Discussion in 'Beef' started by kc5tpy, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. Hello.  I gotta agree with Bama here.  Select will give you good results.  IN FACT; when talking BRISKET,  select usually has more fat content which I feel helps keep a brisket moist.  Just my opinions.  Keep Smokin!

  2. Hello AJ.  gary s smokes his brisket at 225.

  3. ajsmokes

    ajsmokes Meat Mopper

    Thanks. That's all I was wanting to know.. if I can save me some money by going with select.. then that's what I'll do.
  4. Danny, I do use a RF now but have cooked hundreds of briskets on My ECB,   You DON'T have to have a high dollar smoker to turn out great brisket.

    Lets go through some basic steps;

    First   GET TO KNOW YOUR SMOKER I don't care if you have a $69 ECB or a $20,000 monster you can turn out good and bad briskets on both, the key is getting comfortable with what ever you are using. Knowing its characteristics when to add fuel, how well it hold temps in varying weather conditions.

    Temp gauge,;  Check your temp gauge, make sure it id reading correctly..

    Next, lets select a brisket; I usually buy my briskets at Sam's or Super One here in Tyler (Mostly Sam's)  Try to buy Choice but have bought Select when the choice prices were out of sight. I buy Whole packers with a fat cap, Try to find one with good marbling, I pick up the brisket and do a bend test, I like it to be somewhat bendable and ply-able  Too thick a fat cap cap and and it doesn't want to bend, too little and it's floppy, You are looking for on in the middle.

    OK now that you found the perfect brisket lets get it ready to smoke; Again this is how I do it, Not saying it is the right way or only way, Just seems to work for me. I don't start prepping mine until right before I am going to put it on. I go fire up my smoker, then pull the brisket out of the fridge, take it out of the cryovac, rinse it, pat it dry and get ready to start doing a little trimming.

    I try to trim my fat cap down to about a 1/4 "  all over, trim any thing that looks like it shouldn't be there, loose pieces, etc

    Now when I'm satisfied I season;

    Again the is personal preference, I* have tried many different thing over my 40 plus years of smoking but what I settled on is simple. My family and I like to taste the wonderful brisket, and not a lot of other stuff, I see these guys on TV, injecting, marinating and using all kinds of stuff on their briskets, it's personal choice and taste.

    I give it a very light rub down with EVOO then Salt and Pepper, (Heavier on the Pepper for me) That's it. then on the smoker.

    When my smoker has reached 225 º I put my brisket on, Fat side up (Just the way I always done it) close the lid and let her go for about 6 hours maintaining my 225 º

    Wood choice; this is your preference, brisket handles stronger woods well, Hickory, Oak and Pecan are my favorites. I add a split every so often to maintain my smoke and heat also will add charcoal that has been lit in my chimney and allowed to burn for a while..

    After about 6 hours I open up my smoker, pull out my brisket and wrap it in butcher paper, sometimes I'll give it a spritz of apple juice or apple juice and apple cider vinegar 50/50  

    (Note:) you can also spritz a few times during that first 6 hours.

    I return the brisket back to the smoker till done usually about another 6 plus hours. ( I have cooked so many briskets I can tell by looks and feel when they are ready. This is not something i learned over night this if from hundreds of briskets. But the temp you are looking for is around 200 º  Pull it wrap it in foil and a couple old towels and hold it in a dry cooler for a couple hours. This does a couple of things allows the juices to re-distribute and the meat temp will climb a few more degrees. 

    Slicing; when you are ready to slice Be Sure and slice across the Grain  when you get down to where the point and flat are attached pay attention the meat grain changes direction.

    After slicing:  This is the most important step, Fix you a big plate full and enjoy,

    texasmike and jasonb like this.
  5. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Here is my method (that isn't really working). 

    I use a 30" MES so I buy just the flat as a whole packer won't fit. I smoke it at 225 for 4 hours then place it in a foil pan uncovered until it reaches 195 IT. Then I check it with a toothpick until it is tender. My problem is that it gets tender but it is dry (and probably could be more tender). I thought that pan smoking it would help keep it moist but it doesn't seem to.

    I am going to try Gary's method next and see how it goes. I am also going to try and find a whole packer and cut it into the point and flat to see which works better for me.
  6. Do the flats you buy have a fat cap?

  7. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Yes but it is pretty thin (I wouldn't really even call it a cap as there are usually spots where the meat is exposed). The brisket selection in my area is terrible. Most stores only ever have 2 at a time to choose from.
  8. Hello gary.  I had forgotten that you too only use S&P.  I smoke mine a little hotter like Bama but the basic method is the same.

    Hello bmaddox: As I stated in my method I think flat only can get too dry.  I would buy the packer and just cut in half.  The point usually has more fat and can help "baste" the flat.  As gary said I smoke fat side up also BUT! I do turn mine from time to time.  Especially using an offset there is more heat at the firebox end.  I move a brisket left and right on the smoker. I rotate it 180 degrees and swap it end for end.

    outtatownsmoker likes this.
  9. frosty

    frosty Master of the Pit

    Bark Vs. No Bark.  I actually like more bark on pulled pork instead of brisket.  But it depends on who is coming, and most folks just appreciate being invited.

    As for method, like Gary and Bama, no rocket science needed.  I've heard many say that brisket is difficult, but that has not been my case.

    I've used packer brisket, basic salt and pepper rub, very little trimming of fat, and then leave the lid closed (If you're looking, you're not cooking).  At a steady 225 to 250 degrees F until internal temperature of 200ish degrees F.

    Sure, I can wrap it if need be, but generally I am NOT in any hurry, so I just spritz it a little as time goes by.  Generally I don't wrap probably more than 50% of the time.

    Remove from smoker @ 200ish, and let rest for two to four hours covered in a cooler. This was really probably a key component.  Slicing a hot brisket, will result in a higher incident of dry,falling apart product.

    My results have been remarkably consistent and delicious (per family and friends eating me out of house and home).

      I found that MY impatience and fiddling with dampers, and gadgets was more often at the root of my  problem.

    Generally, I get an idea of when we will eat, and then back the clock up based upon the cook times and figure out what is needed.  If it takes a little longer folks just have to sit around and socialize. They know that dinner will still be great and they will leave smiling.

    Once I developed more patience my results improved.  It was mostly reading what others did to achieve success that ultimately helped me improve.  For that I am thankful to SMF and its members.

    Good luck to you all!!!   [​IMG]
    tredd4life likes this.
  10. Hey B  the briskets may be part of the problem. See if you can get some info on them,   A too lean brisket will come out dry you need some fat and marbling to keep it moist and juicy.

    Here is a good example;   A Pork Loin vs A Pork Butt, a loin is very very lean and will dry out pretty quick is cooked to long, on the other hand a butt has a fat cap and fat running all through it You would really have to cook it a very long time to dry it out.

    Just remember Fat and marbling = moist and juicy

  11. Hello.  So we all are smoking BASICALLY the same so why are some folks having trouble?  THAT is why I started this thread.  Can we figure out why some folks are having problems?  I was hoping the folks with problems might post their method so we might see where they are going wrong.  bmaddox says he uses only flats; my opinion for what it's worth was given above.  I guess if we can't see the problem we can't fix it.

  12. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    I have a lot to add to this discussion being from Texas, not to mention being an award winning brisket cook, but I'm going to take it one step at a time, to hopefully continue this thread and help as many struggling brisket cooks as possible.  9 times out of 10, if a cook has failed with brisket, it's because they didn't cook it long enough, but there are other factors at play too.

    Several great points have already been made so far about meat quality, smoking temps, smokers, etc., hopefully I can just add to those along the way.

    Let's start at the supermarket.... 

    First of all, yes, Select grade briskets can be cooked to be both tender and juicy, but the better the quality of meat you start with, the better your chances are at a great result.  First, you should know that briskets aren't individually graded, the actual carcass is graded at the rib eye section thus all the cuts that come off said carcass are graded the same, here is a good read for you on beef grading process thanks to our boys here at Texas A&M (my daughter is headed there in the Fall, and so are my bank accounts!)...


    So it is very possible to buy a Select grade brisket that has the characteristics of a Choice, or even a Prime.  I look for flexible toe end (or flat section), I also look for internal marbling, not the fat stuck to the outside or the fat cap, but striations of fat running through the grains of meat in the flat section.  The higher the content of internal marbling, the better the chance at a super moist end product.  This is what makes the point end of a brisket almost a delicacy due to the high fat content.  If you have yet to purchase a Prime grade brisket, please do before you knock the difference between Select, Choice and Prime.  The texture, moisture and mouth feel are just night and day.  Now that does not mean that you won't end up with a Prime that is no better than a Select, simply due to the grading process, but in my experience, the Primes have been well worth the money.  Fat cap has little to do with the end product and how juicy it turns out, the following pic is how I trim up a brisket before a competition...

    Very little fat left other than the bottom side.  I want as much meat surface to be hit with my rub and smoke as possible.  Basically I do what the supermarket calls a super trim, they just get to charge you more per pound for their effort.  Another tip is to wet age your briskets for approximately 28 days, preferably from the kill date, but around here I usually can't determine the kill date, so I just do it from the date of purchase.  Stick it in it's original packaging in an extra fridge or the back of your daily one and leave it untouched for 28 days, then either cook it that following weekend or store it in the freezer until you are ready to cook it.   
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  13. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Brisket in the above pic was an aged Choice.  Here is what a typical Select will look like (this one is completely separated, point on the left, flat on the right)...

    Not much in the way of internal marbling...here is a pic of a Waygu flat section, look closely and you can see much more marbling (not the best pic)...

  14. ajsmokes

    ajsmokes Meat Mopper

    Thank you so much.. I am a firm believer that no matter the cut of beef you can't get the same quality cook on a select as you can prime. Some say you can..
  15. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Thank you so much.. I am a firm believer that no matter the cut of beef you can't get the same quality cook on a select as you can prime. Some say you can..

    You can get them tender, you can keep them moist, but the mouth feel, the melt in your mouth tenderness, only gets better and more consistent as you move up the quality of graded meats.  I do find that the higher the grade of brisket I cook, the faster I reach toothpick tenderness.  Selects and Choice will typically take 8 plus hours at 250, but a Prime will be finished in 7 to 7 1/2 hours, not a tremendous difference, but it is if you are not used to checking for doneness that early.  On a side note, I personally feel Angus or Black Angus is way overrated.  
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  16. Hello Ajsmokes:  YES!.  You are ABSOLUTELY correct.  The better quality of meat you start with the better the final product.  BUT!  Each of us have stated that you can get a tender moist brisket using a select brisket.  That seems to be something you have not been able to achieve according to what you stated earlier.  If you can smoke a tender, moist select brisket just think how great it will be using a prime brisket!  First we need to get you to the tender, moist select brisket stage.  Please post your method.

    The purpose of the thread was to try to figure out why so many folks have trouble with brisket.  Not who has the best method.  No offence meant to anyone.  I am not talking meat quality ( we seem to all agree that you can take a cr** brisket and turn out a tender, moist product ).  Bark versus no bark versus MORE bark.  Rubs or no rubs.  And not a competition quality brisket.  Just being able to produce a tender moist brisket ( unless we find a common factor in the failures ).  So far I have learned 2 things:  1.  The successful folks all follow the same BASIC method.  AND.  2.  Seems most of the successes are achieved using charcoal/wood as a heat source.  I had hoped the folks with trouble would post their methods and smoker type so that we might find a common problem.  SOMETHING MUST be different between the folks that can and the folks that can't.  It isn't rocket science nor does it involve cures.  SO!  AGAIN I ask; is it possible that folks having problems are using gas or electric?  I fail to see why that would matter but??  [​IMG]    Keep Smokin!

    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  17. Choice or Waygu would be great if the price is cheat enough but the last one I got was select because they had them on sale, The one I got had good marbling and fat cap.,

    Was really moist, juicy and tender

    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015

  18. There you go Ajsmokes.  A brisket "joint" bought from an English supermarket and the smoker it was cooked on.  NO fat cap and ZERO marbling.  If that is not a cr** piece of brisket I'll eat my hat!  Also as you can see that's no high dollar smoker being used ( although they are a great little smoker; for certain foods ) I don't have an after picture but it was not tough and not dry.
  19. Looks Good

  20. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I love this thread. That is all. [​IMG]
    meat peeker likes this.

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