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Smoked Brisket? - Page 2

post #31 of 50
Thread Starter 

I'm not quite sure what's going wrong. The brisket has been in there for nearly 3 hours, and we're about to open it up and see what's going on with the coals etc.

The temperature rose to 292, then came down. It's settled at about 268. I THINK. I'm not quite sure I trust this thermometer.

Here's the troubling part. It says that the internal temp of meat is 165. So soon?????? Where's the stall? I will try to reposition the thermometer and see if I get a different reading but at this point I don't know if I can trust the thermometer for either reading. At its thickest point the meat is not even 2 inches so maybe it will be done ahead of time.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #32 of 50
Boil some water and test the thermometer in it. Add or subtract how far it is off to get the actual temp. If you are cooking just the flat the stall may not be very long plus you are cooking hotter than many others do for brisket. Personally I like the higher temp because it shortens the pit tending time but the fat doesn't render out as well as whe you cook at 225-250.
post #33 of 50
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure what you mean by boiling water.

The temperature has been fluctuating between 235-280, but atleast we're in the right zone. The meat now is at 188, meaning that we're almost there. We're looking at a 6 hour job without the rest. It's a lot shorter than we expected (maybe we didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn).

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #34 of 50

If you remember the first recipe I posted, you'll remember that the time/temp was 1 hour per lb at 275, which sounds like what you got. So no surprise there.

The surprise is that your ECB was able to hold that high an average temperature with reasonable consistency over that long a time period. Maybe Brinkmann's done something in the last two years to improve the way the little pit breathes and deals with ash build up. If so, great. If not, you're lucky -- nothing wrong with that.

When your brisket hits 195 (probably has already) wrap it in saran wrap and hold it in an insulated "cooler." Fill all the extra space in the cooler with wadded up towels and news paper, and make sure the cover's on tight. Put some weight on it, if it doesn't fit squarely otherwise. It will hold happily for many hours that way -- indeed, even improving with time.

Congratulations on not only getting it done, but getting it done early.

Have a great party,
post #35 of 50
Plastic wrap on hot food? Why plastic wrap?
post #36 of 50
boil some water to test the thermometers, boiling water is 121f or 100c. I calibrate mine that way several times a summer to make sure they are correct.
post #37 of 50
Water boils at 212F ... probably just a typo but it gave me a chuckle anyway.
post #38 of 50
oops, thats what I get for trying to type a quick reply while doing precalc homework(I went back to school at 45 years old, my head hurts :lol:)
post #39 of 50
Learned it from Paul Kirk. Better texture in and out; moister meat. My experience, big deal with big cuts, but not so important with ribs.

The guy who taught me the most about 'q, was someone you knew -- Willie Walker. He liked to wrap very neatly in aluminum foil for transport -- always with a "drug store wrap," which for some reason I never understood was meaningful to him.

Not to drop names, but I had a few with Ray Lampe when he was in SoCal a couple of years ago. Although I'd run into him a few times over the years we were barely acquaintances. But we found out we disliked a lot of the same people with the same intensity and that always means drinks, right? Among other things we talked about resting product. He says he tried cling wrap on brisket though it had pluses and minuses, but will stick with foil. FWIW, he doesn't believe much in resting ribs at all, saying 5 minutes are enough. But I seem to remember him pulling the ribs a lot sooner than that for comp presentations at least when he was organized enough to start on time. Hard to know what to take from him, since he cooks hotter than anyone else in those damm BGEs -- kinda sorta sui generis. Whatever he does, he's a great cook.

post #40 of 50
OK, here's the thing. I hate plastic, especially when it comes in contact with my food. I don't have a single plastic container in the house, and rarely even use those plastic zip bags. It's been years since I bought a pkg of plastic wrap. I use aluminum foil and tent the item while it's on a rack, using a modified drugstore wrap (leaving a little space between the foil and the meat). For those who are unfamiliar with the the technique, How To Wrap Meat Like A Pro . Now I'm wondering about the results with tenting v wrapping -which might produce better results and under what circumstances. So, your suggestion got me thinking ...

Paul Kirk - now there's a blast from the past. 1992, Rich Davis' back yard in KC. Talk about good, home made 'que ...

With 'que there seems to be a lot of variation in technique depending on circumstance, especially when cooking outdoors. Have you found that to be the case?

Time to head down the hill ... see ya later
post #41 of 50
Variation? A blatant lie. There is only ONE tried and true method to cook great Q. Just ask any pitmaster. Of course, if you ask, say, 20 pitmasters you'll get at least 19 versions of the One True Path to perfection. Depending on how long you talk to them, and the quantity of libations involved, you could easily get 22, 23 or more versions of the One True Path :)

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #42 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your help on our first BBQ project!! We picked a doozy, but I'm glad we did it.

Ok here's the good news:

- The brisket was delicious
- It was pretty tender
- The BBQ sauce was sensational (thanks BDL)
- We were done in 6.5 hours
- The temperature stayed consistent between 225-285 more or less except for after the 3rd hour we opened it to add more coal and it dropped down to 100!!! And then the coal wasn't hot enough to be added so it stayed in the mid 150's for about 1/2 hour. But this was the only big drop in temp and it was completely our fault.
- It reached its stall at 168.
- Great bark and smoke ring!

Ok here's the bad news:
- it wasn't too moist (although I'm sure it could've been much worse)
- The rub was a little too salty and strong

So we were done a lot sooner than we thought we would be, my husband thinks that next time we should try to keep the temperature lower and get to 195 slower.

Since it was a bit dry I put it on a bun with bbq sauce and creamy cole slaw. That helped take care of some of the moistness.

My question now is, what do I do with the rest of it to perk it up a bit and make it moister? I know I know, I can't recook beef!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #43 of 50
Either slice it very thin (if it will hold together) warm it gently and eat it with a lot of sauce or as a beef dip with a simple "au jus" (recipe follows). Or, cook some onion in some sauce then chop up the left over brisket and warm it in the sauce and ... Sloppy Joes. Not any Sloppy Joes, but the real thing.

"Au Jus for Beef Dip"

2 tbs onion
1/2 tsp garlic
extra virgin olive oil
2 cups beef stock, broth or bullion
1/2 cup red wine

Saute the onion, and garlic until well sweated. Add the stock, wine and a few sprigs of parsley. Simmer until reduced by 1/4 to concentrate the flavor and take the "raw" off the wine. (About 15 minutes). Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Strain the onion, garlic and parsley out.

Or... omit the onion, garlic and parsley altogether. Stock and wine are great.

Or ... for the lazy among us -- just make a pack of Lipton's Onion Soup and add some red wine. Be careful about how much you reduce because it's salty as all get out already. Strain.

In any case, dip frequently and copiously as you eat. Lots of paper towels. No one said it was going to be neat.


PS Once you get some control over the fire in your pit, it will be easier to make a juicy brisket. There are quite a few things involved -- but good barbecue is first and foremost fire management.

PPS What happened with the rub? Was it my recipe?
post #44 of 50
Thread Starter 
I think an overnight's rest in the fridge might have done the trick! For lunch I put a few slices in the microwave until it was just warm and it turned out very very moist. No coleslaw needed. I'll be darned!:o

Yes BDL, it was your rub recipe but here's where it went wrong - I think when you posted it it may have been for an 11pound brisket. This was a 6lb. And I used alllll of it haha. It's delicious, not a big deal, and I can even scrape a little off.

All in all it was a great experience, a lot more good came out of it than bad, and now I have the confidence to proceed with the smoker again. We ate it, we loved it, and we learned from it. What more could you want out of that.

Question - what do you think made it dry to begin with? Was it the too high temp? Or the plummeting temp? Did it cook too fast? Should I have wrapped it sooner?

We could not have done it without you!
- The Initiated Pitmistress

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #45 of 50

I started in bbq at your level, and the hardest part to learn was the "art" part. Meaning, if you've been raised thinking your pot roast needs 45 minutes and a chicken breast needs 20, smokin' meat is gonna be tough. Go to your local purveyor and buy an instant-read thermometer with a remote readout- mine was $12 at Bed Bath and Beyond, not glamorous, but it works.

Re: #4- you were right to be confused. Q is never "medium rare" or whatever- it's either done or it isn't. Temp control is the critical part. When you hit your temp range you're there

Re: #5- it's still cooking as it rests. Just cuz you removed it from the heat source doesn't mean it's not cooking. I'm sure BDL or someone more educated than me will explain the physics of resting meat.
post #46 of 50

My Bad


My bad on the rub. That particular recipe has been revised a number of times over the past two years and I'm afraid the directions for not overusing the rub were omitted after one edit or another. That amount of rub (about a cup) should have been plenty for three briskets the size of yours -- plus some left over for a few steaks.


PS. Yet another edit -- and left a note on quantity for the next unsuspecting nice person.
post #47 of 50
Brisket is one of the more difficult cuts to smoke. I tried to talk you out of it, glad you didn't listen to me. And my comment about medium rare on a chuck roast seems to have generated more heat than smoke, so to speak.

Corned beef hash is, oddly enough, made with a corned beef brisket. You can make a good hash with leftover smoked beef brisket.

Rough outline of the recipe - fry a potato or two, cut into small dice, in a bit of oil. You want about equal volumes of potato and brisket. After about 6 - 8 minutes add a handful of finely chopped onion to the potatoes. Diced bell pepper or jalapeno is a nice addition here as well. Continue frying over medium heat. When the onion bits are soft and translucent, add in your chopped brisket. If not doing too big a batch, cutting it by hand can be done, but small batches worked with short pulses in a food processor can do the trick. You want recognizable bits of meat, not a gooey brown slurry.

Continue frying just long enough to heat the beef. A spoonful or three of Q sauce stirred in would not be out of place, a coarsely chopped green onion adds a bit of color. Put the mix onto plates, top with a poached egg or two, perhaps fried to your liking instead of poached. Salt, pepper, hot sauce to taste. For a dish like this I prefer soft, runny yolks, but not everyone finds them appealing

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #48 of 50
Thread Starter 
Sounds delicious, I'll try it!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #49 of 50

This post has embolden me to try to smoke my first brisket on my modded ECB.  My wife bought me a massive 15 pound brisket and I am I both nervous and excited.  I was going to use royal oak charcoal and I was wondering if I should add oak lumps in addition to the charcoal, or will it provide enough smoke/flavor on its own?


I'm also on the fence about wrapping, I've read so many people who swear by either methdo but not as to the advantages vs. disadvantages of wrapping.  For someone who has never smoked a brisket before should I wrap?  I want my brisket to be tender and flavorful, which is the best method for that? lol


Thanks for your help!

post #50 of 50

What temps will your ecb hold and for how long?

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