Considering a packer and I've got questions

Discussion in 'Beef' started by jacobtia, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. My wife and I are having a get together to celebrate my brother and I's birthdays. He loves my brisket and I love to smoke so it's a win win situation. But, I have only done pre-trimmed flats for slicing. I am considering doing a packer but I have questions. I have searched through a lot of threads on here but I can't find the answers. So why not ask a fresh audience!

    My questions are as follows:

    1. Should I separate the flat and point prior to smoking?

    2. What kinda time am I looking at? Does a 13 - 15lb packer take 26 to 30 hours to cook???

    3. I have never made burnt ends and need some advise on that.....(Al your help comes in here from what I've read)

    4. How many will one packer feed on slices alone?

    5. Should I probe the flat or the point to monitor internal temps?

    Thanks in advance guys!
  2. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  3. shooterrick

    shooterrick Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I prefer to seperate the point.  The reason most commercial joints will do this is the flat cooks evenly and can be done at a different time (internal temp) than the point.  The point is my preference for the burnt ends and I don't wrap it if I plan on burnt ends.  That way you get an extensive crust and concentrated flavours customary with burnt ends.  

    If you seperate I have never had a flat go more than 10 hrs and usually 6-8 hrs to be at internal slicing temp of 190-195 F

    I will take the point to 205F internal for my burnt ends.  225-250F smoker temp.

    Once my point is done I will cube it and put in a foil pan of sauce and back to the smoker uncovered to crust and thicken up the sauce.  Just my way not the only way. 

    With sides figure 1/3 lbs per serving after cook weight.  A brisket will normally render 60% or so of raw weight.   Probe both.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  4. shooterrick

    shooterrick Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just a side note:  I inject my brisket and let set overnight.  I smoke my flats to about 150-160 F and wrap.  After I reach slicing temp as mentioned above place it wrapped in a cooler or any insulated container, ( the microwave works) and let rest for at least an hour.  YOu can put old towels over it to increase the insulation.  I have held briskets for 5 hrs this way and they are still way to hot to handle bare handed. 

    Hope this helps
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    There you go Two awesome paths to Great Success! Pit..Rick...You guys ROCK[​IMG]...JJ
  6. shooterrick

    shooterrick Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Chef.  I want to say something about foiling.  Rarely does anyone say why they foil.  With that said let me explain my reasoning as to why I foil just about everything except points for burn ends and roasts such as prime rib that I am going to serve rare to medium rare. Cured bacons and sausages are a different story also. 

    Once you foil you are no longer smoking but braising.  Moisture is retained and once you get the hang of when to foil for your tastes the biggest benefit for me is I control the amount of smoke flavor emparted to the meat.  With PP I want to collect the drippings and use those concentrated flavors of the meat and rub and injection as a finishing sauce for the PP. 

    Fruit woods are very mild for the most part so if you are using say apple wood then you may wish to foil at a higher internal temp.

    Hickory can be very very intense and so you may wish to foil at a lower internal temp. 

    I use alot of Pecan (hickory light so to speak)  and foil more mid range internal temp of about 155F or so.   

    Foiling allows me to be in controll and produce a very consistant final product. 

    I have heard folks say it is cheating.  I just can not relate to that as foiling is but one technique that once understood should be used to your advantage.  It is no less a technique than injecting or using dry rubs.  Cooking, any kind of cooking, is about producing a consistant repeatable product.
  7. OK.....So here is another question.

    If I separate the point from the flat will that shorten up the cooking time?

    My concern on time is this. I am using a horizontal with SFB. The longest I have been able to let if go unattended is 5 hours. I really don't want to be up all night baby siting the fire.
  8. shooterrick

    shooterrick Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well all smokers have a personality of their own.  If you can keep the fire a steady 250F  and seperate the flat may be done in as little as 6 hrs.
  9. eman

    eman Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    If ya can't do the time ,don't do the smoke. It will shorten time but not much. packers are an all day or all night smoke.
  10. eman I am beginning to think the same thing! As much as I would love to rock a packer it doesn't look like now is my time! Looks like it's gonna be 2 flats! I am going to call a local butcher shop and see if they have cheaper prices on flats. They go for 5.99 a lb at the grocery store I usually get them from....But I can't say that I WON'T do the full packer....I am always up for an adventure so never know! I have a group of old friends comin over Saturday night to party for my bday so more than likely I'll be up all night anyway....So we will see what the weekend brings!

    Any one with experience doing a full packer on a horizontal SFB could chime in! I would love to hear from someone that has had success with a packer on one.
  11. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have done many on three different horizontals I've had. They definately are not set it and forget it like UDS's are. I just make sure I have a good plan (start from the time you want to serve and work backwards accounting time for all the steps), plenty of beer and an alarm clock by the couch. What kind of fuel are you using? Stick, charcoal, lump, etc? With lump and coal, you should be able to bank up a nice pile and get a good nap. Burning sticks seems to require alot more attention imho. Plain and simple, without a drum or a propane rig, you are looking at a long smoke for a big packer.
  12. I am going to be using lump. Just picked up two 10lb bags today.
  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Rick...You are absolutely right, There are no Cheats (ok Nitrite in a Rub just for a Smoke Ring) Just Techniques...Hell I would Drive my car over a Brisket if it Gets Better Q!!!! In addition...There is no such thing as a Mistake...Just One More Detail To Work Out!!!...BTW...I'm a FOILING FOOL!...JJ
  14. smokinal

    smokinal Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Jake, I'm a little late getting in on this one.

    You may want to start it early in the morning & let it cook all day. When you are ready for bed just wrap it in foil & put it in a 210-220 oven with the probe still in & put the probe alarm next to you bed. It will have absorbed plenty of smoke during the day. When the probe alarm goes off get up wrap it in towels & put it in a cooler. Then go back to sleep & when you get up it will still be hot. As far as the burnt ends go I separate the point from the flat before I smoke them and when the point gets around 175 to 180 degrees I take it off, cube it up, put sauce the on cubes & throw them back in the smoker. Lately I have put them in an aluminum pan instead of on the grate. The sometimes dry out on the grate. Good luck!
  15. mballi3011

    mballi3011 OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Personally I don't seperate the point from the flat. My thinking is that the point (fattier end) the fat will melt and aid in keeping the meat moist and juicier too. Now I have an 18 lber going in tonight for a lunch tommorrow. I usually start it about 10 and I'm ready for lunch about 11ish or so. Now as for the time line it's all up to your hunk of meat and your smoker. It could take that much time but I have found out that and 18lber I'm doing should only take about 12 hours but I have a smoke vault and it normally doesn't stall ( I hope it doesn't bite me in the butt for saying that) For burnt ends ll you have to do is when you pull yor brisket then cut off the point and cut it into hunks about 1 1/2" square and then pour some sauce on them in a pan then return them to the smoker for another 1-2 hours and then you can pull them and enjoy. They are a real pain to make sometimes but if you had them they are worth it. As far as figuring your how many folks will a brisket feed question. I figure about 1/4-1/3 lb per person and don't forget to consider the weight lost at smoking the meat too. Now for the probe question I always probe the thinckest section of the brisket an that usually the point but in this case I would probe the flat cause the point is fattier and might give you a false high reading. So with all that said enjoy your brisket and please don't forget the camera.
  16. Jocobtia, if you can keep from looking at it while it is cooking,you will not only decrease time , but it will be moister.Just feed the Smoker and when your computed time is within an hour,check. If you have a probe thermometer,calibrate it with boiling water and place in the thickest part of the Point.I don't wrap in foil (a personal choice,but without produces better Bark),then when the IMT is 195*f to 200*f,pull,wrap and rest for 30min. to 1hr. I feel cooking whole helps keep it moist.

    However you choose, don't give up and do the oven thing,it works and is an in a pinch method, but done to the end has so much more taste and the Bark is still crunchy[​IMG].

    Just MHO, whatever you do....
  17. Thank you all for your input. Here's is what I got going.....No packer this time.....I don't think I have the smoker to pull off an all night smoke without being up all night baby sitting....Am looking to pick up a WSM very soon which should help resolve the baby sitting issue.

    So......I picked up 2 flats at Sams today.....6.5lbs each and I haven't decided if I am going to do both or not. I am prolly just gonna do 1 with 30 ABT's, hashbrown cassarole, cole slaw, and baked beans. Surely with a spread like that a 6.5lber will feed 12 people.

    Again thanks for the input guys!

    Qview will come....I already have shots of one of the flats pre rub and post rub.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011

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