I smoked a brisket this weekend and it was very dry. In the past I have had different levels of success although they never really turn out super moist. I am using a smaller RecTec pellet smoker which I know is not the choice of BBQ chefs but it is what it is. Here is what I did:
1. Started with a 7lb brisket flat (USDA Angus)
2. Injected the brisket with a beef broth in a 1-1.5 inch grid. The needle is relatively large, say 1/8" or slightly smaller.
3. Dried it and then applied 3 levels of rub, (Salt, Pepper, Garlic power), (Harry Soo's Moola Beef Rub), (Montreal Steak Seasoning). I will add that the flavor was great.
4. Put it in the fridge at about 8PM.
5. Pulled it out at 4AM and let it sit on the counter for 1 hour while the smoker warmed up to temp.
6. Put it on the smoker at 5AM (250°) and didn't touch it. I did have a tray of water in the smoker as well.
7. Checked it at about 10:30 and it was around 168° which surprised me that was that high after that short a period of time. My last brisket, about the same size took nearly 12 hours.
8. I wrapped it in pink butcher paper and put in two probes but this time one read nearly 180 and the other around 170 in different areas of the meat.
9. I monitored them up to 202 and pulled it off (around 2:00). While I didn't watch it the entire time, it seems like it never stalled. Maybe way too lean?
10. Left it in butchers paper and wrapped it in two towels and then put it in a cooler and left it to rest until dinner was served, shortly after 8:00. Did I leave it to rest way too long (6 hours)? What's the option? Couldn't change the party and have people come at 4:00.
I just didn't feel good about how fast it cooked. In the past I would cook at 225 but was concerned because the last one took 12 hours and it seemed that people were getting great results at 250 as well. The probe did go in like butter but the entire brisket just felt way too ridged. In the past it would fall over my hand and I've seen plenty of videos where they would jiggle but this one did not, at all. That said, I check all over and it was at between 200 and 203 everywhere so it was done. The flavor was fantastic as was the smoke ring and it cut very smoothly but not a drop of liquid anywhere. In the past I have seen people cook to 190 and the brisked is very dry and tough so I have always gone to 202-203 and it definitely renders and sometimes there's a bit of moisture but more often it ends up on the dry side. The previous brisket was from Whole Foods and while I don't recall the price, I'm pretty sure it was over $100. This one was $50 at Big Y.
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