The Secret To Good Sliced Brisket Defies Conventional Wisdom

Discussion in 'Beef' started by solaryellow, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. triplebq

    triplebq Smoking Fanatic

          I agree .
  2. I havent done brisket in a long time and I know I cant put a whole packer in my smoker (maybe if i seperate but prob not then either) but im inerested in trying it with the fat cap left on. Iv always trimmed before with good results.
  3. smokin vegas

    smokin vegas Smoking Fanatic

    They have meat thermometers that you can insert an hour after you put it in the smoker.   I bought one  for my niece that gave all the internal temps for each different kind of meat.  Made it a no brainer.    I like the 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick fat cap too.  I haven't done a brisket in a long time either.  Think  I will try brisket again soon.
    smokeyharris likes this.
  4. Great thread, making me hungry for brisket! Gonna have to try the no trim method since mine tend to dry out.

    I can't fit a full packer on 1 rack in my vertical smoker, it'll need to be cut down to fit. Is there anything wrong with leaving the point & flat attached and simply cutting the entire piece in half?

    Also, what are you guys using for liquid (if anything) in the smoker?
    smokeyharris likes this.
  5. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    I don't believe there is anything wrong per se with cutting it like that but most people will separate the point from the flat for continuity.

    With liquid, are you referring to a water pan? If so, I do not use one. I have tried one in the past but never really noticed much difference in the final product.
  6. Thanks for the thread Solar.

    This has given me the inspiration and courage to do a brisket on the UDS.

    smokeyharris likes this.
  7. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    Solid thread guys.  Tomorrow is my birthday so I'm taking a run at smoking a brisket and a pork butt for pulled pork, and inviting a bunch of friends over.  It's ambitious, but that's how I roll.  Here's hoping I don't lay an egg and wind up with a bunch of charcoal for dinner.  There's going to be copious amounts of ABTs as well.  Macaroni salad and cornbread muffins for sides.  I'm very much looking forward to this.

    They're both going on the smoker at about 1:00 AM tonight, and I'll have a sleepless night in front of me.  Looking forward to it, actually.  Anyway, this has been helpful.  I already trimmed down my fat cap before I read this, so we'll see how it turns out.

    I don't have my cable to upload photos, but I'll get Qview up for all to see.  -Unless it looks like crap, then I'll pretend it never happened.
    smokeyharris likes this.
  8. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I hear you on the braise, JJ.  One of my favorite methods of cooking.

    When I was speaking of using the therm on most cuts, I was referring to meat on the smoker not foiled with liquid.

    Heck, for thinner cuts on the grill or out of the cast iron skillet, its the finger test for med rare.

    Good luck and good smoking.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
    smokeyharris likes this.
  9. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    Question for those who don't trim the fat cap.  Does the thick layer of fat on top of the brisket cut back on smoke penetration into the meat?  Seeing the smoke ring is half the fun, and I want a decent smoke taste to it.  Otherwise I could just crock pot it and get some sleep during the night.

    Just wondering what your observations are.
  10. smokin vegas

    smokin vegas Smoking Fanatic

    I only smoke tri tip thickest I have ever seen the fat cap on it is 1/2 thick and it does not interfere with the smoke flavor from penetrating the meat.
  11. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    The short answer is no.


    The longer answer is that the "smoke ring" is not really an indicator of smoke flavor. Creating a smoke ring is actually very simple to do. The smoke ring is really nitric oxide permeating the meat which is the same thing that curing the meat accomplishes. In curing nitrate converts to nitrite which converts to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is also generated by burning wood which is where the smoke ring comes from and why those with electric smokers don't usually see a smoke ring. That is nothing more than a superficial benefit and should not be the measurement of accomplishment. I get that it is often profiled on smoking forums as the key to success but it really isn't. It is just a chemical reaction that results in something that many consider to be visually appealing.
  12. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    Got a chance to demonstrate this method at the NC gathering this past weekend and didn't receive any complaints.

    Anyone else tried it?
    smokeyharris likes this.
  13. backwoods bbq

    backwoods bbq Meat Mopper

    You gotta have fat on a brisket! Thats what gives it the taste, flavor and moistness. Alot of thickness of fat depends on temperature being cooked (obviously) a good starting point for fat is 1/4 inch.

    More improtantly: I think it is imprtant to inform you guys that the quality of brisket is often determined by the fat! Simply put, yellow fat means this was a brisket from a Dairy COW! Dont scoff at this, i argued with a butcher for weeks who had 15 years experience who swore yellow fat was a meat cow that was just fresh. (imagine that, I was only 18 and he was in his 50's. lol) white fat is a meat cow...dont be fooled!

    solar style...I like your style and your smoker! 
  14. red dog

    red dog Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for posting this. Very educational. The best brisket I ever did had a pretty thick fat cap that we left on. One of my pet peaves is the way butchers over trim meat these days. It's rare to see a steak or pork chop with more than a 1/4 inch of fat anymore. 
  15. I agree with the inspiration portion of this thread.  Between this thread and Jeff's newsletter this month, I'm getting the inspiration to conquer my fear of briskets and try my first one hopefully before month's end :)  Thanks guys!
  16. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Do not fear the brisket folks.  I do nothing special to mine and get rave reviews.  But of course there are so many people who speak of brisket as the Holy Grail of meat.  I think this is because for the most part, very few people (except on forums like this one) have ever cooked a brisket outside the oven, if at all.  As a whole it is an expensive piece of meat, but only due to weight.  Choice packers are going for $2.18 per pound here in Texas, 80/20 ground meat goes for $3.00 a pound, I'd be better off buying briskets and grinding my on ground meat!  Now of course, trimmed packers go for nearly $4.00 a pound as I am sure Angus and Waygu are much pricier as well.  I treat a brisket as just another piece of meat.  It has it's time frame, temps and tenderness you need to reach just as any other cut of beef, pork or poultry.  I trim mine to 1/4" or so fat cap (this is where I usually start getting pissed off, when I start trimming a full packer and realize how much fat I paid for), pour Worcestshire sauce on it, then rub it the night before at least 12 hours before it hits the pit.  As far as needing the fat on the outside of a brisket, I'm not sure you need it or at least all of it, a good brisket has enough marbling and fat on the inside, that this is where you get your flavor from anyway, from the strains of fat internally rendering and giving you the juicy, tender, brisket taste we are all striving for.  I get the pit chugging along at a steady 250 degrees and away you go.  I have always put fat cap up, but have read just as many success stories with fat cap down.  Your preference.  Wait a few hours, probe the meat.  Once the internal temp reaches 165, put in aluminum pan with apple juice or Coke or Dr. Pepper or Jack or beer (your choice) and cover with foil.  Pull off the pit when it reaches somehwere after 190 degrees internal or tenderness check with toothpick and rest in cooler with towel wrap for an hour or so.  Then slice and enjoy.  There is nothing special to my process.  At 250 degrees, a 12# packer wil reach 205 degrees internal temp in 8 to 9 hours in my RF smoker.  I have tried with and without water pans, could not tell a difference.  Now on my ribs, I can tell a difference in the outer layer of meat with a water pan as compared to without, but not on a brisket.   


    Do not fear the brisket, enjoy it!
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  17. backwoods bbq

    backwoods bbq Meat Mopper

    i agree with you bruno. BTW how is buna? still a small town i once lived in Kirbyville, Tx for 1/2 a year on a traveling job...damn i miss east texas. By competition smoker standards the brisket IS the Holy Grail of Meat. Judges will score heavily on the brisket and if there is a tie the brisket is the 1st tie breaker followed then by pork spare ribs as 2nd tie breaker. It is also important to note that when starting out BBQ seems like tic tac toe you learn then the BBQ becomes like checkers, then like chess, then like elevated chess. For instance, my brisket will cook 3x befire it hits the plate Just like yours! I can hear People on this forum now..."three times?" you cook it three times? YES! you may not realize that when you rub your brisket or marinate and let it sit overnight THIS is a cooking process, the rub will draw out moisture and start breaking down collagen and corpuscles. then smoking on the grill is the main element followed with letting it "rest" and the fats to re-absorb making it tender, taste, and giving it a perfect consistency. I have seen people throw a whole brisket onto a hot grill hoping to cook that monstrous thing! (tic-tac-toe) and having a decent inderstanding of smoking but not giving brisket enough time to marinate or rest after cooking (checkers) so on and so forth. My metality is to never stop learning! Cant wait to do a brisket for you guys with pics. Bruno your brisket is making me hungry i think i will throw on some sausage while i am making my jerky!
  18. Great thread!
    I've always left the fat intact.
    The toothpick technique is clever.


  19. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    From the NC gathering a couple weeks ago.




  20. That looks great Joel!


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