it whole.  We'll know tomorrow around 4:00 pst:) . On another topic I will be experimenting with the plate-setter/no plate-setter debate.  When I did this in the early 2000's I never used a heat deflector.  Sometimes 3 or 4 pork butts at a time for 36 hours.  As long as the temp was stable at 200 I had no issues.  Except for soot management.  My BGE has the plate setter which I will try on some cooks and not on others.  Place your bets on the outcome of my not so scientific experiment.

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