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While cooking a 16.5# brisket last weekend, my temp readings varied widely from end to end using two differents temp probes. At first I though one probe might be bad, in fat pocket or sim, but using the instant-read temp probe gave me similar readings when placed near those other probes, and repositioning the low-reading probe did not change the results. My final temps when I pulled from smoker were 194* at Point and 168* at Flat. The Point section was soft as butter while Flat section was still a little firm, which seems consistant with temp readings I was getting for both areas. This is my 10th brisket cook and I had not experienced that much temp variation in the meat before.
A little more info on this smoke. Smoked fat side up in Amerique running at 225* whole time. Put brisket in late at night and when checked temps in morning after about 8 hours both probes read around 150* or so. As the day progressed, the temp probe in Point section slowly rose as is normal, while temp probe in Flat section seemed to be stalled. When I finally first opened the door to check for tenderness at 15 hours, Point =188* and Flat =160*. After another 2-1/2 hours (now total smoke time at 17-1/2 hours, the Point section was very soft and 194* while Flat section was only 168* and still firm. As it was now 8:00 PM and late for dinner, I FTC'd brisket for only 1-hour before slicing and eating. As imagined (by earlier temps & tenderness probes), the Point portion was very good, tender & moist, while the Flat portion was only fair, a bit firm although still a little moist.
I do not know which grade this brisket was as package was unmarked, but its general appearance was good to my unskilled eye.
Any thoughts on why those large temp variations between ends/sections of this brisket??
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We'll I'm somewhat of an expert on cooking briskets that should have been ground,over the years. Big Grin

If it was unmarked,probably at best it was Select and might ought to be burgers ,or potroast.

Worse,it could be noroll,cutter,commercial,or from a "poundout" 20 old dairy bull,or old longhorn.

Yes,different places on long muscles can read different.

Sounds like it could have been undercooked for what it was.
I'm not an expert, but have been encouraged to cook packers by some of the finest cooks.

It seems to me that the fat part(point) well cook a little faster at times, yes I've done some thinking on why that is and where a person might want to put that part.

Guess what I'm sayin'/thinking is a feller needs to take good notes and change one thing at a time. You might try turning that packer around in your cooker and take notes on the next one to see if it makes any difference on cook time and temp.

Like Tom was pointin' out, you do need to start with a good product to end with heaven...but just cooking something will shorten the learning curve, if it doesn't confuse ya first, just don't ask me how I learned that part...LOL!
Tom / Cal
Thanks for the comments. I just had not experienced that much of a temperature variation before. +25* difference seemed like a lot, but hey I'm just learning, and yes I'm keeping notes. From what you say, I should have left it in longer, but I was concerned the Flat section would only get drier if left to cook longer, while Point section would have fallen apart during removal from smoker (as some of my high-temp pork butts have done).
This brisket came from our local "Cash & Carry" store. They are a no-frills place that caters to folks who buy in bulk, and they don't spend anything on labeling. Still looking for a good place to get briskets here. No Sam's Clubs around, Costco does not have until summer, Wall Mart is a bit of a drive away, and the ones from the local butcher shop always look a little old - yellowish/brown fat instead of nice white fat. The briskets at local grocery stores are just small to medium Flats that are best foiled which I'm trying not to do.
I will get another one and smoke-on some more. Good thing my wife likes veg-beef soup!
Focus on where you're eating. Go with the flat for your temp because that's where you'll get slices.

The point as Cal says just has more fat and renders temps much differently.

If you really get worried, and you want to pull the point at that temp, pull the whole brisket out, cut off the point and put the flat back in. No rules against that.

Me? I'd take it out, cut up the point and make Burnt Ends.
Thanks to the good cooks below.I had an appt.,so I was rushed on the answer.

With one,or two packers,separating the point from flat is quick and easy.You won't worry.Like Smokin' says"cook the main eatin'" and the point will take care of itself.It would be difficult to truly ruin the point,no matter how high you cook the flat.

Some folks may do this for several cooks and freeze the points.

Then some day when you have only two,or three hrs,cook a bunch of them and make great burnt ends and some chopped beef sandwiches.

Like cal says,experienced cooks will try to put the point between the heat and the flat.Protects the flat from overcooking and maybe the point gets done.

Both guys will say take good notes on the whole cook.

I was taught that bad packers would force me to become a brisket cook.Then,when I finally got a good one,I amazed myself how great I had become. Big Grin
Smokin / Tom,
Thanks for helpful comments!! The "light" may finally be coming on for me now - just a slow learner, but I can learn.
I always thought the Point was the best part of the brisket, and as such did not want to overcook it. I see now I am supposed to take the Flat portion up to proper temp (and poke test) and let the Point go to wherever temp it will, unless I want to take that portion off early. So I am now learning where the term "burt ends" truly comes from.
I know it has been said so many, many times here but it is so true, this Forum is really a great place for info and you guys are very nice and helpful!! Thank you! (And let us also remember to thank Cookshack for hosting it!)
Off to buy more brisket to try it again, and again, and again. Wonder what the neighbors are doing for dinner....

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