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Old 11-01-2010, 12:06 PM   #1
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Shoe Leather Brisket

Well, tried another brisket. It's tough as nails. I've done way better than this. I'd like some input from people that really love their brisket.

Here's what I done:

- 15 pound brisket. My butcher is a top notch butcher. I've used his briskets before, and I've had excellent results. Sealed in a vacuum bag, and stored in the fridge at the butcher. It wasn't sitting "out exposed to the air" in a display fridge. In fact it had quite a bit of moisture this time around.

- Cut it in half to fit on my WSM 18.

- Trimmed the fat. Quite a bit of it. First time doing so, because I was planning on brining it, which I did. I thought the fat cap would have messed up the one side of it, so I took it off. Pretty much all of it.

- Brined it. 1 gallon water, 1 cup salt, into a fresh vacuum bag, set for marinading. Given the right dimensions for the cut, these bags were a good choice for such marinading. They then both fit into my lower crisper. I put in some fresh herbs as well, Thyme & Oregano. Not sure if they did anything. Brining went overnight to 3pm.

- Wolfe Original on the flat, Wolfe Original (one side) and Wolfe Bold (other side) on the point. I do note that I use these rubs a lot, and they have a significant amount of salt in them.

- Apple chunks, Cherry chips, both soaked for 20 minutes, into the fire at 0 minutes. Smoked for 9 hours, 30 minutes to 190F. Actual temp of smoker got up to 250F.

- Meat wrapped at 150F. Took the point up to 190F. Sorry, didn't do the toothpick test, as I felt the meat around 145F when I wrapped it, and it felt pretty solid. I thought wrapping it and bring the temp up would help.

- Took it off, left in the foil overnight to this morning at room temp. It was still pretty hard. I cut it today with my trusty electric knife and electric fork, and it was pretty tough. The only soft part was inside the point where that nudge of fat is.

I'd like to see what I've done wrong. Unfortunately, a brisket is big, and I can't scarf one down in an afternoon. Testing brisket is a long process, longer if your results are tough, because you can't give it away.

I have some notes here I just found (VERY useful now that I'm done) from JB, but I won't release them until I see what others say about the process I followed.

Sorry, no pictures. I'm sure you all know what I mean when I say "dry meat".

Thanks for the input, folks!
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:20 PM   #2
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

I run mine up to a little over 225 then wrap and chuck it in a cooler that I have preheated with hot tap water. Works for me.

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Old 11-01-2010, 01:30 PM   #3
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

Wow, that hot, eh? Maybe I am taking it off too low.
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:41 PM   #4
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

What was the temp of the flat when you took off? Don't say 150.
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:44 PM   #5
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

190. Foiled just south of 150.
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Old 11-01-2010, 03:00 PM   #6
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

hmm .. shouldn't be too bad then.
Personally, I take mine to 205. If I foil, I do it at 160.
Was the raw brisket in the bag "floppy"? That's what I look for.
I've heard of people brining for two hours and then injecting...dunno..never tried it.

If it were me, I'd start getting some smaller flats to practice on. That's the fun part
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Old 11-01-2010, 03:07 PM   #7
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

Yep, it was a nice piece of meat. I've always had a problem with brisket. Not this bad though. I've injected, brined once before, always somewhat dry. I am starting to think it's the amount of salt in the rub, as I am quite liberal with that.
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Old 11-01-2010, 03:14 PM   #8
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

Do you let the rub sit? or put it on just before?
Try one with just black pepper and a lil sprinkle of kosher salt!
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Old 11-01-2010, 03:15 PM   #9
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

Rubbed it maybe 20 minutes in advance, after the brine ended.
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Old 11-01-2010, 03:54 PM   #10
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

Sounds to me like it dried out cause you took the fat cap off of the bottom. Did you separate the flat or just cut it in half? Just plain cutting it I would guess might lead to juices running out of it too. (Someone correct me if i'm wrong here).
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:03 PM   #11
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

I cut it in half because it was too big for the WSM 18. I've had it quite moist with the cap on it before. Even with Zatarains, which is super salty.
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:26 PM   #12
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

#1 - The only thing that will make a brisket dry, is by overcooking it.
#2 - The only thing that will make a brisket tough is under cooking it.

Temps do not determine doneness, 'tenderness' does. Couple of things I think messed this brisket up.

#1 - Cutting it in half. This gives you two separate pieces of the same cut that are now different thickness's, etc. Next time, bend the brisket in half, kinda like a coke can is under it, within a couple hours it will have shrunk enough to fit.
#2 - Brining. Sure you can, but it's not necessary.
#3 - You determined doneness by temperature and not by probing. Temps are a guide, not a rule as to when a meat is broken down and tender. I've had briskets that have been tender at 185* and others that went to 205*. Use temp as a guide to 'when' to begin checking for temps. *How accurate are your pit and meat probe's?*
#4 - You foiled fairly early, but that would not affect the finished product other than the lack of bark. Foil when the brisket has a nice bark or in the 160-165* range.
#5 - The point will take quite a bit longer to get to 'tender' than than the flat.

No is the answer to the question in your e-mail you sent. Do you think the salt in the rubs might be a contributing factor? Even after brining.....

Last but not least.............I never trim a brisket until after it's cooked
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:39 PM   #13
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

OK, thanks for the input Larry. Here's some points:

1. This 15 pound brisket is a smaller one. I've had 17 and 18 pound briskets, even when done, wouldn't have fit. Should I just get smaller briskets?

2. All I get from people is "brine it, brine it". I would rather not, as it's a long step.

3. Temperatures...I have one of those instant digital thermometers, and 2 wireless ones. I use the WSM pit probe.

4. Neither point nor flat got tender.

So the approach would be:

- don't cut it
- wrap at 165
- don't brine
- test for tender, not temperature (easy toothpick?)

Cheers
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:20 PM   #14
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeRich
OK, thanks for the input Larry. Here's some points:

1. This 15 pound brisket is a smaller one. I've had 17 and 18 pound briskets, even when done, wouldn't have fit. Should I just get smaller briskets?
2. All I get from people is "brine it, brine it". I would rather not, as it's a long step.

3. Temperatures...I have one of those instant digital thermometers, and 2 wireless ones. I use the WSM pit probe.

4. Neither point nor flat got tender.

So the approach would be:

- don't cut it
- wrap at 165
- don't brine
- test for tender, not temperature (easy toothpick?)

Cheers
The above actually spells it out in my opinion........if you're briskets are NOT shrinking, you're temps are much lower than what your thermometer says.........even a 15-18lb brisket will fit after 2-3 hours of cooking and rendering......

Go to HERE order a Maverick ET-73, should be the cheapest Maverick around. Tell Finney, Larry said hey.

If you already have one, test both probes in boiling water. They should be within +/- 2-3 degrees of 212*.
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:45 PM   #15
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

No, they are shrinking, but never enough to fit into a WSM 18. Have a look at this brisket. You will see that if it shrinks to about half it's size, it should fit:

[youtube:1e1m7ulq]
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:05 PM   #16
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

Well Larry is giving you some good advice seems like. One tip I give is dont cut the brisket half in two. Just bundle it up like an inch worm accordian style etc. so you can get the lid down on it. Top rack fat down. Once it coughs up some fat it will shrink up and fit just fine and it dont much matter how big it is to start with. I do 17 pounders like that quite a bit. I would not bother to brine it. I dont know whut Pig's is smoking wrapping at 225. Hogdady must have sent him a Care package

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Old 11-01-2010, 07:14 PM   #17
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

I'd love to see you put 17 pounds of brisket onto the top of a WSM 18". I have no clue how you do it. Please take measurements so I can see how to do it.

During this last smoke, I cut it in half, put a rib rack on top of the point, then put the flat on top of that. That was the lower shelf. Top shelf was 3 racks of ribs. The point on this took up the lower shelf alone.
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:15 PM   #18
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

Just scrunch it up and tuck it inside the lid. Sounds like you go a massive cooking project going on there. Guess an efficiency exspurt injuneer just cut everything up to fit like a jig saw puzzle. You ever try to let the point drip on the flat? Done it thataway on big pits a few times. Never bothered with it on the R2D2's. Think the moisture level suffered by separating the two pieces.

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Old 11-01-2010, 08:16 PM   #19
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

I've folde my almost in half to fit it on a WSM. As it shrinks, it will unfold itself.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:52 AM   #20
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Re: Shoe Leather Brisket

Beef can be a bitch on the smoker. I tanked a chuck roast this past weekend. Damn, that thing was tough to beat hell. Made beef stew out of that bad boy. That came out good. Brisket comes out spot on good from time to time, most of the time it's for soup or stew. Don't feel bad, Any thing is easy if you know how. I obviously do not.

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