First Brisket

Discussion in 'Beef' started by turick, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    Hi all,

    I've been smoking for a couple of years now but for some reason have never tried a brisket.  The time has come.

    Picked up this 12 pounder and planning on starting it Wednesday or Thursday, but trying to sift through all the details is making my brain hurt.  This post is going to be littered with all of my racing thoughts, so if anybody has any advice on any point, please jump in and tell me!

    I have a MES40 + AMNPS.  The temps in my area are also pretty cold, so it probably wouldn't be possible to get my MES to 275 if I wanted to.  All of my low & slow pork butts have been REALLY slow... upwards of 24 hours.  At first I thought it was the meat I was getting, but it happens every time, so I'm thinking it's just something with my smoker.  So I have no idea what exactly I should set my temp to and how long to expect this thing to go... probably over 24 hours @250?

    Next on the list of highly contested issues:  fat cap.  So far, I've found with other smokes that I just prefer getting as much fat off the outside of the meat as I can so as much meat gets exposed to smoke as possible.  I've seen others say to leave it on (just not convinced that letting the fat drizzle down the meat really makes it soak in or get juicier), some say score it, some say don't.  Unless somebody can convince me otherwise, I think I'll trim off as much fat as I can from the outside.

    For rub, I think just a coating of SPOG?  Or maybe just S&P?  But should I rub it down the night before and let it sit overnight or just coat it up before I throw it in?

    I was thinking of transferring it to a tray with some yummy juices and foil it when it hits 160.  My concern here is that it's too long to fit in any tray I have.  Should I cut this guy in half or is that a sin?  I made some fresh beef stock the other day out of some rib bones, I'm thinking about putting some of that, maybe a little apple juice in the pan(s).  Any other suggestions here? 

    Thanks all.  Hope to have some good q-view pics up once this gets going!

    EDIT: oh ya, forgot to mention the most important thing!  I'm planning on using hickory :)
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  2. smokingearl

    smokingearl Meat Mopper

    I personally smoke awesome briskets with just rubbing with SPOG the night before. I always leave the fat cap on and face down. Meat is not a sponge and will not absorb any fat when the cap is on top. It'll just run down the side and off. It may keep the outer layer moist, but I want more bark which is hard enough to get in a MES. You're probably looking at 18-24 hours at 250. I'd go ahead and foil it without a pan at about 160-170 with some kind of juice in the foil with it. On different smokes I've tried beer, apple juice, and some other home made marinade type concoctions.
    But I've also gone all the way to 203 IT without foiling at all with great results by mopping some bbq sauce every now and then after it hits 180.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  3. mfreel

    mfreel Smoking Fanatic

    But wait...... there's more. 

    I like SPOG but I also add some coarse ground mustard seed and coriander seed.

    I do mine at 225-235.  I figure about 1.5 hours per pound to start with.  I also have a MES 40.  Leave your vent wide open (I added a 3" elbow) and the chip tray out and the chute pulled out about 2".

    If the brisket is close to the heat, go fat side down to protect the bottom.  If you're on the top rack, fat side up.  

    I do not foil.

    I'd recommend putting a little piece of foil above your AMNPS so it doesn't get dripped on.

    You're looking for an IT of 200.  Do you have an accurate temp probe?

    Don't you dare cut that bad boy in half!!!!

    What else can we tell this poor guy?!?!?!?
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  4. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    Thanks Earl.. I was just reading through this thread as well which was loaded with people saying not to trim the fat cap.  And you're right about the bark -- I may just not foil it and just make this incredibly simple. 

    I'm going to go rub it now and put it on later this afternoon (after my salmon gets off the smoker!!!).
  5. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    :)  I found this site that said if the packer is too big to fit in a vertical smoker, fold some of the flat under.  Maybe I'll just do that?

    I know the MES have notoriously bad thermometers, but I apparently got really lucky and mine is quite accurate.  I also do all the tricks you mentioned on the MES with everything I smoke.  Looks like an overnighter!
  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Another option if you want to trim the fat is a method I picked up years ago from Smokin Al. Trim all the fat off, rub the brisket, and the fat, then put the fat on the rack above the brisket. After about 6 or 7 hours the fat can be tossed (or give a piece to a dog for a super treat), after that I cook it unfoiled for the rest of the time (I like a nice bark). But I also have had great results just trimming the fat down to about 1/4" and then scoring it as well.

    I always cook brisket between 225 and 250'ish, usually try to stay towards the lower end. 99% of the time a 12-14 lb. full packer will take approx. 16 hrs., but I have had the odd one go as long as 20 hrs.

    I also like my rub simple for brisket: equal parts salt, pepper, granulated garlic. I rub some worcestershire sauce into the brisket then rub it good and set it in the fridge 12 hrs. or overnight.
  7. mikesys

    mikesys Fire Starter

    I did a full packet last week, 13lbs after trimming off some fat. It took 15 hours at 250 degrees, I wrapped it after 6 hours, then let it rest in the cooler for 2 hours. I used Lang 60 reverse flow and it was 20 degrees that night.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  8. smokinal

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

    I smoke my brisket in a pan, sitting in it's own juices, as Johnny said I also trim the fat off & put it on a rack above the brisket so it melts & bastes the brisket.

    For the rub, I like Montreal steak seasoning, you can use mustard or olive oil to help it stick.

    Smoker temp: 215-225

    I like the thick bark so I seldom foil it, however if time is running out & the guests are arriving soon then cover the pan with foil & it will cook faster.

    Hope this helps,

  9. drewed

    drewed Meat Mopper

    I say trim the fat off as all I feel it does is block the meat from getting smoky goodness and any seasoning you put on it.  
  10. Only issue Ive ever had by folding a brisket to fit is a lack of bark where its folded. That does not bother me at all, but I would rather fold than cut to fit. To each his own.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  11. Make sure the Hickory is well seasoned   Here is one of my Brisket smokes

  12. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    So I threw the rub on yesterday afternoon around 1PM.  I intended to put it in last night, but that didn't happen.  So it's been sitting all rubbed up for 27 hours.  Here is the rub I used:

    1/3 cup kosher salt

    1/4 cup coarse ground black pepper

    1 TBS onion powder

    1 TBS granulated garlic

    1 TBS paprika

    1 TBS coriander

    1 TBS ground mustard

    And here she is after a few touch-ups with the left over rub:

    After much reading, I've decided to change up my plans. I didn't trim any fat at all.  I'm not going to foil at all.  Just threw it in at 225, fat cap up, lit both ends of my AMNPS filled with hickory, and I'll be giving it the toothpick test tomorrow morning/afternoon!  Not going to touch it or do anything else to it.

    And here it is gettin all smokey :)

    It ended up fitting in my MES40 without having to do any cutting or folding.  My aluminum trays are too small for this big hunk of meat, but they fit in my smoker side-by-side just perfectly to catch any drippings.  Thanks to all for all the advice... more to come later!
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  13. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Off to a good start, I'm in! [​IMG]
  14. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    16 hours in, IT is 155.  I'm in it for the long haul....

  15. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looking good!
  16. Nice Job, Looking good    Have one Question ?

    Just Kidding,  But you have to admit it kinda looks like one !!

  17. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  18. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    LOL!!! I thought the exact same thing... it looks like a big, long, flattened out goose!  I had to keep scrolling back and forth between the pictures to see how that mass could have possibly formed!

    21 hours in, IT is 181.
  19. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Almost there. The struggle is real, be strong!
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  20. smokinal

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

    Hang in there Buddy!


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