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I have a 1 month old AQ, and have now made 2 briskets - both flats. I am cooking using the "probe" method, and I have followed all of the threads here regarding cooking until 185-190F.

Here is what happens -

I set the oven to 225 and the probe to 185. The briskets are 5-6 lbs and have a fairly even amount of fat on the top - maybe 1/4". The temp runs up to 150 in about 4 hours and then tails off. Over the next 4 hours it never gets past 162, and the brisket is dry - very, very, very dry. Cooking longer would only leave me with something akin to a cow hide.

After 10 hours I give up (since we are hungry) and the only one who likes my brisket is Ginger, our Golden Retriever.

I can't seem to find the "packer" briskets I read about here, so what should I do, besides give up and only do ribs ??

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I've never cooked a flat on a smoker in my life, so I'm sure there's others that can probably give you better advice. My only suggestion would be to get a few hours of smoke on it and then double wrap in foil with some broth.

If the flats aren't in cryovac, someone trimmed them. You might ask the butcher if he can sell them to you before they're trimmed or order them. You might have to buy a case, but if you have freezer space, they keep. I have nine in my freezer now.
Well first off, what you saw was the 'plateau' everyone will see on a brisket where the fat and collegen is breaking down. This will usually happen in the 160-170 deg area and the temp will hang there for HoUrS.

No brisket is going to be worth much unless you take it to at least 185 (for slicing) or 195 (for pulling)

So I have no doubt your brisket was tough... as to dry, maybe it was and maybe it wasn't.

I usually wait for a flat to get through the plateau and then foil with some broth.

You obviously removed this one before its time. Big Grin

Not of the cook,but the cow. Big Grin

Many markets, buy small pieces of lean flats,for nice elderly ladies[no sexism intended,but yes, there is a certain stereotype]

To make a nice small potroast/braised beef and have no waste.

An 18 year old dairy bull makes a perfect specimen. Eeker

Other than that,the cow is "pounded out",or sold for grinding ,at the live auction.

If the market sells some 7-9 lb ,choice flats,you have a small chance.

Remember,the nice lady has a larger group coming for dinner,the meat manager will buy the lowest level of choice ,that can be USDA graded.

Our good friend,the peanut farmer,that believed all folks will naturally do their best for you,and turn the other cheek?

He became a President??

His approach, to help the beef farmer, was to lower all beef grades one level,and make the consumer healthier,by selling beef that had less marbling.

Thus, the upper level of choice,became prime.

Lean,grassfed select,became upper choice.

Select[ ground beef],became choice.

Noroll,cutter,ungraded,commercial,became select.

The nice lady, that wanted the lean braised beef,saved a few pennies,and was thrilled.

Some folks, have given you some approaches that might work.

The downside is "you can dress your heifer up,but you can't take her to the town dance".
I appreciate all the help and advise. Seems I will have to find a larger brisket. I have been buying these at Wegmans, and the always sell a very good quality cut of meat - and that may be pert of the problem - too lean, and too dry.

As for the plateau, I would agree, but after 4 hours and only 4 degrees (now approaching 10 hours total time for a measly 5lb brisket), I took it out. Had I cooked it to 190, it would have been KFC for dinner - and it would have been better.

I will seek out a Costco Brisket next.....
you need to get a real brisket, not the flat...that, or maybe just a huge flat.

I've come to the conclusion that cooking bigger cuts of meat is way easier and comes out better - a 4lb pork butt, a 5 lb flat, lean ribs, it's all the same - hard to cook to tenderness w/o drying it out, no matter what temp you cook at. I try to stick to 8lb+ butts, 5lb racks of spares, and I haven't done a big brisket but I had two dry experiences w/ small flats... good luck
That's what we try to buy/cook.

There is a wide range of quality in choice,but that is a good place to start.

You can remove any large wedges of fat,but it will still trim off ,very easily,when it is cooked.

It also gives you a look at how the beast cooks up.

You aren't going to a turnin box,at a comp,so all that fat will just leave it moist.

Try to let it set wrapped, for a good three hrs,in the cooler.

Be sure that probe passes easily through the flat.If it doesn't,cook a little longer.

Open the foil and let it come to close to room temp,over 45 mins,or so.

You may even find that the point will slice,like a flat.

Have fun and let us know.
You might try smking for three hours,then remove the brisket,place in a foil pan with water to 1/2 full and add 1 cp of the sauce,worchestershire,and red wine and reseal with foil and cook for three more hours. I have used this recipe for years on a conventional smoker and am ready to try it on my sm008 as soon as I get it.Good luck,the Bone.
Never one to discourage the use of a great brisket cooker,like a smokette.

It was designed a half century ago, to cook briskets.

What kind of smoker are you used to cooking a Texas brisket on?

Sounds kinda like you are creating a French pot roast,if it had some pearl onions,a bay leaf,a pinch of thyme,a couple carrots,and maybe a diced potato,and a spoonful of tomato paste.

Some of them Okie's, out around Ponca City ,might suggest you just save all the clean up,by putting it in the crockpot,with a couple TBSP of liquid smoke.

Good luck.
Can't avoid the stereotypes on certain foods, they are properly described as ethnic because they are passed down among family. Many old New Yorkers have 'secret' family recipes for flats which involve ingredients like beer and ketchup and cola; these people have never cooked outdoors and the recipes all call for braising.

Tom, I assume when you say the smokette was designed to cook brisket, you mean packers. And please correct me if I am wrong.

The same terms are applied to different foods in different parts of the country. The internet helps, but I do not recall anyone on this forum recommend smoking a flat without a lot of crutches. Same with beef ribs; it can be done, but I have not seen a lot of people pushing the idea unless they grew up with beef ribs.

And my favorite ethnic treat is braised lamb shank, simmered for about 18 hours by someone who cooks differently than I do. Anyone ever smoke a lamb shank?
Thanks Tom ! It got tender at about 190* or so, after 12 hours. It is wrapped and cooling on the kitchen counter. I will put in fridge when it cools some more. The point is still in the Smokette on 250*. The wife wouldn't let me trim the flat. She said who don't want fat can trim it off their slices. Okie dokie then I said.

Big Grin

edit: Oh man WOW !!! I just had a taste before I put it in the fridge. It is really awesome. Hard to believe it has a cup of expresso in it. Can't taste the coffee at all, but can tell it added something good ! It sucked it all back up as it cooled. AWESOME !!! I could most likely impress even a Texan with this brisket !

Last edited by Former Member
Well,when Donna's family designed the Smokette,I don't know that there were a lot of flats in the area.

Briskets were ground to make burgers,or beef hotlinks.

The old European farmers could make sausage and they learned,how to cook tough meat slow and low ,to be edible.

Seems like a discussion on cooking meat in a smoker,would lend itself to a certain cooking style.

Half pans of water and tightly foiling will make pork,or beef ribs,poultry,beef,fish,etc tender if you boil it long enough.

The discussions on here, ,are quite often about the 2-3 lb pieces of brisket, that are sold specifically to make New England boiled dinners with vegetables.

Another topic, could well be comp teams that cook only large choice flats with traditional methods.

I'm sure we have members that cook a fine flat,without the crutches.
I apologize.

I don't mean to demean another cook's methods that suits them ,their friends,and family.

To help folks achieve this, has always been the intent of the forum.

In the same sense of responsibility,

Just out of curiosity,which "world champion's "recipe is this,since we always make a strong point ,to give credit to cooks,authors,etc,when we reference their works on this forum.

It has always been part of Smokin'Okie's strong sense of ethics,that we not steal from cookbooks,forums,etc.

Thanks for your contributions.
Last edited by tom
There are lots and lots of recipes for brisket and about as many methods.

Around here, we like to teach methods and impact so that people can learn instead of just repeating other methods. Like Foil, lots of people use it, we try to teach what it does or doesn't do to bbq as it cooks.

But proven methods will help people sometimes who just don't have success any other way.
Tom,didn't mean anything but help for the greenbergm that's all. I just heve used this method for 17yrs and it works every time no matter the size of the cut, with out fail. I am going to try it in my new sm009 that I just got yesterday. I don't know if it will work on this kind of smoker or not.I got that recipe from a small cook book that came with my okla. Joe's 16"traditon that I bought as my first smoker back in 91.I cook for 3hrs at 250 with pecan just on the rack then put it a alum. throw away pan with all the fluid and seal it tight for another is it ever gooooooooood!! Thanks for all the input from all of you and I am really lookin fwd to quein with my new toy!!! Frenchbone.Ready to rib down!!!!!!
We always appreciate shared techniques,and hopefully, some of our friends in Texas,that we compete against,will give some serious thoughts,to adapting some of the techniques.

Those Texas folks are fine beef cooks,and as hard as we work to beat them, we are all good friends.

If it is something to help them,down in their neck of the woods,more power to them.
Originally posted by Tom:
We always appreciate shared techniques,and hopefully, some of our friends in Texas,that we compete against,will give some serious thoughts,to adapting some of the techniques.

Those Texas folks are fine beef cooks,and as hard as we work to beat them, we are all good friends.

If it is something to help them,down in their neck of the woods,more power to them.

Tom, I have to prove I don't use the Texas crutch. Let's not even get in to foil pans and braizing.

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