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I let brine overnight a 450 g piece of point cut beef breast. Then I dry rubbed it with spices and put in my small crock pot with 150 ml of Guinness, a couple of carrots and baby potatoes on LOW for some hours.

I stuck a probe thermometer in the meat and set an alarm at 65 °C (having in mind the target temperature of 72 °C and thinking of carryover cooking).

It must be said that the meat was not submerged in liquid as the vegetables were on the bottom.

But I didn't hear the alarm and the temperature went beyond 72 °C. After about 8 hours, the meat was shortly broiled and, after some rest, sliced.

Tough as a rock.

Now I'm not very sure I know how the graph tenderness vs temperature goes for this kind of meat.

Hence some questions:

  1. How would have my meat been if I took it out when the alarm sounded?

  2. If I wanted a roast, did I "miss my train" by not hearing the alarm and what I have now is an overcooked roast?

  3. Is it now an undercooked braise so a way to rescue it is to let it cook again partially submerged in liquid? (still got some gravy that could be watered up)

  4. Which internal temperature should I aim for? I was thinking to use the crock pot again since my stove burners are too aggressive, and it sounds like it's going to be some more hours on LOW.

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  • 1
    it quite difficult to over-cook slow-cooked beef. You can get it at a tender sous-vide stage early (with some cuts/temps), but almost anything will get tender if done, say, overnight.
    – dandavis
    Jul 20 at 6:55
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Brisket is not a roasting cut; you didn't miss your train, it never left the station. Brisket is a very tough cut because of the presence of collagen, which breaks down at 72°C, and needs the presence of liquid, so roasting is not a good technique for this cut. If you'd taken it out when the alarm sounded it would be even tougher.

You can't roast things in a crock-pot, you have to have food mostly submerged in liquid for it to heat. There's no real target temperature for brisket in a crock pot in the sense of 'when it hits this temperature it's done' because you need to get it to at least 72°C and keep it there for hours so the collagen breaks down. If you use a temperature probe 72°C is when the cooking clock starts.

As for what to do now I would put all the brisket in an oven dish with a lid, put in some stock to about 2/3 of the way up and then braise it for at least 3 hours at about 145°C. Braise it until it starts to get tender, then braise it for a bit longer.

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  • So the error was not to partially submerge the meat in the liquid at the first cooking. But given the size of the leftovers I think it'd be an overkill to use the oven, does it still make sense to use the crockpot? (this time submerge the meat!)
    – David P
    Jul 20 at 5:35
  • There's nothing overkill about ovens @DavidP, it's how braising is often done. They give you complete control. I'm also assuming the poster probably wants to speed things up a bit.
    – GdD
    Jul 20 at 6:46
  • not really speed up, I'm OK to wait all afternoon for the slow cooker to do its job
    – David P
    Jul 20 at 7:42
  • In that case another 8 hours in the crock pot may work for you.
    – GdD
    Jul 20 at 8:17
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Brisket isn't the greatest cut for roasting, but it is possible. If you haven't fully sliced it, you can submerge it 2/3 in stock and cook it at 140 °C for about three hours or until tender. Then retrieve it and coat it in your favorite BBQ sauce and a rub, then roast at 180 °C for about 30 minutes, or until it looks shiny and somewhat caramelized.

If you have fully sliced it, I'd suggest cubing the meat and placing it into a stew. Allow the stew to simmer for about four hours and you'll have a very tender treat.

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I haven't had hard brisket (which I usually boil), but I've had hard beef roast, and I added a little water to a frying pan (with whatever bits were in the original pan) and broke down the roast gradually into small bits as it softened, adding more water as needed. The meat got moister and was fantastic, and the liquid reduced and was flavorful for dipping into. I've since done this with leftover roast beef, too.

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