Author Topic: Brisket was a little dry...what'd I do wrong?  (Read 538 times)

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Offline nfletcher

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Brisket was a little dry...what'd I do wrong?
« Reply #-1 on: November 22, 2017, 08:25:53 PM »
Hi guys,

I made brisket in my PBC for the first time last Sunday. Overall, I was happy with the end result but it was a little on the dry side and I didnt even get it up to 200 degrees which is weird. Here's what I did:

- Got a 16lbs full packer from Costco
- Trimmed the cap and extraneous fat
- Brushed with a little bit of olive oil and a coat of my rub that I found on this site (paprika, cayenne, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper)
- I hung it in the PBC with the double hook method and it took a little less than 4 hours to get to 160 degrees
- I took it out of the PBC and wrapped it tightly with a few layers of tin foil and I used about half a beer for my wrapping liquid
- I put the grate back on my PBC, added the rods for temperature control and placed my wrapped up brisket on the grate
- It was SUPPOSED to take 1-2 hours to get the brisket up to 200 degrees but I could ONLY get it up to about 175 degrees after the 2 hour mark. At that point (after about 6 hours of total cook time), there were only a few coals left and the PBC was starting to cool down.
- The wife and I were starving and I knew I wanted to let it rest before eating so I pulled it around 175lbs, wrapped in beach towel, placed in a cooler for an hour.

The brisket was NOT under cooked but it was actually a little dry. How could it be dry if I never got it to 200 degrees?

Should I have let the brisket rest at room temp for longer? Should I have added more charcoal to the PBC halfway through the cook? Maybe my thermometer is off?

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated

Thanks all!

Offline bamabob

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Re: Brisket was a little dry...what'd I do wrong?
« on: November 22, 2017, 08:42:06 PM »
I have no experience with the PBC but I'd say it was underdone.  I think it may have been going through the stall when you pulled it at 175*.  The stall can take a few hours and the temp of the meat can actually drop.  That's when the collagen is breaking down and the meat becomes moist.  A 16 pounder usually takes 12 up to 18 hours at 225* when I do them on my keg. 
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Offline teesquare

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Re: Brisket was a little dry...what'd I do wrong?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2017, 10:11:05 PM »
Bambob is spot on...

Cuts like brisket require time...at low temperature in order to cause all of those fates, sinew, and other connective tissues to dissolve, soften and moistureize the meat.

Many folks cook their brisket at 225F - 275F. I would check your pit to see what your temps stayed low. Needs more air I would suggest. Open the vent more, and play with using a folded up piece of foil under the lid in one location. It is just to "crack" the lid a little. This can help to offset cold or windy weather.

And - next time you cook a brisket or other thick cut of meat - use a toothpick, or thin skewer to test for doneness. It should slide in and out of the meat with almost no resistance.
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Offline nfletcher

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Re: Brisket was a little dry...what'd I do wrong?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2017, 10:51:45 PM »
Thanks, that makes sense to me (the increase temp further breaks down parts of the brisket which gives it juiciness).

I'm just confused why the brisket couldn't get up to 200 degrees. The PBC website says it'll take 3-4 hours to get to 160 and 1-2 additional hours wrapped to get to 200. After 6 hours, my brisket wasn't close to 200 degrees and the PBC was starting to cool down.

It was still delicious but I know I have room for improvement :)

Offline TentHunteR

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Re: Brisket was a little dry...what'd I do wrong?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2017, 08:00:51 AM »
- Trimmed the cap and extraneous fat <---  This may have been what caused the dryness. It's okay to get rid of some of the fat, but you've got to leave at least some fat on. Fat = moisture!
- Brushed with a little bit of olive oil <--- Olive oil, IMHO, is not a good substitute for beef fat in terms of moisture.  It doesn't stick to the meat like the beef fat does.

- It was SUPPOSED to take 1-2 hours to get the brisket up to 200 degrees...  <-- for cuts like brisket & pork shoulders where you're cooking for tenderness forget internal temperature! Like BamaBob mentioned: the connective tissues & collagen need to break down.  This can happen at  190°, or not until 220°; it depends on the age of and type of cow, what it was fed, etc.  You never know!

Like Tee mentioned:  instead of checking for internal temperature, use a toothpick or your thermometer to check for TENDERNESS in a few locations.  If the tooth pick/probe slides in easily, that means those connective tissues & collagen have broken down. If there's resistance, then it's not done, no matter what that thermometer reads. Try this a time or two and you'll see how well this method works. It never lies!
 


The brisket was NOT under cooked but it was actually a little dry. How could it be dry if I never got it to 200 degrees?  <--- The internal temperature has nothing to do with the moisture level of the meat, UNLESS you way overcook it, which I doubt it was.  The brisket flat is notorious for drying out, which is why you have to leave some fat on it.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated


Brisket, especially the flat, is probably the hardest cut of meat to cook.  Very few of us get it right on the first try. I know I sure didn't!   ::)



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Offline smokeasaurus

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Re: Brisket was a little dry...what'd I do wrong?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2017, 09:11:59 AM »
While not undercooked safe temperature wise, it needed more time. I like to leave the fat a little thicker on the flat. I cook my briskets lying flat in other cookers and do not hang mine. Flats are lean.

I have made a au jus type mixture and I slice the flat keeping the slices together and then set the slices in the au jus. Pretty tasty.

In fact, I usually ask the butcher to just give me the point. If he won't do it, I separate the flat and use it for a crock pot cook and smoke the point.

All briskets cook different. I bet your next one comes out great.
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Offline Pappymn

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Brisket was a little dry...what'd I do wrong?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2017, 10:22:32 AM »
If you are running out of fuel. No worries with finishing it in an oven. It most likely had taken all the smoke it was going to take


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Offline RAD

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Re: Brisket was a little dry...what'd I do wrong?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2017, 10:32:06 AM »
When I get asked when will it be done, I always say "It will be done when it's done".  ;)

Tough cuts of meat take as long as they want.
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Offline Smokin Papa Steve

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Re: Brisket was a little dry...what'd I do wrong?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2017, 11:39:42 AM »
Hi guys,

I made brisket in my PBC for the first time last Sunday. Overall, I was happy with the end result but it was a little on the dry side and I didnt even get it up to 200 degrees which is weird. Here's what I did:

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated

Thanks all!

It is important to monitor the pit temp.  I suspect that you probably were running hot, cooking too fast to allow all the fat and sinews, etc to melt.  I don't hang a brisket but use the grate as easier to manage plus by using a round magnet by the rebar holes, you can adjust the pit temp. As others have said, the stall can last for hours so keep that in mind for next time.  And all important, no two proteins will be the same so length of a cook will vary all the time.  About running our of fuel, if you have a lower pit temp, it will last longer but in any case, just add more charcoal if need be. Using the PBC is a work in progress so after a few times you will get the hang of it

Offline smokeasaurus

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Re: Brisket was a little dry...what'd I do wrong?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2017, 02:05:38 PM »
Pappy is wise. No point wasting more fuel once it is wrapped. The oven in your kitchen is a great way to finish it off.
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Offline 70monte

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Re: Brisket was a little dry...what'd I do wrong?
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2018, 01:01:00 PM »
I have never tried using my PBC for brisket or pork butt.  Mainly because refueling is not as easy as on my Good One Open Range or my GO Marshall and it's just easier to just lay it on the grates vs hanging it. 

For those meats, I prefer to cook them lower than the PBC cooks at.
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