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Hedonist

Brisket fail. What did I do wrong?

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27 minutes ago, Hedonist said:

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?

 

Probably, but i wouldnt bet money on it

Heres a couple of issues with your approach, you're spending too much thought on "time and temp"

Set your vents, stablise your temp and cook it til its done

 

Cook at 250f-275f (just get it close, doesnt have to be spot on)

Make sure your temp is stable

Throw it on as early as you can

Cook it til its probe tender, forget what your thermo says, if it probes like butter, its done

If it takes 5 hours, great

If it takes 10 hours, then thats how long it takes

 

Its not a cake, reading the "instructions on the packet" wont mean you get a perfect brisket

They take time, patience and practise

 

Welcome to BBQ

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33 minutes ago, RVA Smoker said:

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. 

Ok. I won't go above 275. The first cook was 265 and that will be my starting point. 

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6 minutes ago, Polar Bear said:

 

Probably, but i wouldnt bet money on it

Heres a couple of issues with your approach, you're spending too much thought on "time and temp"

Set your vents, stablise your temp and cook it til its done

 

Cook at 250f-275f (just get it close, doesnt have to be spot on)

Make sure your temp is stable

Throw it on as early as you can

Cook it til its probe tender, forget what your thermo says, if it probes like butter, its done

If it takes 5 hours, great

If it takes 10 hours, then thats how long it takes

 

Its not a cake, reading the "instructions on the packet" wont mean you get a perfect brisket

They take time, patience and practise

 

Welcome to BBQ

Excellent. Thank you all so much. Last night I was dispirited. I've now got more confidence with my next cook. 

 

Would you still recommend liquid in the drip tray?

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Not in a Kamado, but do use a foil lined drip pan to keep the grease out of the fire.

You can add some water until the stall but doing so will cause a longer cook time as it prevents moisture from cooking out of the meat.

OR put another way..

Getting through the stall involves the meat divesting itself of some of its load of water.

As long as the meat is still out-gassing moisture it stays cooler due to evaporation.

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Probing is certainly the optimal test, but it is a subjective test with which a beginner will struggle.  Temp is objective and will get the beginner very close, certainly closer than Hedonist got on his first brisket cook.  I'm betting his second brisket will be much better.  BTW once you get the temp stable, a brisket or a pork butt require little attention in Kamado.  You just need to start it early enough.  If it finishes to quickly just wrap and put in the cooler.

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I have not had the pleasure (or pain ;) ) of trying a brisket yet, hopefully soon though :)

 

From this post and others I have read in the past, I assume 'Time' should be read as past tense ie;

'it took X hours to cook'

rather than 'its going to take X hours to cook'.... and you only know how long it takes once its done :o;)

 

I suppose the big quetsion is when to start?

 

How long do you allow for if you have guests the following day? (guessed cooking time plus 4 hours? etc)

Or is it a case of How long is a piece of string? lol

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I think since time is such a consideration, I would put it on the night before. for brisket I'll usually put it on around 9pm the night before I want to eat it so that I can make sure it's had enough time to cook as well as having enough time to rest. You can't forget the rest period, in my mind it's equally as important.

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Resting is a great idea but remember to let it cool down to 170 or so before placing in the resting/holding container or it will continue to cook, which is fine if you pull it before it's done but bad if it's fully cooked as it will get overdone due to ''carry over''.

Overdone brisket falls apart and is dry.

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Thank you all. I've resolved to go with the following for my next cook, which will be a partial brisket around 4kg:

 

Slightly higher temp - 265

No liquid in the drip tray

At least 5 hours but prepared for as long as it needs

Open the lid less

 

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The takeaway from fbov in the thread I included above was to start a brisket cook twenty-four hours before feeding time and leave it wrapped in a 150° oven until needed. 

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I think a spray bottle filled with apple juice rather than a drip pan filled with the same would have served you better.  And I agree with others that you pulled it when it was about half-way there.  Press on!  Thanks for letting me learn from your experience.

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Ok, as you go longer, remember “the stall”. You reach a point where liquid evaporating from the surface is cooling the meat and the cooker is pumping heat into the meat in perfect balance.  This is also the point where you are evaporating meat juice forming the bark. 
 

rules for the stall.  1) you were warned. 2)  Don’t freak out.  3) just let it cook. 

 

There are two ways to avoid the stall, 1) wrap the meat, or 2) raise the temp above 275 ish.  

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The "brisket mystery" results from odd cooking behavior of this particular cut. 

There are 4 phases; temp rise rates are what I see at 240F cooking flats:

- fast cook, 30-50F per hour until stall

- stall, starting around 160F, continuing until around 170F

- slow cook, ~10F per hour until "DONE"

- rest, once done, tight foil wrap and cool it very slowly (towels, cooler)

 

Time depends on cooking temperature and your specific piece of meat, but the pattern will remain the same. You can speed the stall by wrapping in foil. I normally wait to foil until "slow cook" and then use it to slow the cooking rate further. I want to hit 205F "gently" and stay above 195F for a really long time, cooking and cooling, thus the gentle rest. 

 

This is why you hear about overnight brisket cooks... it takes hours per pound. Hotter cooks will go faster, but that's for others to tell you about. 

 

Have fun,

Frank

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