How to tell if brisket flat is over or under done?

rwhapham

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So while I've had plenty of smoker experience, not so much with briskets. Just couldn't bring myself to babysit a fire overnight. Thanks to the SF I've tried my hand at a three now, each one better than the last. But I still haven't gotten the pull apart tenderness on the flat that I'm looking for. What I can't determine is if it just needed more time, or if I somehow managed to overcook it even though the probes said otherwise. For the last one I did, I injected with beef bone broth (even though it was Prime), cooked at 250F fat cap down and point to the right on the top rack with a partially filled water pan below it, and wrapped in paper at about 165F. Before the wrap, I had two probes in the middle of the flat near the edge of the point that stayed within a couple of degrees of each other. After the wrap, though, and trying to put them back in the same-ish spots, they slowly started separating in temps. By the time I pulled, one was 202 and the other 192. I would have gone longer but it took way longer than expected and serving needed to happen in a couple of hours. I'm now wondering if I should have ran it longer. Do y'all think I stopped short of the sweet spot where the connective bits of the flat break down? Is there a way to tell the difference between an undercooked and overcooked flat? Thanks.
 
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rwhapham

rwhapham

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I didn't take many glamour shots, and no real close-ups, but as you can see it was cooking up perfectly before the wrap. And the point came out like butter. The far end of the point I had to chop because it wouldn't hold a slice. Just missing that flat magic.

PXL_20210417_121153104.jpg


PXL_20210417_212129653.jpg
 

Bruno

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To me you covered all bases, good plan and a good cook.
Flats are obviously a pain in the ass. I’d have taken it to 200 but who knows.
 

JpsBBQ

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Yeah I’m a 200-205 range @ thickest part of the flat. “Probes like butter”. Looks pretty good.

Some folks go at 225 pit temp. I’m also a proponent of commercial injections such as Butcher BBQ or Kosmos because they contain phosphates which retain moisture. It’s scientifically better than just adding moisture. Also foil will improve tenderness compared to paper. That said, a prime packer should be great with or without the injection or what you wrap it in. Could be just the particular cuts you’ve gotten too. Chit is finicky.
 
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rwhapham

rwhapham

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Yeah I’m a 200-205 range @ thickest part of the flat. “Probes like butter”. Looks pretty good.

Some folks go at 225 pit temp. I’m also a proponent of commercial injections such as Butcher BBQ or Kosmos because they contain phosphates which retain moisture. It’s scientifically better than just adding moisture. Also foil will improve tenderness compared to paper. That said, a prime packer should be great with or without the injection or what you wrap it in. Could be just the particular cuts you’ve gotten too. Chit is finicky.
Do you find that when you run the thickest part of the flat to when it probes soft (200F-205F) that the thinner end of the flat is still tender enough and not overcooked? I guess it makes sense to cook for doneness across the greatest amount of the cut, and not worry if some fringe stuff has to be discarded. I'm not originally from Texas, but I've been here long enough to be a card-carrying loyalist. The brisket merit badge would raise me to "adopted native son" status here. ;)
 

JpsBBQ

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Do you find that when you run the thickest part of the flat to when it probes soft (200F-205F) that the thinner end of the flat is still tender enough and not overcooked? I guess it makes sense to cook for doneness across the greatest amount of the cut, and not worry if some fringe stuff has to be discarded. I'm not originally from Texas, but I've been here long enough to be a card-carrying loyalist. The brisket merit badge would raise me to "adopted native son" status here. ;)

Yeah, that’s the idea. Often times you sacrifice a bit of thin tapered edges for the larger body of the flat. Those overdone bits are still salvageable for beans and stuff like that. I will often cut them off and vacuum seal them for adding to beans and Mac and cheese. They will soften in the liquids enough to be useful. I see
All these beautiful briskets on TV and internet that have a very thick end on the flat but that is rarely my experience with the products I cook. Also the TV and comp cooks will trim back a ton of the thin parts the average guy just can’t bring himself to do.
 
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rwhapham

rwhapham

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Yeah, that’s the idea. Often times you sacrifice a bit of thin tapered edges for the larger body of the flat. Those overdone bits are still salvageable for beans and stuff like that. I will often cut them off and vacuum seal them for adding to beans and Mac and cheese. They will soften in the liquids enough to be useful. I see
All these beautiful briskets on TV and internet that have a very thick end on the flat but that is rarely my experience with the products I cook. Also the TV and comp cooks will trim back a ton of the thin parts the average guy just can’t bring himself to do.
Very true. With almost all of the videos I've watched, they've either started with a cut that has an insanely thick flat that I've never seen in what I'm willing to pay for a brisket. Or they've trimmed off more meat than I'm willing to part with before going on the pit. Either way, I guess you have to decide what's more important. If I learn one new thing each brisket, I'm happy. Thanks again.
 

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Saw a guy on Youtube GQue BBQ who suggests getting a Jello Cup and putting your probe in that to get an idea of the right feel. I've had success with Brisket, but it's tricky especially at my altitude. Anyway I thought it was a pretty good tip for someone who is trying to figure out what "probe tender" feels like.
 
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