want to try a brisket but ...

Discussion in 'Beef' started by tlhiv, May 14, 2009.

  1. tlhiv

    tlhiv Smoke Blower

    hi folks, i've been wanting to try a brisket since i build my smoker (classic offset 20" smoker with 40" long smoke chamber and 20" long firebox -- see attached picture), but i've done several pork shoulder's and i have pretty much determined that every butt i do takes about 2 hours per pound. most threads i've read here say about 1.5 hours per pound, but i'm not sure what's going on with my smokes. i've gotten pretty good at keeping my temperatures in the 225-240 range right at the smoke level, but it still take about 2 hours per pound. my concern about doing a brisket is that i can't find a small brisket. most briskets that i have seen are at least 7-8 pounds, and if the trend follows, i'm looking at 14-16 hours of smoking (which i'm not super excited about). when i do butt's now, i usually get several (3 or 4) smaller (5 pounds or so) butts to reduce the cooking time, but again i haven't been able to find smaller briskets here. thoughts?
  2. tlhiv

    tlhiv Smoke Blower

  3. fishawn

    fishawn Smoking Fanatic

    Maybe separate the flat & point & do one or the other? OR try searing first to get temps going, I think that may help cut some time as well. Mine seem to take about 1.5 hour per pound, or a little less @ 225* in a MES.....Good Luck!
  4. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Make a chuckie instead!
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you cann't find one cut one in half. I see a chuckie thrown out there but don't foget about the infamous fattie. One cooked one hooked.
  6. wutang

    wutang Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    The last brisket I did was 10lbs and took 13 hours to get to 200 internal at average temps of about 230-250. Sometimes it goes faster than you think it will.
  7. tlhiv

    tlhiv Smoke Blower


    here are the two pics of took from my smoke this past friday. as you can tell, my smoker is fairly large, but i don't really have much trouble keeping the temperature a the cooking level in the 225-250 range. i do, however, have my meat at the far end (away from the firebox), and perhaps the heatflow is such that much of the meat is not getting the cooking temperature that i want. maybe i should try moving the meat toward the center of my smoke chamber.

  8. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice looking smoker.[​IMG]

    Any particular reason that you put the meat at the far end? What are the end to end temp differences like? If the temps are somewhat even across the grate, there's no reason not to put the meat at least in the middle.

    Remember the time per pound is just a guide and a rough one at that. Cutting things in half won't necessarily help past a certain point. For instance, it seems that it always takes about 9 hours in my UDS to cook a 5 pound butt (195° internal meat temp). If I cut it in half, I don't think I could cook it in 4-1/2 hours. There has to be a certain time spent at the magic temp to break down the connective tissues to make the meat tender. If I cut a 5 pound butt in half, I may be able to rush it to 195° but I doubt that it would be very tender.

    When I did a 12 pound packer brisket on my offset it took 17 hours. I've never done just a flat so I can't tell you how much faster it will cook. I can say that if you can plan for whatever time it would take at even 1.5 to 2 hours per pound and set aside the time to do it, you'll be happy you did. Yeah they can take a lot of time but they sure are worth it.

  9. I admit, I cheated on my first brisket. About 9 pounds, I ran it on the smoker for about 7 hours, then foiled and put it in the oven at 225 until it hit 190 (since I wanted to slice). Don't limit yourself to conventional wisdom. I would have like to have left it on the smoker for the distance, but life does get in the way sometimes. It still came out amazing and was scarfed up by the girlfriend, her sister and her kids.
  10. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just my $0.02...

    If you're putting the meat at the farthest end of your smoker, it stands to reason (unless you've got a good baffle system) that because the heat is rising to leave the stack, that's the coolest spot in your smoker. Also, you didn't mention where on the grate (side to side or firebox to exhaust) you were taking your temp reading. So I'd say move it closer to the middle. My hunch is your taking a temp reading from somewhere in that area anyways.

    Cutting your brisket in half is more than likely to have little to no bearing on the cook time. You'll read about 10 pounders taking 12 hours and I've experienced a 2.5 pounder that took 7. That is unless you fillet it to cut in half to make it thinner. But that's a ridiculous idea. So just make a plan for a long day or night and don't set any expectations then you won't get frustrated and feel like giving up. Brisket is great and you'll be happy you waited it out to get that personal victory.

    And if you must, there's no shame in throwing it in the oven either. But wait and do it after you hit 165* - 170* then foil. Then you're ok to pop in the oven to get it up to temp. At least then you can relax and not feel like you're having to tend the fire.

    Good luck, be sure to share some qview. You can do this. It'll be worth it and you know it.
  11. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Briskets are sure not for the impatient. I found that out on my first brisket cook. Plan for it to take longer than you think that way you'll be done on time.[​IMG] You can always foil it and put it in a blanket filled cooler and it will wait for you!
  12. what was said above... especially from DDave.

    I am curious, what are you using and where are you taking your reading for smoke temps? If you are using the built in thermo's... maybe you aren't getting a good reading... Heat rises, and if you are reading where the thermo's are in the picture, maybe not the best way... grill level is better, and with maybe a more accurate thermometer? just a thought.

    All i know it has been a long whiles since my last brisket... but sure was worth the time spent :D

    aka Rocky
  13. txbbqman

    txbbqman Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like you have gotten some pretty solid advice in all of the above posts. I would just like to go over some of them again.

    Make sure you are using a remote thermometer to measure grate temp where you have your briskets. if it is not in the 225-250 range it will definitely take longer than you expect. i normally cook 10 -12 pounders in 12-14 hours. Any way you do it a brisket is an endeavor in patience. It is going to take a while to smoke it properly, Remember slow and low are the keys.

    I have done one other method where I will smoke for 8 hours period and then double wrap in foil ( the Texas crutch ) and throw them in a cooler with towels and let them sit until time to eat...it works but in a comp I wouldn't do it.

    Looks like a nice rig you have there, what are you using as your heat ( charcoal or wood? )

    maybe a little more info will help us help you

    Don't be afraid to try a brisket, once you get it right you will never look back. And be prepared to spend some time with it......most briskets = all nighters

    Good Luck and Happy Smokin
  14. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I don't know if I would call it cheating . . . [​IMG]

    I agree with Dude. My SnP has an Afterburner so once I take the wood chunks out, it is basically a gas oven disquised as a smoker. The UDS is charcoal-fired, but it is so stable temp-wise, it is almost like an oven.[​IMG]

    I think I'm gonna have to do a charcoal smoke in the SnP for old times sake. Been feeling like tending a fire lately.

  15. I have stuck to ribs, fatties, and butts thus far because they have been easier, but I am gearing up to try the briskets myself. Good luck!
  16. txbbqman

    txbbqman Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I Love tending me a fire [​IMG]
  17. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you can do a butt, you can do a brisket.[​IMG] Pretty similar in my opinion, except for the trimming before hand, separating the point and the flat, and slicing afterward. All of those are optional although at least a little trimming beforehand is probably a good idea.

    Here is a great resource that talks about selection and prep.


    I minimally trimmed my first one, did not separate the point from the flat, and had a little trouble finding the grain to slice across it. But it was still delicious.

    Don't let the brisket intimidate you. Read and follow the Brisket Stickies in the Beef Forum and you'll be fine.

    Actually I think ribs are trickier than brisket because of the timing and foiling and such. Briskets just kind of cruise and don't change state that fast. An extra 15 minutes or half hour on ribs and they can REALLY be falling off the bone to the point where you can't even slice them. An extra 30 minutes on a brisket won't make that much difference. They take a long time if it's a packer. But they are oh, so, worth it.

    So grab yourself a brisket and go for it.[​IMG]

  18. bigbaldbbq

    bigbaldbbq Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    The only thing that I would like to add is this. Have you checked your thermometer to make sure that it is reading correctly. Water boils at 212 check it and make sure that it is right.
  19. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    All good advice. Brisket isn't all that hard, it is all about taking the time to do it properly. Ya got to take yer time to do it right. My target temp when doing brisket is 240ish, a little higher or a tad lower......no worries. The last one I did was a 12 lber and took somewhere around 13 hours or so on the uds.

Share This Page