First 4th July Brisket: Cut in half or leave whole?

Discussion in 'Beef' started by nathanjwtx, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. nathanjwtx

    nathanjwtx Fire Starter

    We're having a cookout this 4th for the family and a few neighbours. Grandpa is doing ribs and I'm doing brisket. I've only smoked brisket once and whilst it was ok, it didn't hold a torch to my pulled pork; mainly becauise I didn't cook it long enough I think. That was a 7-8lb brisket. I've never cooked for this many people and I'm a wee bit nervous. So, a few questions:

    1. I have a 13-14lb brisket; do I cut it in half so that it cooks quicker? If so, presumably the chunk nearest the heat in my horizontal smoker will cook quicker; do you swap them over?

    2. Last time round, I foiled it but didn't get much bark. How do I get my bark on?

    3. I read in the beef sticky that some use a spray mop; doesn't that disrupt the bark formation?

    4. Lastly, is it possible to "overcook" it? Can I leave it on the smoker for too long?

    Any other tips "grate"-fully received! [​IMG]

    Nathan
     
  2. theelballew

    theelballew Smoke Blower

    I would leave whole and monitor my temps very closely and have the larger end nearest the heat source like you say.

    I've read that wrapping it in Butcher's paper instead of foil will help with a better bark, but I haven't tried that method personally.

    It is possible to overcook the brisket and dry it out a little but if you monitor your meat internal temperatures, then there should be no major surprises.
     
  3. nathanjwtx

    nathanjwtx Fire Starter

    Seems like I'd best get it going on Sunday night. Not sure that my smoker is good enough at holding temperature to leave it unattended is where the problem lies.

    How about if I don't wrap it at all? Is that an option?
     
  4. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    You could just smoke it till you get the desired bark you like and then wrap. I will usually wrap my brisket with butcher paper around 165 - 170. I feel the paper lets it's breathe a little bit while retaining some moisture.
    Some people don't bother wrapping their brisket. The most important part is monitoring the brisket between 195 - 210 to decide at what temperature it is done.
    The thickest part of the brisket will be probe tender. It takes some patience because you can't rush good brisket.
     
    theelballew likes this.
  5. smokinal

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

  6. piaconis

    piaconis Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

     
  7. nathanjwtx

    nathanjwtx Fire Starter

    Thanks all for the advice. Brisket on the smoker complete with lightening show in background!
     
  8. piaconis

    piaconis Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Looking forward to some pics of the outcome...provided Dorothy and Toto don't show up to your lightning show as well. Stay safe!
     
  9. nathanjwtx

    nathanjwtx Fire Starter

    Weather blew over luckily. Hit 177 IT after just 5 hours. Was expecting the stall by now. Not foiled yet.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
  10. piaconis

    piaconis Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Check the depth of your probe to make sure you're in the heart of the meat.  I have two in my brisket right now (one in the point, one in the flat), and one of them was registering abnormally high.  Must have tugged out either when I put it on, or when the meat shifted as it warmed.
     
  11. nathanjwtx

    nathanjwtx Fire Starter

    I figured out that probably my smoker is too small and that the thicker end was too close to the firebox. I took the thick piece off and wrapped in foil. It's now sat in the oven at 190.
     

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