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jgh1204 02-22-2005 08:47 PM

Brisket Advice Needed - cook on Sat serve on Sun
I plan on cooking 3 briskets on Saturday to be served for lunch on Sunday.

I will rubbing down the briskets on Friday and putting them on at 8 AM Saturday and they should be done around 8 PM.

My usual plan is to smoke for 9 hours at 215, then put the briskets in pans, cover tightly with foil and cook another 3 hours at 250. Then, I let the briskets sit for 1 hour, then scrape off the fat cap, slice the point from the flat and scrape off the interior fat.

Before I read this forum, I usually just relied on cooking temps and times. Now I am relying more on internal temps which I think allows for more consistent results.

Since I will not be serving these until Sunday, logistics do not allow me to cook until Sunday AM. Would I be better off just letting the briskets cool, then do the fat trimming on Sunday as we warm them up for serving?

I use the juice from the pans to season my frijoles ala charra(see recipe section).

Any thoughts?

Also, been readin the whole fat cap up/down discussions. I think I lean to the down side. If you do cook fat cap up, would it help/hurt to pierce the fat cap in places to allow the rub to better penetrate during cooking?

tommykendall 02-22-2005 08:55 PM


Would I be better off just letting the briskets cool, then do the fat trimming on Sunday as we warm them up for serving?
That's what I would do - more protection.

Bill-Chicago 02-22-2005 10:02 PM

How big are these dino turds?

Full packer briskets or flats only?

I actually might consider this (don't know your whole story here, if your bringing these to a party)

Cook briskets to 170 in the smoke, wrap and cook to 190. then in the cooler. Throw in frdge after few hours in the cooler.

In the morning, slice cold brisket (very easy to cut cold brisket "thin"). Throw into vacu-seal bags.

Bring to party. drop into large roaster pan of boiling water, or casserole dishes in the oven of boiling water in the dish and in a 425 oven for about 2 hours.

cut open them vacu bags from boiling water or baking pans for a great treat. I pour the water out of the very hot casserole dish, open up the bag with the juice (I know you said you reserve this for other items) and pour right into the dish for pre sliced, heated brisket goodness.


BBQchef33 02-22-2005 10:28 PM

I would put them in later in the day, so they come out of the cooker at midnight...-1-2 am. Time it to come off as late as possible, or as late as your willing to stay up. Then wrap them tightly in a couple towels and put them in a cooler and add more towels to the cooler to take up any dead air space. I always heat the cooler for a few minutes by adding a lttle boiling water and closing the top. When its time, drain the water and the briskets go into a warm cooler. With 3 briskets packed on top of each other and wrapped up in towels, the heat load should last at least 8 hours if not little longer. They will stay hot and continue to tenderize while in the cooler and at noon, you'll have fresh hot briskets to slice up.


Before I read this forum, I usually just relied on cooking temps and times. Now I am relying more on internal temps which I think allows for more consistent results.
Try this next time. Instead of relying on internal temps..... dont. Rely on tenderness. Estimate time at 1hr - 1:15 per lb. Then at 180 start checking for tenderness. Insert a probe into the flat. If it goes in with little or no resistance, your done. If thats at 180, who cares how long its been cooking, the brisket is tender. A few more hours in the cooler will make it perfect. But taking off a brisket at 190-195, even 200, when it was possibly done at 185 makes for a dry or overcooked cut. IMO, its wiser to use the internal temps to know when to start checking for doneness/tenderness, and not to use that as the deciding factor. I have had briskets done at 180-185 and coolered for 5-6 hours that were juicy and tender. Bringing them to 190-195 would have wrecked them.. some brikets may need to go to 190, but I rarely let them go higher than that(192 max). Taking them out at 190, and spending some time in the cooler is usually enough. They can climb another 8 degrees in the cooler on their own heat load and continue to cook and tenderize.

Being that your going to be coolering for a while, it may even work to remove it when it has a small amount of resistance when you insert the probe. Le t it finish cooking in the cooler. That way it will continue to cook, but not overcook.

jgh1204 02-22-2005 10:48 PM

Thanks guys.

I am cooking for a good friend's daughter's baptism reception. At first they said 20, now they say 35 people.

I am probably going to add a butt, introduce these people to decent pulled pork.

tommykendall 02-22-2005 10:54 PM


At first they said 20, now they say 35 people
It'll probably be 20. No shows piss me off but that's another thread.

Arlin_MacRae 02-22-2005 11:01 PM


Originally Posted by tommykendall
It'll probably be 20. No shows piss me off but that's another thread.


Wayne 02-22-2005 11:31 PM

I agree with Phil but I would put the briskets in one of those big church roasters overnight set to 180 degrees. My roaster will hold three medium sized primal briskets fat cap and all. You will need to add about 2 pints of water to the bottom of the pan. This kind of accomplishes the same thing as the warm cooler, it is probably 6 of one and half dozen of the other, and I am sure that what ever method you use they will turn out great. When I cook brisket like this I usually shred the beef just like you would with pulled pork and add back the juice at the bottom of the roaster. This makes great sandwiches. In fact the more juicy and wet the bread the better I like it. I usually never use BBQ sauce but some people do so besure to put someon the side when you serve it up. The overnight cook off can sometimes loosen the meat so much that it does not want to slice thin, so if you slice it you need to slice it thick. When you trim the fat cap and start to slice it up you will know whether you need to slice it thick or thin or even consider shredding it. Just make it up as you go along and all will be fine.

I would not worry to much about the fat up or down decision. I like to put mine fat up so the fat will liquefy into a natural baste and run down into the meat. This takes the rub flavor on the fat down to the meat also. I use a fork and pierce the fat a lot so that the liquid can find its way to the meat easier. For as long as a brisket has to cook I am not sure that it makes any difference whether you cook it fat up or fat down. Liquid tends to flow from high concentrations to low concentrations so I would guess that the liquefied fat would flow up into the meat as easily as it would flow down into the meat. I have fixed briskets both ways and do not see much difference between the two.

BBQchef33 02-23-2005 12:33 AM

Use the same technique i posted for butts. Estimate pork butts at 1.5 hrs per lb.

BTW,,, I always cook briskets fat cap down. Seems to protect the bottoms from the heat shadow below it.

I have also used a 120 degree oven instead of a cooler to hold the briskets wrapped in foil. For some reason, results arent as good. Figured the 120 would just slow the temp drop, but i think it has a different effect by allowing the inital temps to climb higher and longer before leveling off and then dropping. Results just werent the same.

jt 02-23-2005 08:57 AM

I agree with Phil on the tenderness thing. I've taken them to 190-195 and then into the cooler and they were a little dry. They were probably ready for the cooler at 180-185. My plan for the next brisket cook is exactly how Phil described it - start checking around 180 and move 'em to the cooler when tender.

Arlin_MacRae 02-23-2005 10:02 AM

Same for me. Cap down and in the cooler at 175 - 180. Always tender and juicy.

jminion 02-23-2005 11:04 AM

Looking at your time table, holding in a cooler will be asking a lot. If you decide to cool I would suggest you take the brisket to 190 internal and then get it cooled fast you have about 2 hours to get it 70 to be safe, then another hour to get it 40. On the reheat you need to take it to at least 165 to meet standards by most health dept for serving to the public.

BBQchef33 02-23-2005 11:40 AM

Ive held multiple briskets and pork butts in a cooler for 8-10 hours. Always leave the probes in and watch temperature of the top one to make sure they stay above 140 for the duration. A single one will cool down much faster than 3 stacked together. With a good cooler and 3 briskets I think the heat load will hold. At least to go overnight. In the morning if temps are going below 140, hold them in a warm(<180 degrees) oven for a little bit. Get them back top the 150 mark and cooler them again. (or just keep the oven at 140)

IMHO, If you try to cool it down, factor in the 2-3 hours in the danger zone to get it to 40 degrees, and then the hour or 2 it will spend between 40-140 to get it back up on the reheat, i think he'd be beter off just holding at 140, instead of dealing with 5 hours of dropping and climbing internal temps.

Jorge 02-23-2005 11:50 AM

A couple years ago now I did Q for 60 for the better half's father's b-day. Cooked the beef the day before and wrapped in foil and put it in the fridge. Heated it up slow the next day. Worked for me and nobody got sick. While I was cooking I foiled all of the briskets at around 150-160 and took them up to 185-190 before pulling them. As I pulled each one from the smoker I set them in a big steamer pan and drained all of the juice off before re-wrapping. Put all the juices into the fridge and chilled it so I could skim any fat, and then used that in a sauce. Something similar might work for your beans depending on the flavor you are looking for.

One problem you rarely have around here is getting plenty of input and experiences. Take what works for you, and make sure you let us know what you tried and most importantly what worked and didn't.

jgh1204 02-23-2005 01:36 PM

I have backed off starting at 8 AM and will wait until the afternoon around 3. I can always sleep it off Sunday afternoon.

How about I put the cooler in the oven? :lol:

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