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A while back I had some BBQed brisket at a restaurant that I had never been to before. It was sliced really thin, seemed tender enough, and it was really, really moist, which I liked. Much more moist than when I BBQ briskets (flats) to my usual 195* internal.

Does this moistness and the thin slices sound typical of a brisket that is only cooked to about 180* internal, which people often say is the ideal temp for sliced brisket?

Have any of you tried BBQing brisket flats to both internal temps -- a sliceable 180* vs. a chopped or pullable 195-200*? Are briskets cooked to 180* typically way more moist than those taken up to 195*? Will you sacrifice a lot of tenderness to the brisket if you only cook to 180*, or doesn't it matter as long as you slice it thin enough?

And lastly, what internal temp do most people take their brisket to in competitions?

The reason I ask all this is because I'll be BBQing a few briskets this weekend for a party, and I wouldn't mind trying something different to get a more moist brisket like the one I had in that restaurant.

All advice and opinions would be appreciated!!
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Unless I am cooking a brisket to chop, I take mine off the smoker at 170-175 and wrap and coolerize for a couple of hours. The temp rises another 5-8 degrees. I use these to slice and we really like it better this way. I can also let it cool some and slice it on an electric meat slicer. It has a better beefy flavor (our opinion) and we like the moistness of the lower temp better. I vacumn seal what we arent going to eat and freeze it. Warms up wonderfully in a microwave or in a pan of boiling water.

Using this method, only the flat will be cooked done. The point needs to go back into the cooker for several more hours to complete the cooking cycle. I have also sliced it 1/2" thick and thrown it on a charcoal cooker till done. Very tasty that way too.
"Cooked to 180� is ideal,people often say"?

I never had heard that.

In my experience,a flat at 180�,had better be sliced across the grain,so you can read the newspaper through it.

Anything will be tender,if thin enough-that's what markets call "shaving".

The reason brisket is in comps,is the individual nature and difficulty.

A small trimmed brisket flat,might be the single most difficult cook.

You can slice a poorly cooked brisket,thinly,across the grain,soak it awhile in losalt beef broth & coffee,and it will be wet and consumable.

A comp brisket might vary from 182�-215�.

If you are cooking only flats,try cooking between 225�-250� to 165� internal.

Add about a cup of beef stock/beer/apple juice/coffee a couple ozs of butter and double foil it.

Cook at 250�+ to 190� internal and try to run your temp probe through it.

If it resists,cook another 5� and try again.

If it resists,try another 5� and check again.

When it is tender,let it set in the warm,dry cooler,at least two hrs.

Slice about like a #2 pencil across the grain.

Serve immediately.
We have a plethora of chain and independent bbq places in Fl.

The sellers of some cookers advocate cooking beef round for higher yield,and shorter cook times.

Run it through the commercial slicer.

They teach cooking pork to 170� for the same reason.

Smokey Bones started pulled pork and forced Sonny's to offer it.

They also offered correctly cooked brisket,which the chains are now trying to emulate.

Many old southern bbq joints,will run their pork through a buffalo chopper,or use two cleavers on it.

Lot of tastey Q in those old places.

If folks cook to a temp that works for them,that is what is important.Slice or chop,to your taste.

Some good comp cooks will advocate taking one slice across the grain.

If it is too tough,slice thinner.

If it falls apart,slice thicker.
Here is a post from a fine comp cook,named Jeff Wheeler of Colley,Tx over on Dave Klose's forum.

internal temp on brisket 180 degrees to 205 degrees which is best

Well see bbq aint all takes a bit of Suzy Homemaker stuff. When it gets to 190 try poking it with some type of sharp object..some folks uses forks..I use my Wally World Insta read temp gauge..the same one which tole me it was 190...and see if its tender. That takes a human touch..could even be hit or miss the first few times. If you think its tender one time and it aint..remember whut it felt like when it was too tough and cook it some more next time. Now if a person is drunk these scientifical tests can get skewed. General rule of thumb is when you stick it and the gauge accidentaly passes through both sides of the brisket and bumps the bottom of the pit..its ready. It be very similar to passing a nail through warm butter. Briskets do not get fittin by temps got to see if they can also pass the "poke test". Whut form the poke test will take is a personal matter. Simple huh?


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