Learning to smoke Brisket. Help!!

Discussion in 'Beef' started by bayousassygirl, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. I am wanting to do a brisket for the 4th and I am still learning how to get the perfect brisket. I have mastered cooking ribs and pork butts and many others. I have only cooked a brisket twice and the 1st one was dry and the second one was kinda tender and was better but still a little dry. I have a electric smoker and bbq rig with a smoker box. Which one would you suggest on using? I know the bbq rig will produce a better flavor and smoke. How important is it to wrap and let rest in a cooler? Any suggestions greatly appreciated! I have done some research but still would like advice on rubs and temps and etc! Thanks!
  2. piaconis

    piaconis Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Letting it rest at the end is a big part of it.  If you cut into it too quickly, the juice you're looking for in your meat will be left sitting on your cutting board.

    You can make great Q with either type of smoker.  I prefer the BBQ rig over electric, but the key is making sure you can keep consistent temps with the rig.  Brisket is a long smoke, and if the BBQ rig is giving you problems with heat control, you'll be in for a long day.

    As far as rubs, there are a few good ones here:


    About half way down that page are some recipes from Chef Jimmy.  He's never steered me wrong on recipes.

    Best of luck!  I'm smoking one starting off at 5AM on Saturday myself.  Make sure to post some Q view along the way!
  3. Thank you!! I will be sure to post pics of my results!! I have lots of cooking to do and now I am on a hunt for a lobster mac n cheese recipe. I have about 5 pounds of lobster meat to use and thought it will be exciting in a Mac n cheese dish! The rubs look great too!
  4. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    For brisket, I just rub it down with some oil then hit it heavily with kosher salt, coarse ground peppe, and might add onion and garlic powder.    As for temps to cook at, you'll get a bazillion answers for that.  I prefer to go with higher temps like 275 and above just because it's quicker.  That said, I really am non committal on it.  All temps work.

    Here's my method for what it's worth.
    1. Fire up the smoker to whatever temp you want, be it anywhere from 200 degrees to 300+.  
    2. Put brisket in smoker
    3. Cook brisket until it's done, which is when a temp probe will go through the thickest part of the flat with little to no resistance, like a knife through room temp butter.
    4. Remove brisket from smoker and place on counter for 20 mins or so to vent heat and start cooling down.
    5. Wrap brisket and let it rest for an hour or more.
    With that said, if you run with a chamber temp of 250 or less, you will hit what is known as "the stall".   This is where the brisket undergoes evaporative cooling and usually happens around 150 - 160ish degrees.  Basically, it's sweating to cool off.   The internal temp will stop climbing and will hover or might even drop at this point.    When you get here, you have a number of choices.  You can crank the heat up and/or wrap with foil to power through the stall.   Or, you can just crack open a beer / pour yourself a drink, sit back and wait it out.  It's your choice.  If you cook at 275 or higher, you'll either minimize the stall or avoid it completely.

    Another reason that some people wrap is to preserve the look of the brisket.   They reach a point where they like the way the brisket looks and they don't want it to get any darker, nor take on any more smoke.  So, they wrap with foil or butcher paper.    One drawback of wrapping with foil is that it could mess up your "bark" by softening it.  This is due to the steam inside the foil.   One way to fix this is to remove the brisket from the foil about 1 hour before it's "done" and put it back into the smoker to firm up the bark.

    Everything that has been talked about in the last two paragraphs will affect the timing of your cook, but they won't change steps 3,4 or 5 listed previously.  Lo and slow or hot and fast; naked or foiled/wrapped, you still need to cook the brisket until it's done, let it cool down a bit and then rest.
  5. aggie94

    aggie94 Smoking Fanatic

    I'm just getting comfortable with cooking briskets so take all this for what its worth.  I use to skip the rest as it seemed a waste of time but lately have been resting for 2 hours in a cooler and it has been turning out much more tender.  I haven't vented the heat but went straight from smoker to cooler.  Just to be different I say use both cookers, use the bbq rig to get good smoke on it, then after 4 to 5 hours switch to electric cooker to keep the even temperatures.  It's great you have mastered the other items, cooking brisket seems to involve lots of experimentation to see what works for you.  I do recommend the "Lets Talk Brisket" thread by Danny, it has lots of good info in it.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015
  6. I got me some apple and cherry wood today. I am not a big fan of mesquite or oak wood. Just seems to put out to strong of a smoke for me. I picked up a 10 1/2 pound brisket and so looking forward to see how it turns out. Thanks!
  7. Good luck with you brisket. Be condifent no matter what process you decide. Once you start to second guess yourself you could be setting yourself up for failure. As others have stated before make sure you let it rest. You don't want a cutting board full of juice.

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