Need Beef brisket advice

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kihler, Jun 15, 2015.

  1. kihler

    kihler Smoke Blower

    Need beef brisket advice. I've been invited / challenged to a beef brisket cook off. I think they picked beef brisket because they know I've only smoked it one or two times. The advice I find one this site and other sites varies greatly. Some questions:

    Use the whole packer brisket. Why not just the flat? It would cook and smoke even. The full packer brisket is big.

    Cook low and slow. Time vary between 3 to 18 hours, and temp ranges between 225 to 325. What works best?

    Smoke chips include almost every wood on earth. How about apple and pecan? I like them on other items I smoke. How much smoke time?

    Seasoning - Most say make it simple, salt, pepper, garlic and onion. I think that sound right.

    Moist - Most say lots of moisture in the drip pan. I think that also sounds right.

    Rest time - Before cutting the rest time varies from 1 to 4 hours. Would 1 hour work?

    Sauce on the side only.

    There is no prize, but I get to remind my friends who won. The judges are about 24 eaters, nothing professional.
  2. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    Simple answer is that there's no one single way to cook a brisket.  You can successfully do them at 225, it just takes longer.  You can also do them at 275 or more and they cook faster.   Trick is to cook it until it is done.  This is when you can stick a temp probe or skewer into the thickest part of the flat and it goes in and out like a knife through room temp butter.  

    You can foil if you want, use butcher paper instead, or just go nekkid for the entire cook. 

    As for wood selection, Apple just doesn't go that well with beef in my opinion.  You want a harder wood like Hickory, Pecan or Oak. 

    I keep my seasoning really simple for brisket and just use kosher salt and coarse ground pepper.   Others step it up a notch with garlic and onion powder.  Others throw in some heat with various types of ground pepper.   All depends on what you want.

    All that said, I cook packers and trimmed flats (flats with a bit of the point still on them).   I fire up my smoker to between 250 and 325ish and throw the brisket on.   I cook it until the probe passes through as discussed above then pull it off and let it vent off for a bit so that the temp starts going down.  I then wrap and hold until I'm ready to slice and eat it.   If all goes well, it will rest for at least an hour.   

    If something comes up and I need to speed the cook along, I'll wrap in foil when it hits the stall in order to power through it and shorten the cook.
  3. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    More info needed for us to help you,

    Update your Location

    Update your Signature with type of smoker
  4. kihler

    kihler Smoke Blower

    I will update my info. I am in Arizona, 105 today (it's summer here). I have a smoke vault 24. Been using it for several years. Been smoking for about 40 years. I am good at cooking and smoking but have only done a couple of briskets. They turned out ok, not great. To win this cook off, they need to be great. The other guys in the competition are good. Looking for the fail points on smoking brisket.
  5. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Smoke this is an electric or gas smoker?  I'm with tropics, much more info is needed as far as your smoker and previous brisket experience.  Demos hit the nail on the head with his advice, take heed to it and devise yourself a plan.  I recommend a longer rest than 1 hour if you can time it out right.  You'll really want the IT of the brisket to be back down under 170 preferably prior to slicing. Probably wouldn't hurt to do a practice run or 2 to get your timelines and method down even if this is just for bragging rights, might as well shoot for the stars.

    Fail points on brisket...not enough patience, which means you pull the meat prior to it being cooked to the proper tenderness.  Overthinking the meat, such as mopping, spritzing, complex rubs, etc.  KISS, smoke with hickory, oak or pecan, wrap it, cook it until it is probe tender, then kick your friends rumps.  I also suggest that you locate at the very least a Choice grade brisket, but if at all possible see if you can find a Prime lurking out there somewhere (Costco, Restaurant Depot or some other big box or retail store).  If you can't find one and you really want to increase your odds of winning, order a Prime from Creekstone Farms.  It's going to cost you, but man it is some fine quality meat.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
  6. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Can't help with smoker, but go low and slow.Your simple rub sounds good,I have had good results marinating beef in Root Beer,or Italian Seasoning salad dressing. 240* to 260* should work

  7. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    If you want to add to the flavor outside of your rub, you could look into either injecting with Kosmos Reserve or Butchers BBQ Prime brisket injections.  Injecting with just beef broth does little to add to the moisture retention of your finished product, both of these products will help you with moisture retention and step up the beefiness of the brisket especially if your cooking a Select or Choice grade cut.  Marinating for anything less than a few days will do little to get flavor deep inside the thick cut of brisket.   
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
  8. kihler

    kihler Smoke Blower

    Thanks for all the info, I'm going out on Tuesday and buy a brisket. I'll make it on Thursday and let you know how it turns out. Thanks again.
  9. vwaldoguy

    vwaldoguy Smoke Blower

    I plan on trying a brisket next week.  Costco sells just the flat, and that's what I plan on using.
  10. paul6

    paul6 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I like to inject my Brisket ! I use 1 part BBQ sauce , 1 part Beef Broth and 1 part flat Beer. Inject it until it is squirting all over the counter and floor. Go thick with Jeffs rub I like the regular due to the high Sugar , then go low and slow!

  11. Kihler,

    I've done all of the above with good results! I recently tried a new method for me that Aaron Franklin does in Texas.

    I followed his recipe even to using post oak and pink butcher paper.

    I cooked hotter than I usually do...275 rather than 225 and wrapped at 160. Pulled it from the pit at 200.  The brisket came out very moist. The bark was awesome!
    jarod likes this.
  12. paul6

    paul6 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    THAT LOOKS AWESOME!!!!! I Cooked a 13lb Brisket last weekend for 5 people. Obviously it was a bit to much , this past weekend we had 12 people up. I brined and smoked 2 Chickens then took the leftover Brisket about 10lbs ..... OK maybe 8 mixed a bourbon tri tip Marinade and warmed on the smoker. when all was said and done Brisket was gone and had 1/2 a Chicken left.
    jarod likes this.
  13. Here's how I do it, so just take this with a grain of salt...everyone else has already given you good tips, too.  Have some fun and play around with the different ideas.

    I use a flat, but I try to get a big one (7-8 pounds) from a reputable's so key to get good meat.  I rub the brisket down with a thin coat of yellow mustard and then apply the rub (I keep the rub simple...when I make a new batch, I use one cup of kosher salt, one cup of coarse ground pepper and one tbsp each of granulated onion and garlic powders).  I use only hickory wood with beef.  I like to keep the pit in the 230-250 range, and once the brisket reaches around 195 or so, I'll pull it out and let it rest.  I don't wrap it, but I do cover it pretty snugly in foil for a little while (enough to have a couple drinks). 

    For as intimidating as brisket can be, it's quite simple to prepare...just takes some practice and learning from each cook.  Good luck, and let us know how you did!
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2015
    jarod likes this.
  14. kihler

    kihler Smoke Blower

    Well I almost have it. I put the brisket on for 8 hours at about 250, used hickory and pecan chips. After 8 hours I pulled it and wrapped it in butcher paper. Put it back on the smoker for another 2 hours, than let it rest for 2 hours. The results were a tender and very moist brisket.

    Here is the problem, lots of smoke and beef taste but a little flat. How much salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder should I use?  I think it would have been better with a rub of some sort.

    Here are some pictures.

  15. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Basic brisket rub for you to try next time kihler...

    5 tbsp kosher salt

    5 tbsp brown sugar

    4 tbsp black pepper

    2 tbsp onion powder

    2 tbsp granulated garlic

    2 tsp cayenne 

    2 tsp chili powder

    2 tsp cumin

    2 tsp paprika

    Won lots of $ with this one the past few years.

    Just remember to have patience with brisket, cook it until it's toothpick tender, rest then enjoy.  

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