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Unread 04-27-2007, 10:39 AM   #1
Steeb
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Default Brisket Seasonings?

I'm about as new as you can get to the fine art of smoking and was hoping to get the advice of some experts. I'm thinking of trying a brisket and was wondering what you guys use to season yours. Is it just something like salt, pepper, and garlic? Do you use the same rub you use for ribs? None of the above?

I'd really appreciate any advice you can offer. If it helps, I'm using a Weber Performer (gas ignite, otherwise it's charcoal) and I have been using woodchips soaked in water for the smoke. So far, I've only used hickory (which was a little strong for my taste, but I may not be using it correctly) and apple. I also have a bag of oak, which is what I think I'll use for the brisket - unless you guys suggest otherwise. Thanks in advance for your help!
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Unread 04-27-2007, 11:08 AM   #2
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I'm at work, so I don't have the exact proportions, but my brisket rub is basically brown sugar, sea salt, black pepper, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder. Pretty simple, and pretty tasty too!
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Unread 04-27-2007, 11:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbormaster View Post
I'm at work, so I don't have the exact proportions, but my brisket rub is basically brown sugar, sea salt, black pepper, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder. Pretty simple, and pretty tasty too!
Oooh - that sounds pretty good. If you wouldn't mind (and if you remember,) I would really appreciate getting the proportions once you're at home and have the opportunity. That sounds like a good starter recipe for me - nice and simple, just like I like it!

Do you just coat the whole thing before putting it in the smoker? Do you do any amount of direct searing at the beginning for the outside? (I've seen that done with prime rib before, but I have no idea if that would be proper with a brisket.)

Thanks for the advice! I really appreciate it.
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Unread 04-27-2007, 11:41 AM   #4
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I would not sear.

Rub the entire thing, just try and stack the coals as far to one side of the kettle as possible, and try to indirectly cook it.

I would start with 10-15 coals at the most, and go grab a bag of hickory chunks at Home Despot

If you dont have hinged grates, then stick with the chips, and one an hour throw a hand full onto the coals.

Shoot for 275*-300* heat temp (search "Fast Cook Method" and it might help) and check out the brisket threads in RoadMap for varying opinions on internal temp, foil usage, etc.

Good luck, and post results!

Edit: strong hickory in forst post, just caught that. Stick with the apple then, but the beef should be able to handle the hickory better than things like poultry. If you are using too much hickory, it might start tasting too strong too.
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Unread 04-27-2007, 11:41 AM   #5
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I generally don't bother rubbing the fat cap, since it will end up rendering off or getting trimmed. That being said, it usually ends up acquiring a fair amount of rub anyway.

I wouldn't bother with trying to sear a brisket. It's a whole different animal from prime rib (although it is from the same animal). Just build a coal bed on one side of the kettle, put the brisket on the opposite side, put on the lid and smoke away! And don't peek! Keep us posted, and post pics when you're done!
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Unread 04-27-2007, 11:48 AM   #6
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I don't like the same rub on my ribs that I use on my brisket. I find that there is a big difference. I used to use one rub on everything but with the Sauce and Rub swap I came into some good Rib rubs that turned me around on the idea of one for all. Sugar in a rub can some times be an issue because it will burn black easily. Thats one reason you don't want to start basting your ribs with sauce (if you are so inclined) until the end, otherwise the sugar will burn.
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Unread 04-27-2007, 11:53 AM   #7
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Steeb,
I trim up the packer, rub everything pretty thoroughly, and put it in the WSM. No advance searing. I run the dome temp at about 250-265. Last 2 were without water (Piedmont Pan) but i'll be going back to water for brisket.
You don't indicate what you cook on.
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Unread 04-27-2007, 11:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VitaminQ View Post
I generally don't bother rubbing the fat cap, since it will end up rendering off or getting trimmed. That being said, it usually ends up acquiring a fair amount of rub anyway.
VQ brings something up that I think will be very important.

I personally cook with the fat cap down after a discussion here with Jim Minion. It seems to "protect" the meat from the heat (in my verticals)

But regardless of whether you are in the cap up/cap down camp, I think that, in a kettle, the cat Must be down, because of the proximity to the heat source. You want to protect that bottom from becoming shoe leather from being inches from the heat source.

Others will differ, but that is the beauty of BBQ!
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Unread 04-27-2007, 12:11 PM   #9
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Wow - tons of great advice. Thanks a lot guys! Looks like the consensus is to not sear - sounds good to me and keeps things simple.

I think my aversion to hickory stems from me using too many chips at one time. Maybe I'll try hickory again for the brisket - only this time I'll stick to a handful every hour or so, as suggested. I do want to try that oak sometime, though. Too many decisions...

Now to search for "done" temps. Thanks again, guys!

Thanks for the tips on cooking with the fat cap down - I would not have thought of trying that.
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Unread 04-27-2007, 12:16 PM   #10
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Cap up, or cap down, put an aluminum pan under the brisket (maybe a little water in it) for the fat to drip into, otherwise you'll have a mess on the "floor/walls" of the Performer
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Unread 04-27-2007, 12:16 PM   #11
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If this is your first brisket, I would keep the seasonings simple so you have a frame of reference for future briskets. Salt, pepper and maybe some garlic powder. Fat cap down to protect the bottom. Trim off the really hard parts of the fat but leave everything else. Keep the brisket as far away from the heat as possible. Take lots of pictures and post them here.
Post if you need help. We will be happy to give you pointers and walk you thru it.
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Unread 04-27-2007, 12:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willkat98 View Post
Cap up, or cap down, put an aluminum pan under the brisket (maybe a little water in it) for the fat to drip into, otherwise you'll have a mess on the "floor/walls" of the Performer
Thanks. I was actually already planning to do that - I bought some pans yesterday. Good call on the mess part - I was gonna use the pan just to add some moisture - it never occurred to me that this is probably gonna be messy. I'm used to direct cooking, where everything ends up on the coals. This will only be my third try at indirect cooking, so I'm still getting used to all of the little details.
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Unread 04-27-2007, 12:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmista View Post
If this is your first brisket, I would keep the seasonings simple so you have a frame of reference for future briskets. Salt, pepper and maybe some garlic powder. Fat cap down to protect the bottom. Trim off the really hard parts of the fat but leave everything else. Keep the brisket as far away from the heat as possible. Take lots of pictures and post them here.
Post if you need help. We will be happy to give you pointers and walk you thru it.
So you think I should hold off on a rub that includes sugar? That's probably a good idea, since I'm still way green when it comes to this stuff. I'll try to remember to take some pictures - I have a decent digital camera that should get the job done.

Is there a set temp that you like to aim for? I've read 160, 180, 185, etc. I generally like my meat medium to medium-well, if that helps at all.

Thanks again for all the help. You guys have taught me more in a morning than I could have learned on my own in a week.
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Unread 04-27-2007, 12:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeb View Post
So you think I should hold off on a rub that includes sugar? That's probably a good idea, since I'm still way green when it comes to this stuff. I'll try to remember to take some pictures - I have a decent digital camera that should get the job done.

Is there a set temp that you like to aim for? I've read 160, 180, 185, etc. I generally like my meat medium to medium-well, if that helps at all.

Thanks again for all the help. You guys have taught me more in a morning than I could have learned on my own in a week.
I agree with Mista, no sugar, S&P.

Medium to Medium Well is a steak setting. Forget it. Medium brisket would be tough. I won't even say Well Done, for that is a steak term. You want temperature

Personally, I would take it up to 165* internal, wrapp in foil after spraying thouroughly with apple juice, then return to the grill until you reach 190* internal.

I would then remove and place, still wrapped in foil, in an empty cooler. If none available, then two targe towels wrapped around it will work.

After about 2 hours or so, CAREFULLY unwrap. It should be juicy, possibly very juicy.

Open in a pan to retain those Au Jus juices.

Slice to pencil width thickness (if it doesnt just fall apart )

Enjoy!
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Unread 04-27-2007, 12:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeb View Post
So far, I've only used hickory (which was a little strong for my taste, but I may not be using it correctly) and apple. I also have a bag of oak, which is what I think I'll use for the brisket
In my opinion you shouldn't be soaking the wood chips in water. Contrary to what would seem obvious, it isn't the visible part of the smoke that imparts the flavor. When you wet the wood chips it is akin to using green wood and you are going to get more of the visible smoke which is the part you don't want. That's the stuff that tastes horrible and soots up your chimney. You want a nice clean burn with only the light blue smoke if any visble. Brisket is also very easy to over smoke so easy does it. I think this is why you are finding when you use hickory that it has a strong flavor. It is actually pretty mellow. If you are doing a long burn in the smoker you don't have to "smoke" it the whole time for good results.

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