Help with first brisket

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kcpigman84, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. Hi, all.

    First time brisket smoker here.  I have an 8-pound whole packer rubbed up and ready to put on.  The plan was to wake up around 3 am, throw the brisket on around 4, cook for 12-13 hours @ 225-250, pull it off at an internal temp between 190 and 205, rest for an hour wrapped in foil and towels in a plastic cooler, and then slice.  My smoker is an Akorn Kamado Char Griller with a ceramic diffuser, and I'm using hickory chunks and Kingsford from the blue bag for fuel.  I have some family coming over around 6 pm.

    I managed to over sleep--the fire is coming up to temp right now (195 and rising).  I'm planning to stabilize it ~235, then throw on my brisket.  Thinking the actual cook will get going around 6:30 am.  So, my question is, how do I proceed to have the meat tender and ready by 6 pm?  Cook at a higher temperature, or just wait and see how the meat behaves?  I'm hoping there are a couple of members with a little more experience cooking brisket who can offer some advice. 

  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would say it wouldn't hurt to get the fire up to 275* to speed it up a bit, but I wouldn't go higher, because I'm a "Low & Slow" kinda guy.

    8 pounds at 235* on paper is about 12 hours, but every piece of meat is different. A 3 or 4 AM start would have been better, but the 275* should make up for it.

  3. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Agree with Bear...many will smoke a brisket in the 250-275* range and get great results.  As Bear says, every piece of meat tends to have a mind of its own as far as finish time goes, but at that temp I would expect it to cook in around an hour per pound.  You can also use the Texas Crutch to speed up the time through the stall if you need to (foil it when the temp stalls out, usually happens when the IT gets around 165-175*).

    Good luck!  Let us know how it turns out...

  4. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome aboard! Since I'm guessing you've already come up with a plan this is probably unnecessary, but here's what I'd do. I'd smoke it at your smoker temp of 225˚ for about 4 hours to give it a good dose of smoke. Then put it in a roasting pan with some acidic liquid (I use a 50/50 mix of beef broth and bbq sauce), cover it TIGHTLY with foil and put it in the oven at 350". The liquid should be about halfway up the side of the meat. Start checking for temp and tenderness 2 hours later, and it should be getting close. It should hit it's mark around 1 or 2 pm, provided you put it in at 6:30am, then you can do the foil-towel-cooler thing 'til dinner time.

    What's going to make it work is the acidic liquid and the slightly increased pressure of having the pan wrapped tightly. The first phase on the smoker is really just about smoke absorption. It will probably hit 140˚-160˚ during that phase, but the real magic will happen during the oven phase when it braises at fairly high heat. My go to oven pot roast recipe (which I've also used for brisket) is just a 4 hour braise at 350˚. no muss, no fuss. It has never failed to produce jiggly tender, juicy meat.
  5. I appreciate the advice, fellas.  Thanks for taking the time.  

    It's been on for ~6 hours right now, and is at an IT of 176.  I figured I'd split the difference on Bear's advice and try to park it around 250.  SeenRed, I wasn't planning to crutch it, and since it appears I'm at least most of the way through the stall, I think I'm going to leave it out of the foil and see how it turns out.  mdboatbum, my better half has claimed the oven for the day, so although braising it sounded awesome, moving it to the kitchen wasn't an option.  

    Since it's already to 176, and I've got about 4 1/2 hours of cook time left, I think I should be able to get it into the 190s pretty comfortably.  I'll let you know how it turns out.
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yup---Sounds like your timing is going to be good. Since you're going to slice it, I'd pull it at 190* & do your foil-towels-in cooler thing until you're ready to slice & serve.

    Get some Qview if you can---For Us!![​IMG]

  7. Just finished cleaning up.  I stuck with my plan.  Held the temp steady between 240-250 until around 5 pm.  At an IT of 194 I pulled it and double wrapped in heavy foil, then into a towel lined cooler for an hour.  Carved at 6 pm.  Cut about 1 1/2 to 2 inches off of the thin end of the flat and cubed for burnt ends, then sliced the rest of the flat until I reach the point.  I separated the point from the flat and continued to slice the flat.  The point was a little more fall-apart, so I ended up shredding it for pulled beef.  Everything stayed nice and juicy.  Proud moment for me--my dad said it was some of the best brisket he's ever eaten.

    I'd probably do it about the same way again.  No water pan and no crutch allowed the bark to have a nice texture to it, but keeping the temp somewhat low prevented the meat from drying out too much.  I thought I overslept, but the cook time turned out to be pretty spot on.  Good to know I can plan on the extra couple hours of sleep next time.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get any pics.[​IMG]

    Again, thanks for taking the time to help out a novice.  
  8. smker

    smker Meat Mopper

    Godd deal KCP  glad it turned out great with some good advice there from the guys here.

  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds Great !!![​IMG]

    Glad to hear it was a success!!![​IMG]

  10. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Good to hear it turned out so good!  Nothing feels quite like having your family and guests rave about something you've smoked!  [​IMG]


  11. Red, it is awesome to cook something for friends and family that they enjoy, but even moreso because it was my dad.  The man's in his 60s and has lived in the KC metro his whole life, so he's had some pretty high quality barbecue.  

    I took some pictures of the leftovers the next day.  My sister-in-law might have gotten some pics of me carving, but I haven't seen those yet.  If they surface, I'll share them, too.

  12. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks great man ! If your gettin advise from the likes of Bear & Red..... enough said there !! Your in good hands !! Looks tasty ! Thumbs Up
  13. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sometimes what is not in the picture says more than what is.

    Congrats on a great brisket......... Hide those little pieces for sandwiches for work.

Share This Page