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My last few chuck rolls and brisket flats, which I usually take to an internal temp of 195*, have come out tender but dry.

After reading other people's posts, I'm wondering if the reason is that I don't foil and let them rest in a cooler for hours. I never seem to time these long cooks right, so the meat usually goes straight from the smoker to the cutting board, to be pulled or sliced.

Does foiling the meat and letting it rest for a few hours in a cooler help keep you from losing the juices and help keep the meat from drying out? Will it make a big difference in the moistness of the meat, or is the foiling and resting mainly done to increase tenderness?

Also, how long should you let the foiled meat rest in a cooler? I assume you keep your probe thermometer in it and you probably can't let it rest any longer once the internal temps drop to 140*-160*, right?
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try this- when you hit internal of 180 take it out ,wrap it up and let it rest. if you have a spare thermo just stick it thru the foil and into the meat. every 5 or 10 mins take a look at your thermo. for about the 1st 30 mins you should see a rise in temp. in fancy cookbooks this is called "carry cooking" which is nothing more than the internal temp equalizing. ez way to remember what is going on is from high school physics class and reaching a point of equalibrium.
on briskets it works ok but on 100 pound steamship rounds of beef you might see the temp climb between 20 and 30 degrees over the pulled temp (i.e pulled temp of 110 would give a rested temp 130-140)
hope this helps some
For flats, after I reach my target internal temp(195*), I generally allow the meat to rest for about 20 minutes,unfoiled,on the cutting board before I slice or chop it. I've found that this is adequate time to prevent all the juice from being expelled. I personally only foil and wrap if I'm trying to keep the meat hot. I try to keep from complicating the process too much.
To add to what Tom said, you're having really two separate questions and the reasons briskets can be difficult.

1. Tenderness. It's not at 195, it's when it's tender.

2. Dryness. Depends on the brisket, select vs choice, fat content, flat vs. packer, smoker, etc.

If I put a brisket in the smoker, pull it when it's 195, I can't guarantee it's tender or that it's moist. And this is even after I've cooked just a FEW briskets, as Tom has.

Tenderness is a result of a lot of little things happening, so sometimes I've actually had it at 185 and sometimes higher than 210.

Moisture is a different challenge, brisket flats, which you said in your post is what you're doing are VERY hard to keep from drying out without adding fat or moisture.

If your flat is drying out, then you'll have to do something to either retain the moisture or add some moisture (foil/juice).

Or pull it sooner, but then it may not be tender.

See why I don't cook brisket flats often.
Only thing to add here is timing. Use the resting period as a buffer. Put the meat in the smoker 5-6 hours sooner than usual. Even if it takes a couple hours extra for it to reach the desired degree of tenderness, you still have plenty of time to let it rest before dinner.

My foiled briskets that have rested in a cooler for 5 hours are still hot. And since I foil at about 165 deg, I never have to add any liquid(the foil is full of meat juices.
I have taken a combo of advice previously given on the forum and had great success.

Take your brisket to about 160. Foil it adding about a cup of beef stock or some jucie conducive to beef. Personally, I use about 1/2 cup of my home made sauce and 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar blended - close the foil around the brisket and take it up to 190-195 internal. Upon taking it out of the smoker I always let it rest for at least a half hour. Never had a bad brisket, always slices fine and tastes delicious!

My $0.02

Good luck!

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