Doing a beef brisket for the first time

Discussion in 'Beef' started by graphicsman, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. Greetings and its been awhile!!  I had some questions in regards to doing my first beef brisket since I have never done one before..  I was asked to smoke some BBQ for a huge party (around 30) and I decided it would be great to use the WSM 22 so I had planned a 20 hour gap between the time the party started and when the meat would be ready.  In my WSM I am smoking 2 boston butts around 6-8lbs on the first rack and I wanted to do something different so I decided to try beef brisket on the top rack.  Per my research its best to hit 195-200 internal temp because it becomes tender.  

    However, I was curious:

    Should the brisket be wrapped like the butts?

    Is there a spike point or hover point with brisket like butts?

    Do you sprits (I usually do every two hours)?

    When is a good rest time for the brisket (I had scheduled 2 hours for my butts wrapped in foil and blankets)?

    What is the average time for lb. (For my butts I average 2 hours a lb.)?
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
  2. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    Should the brisket be wrapped like the butts?

    Lot of different opinions around the smoking community.  Most people wrap.  I wrap with butcher paper because I think it keeps the bark more firm vs. foil.  And I usually wrap once it hits 165-170 degrees, or when I think the bark is solid.  There is nothing really wrong with foil either though... I just like the butcher paper and it seems to work for me.  

    Is there a spike point or hover point with brisket like butts?

    Yes, typically.  Some meats will stall at different temps.  For the most part, I notice a stall anywhere between 150-170 and again when it is in the 180s.

    Do you sprits (I usually do every two hours)?

    I used to spritz but got tired of opening the door.  I now use a water pan that sits right under my cooking grate and just refill the water about every 4 hours (which means I open the door half as much vs. spritzing)

    When is a good rest time for the brisket (I had scheduled 2 hours for my butts wrapped in foil and blankets)?

    I will pull the brisket off right around 200ish degrees and let it rest for at least 45 minutes in foil/blankets in a cooler.  I once let it rest for 4.5 hours and it was still piping hot but got a little overdone... (by that I mean it was pulled brisket as opposed to sliced).

    What is the average time for lb. (For my butts I average 2 hours a lb.)?

    I cook my briskets at around 275 degrees and can expect them to go about ~1 hour per pound.  Could cook a little longer.  If you cook at 225 degrees expect at least 1.5 hours per pound.  
     
    crazymoon likes this.
  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Brisket on the 22.5" WSM is fairly easy - main thing is leave it alone and don't rush it.

    1) To foil or not to foil: depends on if you like bark or not. I used to foil, but now mostly do unfoiled. Since the butts will finish first I would cook them on the top rack and put the brisket on the bottom. This will give you the added benefit of basting the brisket for you as they cook - don't worry the brisket will still taste like beef.

    2) Brisket will stall, I usually cook full packers (13-15 lbs) and 90% of the time they take 16-18 hrs. of cook time. But I have had one go as long as 20 hrs.

    3) Don't spritz! Every time you open up your smoker you add approx. 10 minutes to your cook time - that adds up fast! Close the lid and leave it alone as much as possible. I usually only open my WSM to add wood chunks. Definately fill the water pan!

    4) Rest for 1 hour minimum.... longer is better, I usually go for 2 hrs. Wrap in double layer of foil, then place in a dry towel lined cooler, fill rest of cooler with more towels - it will stay hot for 6+ hours that way without any issues. So better to finish early and rest a long time than finish late and not have enough rest time.

    5) I usually cook brisket and pork butt at 250°, a rough rule of thumb is 1.5 hrs. per. lb., but every piece of meat is different and usually the 1.5 is a bit on the generous side. Your 20 hr. window should be good for cooking time and a couple of hours of resting time. If your brisket hits 190° internal and you still have over 4 hrs. to serving time I would pull it at 190° and keep it hot in the cooler for the rest of time. It will still do a little cooking, but by pulling it at 190° it won't get mushy on you from sitting in the cooler for so long. Same with the pork butts.

    I usually start my briskets and butts at about midnight if we are doing them for dinner between 4 & 6 the next day. I have a welding blanket I wrap my WSM in so it doesn't have any issues with overnight temps or wind. Once I have the meat on I usually go to bed till about 6:00 AM, then check it when I get up. After that I just let it cruise till it's done and ready to rest.
     
    crazymoon likes this.
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The info above is accurate but I will add, if you plan to Foil Rest the Brisket any longer than 30-60 minutes, pull at an IT of 185-190°. All the time spent over 160°F will continue to breakdown Collagen. You can expect a min of a 10° rise from carryover and with them toasty Butts snuggling the Brisket you will have Pulled Beef with in a couple of hours...JJ
     
    crazymoon likes this.
  5. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yep! Keep your lid shut and tend the fuel and smoke color and . . .
     
  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good catch JJ, I forgot about the butts keeping it extra toasty in the cooler.
     

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