Brisket Questions

Discussion in 'Beef' started by dsmitty, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. I have done many pork butts, ribs and chickens, now I want to move onto doing a beef brisket. My questions for you all is do I use water in the pan, and also do I add liquid when foiling?

    A little background for what I want to do. I want a semi-bark (nothing to crazy), I want it to be nice and moist for either eating just the meat or making some samis. I am thinking about having some red potatoes and maccoroni salad with it. All of my friends have loved my pulled pork and they are begging for me to cook for my buddies birthday this weekend, so I figured why not give it a shot. If there are any other suggestions out there, please, let me know. I am open for any suggestions on rubs/marrinades that anyone wants to share.
  2. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I just took out a 5lb brisket out of the freezer to try out for my first Brisket tomorrow.  Sorry I don't have any advice but thought I would jump on this thread so I could see any tips!!!
  3. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you are comfortable cooking pulled pork I would cook your brisket the same way. I like to foil mine but others don't so what ever your preference is for butts that is what I would do.
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Probably the most common whole packer brisket smoke is to trm some of the fat cap and the corn off, leaving the flat and point cuts intact/connected.

    Apply dry rub and smoke @ 225* to internal temp of 180* in the flat, remove thepacker, seperate the point/flat cuts at the fat seam between them.

    Foil the flat cut, wrap in towels and rest for a couple hours.

    Return the point cut to the smoker (foiled, if you like) and bring to internal temp of 200*, then wrap in towels in rest at least 1 hour, two or more being better. The 200* finish temp will allow you to pull or shred the flat POINT, which this cut is very well suited for due to it's higher intermuscular fat content and tubular muscle construction.

    The point will take longer to cook due to a higher finished temp, and also due to it being a heavier cross-sectional density (thickness).

    An optional route for the point cut, which is favored by many is burnt ends. Instead of returning to the smoker after point/flat seperation, just cube the point, reseason or toss in a bowl with a bit of sauce for a light coat, then return the cubed meat to the smoker for a couple hours...great stuff! 

    The seperation  and sliced flat/pulled point method will allow you to have sliced flat, and then, pulled point later on for a second meal. If you chose to make burnt ends, they will be ready about the same time as the flat cut after it has rested, and this gives you the entire meal at the same time.

    If you have a center-cut (trimmed flat), you're more limited on what you can do with it, and being trimmed, they have little to no fat to protect them from getting dried-out during the last few hours of the smoke. Foiling at 160* or so is a good idea in this case.

    OK, so for pulled, go to around 200*, and for sliced, go to 180*...those are the magic numbers I go by, and for most pieces of brisket, are pretty much dead-on.

    Hope I didn't lay too much on ya, but that should cover most of the basics.

    Have a fun weekend smoke!


    EDIT: TYPO in 4th paragraph
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
    rowsdower likes this.
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Great advice from Eric!
  6. Eric, thanks for the great advise! I would definately go with the cubing the point for burnt ends at the end. I am thinking about starting this cook late friday night, to have for opening day of college football weekend. Just in time for my buckeyes to play, but we will see how it goes. Things could change concidering I may close on my first house later this week and if that is the case, ill spend all weekend painting.

    EDIT: What amount of time am i looking at for this. is there a per pound basic to 'estimate' time??
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You're welcome!

    I would plan for 1.75 hrs/lb @ 225* smoke chamber temp for getting the flat to 180* and that should leave you with some time to spare, but it depends on the thickness of the fat-cap, smoker and weather related conditions as well.

    Oh, don't think I mentioned it, but if you score the fat-cap in a cross-hatch fashion about ~3/4" between cuts, it will aid in rendering-down the fat for self-basting during the smoke...smoke with fat-cap up. You can work the dry rub into the cuts in the fat as well for an even heavier bark, if you like. Not to mention, it's looks pretty darn cool when you pull it out of the smoker and see how the fat looks like a distorted checker-board pattern.

    Oh, the point can be monitored instead of the flat, and do the seperation when the point is about 160*, or just a touch under. Just stab the flat and get a temp reading before you bring it out to seperate, so you know if it needs more time to hit that 180* mark. I've found that if I wait until the point is around 170* or higher, the burnt ends don't have quite as good of texture. I try to get them so they have a slight snap in the interior chew, and 160* before cubing for the second smoke seems to be pretty close to that sweet-spot.

    The flat may not quite be up to 180* when the point hits 160*, but you can always toss it back in after seperation, which only takes about 30 seconds if you know what to look for/where to start. Just find that fat layer between the two muscles, and once you start to cut into it from the side, it should roll open nice and easy with little knife-work. The muscle fibers run perpendicular to each other between the point cut and the flat cut, so they're easy to distinguish. Also, the point has much more intermuscular fat and tubular muscle construction, while the point is more fibrous and much leaner.

    It's kind of sixes on monitoring the temps this way, but, you can get great burnt ends and great sliced flat to boot.

    Hope that helps with the burnt ends's pretty easy, really...don't get flustered about it if the point gets away from you on temps before's not like anything will get ruined, it just won't be what I consider the ideal temp for BE's. Oh, if temps do go much over 170* in the point before you cube, then run shorter time on the second round of smoke for the cubed point...about 1-1/4 - 1-1/2 hours, depending on cube size. Otherwise, from the 160* or under temp, 2 hours is about my target, with a quick peek at 90 minutes for color. If it's getting slightly carmelized, or even to the point of getting very dark colored before I yank 'em out, that's perfect...should have a slightly crispy outside (or for very crisp, just go a bit longer), with a snappy chew inside...almost like multiple mini-popping between your teeth with every chew...that's my idea of the perfect burnt ends. I don't get 'em that way all the time...that's pushing perfection to nearly un-measurable limits...maybe 3/4 of the time for me, so don't get discouraged if it doesn't end that way for you. Part of the fun is trying to get that texture, and duplicating it the next time.

    Gee-whiz...can't tell I like a good brisket smoke, huh? LOL!!!

    Have fun, fellow smoker!

    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  8. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That is a great step by step!!!! I have one in the fridge thawing now!!!
  9. catzcradle

    catzcradle ImpEx - Users Awaiting Email Confirmation

    this is an interesting thread.  I've always take my briskets to 200 IT so far recently using the toothpick test talked about here.  I then slice them thick (1/2 inch or so)  They do tend to fall apart, but are very tender.  If you pull the flat at 180 to slice, won't it have a significant chew to it?  Or do you avoid that by slicing thin?
  10. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    EDIT: oops wrong thread.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
  11. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You can judge the slicing thickness by starting thin. If the meat tries to crumble, go a bit thicker until you can keep a nice slice. Always seperate the point and flat, otherwise you'll be cutting across one grain and with the other. If the meat is super-tender. Slice on the bias and that will help it hold together better.

    180 is fine for the point and flat....most tenderization of cooking is done by then. You may notice the muscle still has quite a bit of un-rendered interior fat...higher finish temp will break it down further.

  12. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This may sound weird because we always caution people to smoke to temp.  Especially with briskets and chuckies, I double check with a stick therm to be sure I am getting a good temp reading from the remote therm.  When that stick goes in like a knife thru hot butter, I sometimes pull the meat at a lower temp than my original goal.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  13. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I do the same thing!

    To add to that if the temp is at the goal & the probe finds some resistance I leave it in a little longer.

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