First brisket (plus lessons learned)

Discussion in 'Beef' started by kaz4121, May 7, 2016.

  1. kaz4121

    kaz4121 Newbie

    Hey everyone!

    Did my first brisket solo this weekend on my Traeger 34 Elite. Posting my process and lessons learned to improve and hopefully help others.


    2016 Traeger Elite 34

    Prep time: 12 hours

    Smoke time:  19 hours

    Rest time:  9 hours

    Total time:  40 hours

    Outside temp:  58F

    Pit temp:  225F (start)

    Target IT:  195F

    1. Purchased a nice 12 lb whole beef brisket for $2.99/lb locally. Had fat trimmed to 1/4".
    2. Scored the fat, massaged both side with oil to coat (but not drip). And then I applied this meat rub liberally.
    3. Wrapped in foil and refrigerated overnight.
    4. The next day, around 12PM, I preheated the smoker at 225F with hickory pellets.
    5. Placed brisket fat-side down (right out of the fridge). No meat probe inserted yet.
    6. Spritzed meat every 1-1.5 hours with this spritz recipe.
    7. After ~5 hours I inserted the meat probe, which showed a IT of 156F.
    8. Let it run overnight, woke up the next morning to a brisket at 186F (no foil).
    9. Let it continue to cook til 195F and until the meat probe felt like cutting through hot butter (~7:30AM)
    10. Wrapped generously in foil and multiple towels, then through it in my oven (no heat) to rest until dinner (~4 PM).
    11. Removed the point, and put in fridge to make burnt ends tomorrow!
    12. Sliced into 1/4" pieces, against the grain.

    Fresh from butcher and good price

    9 hours into smoke

    After smoke finished (19 hours), as I wrapped it up to rest.

    The flat (top) was a bit overcooked


    The point was cooked perfectly

    Lessons learned:
    • After eating WAY late on my first pulled pork, I decided to use the 2 hour/lb estimate on the brisket. Turns out the cook was actually closer to 1.75 hours/lb (1.6 hours/lb exactly). This meant my cook was done about 5 hours early (planned for 12PM finish and a 3-4 hour rest).
    • I used 20.5 # of pellets over 19 hours = 1.1 #/hour
    • The flat was a bit dry, but the point was perfect...considering splitting the two BEFORE starting the smoke and cooking each to 185-195F. I felt the probe "cut like butter" in the point, so I'll be sure to try that as the temp starts hitting 185F in the future.
    • Lexington Dip bbq sauce was AWESOME with this brisket. Huge fan.
    Not sure if the extended rest contributed to drying out the flat a bit. Either way, seems like each piece will likely be "finished" at different time or temp, so is splitting the meat ahead of time a good idea? Anyone try this?
    disco and crazymoon like this.
  2. smokinal

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

  3. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    K4121, Nice job on the brisket!
  4. kaz4121

    kaz4121 Newbie

    Glad to hear separating the flat from the point has been done before with good success. It makes sense to me.

    French onion soup added to the flat in a pan sounds like an awesome idea...I think I will have to try that next time.

    Looks like you smoke to 180-185F, then wrapped...then continued to smoke to 205F with a 2 hour rest? Still do it this way?
  5. kaz4121

    kaz4121 Newbie

    Thanks CrazyMoon. Brisket is my favorite smoked meat, so I'm really trying to nail this for next time.
  6. sky monkey

    sky monkey Smoke Blower

    Looks very tasty!  That bark looks good, I haven't tried one yet where I didn't wrap it with a crutch around 160° but I can't get bark like yours that way.  Great job on your first one
    Last edited: May 8, 2016
  7. Good job! I still haven't smoked the perfect brisket although this last one was pretty good. Like you, I did an extended rest on mine, 12 hours to be exact. When unwrapped I it, there was no liquid left in the foil, the brisket had reabsorbed it all. I temped off the flat and pulled when it poked easy with a toothpick. The flat was juicy and tender. The point literally exploded with juice when I cut into it. I did not wrap the brisket until I pulled it to rest. 
  8. smokinal

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

    Yes I still do it that way.

  9. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Beautiful Brisket, Bro.

    Points for a nice post.

    kaz4121 likes this.

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