View Full Version : Should it really take this long?

03-11-2014, 03:00 PM
Had a large group of people coming over so I picked up two large full briskets. One was about 12 pounds and the other close to 14. I placed my wireless thermometer in the middle of the larger brisket and started both briskets around 1:00 AM at 225. At 7:30 PM I couldn't wait any longer and I had to take out the lower brisket since I needed to feed them something. The problem was that the temperature reading on the upper larger brisket was only at 175. The lower brisket was okay, but a little tough. I left the upper brisket in for another three hours before I had to take it out. Still at 176. Was tough on one end?

03-11-2014, 03:21 PM
I have run into the same problem before. Make sure to test your thermostat so you can confirm the internal oven temps match what the thermostat says. You might be running a few degrees cooler. Is your ST outside? Is it windy? When running a full smoker or using large cuts of meet, I run the ST a few degrees warmer than normal. If you normally start at 225, try using 235 and drop the temp down if it starts cooking too fast. I once had a 9lb brisket take 23 hours to cook. I was patient, but I did drop a second thermometer into the vent hole and noticed I was getting some big temp swings from 190-210. I wasn't actually getting 225. I think that was the culprit. Running a hair over the 225 mark gives me a true 225 degrees. The difference between 210 and 225 on the knob was so small I couldn't tell the difference. The temp knob isn't the most accurate device, so make sure you test it every once in a while.

Good luck.

03-12-2014, 07:15 AM
Great suggestion to check the thermostat. You can always call the good people @ SmokinTex, they will guide you through a check.

I will say this: Some cooks of meat take longer than others, depending on the variables mentioned by Keith13b. But reading your description, jkurzner, it appears you need to have the thermostat or heating element checked.

03-12-2014, 07:26 AM
My first thought is that the thermometer is off a bit or wasn't in the fattest part of the meat - what you describe fits "the stall" perfectly but usually that occurs around 160 (or a bit lower). If you aren't familiar with it do a search and read a bit - basically it's a point where the meat begins to "sweat" and cool itself down (just like humans do). That point/temperature can last for hours. In order to speed things up most of us would recommend wrapping tightly in foil to get past that.

As for the toughness it's possible not getting to temp was the culprit - we are talking about a piece of meat that needs "low and slow" to break down and become tender. When I first started this all seemed so counterintuitive to me and when a piece of meat (shoulder, brisket, even ribs) came out tough I always wanted to blame cooking too long - assuming you are staying at low temps that is rarely the case.

Not sure how experienced you are with smoking meats but you picked in my mind the toughest piece of meat to attempt. Even after I had shoulder and ribs down perfect the first brisket I made was a disaster - I swore it off for life and it was another 3 years before I would attempt my second one.

Don't give up - once you make a great brisket there is nothing else like it. I usually don't inject or marinade (just a dry rub) but many others do. Also try wrapping in foil next time when the internal temp gets to about 160 to get past the stall. From there a few options once it get to or above 180 but allowing the meat to rest for an hour or few can only benefit you as well. Lots of good info on that here as well as other sites.

Hope this helps a bit!!

03-12-2014, 08:11 AM
Well stated, Eric! Could not have said it better myself :D

04-12-2014, 10:21 AM
Actually this was a second attempt at briskets for me. I did two earlier and they ran about 19 hours to get to 205. They were perfect and I actually used a temp lower than 225 to start since I wanted them to be ready around the 20 hour mark. For the two that didn't get to temp, I started at 225. I want to get a good multi-probe thermometer so I can do both the interior temp and the meat temp. Recently did a pork loin and it seemed to get to temp perfectly fine at the right time. I'm just thinking perhaps it was so much meat that it took longer? I also had the meat on the top two shelves, would you guys recommend lowering the meat closer? Based upon the insulation I thought that it really didn't matter where in the smoker the meat went with hot air rising anyway.

04-12-2014, 11:10 AM
I'm not sure location of the meat makes all that much if a difference.

As for too much meat, you might need to adjust a little time. I do think that some cuts of meat just take different time. I read some wise words from Meathead, the guy behind Amazingribs.com: "Start sooner than you think you should. You can always hold the product at a lower temp, but you cannot rush when cooking low and slow."

I would prefer to be earlier than later when serving my guests, no matter who those guests might be. (Spouse, family, friends).

Try another brisket and take good notes. Include the grade of meat, weight, starting temp of meat as well as the temp you set the smoker to.

I believe you are on the right track.

04-13-2014, 04:11 PM
Will do. I have a 11 pound brisket in the smoker right now. Started at 11:00 PM last night and at 5 PM, it's at 180. Going to wrap and try and power through the stall. Fortunately we had a late lunch. I definitely need to get some more thermometers.

04-14-2014, 12:20 PM
So how did it end up??

06-15-2014, 04:53 PM
So how did it end up??

Didn't see the question till now, but wanted to say that the foil method pushed it through the stall much faster and I did hit 205 rather in much shorter time than before. Probably should have let it rest a little longer as there were some sections that were slightly tougher than others and some that were absolutely perfect. I assume part of it is related to the quality of the meat. Going to try another one next weekend.

06-15-2014, 10:50 PM
Try setting your temp to 235 and when it hits 175...double wrap with foil and cook too 200...unwrap and finish to 205-210. Give it a try.


08-05-2014, 03:20 PM
Decided to try starting earlier with my last brisket. Put it in 20 hours before I needed it thinking that even if it got done early I could just use a keep it warm. WOW! It reached 203 around 19 hours later and I just took it out and let it rest. By far the best brisket to date. Patience was rewarded for sure!

08-11-2014, 07:57 AM
A good friend of mine has switched from foil to butcher paper. While not a new idea, he did experiment between the two. He found the BP wrapped briskets to retain bark better than foil wrapped.

Something to consider....