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Unread 02-15-2004, 07:53 PM   #1
Saiko
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Default 5 lb flat vs 14 lb packer brisket

I'm probably gonna jump into my first brisket next weekend, and I'm curious about something.

I don't see why you can't smoke a few five-pound flats instead of one big ass packer that's gonna take you 16 hours to smoke. Each flat should only take about 7 hours or so and you aren't up until the wee hours of morning or night tending a fire. The problem I have with doing a whole packer is that I either have to get up at 3:00 in the morning and start a fire or stay up late at night and not eat any brisket until the next day.

Can you really taste a difference? If the flat has a decent fat cap on it and you keep it moist, shouldn't it be just as good as a whole packer? Since I've never done a brisket I have no idea.

A similar example is pork shoulder. Costco had whole pork shoulders on sale a few weeks ago, and they were over 15 pounds. I just cut it up into 4 big "chunks" and smoked each one for 7 hours or so, and the que came out great. Would I have really tasted a difference if I smoked the whole shoulder for 15 hours?
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Unread 02-15-2004, 08:01 PM   #2
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lets see... one is 14 pounds... the other is 7... and bigger is aways better... answer your question???

ok enough of the smart ass response... I've never done a trimmed (7 pound) brisket... there are so many good things to do with the "point" on the big briskets... not the least of which is making a pot of brisket chili... which is DAMN GOOD... you can also make chopped beef sammiches... what I want to do the next time I make brisket is to smoke till done then trim the "point" off and put it back in for a while to get it good and black... then freeze it and use it for chili... the more black on the brisket the better IMHO...

I dont know how hard it is to keep a trimmed flat hydrated... but it is EASY keeping a big one hydrated, plenty of fat...

just my 2 cents...

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Unread 02-15-2004, 09:04 PM   #3
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More is better. And unless you are very very good, or very very lucky, you will discover that brisket is always an adventure; ...why aspire to small adventures?

As Colt says, enough smart ass, but I always get packer cut and always save brisket for the all-out, early morning or overnight type of cooks. There's just something about the challenge. You are doing some serious cooking, not just trying to make something to eat. It's Zen ....you are the fire.
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Unread 02-15-2004, 09:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike(Mi)
More is better. And unless you are very very good, or very very lucky, you will discover that brisket is always an adventure; ...why aspire to small adventures?

As Colt says, enough smart ass, but I always get packer cut and always save brisket for the all-out, early morning or overnight type of cooks. There's just something about the challenge. You are doing some serious cooking, not just trying to make something to eat. It's Zen ....you are the fire.
Ok, Fudo is coming into play here.
I think a 7* brisket is worth more fire tending & takes a lot more attention than a 13 or 14* brisket. If it is work of art a 7 pounder can be as ggood as a 14* but is a lot less forgiving.
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Unread 02-15-2004, 09:43 PM   #5
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Hey, I'm all for a challenge, but I'm just trying to work out the logistics. Assuming I have a 14 lb packer, I'm guessing that you need at least 14 hours if not more of cooking time. Let's say you get up at 5:00 and get a fire going and get it on by 6:00am. The earliest it would be finished would be 8:00pm, not counting cooling down in the cooler.
If it ran longer, you are looking at 10:00pm or so until it's ready. Are most of you guys eating the brisket on the same day you are cooking it or just putting it in the fridge for later?
I'm guessing you can always bite the bullet and just get up at 3:00am and start it then. The thing about a bandera is it needs constant loving, so it ain't like you can sneak in a whole lotta sleep.

p.s. what is "fudo" ?
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Unread 02-15-2004, 10:00 PM   #6
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Saiko, look at the first picture in our pictures.

Then fall to your knees and beg forgiveness. LOL.
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Unread 02-15-2004, 10:02 PM   #7
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I've tried a flat twice. The second time it came out pretty good. The first time I got a little too busy in the yard and it had dried out enough that it ended up chopped and tossed into a pot to make some impromptu carne guisada.

I prefer a nice packer. The fat down there in the joint does a great job keeping things moist, and adds to the flavor over a long smoke in my opinion. My usual method is to smoke to about 145-150 internal at approx. 200 in the chamber, fat on top. Wrap in foil (heavy duty), leaving 1-2" of airspace above the brisket and raise the temp in the chamber to 225-250. If time is an issue I have gotten away with going up to 275 but then I have to keep a closer eye on things. I pull it at 185-190 internal, I also give it a poke or two with a fork through the fat (mix of science and art). Drain off the juices in the foil for a sauce base. Wrap as suggested by others and place in a cooler.

As for the timing....some briskets will cook faster than others based on fat content, weather, karma.... If I'm not motivated I'll usually try to find a smaller brisket for dinner, and a larger one for the freezer. Pull the smaller in time for dinner, and the larger after the meal to freeze. A great brisket is worth getting up for though, thus the hammock 10 feet from the 'dera.
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Unread 02-15-2004, 10:22 PM   #8
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i always did packer cuts. 13lbs or better. Cookin a brisket is just plain labor of love. You do it cause ya want to, not cause ya have to. I did a trimmed flat tonight from costco. Was done in about 8 hours. WAs great, was good, was edible and is half eatin rihght now, even though its still in the oven. Tate any diifferent than a packer, nope.

bu cookin a packer is a gauge at how good ya are. My first packer was converted to dog food after 2 days. The second one was nirvana, like eating a stick of butter and have not been able to duplicate it since, but all nighters is part of Q'in.

The way I have always done it is time it so the brisket is either breakfast, or lunch. Put it in at noon on Friday, and you have brisket for breakfast on Saturday. Its usually done by 12-2AM and it gets collered for the rest of the time. Or go for the all nighter, witht he remote nu-temp next to you and living on 45 minute catnaps.

Then theres Al's charcoal basket which will give you a 6-8 hour nap while it babysits the fire.
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Unread 02-15-2004, 10:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saiko
Hey, I'm all for a challenge, but I'm just trying to work out the logistics. Assuming I have a 14 lb packer, I'm guessing that you need at least 14 hours if not more of cooking time. Let's say you get up at 5:00 and get a fire going and get it on by 6:00am. The earliest it would be finished would be 8:00pm, not counting cooling down in the cooler.
If it ran longer, you are looking at 10:00pm or so until it's ready. Are most of you guys eating the brisket on the same day you are cooking it or just putting it in the fridge for later?
I'm guessing you can always bite the bullet and just get up at 3:00am and start it then. The thing about a bandera is it needs constant loving, so it ain't like you can sneak in a whole lotta sleep.

p.s. what is "fudo" ?
I speak for myself here.

Normally I would agree that 14 to 16 hours is way too long
a time to prepare a meat dish for a meal. For the most part I don’t
spend that much time. On special occasions, which seems to
be a silly term to me, because I look for those “special occasions”
to do what I like best. That is tend a fire (therapy for a crazy world)
and to cook (create something that someone else will be amazed about
when they taste it)
For me, that’s what it’s all about. A good example is the Super Bowl
Party I did a couple of dishes for. I started cooking at about 7pm on
Saturday evening and didn’t finish until about 4pm on Sunday. Stayed
awake the whole time, tending the fire and the meat temps. Ok, so I’m nuts.
That’s what I enjoy
I very rarely eat what I cooked, other than tasting (a lot).
My pleasure comes from watching, other peoples expressions
when they sample my efforts.
If you have a lean 7* brisket use bacon to fatten & baste often….
ENJOY… It’s fun

Oh, by the way Fudo is the God of Fire. See the photo section.
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Unread 02-16-2004, 01:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: 5 lb flat vs 14 lb packer brisket

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saiko
I'm probably gonna jump into my first brisket next weekend, and I'm curious about something.

I don't see why you can't smoke a few five-pound flats instead of one big ass packer that's gonna take you 16 hours to smoke. Each flat should only take about 7 hours or so and you aren't up until the wee hours of morning or night tending a fire. The problem I have with doing a whole packer is that I either have to get up at 3:00 in the morning and start a fire or stay up late at night and not eat any brisket until the next day.

Can you really taste a difference? If the flat has a decent fat cap on it and you keep it moist, shouldn't it be just as good as a whole packer? Since I've never done a brisket I have no idea.

...?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Saw a segment on TV about OK Joe's Brisket in KC.

They use a sugar based dry rub, just a little salt and their seasoning.

They smoke the whole brisket at 185 F for 16 hrs or until the internal temp reaches a certain point which they did not disclose. Then they cut between the point and the flat where they join togther. There is a fat line betwee the two parts and that is where they make the cut. The flat is then ready to serve.

Next, they trim the extra fat and outer crust and place the point back in the cooker for 4 more hours. At this point it is up to the Pit Boss to determin when the point is done, damn. They call this the "Burnt End" on their menue. They slice it into about 1.5 inch strips, then cut the strips into about 1.5 inch cubes annd serve about 14 oz of brisket with a dark vinigar based sauce of their making. Was drooling worse than my three dogs when I Q! The burnt end is their biggest seller on the menue.

Their process allows the flat to be tender and juicy when served and later the point with the same tender juicy results.

I have had good luck with my briskets using tk's Dr Pepper method along with HEAD COUNTRY Marinade but the small end has been too dry when the point is done just right. So next time, I am gonna try OK Joe's method.

On the show, the owner said that the point is a very tough piece of meat and needs the extra time to become tender and when they do, the point is great stuff (burnt end). They use the flat for Brisket sandwiches.

I got about 10hr burn time on my last Brisket using the basket as shown below.
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Unread 02-16-2004, 07:35 AM   #11
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I miss being able to get reasonably prices brisket!!

Around the Tampa Bay area all I can regularly get are flats. Once in a while I run across whole packers but they still ask the same $2.12 a pound -- and I ain't paying that for fat cap!! :D

I have good luck with my flats but then I pay close attention and use bacon on top if it has no fat. Whole briskets are great and stay moist with little effort -- we've had many discussions on trimming, carving, etc., too so there are still a lot of questions out there. I had the benefit of 9 years in Texas and two years in a Texas cafeteria company to learn how to butcher, prep, cook, and carve brisket.

So, like I said, if I could get packer brisket at $.79-$.99 per pound that's all I'd cook. However at $2.19 or so I'd rather stick with a flat and use bacon! :D

The big key to brisket is low and slow, use your thermometers, mop/mop/mop/mop!! Patience will be rewarded.
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Unread 02-16-2004, 08:35 AM   #12
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Man - you guys are up way past my bed-time, so I'll chime in now. Saiko - I agree with what everyone else is saying and have a couple more supplemental points (some of which may have been partially addressed earlier):

1. Price/quantity. Packers are usually at least half the cost of flats. The most expensive I've ever seen a packer is $1.38# at Wal-mart Supercenter. So if I can 2x or more the quantity for the price it's a no brainer.
2. Worried about cook time? Don't worry. Buy a 9-12# packer to start. If you're running a steady 225-240, it will take approx 1 hour per pound, and depending on the meat that might even include resting time on the cooler. So get that dino turd on the cooker by 6:00am and you'll be good to go.
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Unread 02-16-2004, 08:58 AM   #13
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Something else to consider if cooking for a crowd (I've done brisket for 200 - not a record but enough that I HAD to pay attention to yields!).

Packer brisket will only yield about 50-60% - in other words a 14# will only give you about 7-8.5 pounds of usable brisket. Flats yield about 70-80%. So, ulitmately the cost per serving is pretty close - at least in my area :D

All that being said: I'd use a packer brisket if I could get them at the prices TK, Jorge, etc. are quoting. I can't! So I use $2.12 per pound flats.

The "argument" is really not about flats vs. packers it's about doing brisket at all since the effort is really about the same. I love cooking and serving brisket because it's a challenge. Fortunately I do good brisket - even my marginal efforts (usually when I've got time restraints!) are very edible and the meat is fork tender.

So, read up and go for it. The technique for cooking brisket doesn't change except to add some fat (bacon) and mop/spray a little more often.
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Unread 02-16-2004, 10:24 AM   #14
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I took a closer look at the flats they have available, and most of them do have a decent fat cap on them (they are actually underneath, so I didn't see them before). I talked to one of the butchers on the floor and he said you can ask the guys inside for a "whole brisket" and they will do it.
I have a feeling that a "whole brisket" might just be a flat with no fat cut off. It was busy as hell when I was there and couldn't get any of of their attention, but I'll check it out next time.
I think I'm gonna start with flats until I can find a good source of packers in Atlanta. The fat cap looked pretty decent on the ones I saw, and I'll give them a good mopping every hour, plus bacon if I have to. I'm in the medical field, so I'm used to dealing with lack of sleep, although I avoid it when I have to :D
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Unread 11-07-2011, 01:39 PM   #15
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Three words for ya Saiko, hot and fast! LOL, came across this on Google!

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