Question for those of you who smoke meat

Costco has great brisket! It one of the best places I’ve purchased it. I usually cook to an internal temp of 200-205, just depends. Do you keep a pan of water in the smoker? I’ve never smoke just the flat, but the entire brisket. I am wondering if that is one of the reasons it may be tougher? There is usually a fat layer between the flat and the point which I think may help keep it moist and tender. After cooking I let it rest for about 2 hours if I can.

Do you keep a steady temp? I’ve noticed when the temp of the smoker varies the brisket doesn’t seem to turn out as well.
 
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Maybe where I oughta start is by asking what brisket flat is supposed to taste like? Is it supposed to be a leaner, slightly tougher cut along the likes of top sirloin?

Whenever we go to barbecue restaurants, and I order brisket, it ends up being very tender, fall off the bone, and almost melted in your mouth. Just like these beef ribs that I cook.

Are they serving me a different section of the brisket? Usually they cut in 1 inch or so long strips.

There is a flat and a point. The point end is more moist and tender. The flat is more lean. When you go to a restaurant and they ask if you want lean or fat depending on your reply you’ll get the flat, the point, or the portion of the flat which is under the point which usually is a good mix. If you ever had burnt ends that is usually from the point.

I cook around 225 and use butcher paper. I’ve tried foil but for me the foil seems to give it more of pot roast texture.
 
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There is a flat and a point. The point end is more moist and tender. The flat is more lean. When you go to a restaurant and they ask if you want lean or fat depending on your reply you’ll get the flat, the point, or the portion of the flat which is under the point which usually is a good mix. If you ever had burnt ends that is usually from the point.

I cook around 225 and use butcher paper. I’ve tried foil but for me the foil seems to give it more of pot roast texture.

honestly GIVE ME THE BURNT ENDS ! :love: :love::love:
 
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Costco has great brisket! It one of the best places I’ve purchased it. I usually cook to an internal temp of 200-205, just depends. Do you keep a pan of water in the smoker? I’ve never smoke just the flat, but the entire brisket. I am wondering if that is one of the reasons it may be tougher? There is usually a fat layer between the flat and the point which I think may help keep it moist and tender. After cooking I let it rest for about 2 hours if I can.

Do you keep a steady temp? I’ve noticed when the temp of the smoker varies the brisket doesn’t seem to turn out as well.

No pan of water, but being as this is a pellet grill it never called for one in any of the instructions or recipes.

As for steady temps, I’ve found that this Recteq does a pretty good job of keeping the temps almost always consistently steady.
 
What’s the reason brisket is so challenging to cook versus beef ribs for instance which seem to be impossible to screw up?
 
No pan of water, but being as this is a pellet grill it never called for one in any of the instructions or recipes.

As for steady temps, I’ve found that this Recteq does a pretty good job of keeping the temps almost always consistently steady.

Mine doesn’t call for a pan either, but I still use one. Maybe just a carry over from lump charcoal and wood in the horizontal smoker.
 
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What’s the reason brisket is so challenging to cook versus beef ribs for instance which seem to be impossible to screw up?

Great question, I don’t really have an answer. It may be due to the brisket being a good size muscle that does a lot of work as the cow moves around. The flat is pretty lean too. I hand it to you doing just the flat. If I was going to pick between the flat and the point I’d pick the point while learning the process. I’d recommend smoking an entire brisket. I think you’d get different results and be happy with it. I assume you are slicing it against the grain? That will make a difference in how tender it is.
 
Great question, I don’t really have an answer. It may be due to the brisket being a good size muscle that does a lot of work as the cow moves around. The flat is pretty lean too. I hand it to you doing just the flat. If I was going to pick between the flat and the point I’d pick the point while learning the process. I’d recommend smoking an entire brisket. I think you’d get different results and be happy with it. I assume you are slicing it against the grain? That will make a difference in how tender it is.

Yes, I always slice against the grain. It’s been a fun learning process at the very least.
 
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What’s the reason brisket is so challenging to cook versus beef ribs for instance which seem to be impossible to screw up?

My opinion, same reason a 2" thick ribeye takes more technique than a quarter pound burger, or a whole turkey more than a pile of drumsticks. (though the whole bag thing has lowered the bar for turkey).

Surface area to volume ratio.

Ribs have little volume with a lot of surface. Surface picks up heat by convection, and there's not that much meat to conduct through, so there's less temperature difference between the outer surface and the interior.

Brisket is basically worst case because it has a butt load of volume compared to the surface area. The meat has to conduct the heat through, which means you get a lot more temperature difference from the surface to the innermost portion, which makes it a lot more tricky to get right. Everything from the time the meat spent at room temp before cooking, the size of the cut, the fat content, the moisture content, to the humidity level and temperature of the cooker plays into it. That's why people play with wrapping with foil, paper, spritzing, water pans, resting time, etc trying to get just the right technique for their smoker and their desired result.
 
I have a 9lb brisket for Christmas dinner 😃

Season, vacuum seal, and sous vide for 24 hours at 155 degrees. Out of the sous vide and into an ice bath to bring down the internal temp so it doesnt over cook in the smoker. Then smoke it at 250 for 2-3 hours.

Comes out melt in your mouth amazing o_O

Sort of follow this.

https://www.seriouseats.com/sous-vide-barbecue-smoked-bbq-brisket-texas-recipe
 
Not expert but smoked a lot of brisket and been in cook offs for brisket. First pick out the best brisket to purchase one that you can bend is a good sign. I never get my pit above 250 F and i smoke them for min 10 hrs usually around 12 hours. I never wrap untill it comes off then wrap and let it set for several hours in a closed ice chest. I smoke fat side up and bast with a vinegar based slop. You can inject brisket with a slop to get a little more flavor. Low and slow.
 
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What’s the reason brisket is so challenging to cook versus beef ribs for instance which seem to be impossible to screw up?

because unlike rib meat brisket is laden with more collagen which is very tough. If you were to, for example, cook a brisket direct at high heat then try to eat it, it would be like trying to chew leather, absolutely nasty, the collagen remains intact and the stingy strands of muscle remain tough. It requires a very long and very slow process of heat to turn the collagen into gelatin and that happens during what people call the stall or plateau period of a low & slow cook. Same with pork shoulders. Some have observed, me included, an actual drop in temp during the stall, so your probe may hit 180 then stay there for an hour or longer, then drop to 175 before moving back to and beyond 180. During this process the heat is converting that nasty collagen giving your final brisket its tenderness.

That's my understanding from wasting countless hours over the course of many years on bbq forums years ago anyway, and confirmed somewhat by observations out in my backyard bbq pits.

Try an entire brisket, pop it onto the smoker at 225, close the lid & don't open it back up until you hit your desired end temp, 200-205, which should be a great many hours later. Don't worry about it, & don't try and cook to time, just let it crawl up to the finish temp by itself. After that, pull & wrap in foil & pop into a cooler wrapped in towels lest you melt the cooler, ask me how I know. When you open that foil a few hours later you should be very happy
 
because unlike rib meat brisket is laden with more collagen which is very tough. If you were to, for example, cook a brisket direct at high heat then try to eat it, it would be like trying to chew leather, absolutely nasty, the collagen remains intact and the stingy strands of muscle remain tough. It requires a very long and very slow process of heat to turn the collagen into gelatin and that happens during what people call the stall or plateau period of a low & slow cook. Same with pork shoulders. Some have observed, me included, an actual drop in temp during the stall, so your probe may hit 180 then stay there for an hour or longer, then drop to 175 before moving back to and beyond 180. During this process the heat is converting that nasty collagen giving your final brisket its tenderness.

That's my understanding from wasting countless hours over the course of many years on bbq forums years ago anyway, and confirmed somewhat by observations out in my backyard bbq pits.

Try an entire brisket, pop it onto the smoker at 225, close the lid & don't open it back up until you hit your desired end temp, 200-205, which should be a great many hours later. Don't worry about it, & don't try and cook to time, just let it crawl up to the finish temp by itself. After that, pull & wrap in foil & pop into a cooler wrapped in towels lest you melt the cooler, ask me how I know. When you open that foil a few hours later you should be very happy

Great advice! I’m going to try that this weekend. I’ll just set it and forget it until it gets to the finish temp. I won’t spritz it or anything.