RobtD91 wrote:Thanks for the post Scott. Good stuff. I'm with Rick. Relatively new YS640 owner and doing a brisket for Labor Day weekend (only my second attempt and the first wasn't great). Starting late Saturday night (maybe around midnight) for a Sunday dinner. I have a 12lbs Excel "Angus" Choice brisket flat COV from Sam's. $5.77/lb----seemed expensive, but what do I know. It says it's a flat, but it really looks like the whole packer cut. I haven't opened yet, but I'll know as soon as I do. Assuming it is a flat, I am definitely planning to wrap with 40# butcher paper I picked up at GFS. I'm just not sure how long to let it go before I do wrap. Since I'm starting at midnight, and would prefer to get to temperature around noon or 1pm, I'm thinking of running at 225-235F overnight, see where I am in the morning, and crank it up to 250F until I get the bark I'm looking for. Then I'm wrapping until I hit the 200-205F. I wasn't planning on using a water pan----never have up to this point with the YS640. And also wasn't planning on basting or spritzing or anything like that. Wish me luck!
Yes Scott, it was a full packer cut not a flat as advertised on the Sam's packaging. Nice size point and 1/4" fat cap. I trimmed it pretty well---left about 1/8" of so of fat and cooked almost 16hrs at 225-250F on my YS640. I used a Maverick temp probe throughout the cook, and a ThermaPen periodically for verification. It seemed to get stuck around 190-195F, and temps were quite variable from flat to point. I never did get it over 200F consistently. When my ThermaPen just went through the meat like a hot knife through butter, I threw in the towel, wrapped in paper and held in 170F oven for 2 or 3 hours. At dinner time, I separated the point and flat and sliced both across the grain. Point was awesome--------great flavor, tender, and somewhat juicy. Flat was also very tender----I wouldn't say fall apart, but close. But wasn't very juicy and quickly dried out after cutting. I think I overcooked by an hour or so. But overall, was very, very tasty and good eats. I'll keep trying for the perfect brisket.
Great post Scott.
Kinda uncanny, but I did exactly the same cook on my 640 last week for my father-in-law's 80th bday with similar results as you. The only difference in cooking approach for me (I have been doing a dalmatian only rub and butcher paper for a while now) was temperature. I normally start full packers low at 180-200 for the first few hours and then bump them up to 220ish (+/- depending on when I want it to be done...) for the duration of the cook. I then wrap in butcher paper once the bark gets to where I want it (usually around 6-8 hours in) and then cook it wrapped until it's done--typically around 203F IT for me. I did mist a few times but not until after the first few hours. I also use a small metal loaf pan (the size of a small loaf of banana bread) with some water and vinegar in it to humidify the cooking chamber. I situate it near the right edge of my grate, close to the chimney, but not any further to the right than a little to the left of the grate edge. I don't want it to cut out air flow into the cook chamber. This time, I cooked it at 250F for the entire cook. Aaron Franklin cooks his on his propane tank stick burners, or so he says, at 275F. I thought a slightly warmer temp might be an interesting experiment.
The brisket came out fine. Tender and moist all over with excellent top bark/crust. No probs on top. On mine, the bottom of the brisket was burned, enough so that there was some significant resistance with my electric knife while cutting through the flat...No complaints from guests (even ones who've eaten here so many times that they give me ruthlessly honest feedback on every cook... ) For me, a TX-born, TN guy living in MA, it was a failure...but one I'm happy to have tried. I think that, at 250F, there was too much radiated heat from the heat diffuser and it burned the bottom of the brisket, particularly since I too cook only fat side up--never down. I also trim the briskets to about 1/4" fat cap, so even if it was down, there wouldn't be THAT much fat to protect it from burning. I have never had this problem at 220F and I don't recall ever having it at 240, but I can't be absolutely positive on that one.
I am going to try another experiment because I think that there's something to cooking at a slightly higher temp, all else equal. I think it helps move the stall along faster, without causing a loss in perceived moisture in the brisket. I'm going to take temps on my second shelf and set the 640 temp to give me a 250 temp on the second shelf. I'm then going to repeat the same cook, but with the brisket cooking the entire time on the higher shelf, where I won't have the same radiated heat from the heat diffuser to burn the bottom. I'll report back once I do this.
I think the moral of the story (for me--not preaching here) is to know your cooker. Every smoker is different and what works perfectly on one cooker won't necessarily work well on another. Even though the 640 isn't a direct cooker, technically, the first shelf does sit directly above the heat. The heat diffuser does make it somewhat indirect, particularly in terms of the convective air flow and smoke, but it can't completely eliminate radiated heat from the heat diffuser sitting directly above the firepot. True offset cookers are obviously different and, as such, the method of cooking should differ slightly on both smokers, even though we should be able to get highly desirable results out of both types of cookers. If my 250 second shelf exercise doesn't work out as well as I hope it will, I'm just going back to the 220ish temps I've used in the past when using my 640. Bottom line--it works and it works well.
Sadly, it'll be a few days until I can repeat the experiment since my 640 is currently on the injured reserve list....down for much needed maintenance, new lid hinges, new igniter, new hopper lid, new coat of paint, etc...I'll try to take some photos and report back after Brisket @250, attempt #2.
Awesome post, this is exactly how I plan to cook my Brisket. I am planning on cooking one to travel with and serve for lunch, do you think resting in an insulated cooler for 5 hours will be ok? Could be up 10 hours, should I be worried it will be cold?
I also am from Michigan actually Cadillac. I have 2 640's and a loaded Wichita. I really love the products and enjoy smoking. I am struggling finding brisket's of any quality. Where are you getting your packers?
Headed to butcher to pick up a 9# brisket I ordered last week. Local Prather Ranch beef, the best in the west. Doing Scotts recipe, I'll let you know how it turns out. Also scored a 5#er the other day at Costco for 3.49 per lb, making jerkey with that little one.
RichM, how did it turn out??!!
Leek184, I pick up my packers at a local meat market called Port 72 Fresh Market. You've got L & J up by you. I'd give them a call and see if they can get you a packer!
Just picked up a 16lb'r today and going to start my cook at 4am! The price was $3.50lb.