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Help me solve the mystery of why my brisket got overcooked on a KJ (my first overnight cook)!


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Hey all,


Was hoping to get some thoughts as to what might have occurred during my failed brisket cook.  Here are the facts:


1. 16 lb packer Brisket from Costco, trimmed to about 13 pounds (estimate)

2. Brought up KJ (Classic II) to Dome temp of about 240 (was shooting for 250) and let temp stabilize

3. Put the brisket on (over a rib rack, to make fit) at about 11pm last night (was late and forgot to put drip pan, so my deflectors suffered)

4.Used a thermopro wireless to monitor temp of brisket and grate. Grate temp always starts about 50-60 degrees higher than dome until it later settles in around 10-15 higher during long cooks

5. Waited about 1.5 hours, and temp had gotten up to about 250, where I wanted it, and stayed there. 

6. Went to bed, woke up at about 2am or 3am, checked on grill, dome temp was still at 250, brisket was already at around 165-170

7. Woke up at 6, dome temp still at 250 (grate temp per thermopro at 275), brisket though was already at 200, which shocked me. Probed it and was pretty tender all around-> would have taken off but seemed way too soon (my last brisket, which was a bit underdone, was a 11 pounder that was on for 13-14 hours). 

8. Left the brisket on for another hour, till probed tender all around (temp around 212), but meat was firm (not jiggly), and bark felt too hard. Removed, let rest for 3 hours.

9. Flat was crumbly, whole thing was dry, the bark was too crispy and hard to cut-> seems to me to be an overcook.


So, my question is what on earth happened? A brisket that big should not overcook in 7 hours.  I thought maybe a temp spike during the night, but I got no indication one occurred (and has never happened to me during a long smoke in my 2 years of using the grill, since i've learned to modulate). I had set my thermopro to alarm to ring if grill temp got above 315, but did not alarm).  I thought maybe my dome thermometer was off, but i tested it in boiling water and it was spot on.  I am perplexed, maybe I missed something? 


Thoughts are welcome. Thx!




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While I don't have a scientific answer to justify sometimes it just happens that way. Cook time is really an estimate, if the internal temp is right and you have the probe feel you want, pull it then. I've had cooks go quickly like yours and others drag on for hours after I thought it should. Doesn't sound like you didn't anything wrong other than not pull the brisket when you first thought it was done.

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I agree with Buckley the watch isn't in charge of the cook the meat is. Some take longer and some shorter,I'm sure there is some kind of scientific reason, fat content, water content each. When you checked at 2 your #6 What was the grate temp?

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Agree as well.  My first brisket cook was strange also.  My full box of charcoal went out....has never happened any other time...ever...and its been 5 1/2 yrs and...the brisket was just about done in 7 hrs.  Same as yours, Costco but maybe 18lbs trimmed to something less.


At the end of the day, briskets are tough to nail but it sounds like you got pretty close. :)

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Agreed.  My last brisket hit 165 internal quite quickly, then stalled for almost 5 hours and then wouldn’t finish off at 200 for me.  I finally pulled it at about 195 and tossed it (wrapped) in an oven for another hour before just giving up in frustration and serving the sucker.  Some was perfect, some like rubber (undercooked) after almost 10 hours in the Akorn.  We still ate it...

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Everyone is telling you that the meat told you it was done and you ignored it. The meat is always right. Especially, the probe test, imo. All we could offer are basically useless and uninformed guesses as to your specific situation and but based in our past history. So here goes:


  1. I doubt if the brisket was thirteen pounds. I routinely have to trim more off of Costco briskets than any other brisket I buy. And, I leave at least 1/4" to 3/8" fat on the brisket.
  2. If the 275° is correct, that is really cooking hot and fast. 16 lb. briskets have been the absolute low end of sizes I have cooked because I am usually feeding large crowds. But yeah, @ 275° seven or so hours is not outrageous.
  3. I am no expert regarding what temps brisket fat can ignite. But, being a subscriber to the idea that water pans are totally unnecessary in a kamado the sole reason I use a drip pan (often with a little water in it) is because of the problems I have experienced with fat fires. I've opened the lid to find the deflectors ablaze more than once. This especially is a danger with drippings directly on the deflector plates. In short, higher temps necessitate a drip pan.


So, I think maybe, you had a couple of flareups on the deflectors that caused the cripsy result..



Edited by CentralTexBBQ
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