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I’ve been using the Smokette for about a dozen years now and have had great luck with ribs, butts and loins. But the brisket keeps kickin’ my tail! I’ve tweaked my routine endlessly and the results are great taste, moist but a tad tough. I was hoping someone has some insight on how to nail this thing down. My latest rundown:

6 lb Flat (point cuts are scarce in CT)

Injected and refrigerated overnight with Butcher’s

Rubbed and held for an hour.

Smoked with 2 chunks of Mesquite in aluminum pan at 225 for 2.5 hours (meat 150)

Pan then covered with foil and returned for 5 more hours at 225 (meat 205)

Brisket removed, foiled tightly and wrapped in towel for 2 hours.

Result: Tastes great – moist – tough. Not awful by any means but by now I should be getting a gentle tug when I pull apart the meat and it’s resisting just a tad too much.

Any ideas?
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I agree with cal. Are you probing the meat? If it doesn't go through like soft butter, keep going. I'd recommend checking around and seeing if you can get a Choice or better Packer Brisket. The fat in the point is your friend. If no butcher/grocery/club butcher can help you, a restaurant may be able to help. Alternatively, you could mail order from many online providers. Even Sams has mail order meat. Taking a competition class (like the Cookshack/FE class) would help you dial things in. One more suggestion would be to make a road trip to see MaxQ in VT. He may be able to get you on track.
Last edited by joem

It sounds as if you're doing all the right things but not getting the meat hot enough. Smoking a flat in an aluminum pan will inhibit heat transfer a bit.

My suggestion, try a heat setting of 250. Take the meat to 165. Wrap with foil, add a cup of broth and 1 stick of butter. At the 196 test for tender with a skewer; top thru bottom in the middle of the flat. If it doesn't pass thru easily, keep it going until it does.

At the point it does, remove it, let it steam off and re-foil. FTC for an hour.

Flats are always a challenge,

OK, here's a cheat I've come up with with flats. I got it from recipes for pastrami, and adapted it. Smoke the flat at 225 until internal temp of 165, then take it out and double foil overnight in the fridge. Next day, put the flat in a covered steamer (a large pot with a steamer basket and an inch of water, or equivalent) and steam until internal temp of 190 - 195 (usually 1 - 1 1/2 hours). Remove, let rest under a foil tent for 30 minutes, and carve. I know it is heretical and breaks all the BBQ rules, but it produces great tender brisket flats (although no bark). Use a little extra wood if you like really smokey brisket.
Last edited by jay1924
I have an SM025. Always have wonderful results cooking brisket.

I cook packers instead of flats. Haven't had good results cooking flats. I don't bother with flats anymore. Rather cook chuck roast and make burnt ends out of 'em. But that's another topic.

You could wrap a flat in foil or butcher paper after the internal temperature hits 140 and the meat stops taking on smoke, but you may end up with a product more like smokey pot roast.

I trim some of the excess fat from the brisket. I slather the brisket with mustard, then generously apply McCormicks Garlic Pepper. The brisket goes in on the top shelf fat side down, and the fat I trimmed earlier goes on top of the brisket. This protects the flat section from drying out as much and bastes the brisket with smokey, fatty goodness as it cooks.

My method, while unconventional, works for me. I cook for 4-5 hrs at 225, then drop the smoker down to 195 and leave it there until the internal temperature of the brisket hits 155-160, then I crank the smoker to 250-275 and push it through the stall. This results in a very long cook, so I usually put the brisket in after supper and turn it down before I go to bed and let the brisket cook slowly while I slumber.

I like mesquite, red oak, or pecan for brisket. And I go the max...6 oz of wood chunks.

I probe for butter like tenderness which usually occurs when the internal temperature gets between 200 and 210 degrees.

The result is tender, smokey brisket with really good bark.

Cook to internal temperature and probe tenderness instead of time.

I buy my briskets at Walmart mostly but have bought some really nice ones at Restaurant Depot.

Good luck on your brisket journey.
Last edited by smokinmaineiac
Thanks everyone for the replies. Looks like I have my work cut out for me. I think the first thing I have to do is to figure out a way into Rest Depot, so I can start with a better chunk of meat. These flats around here start at $7/lb and that's the sale price! The only time I ever had any luck was with a full-cut but they're impossible to find in the CT stores.
Wow if your paying that much for flats, I would have to suggest you move. That's just not right.

On another note. I think I would go with MaxQ. The last class I took, goes with a high temp cook, and then wraps with a heavy mix of stuff when wrapping the brisket. I alsolike the 165 temp when I wrap. I think it lets the meat take on a good amount of smoke. I have taken a different class which panned and covered thier brisket. But they also placed a liquid in the pan to add moisture and flavor. I alos like MaxQ temp for finish. the last class I took said cooking at a lower temp the meat will finish at a lower temp. 195-200, and cooking at a high temp the meat will finish at a high temp 205-210.
This takes some practice to get the right point, but each piece of meat is different.
No worries, we are here to help.
First, check the accuracy of your therm...but...

Temp is a guideline, not a rule. It will get you in the ballpark but the decision to pull can't just be the temp.

I use a thermpen, you don't have to, but for me I'm always using a probe with the same size probe each time. It's important because you don't want to use a different size probe each time.

Get a feel for how easy or how difficult it is to put the probe into the meat. Also note the direction you are probing. With the grain will go in easier than against the grain. I always go against the grain in multiple locations, but the center is the best because the edges will be more tender.
One more thing. To quote Smokin', make one change at a time and take good notes.

You have received a lot of advice on this topic. Don't try to make too many changes at once or you'll really be confused.

And seriously, do take good notes so you can remember what worked and what didn't. With the price of beef these days a fellow could go broke learning how to cook excellent brisket.

All the best to you.


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