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I have cooked 2 packer briskets on my Amerique, both of which turned out good, but they were dry/overdone. I am trying to figure out what I am doing wrong and would appreciate any and all advice. I have cooked a 12.5 lb and 9.5 lb brisket (weight before trimming the fat)both with the same results. I started the 9.5 lb brisket Saturday night at 11:45 pm @ 225 (fat side up), the temp was rising so quickly that I decided to drop the temp to 200 at 1:15 am. I checked the temp at 9:00 am and it was around 154, I turned the brisket over to avoid getting too dry of a crust on the bottom side and bumped up the temp to 225 (this is the only time I opened the door). At 3:30 pm it was about 165, I wanted it ready for dinner so I bumped up the temp to 250 and it hit 190(my remote probe said 190, but the Amerique probe said 185--not sure which is accurate) at 5:00 pm. I pulled it at 5:00 pm, wrapped in foil and let it sit in a cooler wrapped with towels. It tastes good and is tender, but the flat seems to be dry and overdone.

I am wondering if I should have just left the temp at 225 instead of lowering it to 200 for the first half of the cook. I have read posts about doing it both ways and I figured lower and slower is better, but maybe not is all cases.
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I can't identify your exact problem...but I've done the exact same thing before. I saw the temp rising too quickly so I turned it down to 200*...only to crank it up later to make up for lost time. My flat turned out pretty dry as well. I just figure I need to ignore the rate of temperature increase. Even though I know about the plateau effect, I still think of the temp. increase as linear. From then on, I just set it at 225* and don't mess with the temperature.
Ok I am going to catch it for even suggesting the way I cook mine. Use a stainless steel or aluminum rectangular pan put the brisket in the pan pour on some apple juice until it comes about half the way up on the brisket. Stick the probe in the brisket. Set the desired temp and keep the door closed. I have cooked 6 in my SM055 and not one of them has been dry.

BTW don't cut all of the fat off the top it will help to keep it moist.

A friend of mine that does indirect cooking with his charcoal smoker suggested this method to me. If it works why fix it.
Hi ya, I didn't see this particular point covered, so... if you cook a lean piece of meat too low and slow you will dry it out.

Do read through all the comments in previous posts and forums, but I think you'll find a consistent trend that you need to be up closer to the 225-250 range on the briskets. Leave a good layer of fat on it to compensate for the lack of it in the flat...

(and I don't like to say this out loud, but you might consider the 'F' word...foil in your process...ssshh, you didn't hear it from me!)
Thanks for all the feedback. I have a couple more clarifying questions. I am hearing loud and clear not to open the door, so that would mean I shouldn't turn the brisket over half way through the cook, right? I am also curious about cooking the brisket in a pan with apple juice--do you get a good smokey flavor and what kind of a bark do you end up with? I can see how it would be more moist, but is seems like you would give up some of the good smoked flavor and the bark since it is in liquid and surrounded by a pan, but maybe the trade off is worth it get a more moist brisket.

I guess what I am trying to figure out is, is it possible to end up with a nice moist brisket without having to foil, turn, or cook in liquid and if it isn't, which of these methods is the best to use?
I cook 2 12 pound or so packers at a time in my 009.

Set the temp to 225. Rub olive oil on the brisket top, Never trim any fat. Apply liberal amount of rub and rub it in. Then sprinkle top of brisket with worchestershire sauce, apply rub & pat it into a 'paste'. Insert probe into flat. Cook until 180. Pull from smoker, allow to cool & slice & trim with an electric knife.

At 180, you should be able to slice it without it falling apart. Take the entire sliced brisket and use a large spatula to put it into a baking pan, cover with foil, put it in oven at 200 until ready to eat.

You won't get any bark or smoke ring, but no one around here cares. It is moist and tender.

If you want a moist brisket do the following:

Leave a 1/8 - 1/4 in fat-cap on your brisket. season as you desire. Put the brisket in your smoker, fat side up. Use desired wood and set the temp at 225˚ with probe in the thickest part of the flat. No need to turn the brisket.

When the internal temp reaches 160˚ double foil the brisket and add 1 - 1 1/2 cups of beef stock/broth. I always add a touch of my home made BBQ sauce but that's just me.

Put the brisket back in the smoker and let the temp rise to about 190˚ - 195˚.

Let the brisket rest, still in foil, for at least an hour.

Scrape off fat.

Slice the meat cross-grain (important for melt-in-your-mouth brisket) about pencil-thick. The grain of a brisket may change on you several times while slicing so keep an eye on it!

Serve like roast beef or on sandwiches, Very good stuff! Big Grin
Here's a recent brisket experience...

Picked up a 14.7 lb packer cut (select grade) from Kroger as they were on special @ 99c per pound.

Trimmed the fat down to about 1/2". Rinsed and patted it dry with paper towels. Rubbed it all over with a jar of Montreal steak rub.

Then onto the middle rack of the 008 with approximately 3oz of Cherry in the smoke box. Inserted the remote thermometer probe into the thickest part of the meat.

Set the temp to 225F and waited until the brisket hit 199. Normaly I go to 195 but just for an experiment took this one a little higher.

Cook times were:

  • 195 - 15 hrs 5 mins or 70 mins/lb
  • 199 - 16 hrs 35 mins or 76 mins/lb

    The brisket was so tender that it began to separate as I removed it from the smoker. Placed it on the counter top with a foil cover for 1 hour to let the juices re-distribute.

    Chopped, devoured, and immediately bagged the excess in foodsaver pouches.

    Was it good? Try to imagine an angel crying on your tongue. It was that good.
    My heartiest thanks to Cookshack all on the forum. The techniques and ideas all came from you.
  • What I do is buy a packer brisket, trim down to about 1/4 inch fat on top. I then apply my rub and lay some trimmed off fat on the flat portion of the brisket and cook at 225 until 180 degrees in the point is reached. I don't turn it over or open the door until almost finished.My briskets have always come out moist and flavorful.For me,applying rub more than a couple of hours before I cook just seems to pull out too much moisture due to the salt in the rub.
    One thing that nobody has mentioned yet to ensure a moist tender brisket is to use only choice or better beef. You are unlikely to find prime beef and if you do you probably can't afford it. Beef is essentially graded by the marbling/fat content and you want as much of that as possible for a moist tender brisket.

    If you buy a packer cut, the grade of beef is usually stamped on the fat side and you can see it through the packaging. It is worth shopping around for a choice brisket. If you can't find one at your local grocer, check with a real butcher shop. Often brisket goes on sale around traditional grilling holidays at large chain grocers and to save money, many grocery stores use select instead of choice cuts during this time. So you may have to buy the brisket during a normal tme, not when it is on sale.

    If you don't start with a cut of beef that has good marbling and fat, you won't end up with a moist product at the end.

    After using choice beef, everything else is second order.

    I don't think there is a need to turn the brisket; leave it fat side up.

    I don't trim the fat, but there is always a lot of it rendered out in the drip pan. I suppose trimming a it doesn't hurt, but it seems like a lot of work to me. I prefeer things simple.

    Using a remote reading thermometer is a good idea. I usually cook the whole brisket without opening the door.

    I leave the temperature set at 225 F for the whole cook. I use a simple rub, one part sweet paprika, one part turbinado sugar, one part kosher salt, and half part fresh ground pepper.

    Ass I said, I like to keep things simple. I must confess that I am not particualrly fond of brisket, but my wife likes the way I cook it, so I am forced to cook it several times a year.

    I buy a choice packer cut. I just rinse the brisket, put on the rub, stick in the thermometer, pop it in the smoker at 225 at 900 PM the night before I am going to eat it, and let it go to 185 to 195, depending on how much patience we have. I take it out of the smoker, let it rest for half an hour and pull it. I like it as is, but my wife and kids prefer it with a little of Stubb's sauce.

    I prefer pulled pork and I have a butt in the smoker at 180 now with qa tray of beans underneath it. Another hour or two and I will be in enjoying it. Isn't life grand? - Duffey

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