My most challenging Brisket cook to date turned out to be my best brisket to date. It all started on a high note finding that Sam’s had USDA Prime Briskets on sale and I got the last one. It was an 11.75 lb packer sitting all alone in the case. I checked with the butcher to see if they had more in the back at that price but he confirmed I had the last one. I hadn’t cooked a brisket in a couple of months and I was really looking forward to smoking one.
This would also be the first brisket I had smoked since Christmas. That was significant since my daughter and son-in-law had given me a new Hardcore Carnivore Brisket Knife and Pink Butcher Paper for Christmas. I have been wanting to try wrapping with paper instead of foil for some time now. In case you haven’t heard, I love some good bark and wrapping it with paper is supposed to help protect the bark from being steamed to mush.
I decided to sleep in a bit and that put me behind getting the brisket on the fire. I trimmed the brisket a little and rubbed her down with some mesquite infused olive oil, sea salt, coarse black pepper and Cookshack Brisket Rub. The meat didn’t go on until noon but that should still leave me time to get it done and let it rest for dinner. I can normally get a brisket done in five and a half hours on the Pit Barrel Cooker.
Before I hung the brisket I also hung a small bucket of water for some moisture. I also tossed in three blocks of hickory wood to the fire basket. I set my ThermoWorks Dot for 165 degrees where I planned to wrap the brisket in the butcher paper. After wrapping I would reprobe and set the Dot for 201 degrees.
Now it was time to sit back and relax and enjoy the wonderful aroma wafting from the Pit Barrel. The cook seemed to be taking longer than normal to get to temp and once the stall set in at 153 degrees I thought it would never move. I didn’t reach the wrapping temp of 165 till almost 5:30. That was the time I was expecting to be pulling off this brisket to rest.
I can normally get at least 8 hours out of a full basket of coals in my PBC. I added some additional hot coals at a brisket temp of 182 degrees. Now I’m wondering if I am going to lose this brisket altogether. Did I have some old charcoal? Was it the water I added? Adding a bucket of water was kind of a new thing for me with the PBC.
Around 8:30 PM and a brisket setting at 191 degrees I’m feeling defeated. It was not tender and seemed like it had stalled again. I pulled the brisket from the barrel and put it in a pan in the oven. I had heated the oven to 275 degrees hoping to get the brisket up to 201. I left my temp probe in and watched for it to start moving again.
The temp finally reaches 201 but I can tell by the feel and the probe it is still a little tight. I close the door to the oven and let it go to 203 degrees. This time the probe slides easily and it has a little wiggle. I pull the probe and add another wrap of the butcher paper to help hold the juices while it rests.
Let’s Eat Some Brisket
I still haven’t had dinner so I only waited about 45 minutes before slicing the brisket. I would normally like for a brisket to rest for about an hour and a half before slicing. At this point I wasn’t expecting much since this brisket gave me such a fight all day. My wife had also waited patiently for me to get this thing cooked.
When I unwrapped the brisket I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of moisture still in the paper. I was able to pour some off to save for reheating the leftovers tomorrow. I was really hopeful for a great bark but it didn’t turn out quite like I had imagined. The bark was perfect in a couple of spots but wet and thin in a few more.
When it came to slicing though I was really impressed with this one. The new knife glided through the meat and the smoke ring were solid. The slices draped over my knife without falling apart. When I popped that end piece in my mouth I was a happy man. I hadn’t lost the brisket I ended up with a brisket I could be proud of.
My wife is my judge and she said it was my best brisket yet and was glad we waited to eat dinner. She gave me her ultimate thumbs up when I noticed she was eating slices without bread. She always eats her brisket chopped and on a bun. I told her I would chop here some more brisket but she said no thanks, this brisket was so tender.
Brisket Cook Stats
- 11.75 lb USDA Prime Brisket
- Texana Mesquite Infused Olive Oil
- Cookshack Brisket Rub
- Sea Salt
- Coarse Black Pepper
- Hickory Wood Chunks
- Peach Butcher Paper
- Meat On 12:05 PM
- Wrapped at 165 Degrees at 5:27 PM
- Moved to Oven at about 8:30 PM
- Pulled to Rest at 9:25 PM and 203 Degrees
Even though this cook was very challenging it was a hugely successful brisket cook. I’m leaning to maybe a problem with the charcoal as to the reason for the unusually long cook time. I had bought this bag of charcoal about two months previous but who knows how long it might have been on the shelf at the store. This was my first time wrapping with butcher paper but my problems started before even getting to the wrap. I have added a water bucket before so I don’t think it was the water.
Whatever the reason for the long cook time was, it either didn’t hurt the cook or that is what made this cook a success. One of the things I love about cooking on the Pit Barrel Cooker is the shorter cook times. But, if it is going to turn out like this on a longer cook I’ll be just as happy.