Brisket rub question, as well as a few others.

Discussion in 'Beef' started by junkers88, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. Ok folks I'm planning my first brisket smoke on Wednesday. I've read several posts/threads on different beef to get (Wal-mart vs meat market prime cuts vs certified black angus vs... everything else) and the census seems to be that the meat doesn't really matter unless you're doing a competition just as long as the cut is fresh, not frozen, has a good fat side and isn't so marbled that you have more fat than meat. I also figured that 6-8lbs should be good for 4-6 people since it'll cook down a bit and still have some left over for cold meat sandwiches the next day (I LOVE cold brisket). I have finally figured out how to keep my pit (Brinkmann SNP) between 225 and 300 degrees for an extended time and know how much wood to use for a light smoke flavor. What I can't nail down is a good tasty hand made rub that won't be too spicy. Neither my lady or my self like a crazy hot rub and prefer a light taste to augment the beef flavor.

    This is the rub I've found that looks the best.

    2 tablespoons smoky paprika

    2 tablespoons kosher salt

    3 tablespoons sugar

    2 tablespoons brown sugar

    1 tablespoon ground cumin

    2 teaspoons chili powder

    1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    1 tablespoon onion powder

    1 tablespoon garlic powder

    1 tablespoon celery salt

    Can I sub in something else for the chili powder and cayenne that will give a similar flavor and not increase the spicy heat? Oh I also read to coat the beef in yellow mustard so the rub will stay on better.

    One other question, sorry there are so many, I read that for poultry and some fish you need to brine the meat for 6-10 hours before you cook it but I didn't find any solid answers to whether or not you need to brine beef. If so I'll do a simple salt and water brine if that's acceptable.

    Last one. I really can't afford any of the digital remote meat gauges and will be doing this one using what I hope is appropriate time and even temps (250 degrees for 4-5 hours for a 6-8lb beef). I do have one of those probes that you stick into the meat to check internal temps but that will require me to have the lid open for a few seconds to check it and that might throw my time line off with the sudden drop in temps. Any thoughts on this?

    *sigh* ok one more..... what temp should the inside of the beef be for a medium rare cook? I know it's here somewhere but after going through several threads I couldn't find anything more solid than 160-185 degrees. Is that correct? Thank you again for all the time and patience.

    My last attempt at smoking beef turned out to be beef jerky since I was still learning how to maintain heat. Hoping to avoid that this time. Richard.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  2. smokinal

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

    Well Richard,you picked the hardest cut of meat to cook. When I do a brisket I keep the rub simple. Worcestershire Sauce, salt, pepper, & Tones Montreal steak seasoning. I have never brined brisket. It can be injected but I don't do that either. It needs to be cooked low & slow. I smoke mine at 210-220 degrees. For a tender brisket you need to take it to 165 internal temp. then wrap in foil with some liquid (beer or apple juice works good). Then back on the smoker or in the oven until it reaches 205 degrees internal temp. Then wrap the brisket still in the foil in towels & put in a dry cooler for at least 1 hour. If you don't have a good therm., at 205 a toothpick will go in without any resistance. You cannot cook brisket medium rare. It will be like shoe leather. Even at 205 it needs to be sliced across the grain to be tender. A 6-8 lb. brisket may 10-15 hours to cook. As a rule of thumb we go by about 2 hours per pound, That includes the rest period. Briskets tend to stall during the smoke. DO NOT increase the temp in your smoker to get through the stall, just be patient & ride it out. Good luck & let us know how it turns out, with Q-view of course. 
  3. Brisket is the hardest to cook??? Dang it. Well wish me luck and thanks for the advice on the rub and temps/time.
  4. Just ordered the ET 73 Maverick, didn't want to spend the money but I don't want to jack up the meat either and figure I'll be doing a lot of smoking this summer anyway. Also going to build the 20/20 charcoal rack in the morning and see if that helps me maintain temps longer since I'll be able to put more fuel in there than I can now.
  5. I have a question about technique .... I like to cook my meats in a disposable foil pan to save the juices, cool it , skim the excess fat and use as gravy or as it comes out. Since the meat is in a foil pan can the pan just be sealed with foil on top and continue to cook in the smoker and get the same results you describe? Then as a final finish, after removing from the smoker, double wrap in foil and rest in the cooler with towels before slicing and serving.

       Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    jfkiii [Jack]
  6. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Gotta agree with Al...I would consider brisket to be among the top 3 cuts of meat which benefit the most from low & slow cooking (pork butt/boston & picnic being the other two).

    Since you've got a thermometer now, do not insert the probe until after several hours...this will allow you to take advantage of the intact whole muscle meat guidelines which are much more forgiving then the non-intact muscle guideline. And yes to being ready for a stall...let it ride and it will come through it eventually.

    I never add anything to help the dry rub adhere to the meat. With just a small percentage of salt, the salt will draw some natural moisture from the meat after the rub is applied. Just give it a couple minutes after you apply the rub to let it begin working it's magic, then gently turn it over and apply the rub to the other side(s). If you had enough plastic wrap, you can rub, wrap and rest in the fridge overnight. Next day, fire up and drop the meat in when the smoker is ready to rock out. ANother thing aboiut addeditives is that anything containing fats/oils can reduce smoke penetration. The fat cap will also do this. For the most smoke penetration, I seperate the point/flat cuts and trim lean (when I have the time to do so). You can also seperate the point/flat after smoking to 180* or so, then foil the flat and rest for slicing while you pop the point back in to take to 200-205* for pulling...pulled brisket is wickedly dangerous good eating...oh, burnt ends from the point are too, btw.

    On the dry rub, a couple things: added sugars tend to scorch on really long smokes, even at lower temps. The cayenne in the recipe you show is a minor quantity (low percentage/ratio), so you'll not notice it's absence or presence very readily, and spicy heat will be almost null. Even the chili powder is not that high of a ratio, but it does add alot to the flavor profile...spicy heat won't be alot. If you saw 10-15% chili powder, and especially about that much cayenne, I'd be looking for some serious doses of dairy to have on the table before serving to would pack a wallop for the non-chili-heads.

    If you've got temp control down, the other consideration with the SnP is mods...tuning plates, exhaust vent riser and such to even out your cooking grate level temps. I did a ton of mods to mine almost 2 years ago so I could load it up and get even cooking temps...not a must but good to know what your grate temps actually are running at. Factory therm is useless except as a baseline gauge.
    If you can, place th efoil pan underneath the cooking grate so the meat is out in the open...much better resulting smoke flavor while the drippings are still caught in the pan. I use a foil tented pan to bring certain meats like ribs up to temp quite often...anything with bones in it can punture the foil, even double pouches...yep, been there. If it's a butt or other meat that you just want to bring to temp in foil tented pan, then rest, you don't need to remove and transfer, just wrap/cover it with towels and let it hang out in the cooler, oven, whatever for a couple hours. When your ready to slice or pull, you've got the drippings for a natural finish sauce just needing to be defatted and you're set to go.

  7. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I have done a few briskets in a foil pan. It cooks well but you need to flip it a few times during the smoke to make sure that it all gets smoked. The upside is a very moist brisket w/ lots of flavor ,The downside is you get no bark formation when smoking in a pan.

     On beef i dont use mustard or a rub.

     Just rub the brisket w/ a mix of olive oil and worchesterchire and season w/ salt , pepper and a dusting of onion and garlic powder.   I like the flavor of beef .  If you dont want to do the pan . wrap the brisket in a thick wrap of  plastic wrap and inject the heck out of it w/ low sodium beef broth and let sit in fridge overnight . Pull it out ,unwrap and season well put it back in the fridge overnight and pull out on smoke day.

  8. Thanks for the reply. I've added a baffle and 5 other gauges as well as the lowered chimney inside. Right now I've got the pit going with a 4lb beef to do some trials and the only thing I need to change is the baffle. Mine is really thin and no longer holding shape or doing its job. I'll be picking up some plate steel today to make a new one for tomorrow. I'm thinking if I build it so it sits higher up it'll do more for even dispersion of heat and smoke. I also adjusted the rub (made my own for the first time!!!) and it tastes amazing just by itself, hoping it makes the meat taste half as good. Right now (looking at my new remote gauge as I type... how cool is this!!) the pit is at 195 degrees and has been between there and 215 for the last hour. I'm still figuring out how much air to let in and let out to even the temps. Will let you all know how it goes tomorrow and thanks again.  
  9. Eric and eman, thanks for the thoughts, great ideas. I will try a hybrid of both the pan for the first part of the smoke hopefully to retain a juicy meat, then with the pan underneath for the last 1/3? to get the bark.  will try later this week ... thanks again for the ideas, many minds are better than one :)

  10. Eric and eman, thanks for the thoughts, great ideas. I will try a hybrid of both the pan for the first part of the smoke hopefully to retain a juicy meat, then with the pan underneath for the last 1/3? to get the bark.  will try later this week ... thanks again for the ideas, many minds are better than one :)

  11. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You're most welcome, brother smoker.

    I didn't think about it at the time, but if you have a whole packer and leave just a 1/2" or so of fat-cap on (trimmed and placed cap up, is what I do), they can sit in a smoker for 24 hours to reach finish temp (if that's what it takes) and still be moist. I've only had one brisket get a bit dry, and that was before I knew what I was doing to the poor thing...LOL!!!

  12. Going back to the rub question, my beef policy (except in the case of a few experiments) is: "Keep it simple, stupid!" (It also happens to be my vehicle policy, too, but that O/T)

    That said, Brisket has some amazing flavors at play that benefit from very little, except, in my opinion, heat. So the rub I use the most on either beef chuck, or beef brisket is:

    4 parts black pepper

    1 part brown sugar

    3 parts onion powder

    2 parts garlic powder

    2 parts mustard powder

    1.5 parts Cayenne.

    I've found that brisket takes on salt like no other, and it makes sense, it's a huge piece of meat. So, my system is to heavily season the meat, and rub that salt in, then drizzle olive oil on, and really really work the rub into the meat, and let it set up at least overnight in plastic.

    Good luck! 

    I have brined brisket, for the sake of experimenting, and, though the resulting meat was memorable, it wasn't worth the hassle.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2011
  13. . This weighs 8#... I cooked the point a couple of months ago.

    Eric the brisket is thawing now. Plan to put on rub tonight and to the smoker around 1:00 Am Sat then finish around 2:00PM and to the cooler and plan to eat around 6PM
  14. Good luck!
  15. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds like a good plan...should be plenty of lead-time in case it decides to play mind-games (the dreaded plateau), that way, if it does run an extra couple hours, you'll still have resting time. Just be absalutely sure it's thawed before it hits the smoke...meat cooks terribly unevenly if there's frost inside...yep, been there, too.

    Ditto on good luck...but, plenty of folks to coax you through it if you get distressed. I'll be working (well, maybe playing in the mud according to weather reports) and my blackberry won't allow me to reply to sitting on the sidelines with a play-book at a Japenese football game, no interpreter and I can't speak the language...LOL!!!

    Have fun!


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