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First brisket


sub333
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My first brisket is done and dusted! 

Overall: not bad. A little overcooked, but the point had a good texture and was still juicy. The lean was too dry but still tasted good. 

I cooked it overnight for 8hrs, with briquettes and oak/cherry chunks. Weirdly, the smoker struggled to get over 200F, but when I checked this morning, the brisket's internal temp was 166F, so fresh load of charcoal, and cooked for another 3hrs.

Took it off at 205F, then wrapped in foil and placed in coolbox for a couple of hours. I suspect I should have let it cool on the worktop for 20-30 mins first - another lesson learned! 

I've cut the end of the point off and will make burnt ends later in the week, and I still have a huge slab of meat left, which I'll probably freeze. 

Also, the brisket was just over 7kg, and in all honesty was too big for my ProQ Frontier - I had to prop it up a bit, and really cram it to make it fit. Will go for a 5kg brisket next time. 

Always knew that my first brisket would be a steep learning curve, and so it proved. And even though it wasn't brilliant, it was still very tasty! 

Some pics (I served it with sweetcorn pudding and some greens with garlic and chilli):

 

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It looks great! I bet the flavour was immense even if you are slightly disappointed on the texture. 

Well done. Good info on the capacity of the Frontier too. I was wondering how that was going to go. 

Did you use water in the pan?

Phil.

Edited by Phlashster
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2 hours ago, Phlashster said:

It looks great! I bet the flavour was immense even if you are slightly disappointed on the texture. 

Well done. Good info on the capacity of the Frontier too. I was wondering how that was going to go. 

Did you use water in the pan?

Phil.

Yes, water pan overnight (it seems to dry up after about 3hrs), then filled up again first thing. 

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I think, because I've seen amazing briskets from Aaron Franklin, T-Roy, Harry Soo etc, I had that sort of brisket in mind - naive, I know. 

But Aaron said that his first brisket was dire, and you can only learn and get better which each one. I'm already planning the next one! 

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4 hours ago, sub333 said:

 

I cooked it overnight for 8hrs, with briquettes and oak/cherry chunks. Weirdly, the smoker struggled to get over 200F, 

 

Still looks very edible and pleasing to the eye though. 👍

Where were you reading the internal temp of the frontier  from above or below the meat? if above, that looks almost big enough to act as a second heat deflector for the frontier, which may have been the reason for the low temp reading?

57 minutes ago, sub333 said:

Yes, water pan overnight (it seems to dry up after about 3hrs), then filled up again first thing. 

Worth considering using sand instead of water, with a covering of foil over the sand, still keeps the internal temp steady and doesn't need any  maintaining during a long cook.

Could always split the brisket between flat and point and spread the cook over 2 levels in your frontier or places like gridironmeats sell points and flat seperate 3Kg each approx .

Never cooked a slab of meat above 4.5kg on the frontier on 1 level, interesting to see although you weren't 100% happy with it, it can be done.

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Looks good, I Remember  my first brisket, I was up and down all night with it adjusting vents etc, but it is no easy task to get them bang on and everyone is a learning curve. Just think of all brisket chilli you could make.

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1 hour ago, sotv said:

Where were you reading the internal temp of the frontier  from above or below the meat? if above, that looks almost big enough to act as a second heat deflector for the frontier, which may have been the reason for the low temp reading?

Very good point. I just looked at the thermometer on the ProQ itself, but yes, the meat was so big, it was wider than the water pan sitting below it!

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1 hour ago, sotv said:

Worth considering using sand instead of water, with a covering of foil over the sand, still keeps the internal temp steady and doesn't need any  maintaining during a long cook.

Could always split the brisket between flat and point and spread the cook over 2 levels in your frontier or places like gridironmeats sell points and flat seperate 3Kg each approx .

Never cooked a slab of meat above 4.5kg on the frontier on 1 level, interesting to see although you weren't 100% happy with it, it can be done.

Thank you, will try that next time. Topping up the water every couple of hours is a bit of a faff, I must admit. 

I thought about cutting the brisket and putting them on separate levels, but because this was my first crack at it, I was keen to do a 'neutral' test and just see how things went, to give me a benchmark. If you do that, which would you put lower down? The point?

This brisket was 7.25kg. I should have trimmed it more judiciously, definitely, and not ideal to put it on the smoker and disappear off to bed for 8 hours 😄

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7 hours ago, sub333 said:

Very good point. I just looked at the thermometer on the ProQ itself, but yes, the meat was so big, it was wider than the water pan sitting below it!

You may have been closer to 225F than you thought? I don't know how accurate the lid thermometer is on the new ProQ but a lot of analogue thermometers are not the most reliable. Mine on the older ProQ is is usually around 20F out (lower reading than actual reading). When finances allow investing in a digital thermometer is worth considering especially if they have hot and cold alarms that you can set for the pit temperature, to warn you of any big temp fluctuations, during the cook. 

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14 hours ago, sub333 said:

I think, because I've seen amazing briskets from Aaron Franklin, T-Roy, Harry Soo etc, I had that sort of brisket in mind - naive, I know. 

But Aaron said that his first brisket was dire, and you can only learn and get better which each one. I'm already planning the next one! 

Remember you were cooking a completely different product from those guys, they are using USDA grain fed meat and you much leaner grass fed beef

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6 hours ago, sotv said:

You may have been closer to 225F than you thought? I don't know how accurate the lid thermometer is on the new ProQ but a lot of analogue thermometers are not the most reliable. Mine on the older ProQ is is usually around 20F out (lower reading than actual reading). When finances allow investing in a digital thermometer is worth considering especially if they have hot and cold alarms that you can set for the pit temperature, to warn you of any big temp fluctuations, during the cook. 

Yes, quite possibly. I think the thermometer is about 20deg or so lower than it actually is, so may well have been just over 200.

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6 hours ago, Simon said:

Great job there. Brilliant job for first try. Was there anything you would do differently next time?

Ha, where should I start?!

1. A plainer rub, just salt and pepper, not one with paprika/garlic/onion etc (not that I think a plainer rub would be better; just keen to see the difference

2. I would trim it and shape it. This time, although I removed some big lumps of hard white fat, and some silverskin, I didn't trim bits off to square it off - will do that next time

3. Will buy a 5kg brisket, not a 7kg one!

4. Will cook it during the day, not overnight, so I can top up water pan halfway through the cook (and spritz it more often)

5. Will let it cool in the kitchen for a bit before wrapping in foil etc

 

So the answer to your question is yes 😁

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On 7/14/2019 at 8:49 PM, sub333 said:

I think, because I've seen amazing briskets from Aaron Franklin, T-Roy, Harry Soo etc, I had that sort of brisket in mind - naive, I know. 

But Aaron said that his first brisket was dire, and you can only learn and get better which each one. I'm already planning the next one! 

Mine was also dire, so we must be on the right track 😁.

 

It looks great for a first attempt though. The bark looks awesome, which I suspect is a result of decent seasoning and plenty of smoke. Was the flat definitely overcooked? The reason I ask is that I thought mine was too (point was soft but flat was tough) but my research has lead me to believe that I probably undercooked it and another 30-60 minutes would have seen it through to where I wanted it to be. Not sure if it was possible due to timings but it looks like it would have benefited from being sprayed, especially towards the latter part of the cook, and also from being wrapped too. I suspect you considered these but they're the main things I noticed. :) 

 

Looking forward to seeing more - hopefully we'll both reach brisket nirvana in the near future.😄

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48 minutes ago, ExclusiveBBQ said:

Mine was also dire, so we must be on the right track 😁.

 

It looks great for a first attempt though. The bark looks awesome, which I suspect is a result of decent seasoning and plenty of smoke. Was the flat definitely overcooked? The reason I ask is that I thought mine was too (point was soft but flat was tough) but my research has lead me to believe that I probably undercooked it and another 30-60 minutes would have seen it through to where I wanted it to be. Not sure if it was possible due to timings but it looks like it would have benefited from being sprayed, especially towards the latter part of the cook, and also from being wrapped too. I suspect you considered these but they're the main things I noticed. :)

 

Looking forward to seeing more - hopefully we'll both reach brisket nirvana in the near future.😄

Cheers, Chris. I did add plenty of rub after watching your video.

I'll never know re the flat! But while it was tasty, it was pretty dry. I'm sure I should have let it cool a bit before wrapping it in foil and storing in the coolbox.

Very happy with the point, though. On Mon/Tues, I chopped up the end piece of the point, and cooked it in a hot oven with some beef stock, barbecue sauce and some dark brown sugar – it was really good. Almost tempted just to buy point-end briskets from now on! (fat = flavour etc)

But it's really encouraged me to have another crack 🙂

 

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3 minutes ago, sub333 said:

Cheers, Chris. I did add plenty of rub after watching your video.

I'll never know re the flat! But while it was tasty, it was pretty dry. I'm sure I should have let it cool a bit before wrapping it in foil and storing in the coolbox.

Very happy with the point, though. On Mon/Tues, I chopped up the end piece of the point, and cooked it in a hot oven with some beef stock, barbecue sauce and some dark brown sugar – it was really good. Almost tempted just to buy point-end briskets from now on! (fat = flavour etc)

But it's really encouraged me to have another crack 🙂

 

Rather than letting them cool or buying the bits separately, I'm probably going to try and separate the pieces next time I get a whole brisket. Although I'm not exactly shooting for competition-level brisket, it's common to separate the flat and the point before cooking and then pull them off the grill at different times (obviously because they're ready at different times).

I think we've also got our work cut out as our beef is leaner than the American stuff, which I think is going to make cooking a decent flat difficult. I'm not giving up on the flat yet though - it's the cut that's used in competition so it must be possible to get decent results with it. 😅

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Last week I smoked a brisket point but it still had some of the flat on it, I trimmed the fat off the point and placed it on the piece of flat and although it left slightly paler patches on the piece of flat it was evident that it was basting. You can see the slightly paler patches on the top in the picture. Just got to make sure it’s the right fat.

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