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Alright guys/girls -
I'm a proud new owner of an Amerique. I was going to by a cheaper brand, but to be honest after reading reviews and forums from all of you I picked this one. I have to say at first look - Wow - what a unit, well built and great features. Here's my question. I stopped at the Meat market on the way to my cabin and bought a Rump Roast and Chuck roast last weekend. They paper wrapped the meat in their secret prime sauce and I cooked them at 220 for about 7 hours and to a temp of 160 - they turned out fantastic a little tough, but really great flavor. I know the meat cuts weren't the best, but I was a little limited with their selection. Second cook - yesterday - I bought a 6 pound brisket, rubbed it a little with cookshack rib rub and I marinated with a little glaze I bought a Von Hanson (Can't remember the brand), I had to use the cooking probe since work for a living, I used 6 oz of Hickory, set the probe at 190 and the unit temp at 220. I got home from work last night after the brisket was in for about 13 hours. The probe read 179, but my wife and kid we're both saying lets eat, so I had to take my chances. I took the brisket out and wrapped in foil for about 15 minutes (too short) and cut it up. The meat had an OK flavor - not a nice flavor like last weekend and was pretty dang dry, no it was dry. Thank gosh I took it out early, right?? The brisket had a little fat and I did place with the fat up, but what in the world did I do wrong??? My wife wasn't around last weekend when we had a great maiden voyge, so she thinks I just blew a toon of mopney on a smoker. I need some good input on whjat I did wrong and also a nice easy recipe so I can win her approval - Thanks in advance for everybodies help!!

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Welcome and congrats. And tell you family that BBQ doesn't cook like a recipe, you pull it early, you get less than good food, so THEY caused the problem. give it time and they'll be rewarded.

We'll help you, just take a little practice.

It all starts with the cut of meat. If that cut of brisket at 6 lbs was basically a flat and select or worse, then there wasn't enough marbling to keep it moist.

You also pulled it WAY too early. So it would be tough at 179.

Have a read through the brisket forum, there's some good info there.

For the chuck roast, do the same, a search will turn up some good recipes. 160 is too low and they would be tough also

Do a Pork butt for the next cut, they're impossible to mess up. Read PB 101 and look through the Pork Butt forum.
I did forget to mention that not only am I new to the Cookshack - I'm also new to the smoking scene. So - two things were wrong? Not enough marbling #1, but I'm a bit confused on the me pulling it too early, it was dry as heck would - wouldn't it have been even drier if I had left it in??? By the way - It was a flat!!

Smoking it longer would have gotten it a little more tender. A select flat just won't have enough moisture. Been there, done that. My last brisket was a full, choice packer. Big difference. Smoke till the flat is done, then seperate the point and smoke it some more. Your family will become your biggest fans.

Wait till they try your ribs and salmon.

Questions are fine, keep 'em coming.

We'll help you out (but listen to Tom and me, we've probably the Brisket experts here, so go with us on faith first). we've helped 100's if not 1000's cook better briskets.

Let's focus on one product and we'll help you out.

Tenderness and Dryness are two SEPARATE (but related) issues.

Tenderness means you will HAVE to cook it longer. Briskets have a lot of collagen, and there is a time/temp involved in allowing that to break down to be tender.

Dryness is a function of intramuscular fat. Lower quality meats and smaller flats just aren't going to have much to keep it from drying out. Please do a search on "flats" in the brisket forum and you'll see many, many solutions to dry flats. Foil, adding juices, etc are some of the methods. think Braising.


Bigger is better for briskets.
Small flats are bad (for me, anything less than 7lbs is small for a flat and I don't cook them)
Choice or better (select of below is not good, don't waste your time on select flats)

Been Smoking meats for many years, did BBQ catering on the side for 7-8 years with a partner and might add very successful. Did jobs from 50 people to 1000 people, DU, CCA, drilling companies mobil home mfg. etc. We did Briskets, Chickens, Sausage, BB Ribs, Pork.
After reading this forum, buying an AmeriQue the knowledge I have learned is unbelievable.
Read the forum, ask questions and when Smokin or Tom answer, remember what they say. They know the product and just trust their opinion. Remember, take good notes, "Keep it simple Stupid", and "it is done when it is done".
Good luck to ya! Big Grin
Hi Martin -

My opinion on briskets as an ex "newbie" turned "knows just enough to be dangerous"

1. What everybody else said, and yes your brisket was too small, but don't fear the flat. I take what I can get up here in New England. Gotta rescue it before they turn it into corned beef!

2. Forget secret prime sauces and marinades for now. The basics will get you a fine piece of meat to serve the family. There will be plenty of time to get fancy later, or you may never bother. Salt and pepper and maybe a bit of cayenne work great! Rib rub is good, but it has sugar in it which doesn't do anything for me on long smokes and beef. Works better for pork and maybe chicken. Be careful with the CS chicken rub. It's very salty.

3. 6oz of Hickory is enough wood for a fully loaded AQ. 4oz is plenty enough for the biggest brisket IMO.

4. It's done when it's done, but there are things you can do to manage this - the first one may seem silly, but start earlier! You can hold your brisket when it is done for 4 or even more hours with the FTC technique (Foil/Towel/Cooler - do a search) and it will actually get better! at the very least, the hold function in the AQ will keep you in the green zone if you have to work for a living. (don't we know) I have had great luck with turning up the temp to 250F AFTER the plateau to finish it off more quickly (search for "plateau") but you have more of a chance to overshoot your target temp so be careful.

Take a moment to update your geographical location in your profile. Will give folks an idea of what types of meat are popular/available in your area as well as people's tastes.

Don't worry about the better half. She will be putty in your hand in no time. People spend entire lifetimes perfecting the brisket. Like Tom says, a Pork Butt will get your confidence up. I have good luck with baby backs too.

You are on the right path Martin - you bought the best machine for the $$ and you are asking the right questions. I'd wish you luck, but you won't need it. Let us know how it goes!!!
Once again Wow !!! There ya go I've said it three times this - Vikings over the pack, The Twins great one game tie breaker against Detroit and now I feel like I have this new extended family and no I'm not a goof ball - I don't think.

It feels pretty cool to have all the great replies and very helpful comments. I'm sure glad I didn't buy anything but a CS.

I'm going to give it another shot on Saturday, but I think i'll retreat back to pork or a chicken. I search the forum for some basic recipes, but feel free to give me one if you want.

Go Twins!!

#1 NY payroll 200 + million salary against a our little guys #24 65 million.


I am a newbie myself. The forum has been very generous to me. Any silly questions I have get answered. If SmokinOkie or Tom say something just pretend they are prophets. You follow their direction and they will bring you to the promised land. Sorry, no offense meant to the religious folks. Try what the two of them say with no modifications the first time then change it to your needs but only one modification at a time.

I started simple. I did ABTs and ribs first. I actually spend more time reading then smoking the first week. I then did chicken in the smoker and finished it on the grill (crispy skin). For fun I also tried Almonds. After doing the above a few times I tried brisket. It went very well but it cost me $. Quality meat costs a little more. Actually, everything in New York is expensive. I got the butcher to get me a good grade of brisket and he removed the flat for me. He showed me 5 or 6 whole briskets from his fridge before I picked one. It would have been cheaper to get at Costso. I went to Costco but the three different guys I asked behind the glass in the meat department did not even know what brisket was, so I walked out.

The three most important things I learned,
1. Log it! I printed out a sample log from the forum and put them in a three ring binder. I write down everything. Weather, amount of wood, weight of product, were I bought it, what I paid etc etc.
2. Put it in early. First thing I noticed, the size/weight of the ribs make a huge difference on the smoke time. So if you want to eat it at 6 PM with your friends then plan to get it done by 3 pm. Foil, towel, cooler. If something goes wrong you have 3 hrs to spare.
3. find feature on the forum


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