Navigating my first brisket cook

blueridger

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Bethesda, Md.
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timberline large
Friends,
I just took delivery of a timberline large grill this weekend and I'm doing my first brisket today. It is taking MUCH LONGER than I expected. Here's how it progressed so far:
I have a five pound flat cut brisket, which is pretty thick - maybe 3 inches or more at its thickest. I seasoned it with salt and pepper (no injection), set the grill to smoke boost at 180, and put it on the grill last night at 10:30 over a water pan.
At 6 a.m. this morning the brisket (with two separate probes) was at about 121 internal. Temperature slowly rose this morning and at 9:15 the internal temp had been stalled at 134 for an hour. Upped cook temp to 200. Increased cook temp to 225 at 10, and internal went to 154. Stalled again. Wrapped in butcher paper at noon and upped temp to 250. Internal temp dropped to 141 after the wrap. At 2:00, temp had kinda stalled around 154, so removed butcher paper and rewrapped in foil, and upped temp to 260. Temperature now finally slowly increasing - as I post this at 2:50 p.m. the internal temp on one probe is 158, and the other is 150.
So, I've now been cooking for 16 hours and the end is nowhere in sight. We're hoping to have the brisket for dinner, but I have my doubts. I presume that the cook time is dictated more by the thickness of the cut than the weight, but this is my first time cooking a brisket. Any suggestions for what I can do for my next cook, other than start even earlier? The recipe of the traeger app said that the cook time would be 12-18 hours but that seems optimistic.
FWIW, ambient temperature ranged from 25 last night to 50 this afternoon.
Thanks!
Steve
 
Unfortunately, your Traeger's 180 degrees might not really be 180 degrees. Next time, maybe try starting it at 225 super smoke. And then you can bump it to 250-275 after you wrap it. You don't need to wrap it until it gets to 165 or so.
 
Thanks. After wrapping, I bumped in increments, up to about 280. Finally pulled the brisket at 199, after 19-1/2 hours. Wrapped in towel and rested in a cooler for an hour; ultimately came out well. Good smoke ring, good flavor, pretty tender. I was going for flake-apart doneness but I didn't get that. Next time, I think I'll start at 6:00 p.m. the night before!
 
Here's my 5.5lb brisket I did, but I do mine with FireBoard pit and meat probes to ensure I am reading my whole cook correctly.
Traeger probes, meat and internal are both trash. Internal pit probe can be off in some rigs as much as 25°, please note the graph, my brisket was done in about 14 hours but I never went higher than 210° in the smoker ( I wanted mine to take it's time bcuz it was heading to the hunt camp for supper, it stayed in a cooler for 4 hours)


If you ask me, you were not getting accurate readings on any of your probes
 
"Trash," huh? That doesn't make me feel good about my purchase!

It seems to me that two probes (one wired, the other Bluetooth), both of which were w/i 5 degrees of each other, could both be 25 degrees off, although I suppose it's possible. In any event, I pulled at 199 and the brisket turned out well. It might have been slightly undercooked but definitely not overcooked.

Thanks for your thoughts and I'll continue to experiment. If it were easy they wouldn't have competitions in these things.
 
I think what he means by "trash" is the Traeger probes are always off in their readings. You need to get ahold of a Meater+ or another 3rd party temp Probe. I have a temp probe inside connected to the digital display, a manual thermometer in my door, and a Meater+ and all 3 of them will tell me different temps - all based on their locations. I trust the Meater+ the most because it is actually in the meat, and on the cooking surface.
 
I'm sure you're right - I was reacting to the tendency of people in anonymous chat boards to make definitive and derogatory pronouncements about whatever they have an opinion on - which makes it kinda hard to disagree.
In any event, the idea that I might have to spend more money to get accurate thermometers after spending a fortune for a grill that includes what are supposedly accurate thermometers is distressing. It's all new to me so I'll see how it goes.
 
I'm sure you're right - I was reacting to the tendency of people in anonymous chat boards to make definitive and derogatory pronouncements about whatever they have an opinion on - which makes it kinda hard to disagree.
In any event, the idea that I might have to spend more money to get accurate thermometers after spending a fortune for a grill that includes what are supposedly accurate thermometers is distressing. It's all new to me so I'll see how it goes.
In this case, @Slimpicker speaks for us all. The OEM Traeger probes are very unreliable. If you don't use a third-party thermometer, you simply cannot know what your temps are - either internal or in the cooking chamber. Inkbird and Fireboard seem to be the more popular brands in this forum. As a fellow Timberline owner, I can say that you really should get one.
 
I'll definitely consider it. Just for ducks, I filled a glass with crushed ice and water and tested one of the bluetooth probes and one of the wired probes - both read 32 degrees. Just to be safe (in case the laws of physics cease to exist in my kitchen, with apologies to My Cousin Vinny), I checked against an instant read and it read 33. What am I to make of that?
 
I checked against an instant read and it read 33. What am I to make of that?


This site is LOADED with posts exactly like yours, people thinking $1500 was supposed to get them reliable cooking therms...

In this case, @Slimpicker speaks for us all. The OEM Traeger probes are very unreliable. If you don't use a third-party thermometer, you simply cannot know what your temps are - either internal or in the cooking chamber. Inkbird and Fireboard seem to be the more popular brands in this forum. As a fellow Timberline owner, I can say that you really should get one.

smiley-signs011.gif


In any event, the idea that I might have to spend more money to get accurate thermometers after spending a fortune for a grill that includes what are supposedly accurate thermometers is distressing.

We all had to do it, it'll make you a better cook and may even make sure you don't serve under cooked meat. Once you know how far off your Traeger is at medium and high temps, then you'll know to adjust your grill without using an internal probe. ( set my Traeger at 350 if I really want 325...okay)
As far as meat goes, you can also just check with your INSTA READ and make sure it's where you want it before removing. That's just good common BBQin sense anyway. Traeger doesn't care if your meat probe is 15° off and your serving chicken at 150/IT instead of 165
 
I get that. I'm not psyched to have to buy another gadget but I will if necessary. My question is if I test the thermometers in an ice bath and they're right at 32 degrees, doesn't that mean that they are accurate, at least to +/- 1 degree?
 
BTW, a quick search reveals complaints about the probes from every manufacturer, or at least Yoder, Pit Boss, and Weber. Maybe the manufs just use cheap components for their probes, or it's something else . . .
 
Check them with boiling water as well. My treager probes are dead on at lower temps, but the higher the temps get the more the ambient probe is off. Mine is accurate to about 300 degrees then goes downhill from there. When I run my treager at 450, it is off by around 40 degrees. If you don't want to spend a ton Ink Bird makes a good unit that is very accurate (I test it against my thermo-pen). If you have a higher budget the FireBoard seems to be the most common higher end model. I don't need one that expensive for what I do.
 
Excellent suggestion - I did just that. The B/T probes each measured 212 in boiling water which, b/c I live at sea level, is spot-on. The wired probe was harder to measure b/c I had to bring the pot outside. Comparing it against my instant read, which measured 212 on the stove, the wired probe measured 199 when the instant read measured 201. Close enough for my purposes.
I certainly can't argue with others' observations and experiences, but as a general matter, the equipment is the last thing that I blame when I have problems. Then again, maybe I'm just lucky. Either way, I'm not rushing out to buy third-party probes tomorrow!
Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I look forward to sharing more cook stories!
Steve
 
BTW, a quick search reveals complaints about the probes from every manufacturer, or at least Yoder, Pit Boss, and Weber. Maybe the manufs just use cheap components for their probes, or it's something else . . .
Yoder uses FireBoard built in, I'd trust that for sure. FireBoard certifies their product and stands behind it. I love all my FireBoard probes and readers, they have corrected my "I think it's done" feeling many many times.
@midwest is correct, probes tend to lose it at higher temps. However, you might just be that 1/1000 to get the rig that works, if so I say, you one lucky guy.


 
InkBird

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