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Brisket fail. What did I do wrong?

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Firstly, hello all, I'm a newbie to the kamado world but am an experienced BBQ cook. I recently bought a kamado Joe classic 2 and the first cook was a big success. Second one was ok, and third one was an epic fail. At this rate, I should just give up! But of course I will persevere. 

 

I'm hoping to get your collective wisdom on what went wrong. Here is what I did and what happened:

 

3kg Wagyu brisket - this wasn't the whole brisket, but 60% of it

7.5 hours at 230 degrees

Apple juice in drip tray

Sprayed with solution of half water and half apple cider vinegar

Internal temp 150 degrees when taken off BBQ, 154 degrees when wrapped (I know this is way too low and should be 200. So this is my strongest suspicion as to what went wrong. Too low temp and for too long, given that the size of the meat isn't huge. But I don't understand why the temp won't go up since I cooked it for so long!!)

Rested for an hour

 

Here's what happened when tasting came:

Meat was chewy and tense, including the internal fat layer

Not much of a bark

 

Your insight will be much appreciated!

 

Jack

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Welcome, please stop by and introduce yourself. 
 

I think you already mentioned the brisket was removed too early and that was the problem.  Most people find the bark sets at 160-170 IT before wrapping, then they let the IT climb to 195-210 F where they probe for tenderness as the end point. 

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Any time you introduce a water pan it increases the time it takes for the brisket to "exhale" it's own internal liquid content.

Until this happens, it can't come up to temp.

In addition, when cooking at 230, you can expect the cook time to nearly double the time it takes to cook at 300.

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Thank you both. I'm trying to understand the reason why the IT was so low and couldn't get up higher after 7.5 hours at 230. 

 

What adjustment would you have made based on the above parameters?

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Large cuts of meat at low temp go through a stall. It’s just evaporation keeping the meat temp from rising. It’s normal. 

 

Wrapping helps break through the stall, but you still need to take the brisket above 195 to start breaking down some of the collagen. I usually pull my briskets above 200, but I choose their doneness based of feel not temp. 

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7.5 hours is not that long at 225. It might have taken 10-12+ hours to get to 200deg for 6kg.   You need time to slowly break down the connective tissue without drying it out.  I never use a water pan as the Kamado holds moisture by the nature of its' design.  Avoid opening the lid as much as possible.

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Ok so what I'm hearing is that due a couple of potential reasons (temp too low and not enough cooking time, using a water pan), my brisket didn't get up to high enough temp which didn't allow the collagen to break down. Next time I'll try higher temp (265 degrees) and no water pan. 

 

Any other pointers appreciated. Thanks all

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Thanks Brian. If 7.5 hours at 230 degrees isn't long enough, I'll have to go with the route of higher temp and shorter cooking times because personally I don't have much more time than that.

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BBQ brisket is never about time it’s always about when it probes like peanut butter. It reads that low and slow isn’t available to you at the moment so do other quicker cooking cuts of meat. 

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Brisket and "Short on time" dont usually work well together, especially if youre new to it

I would advise against cooking above 275f if you're still new to brisket as i've found that while "hot and fast" brisket cooking can yeld very good results, it requires a little more care than a traditional low and slow cook would

With brisket costing between $14 and $20/kg, the less you ruin, the better

 

I'd first figure out how to cook a decent brisket before you try to figure out how to cook one quickly

 

If you cant budget 8-12 hours for a cook (from start to finish) then I'd advise looking at another cut of meat (Beef Ribs would be a good option)

 

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41 minutes ago, RVA Smoker said:

BBQ brisket is never about time it’s always about when it probes like peanut butter. It reads that low and slow isn’t available to you at the moment so do other quicker cooking cuts of meat. 

Live by this.   The dead cow don’t care what time you put him on the grill. He is in no rush.

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So are we saying that I should have simply kept the brisket in there for longer, and the internal temp would have risen to the required level and everything would be fine, assuming those other parameters I listed?

 

The reason I'm tempted to go the hotter and faster route is because the first brisket I cooked was 265 for 4.5 hours and it turned out quite good. Not perfect, because the fat could have done with a bit more rendering, but I was very very happy with the taste and tenderness. I plan to extend it to 5 or 5.5 hours at 265 (remember this is half a brisket). Please let me know if I'm being dumb!

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Yes more time was needed. Brisket don’t care about time, it lets you know when it’s done. This isn’t a microwaveable meal, it’s a hunk of meat from a living thing. Each one is different, and goes through a process. You shouldn’t go above 275 on a brisket until you’ve had a lot of practice. 

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