View Full Version : First time brisket - advice?

07-08-2011, 08:08 AM
Going to do brisket for the first time this week. It will likely be just my wife and I so I was thinking of just buying a flat, what do you guys think?

Also, any rub recommendations? I plan to inject low sodium beef broth.

Any recommendations/advice would be much appreciated.

07-08-2011, 08:13 AM
My only recommendation would be to keep your expectations LOW knowing that this is a tough piece of meat to perfect!

I'd personally keep the rub kind of simple for the beefy flavor of brisket and use something along the lines of salt/pepper/garlic, but this is really your taste preference.

I also think just the flat versus a packer is the way to go for your first cook.

Just my $.02

07-08-2011, 08:14 AM
I would do a packer or you will be missing out on the best part as far as I am concerned. The 2 parts together make beautiful music together. :bow:

07-08-2011, 08:25 AM
Go with the packer and don't go just by temperature alone, check it by sticking a probe in the meat until it goes in easily.

Cook it fat side down and when it is done, foil it and let it rest in a cooler for an hour or more.

Then enjoy your work after!

Brian in Maine
07-08-2011, 08:27 AM
Coat it with Worstershire, (sp) then apply your rub. (I like the Slabs Wow Up Your Cow. Bring your smoker up to 250* and put on the flat to smoke. (I use 3 fist sized chunks of hickory in my WSMs.) I wrap with 1/4 cup of liquid at 165* internal. then at 190 I start probing for that knife into warm butter feel. Let rest for at least 1 hr. Good luck.

07-08-2011, 08:35 AM
Skip the worcestershire! The brisket can handle the flavoring portion of the event all by itself.

07-08-2011, 10:28 AM
i am doing my first brisket today as well. i used a lot of the advice from this thread. it is a great tutorial for noobs like us: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=57882 :-D. i used montreal steak seasoning as my rub with a little extra black pepper and it has been on for a little under 6 hours now and is looking good. the bark isn't as dark as i thought it would be as it is at 160 now and is plateauing. i think i won't wrap it now because i would like the bark darker. i am also thinking of adding some turbinado sugar, or is it too late? also i have the fat cap up because i was hoping when it renders it would baste the meat and in the tutorial is says to leave it down to act as a heat shield but i have a drip pan under the briskie so that would act as a good heat shield, right? i dont mean to hijack the thread for my brisket but i think the answers to these questions are pertinent to your situation too jaskew. I will let you know how mine turns out and will post pron

07-08-2011, 11:39 AM
Good luck on your first... I like packers, but also started with just flats. Depending on your smoker, fat cap can go up or down; I personally don't think it bastes that meat.

I would guess the Montreal seasoning won't work the same as a typical rub, as it's meant generally for steaks in smaller amounts and for faster cooking. There's no sugar in it, like most rubs will have.

Ryan Chester
07-08-2011, 01:06 PM
I know you don't have time to get this suff for a cook this week but Kosmos Beef injection with a 50/50 combo of The Rub Co. Santa Maria Style and Original Rub. Ultimate beef combo!:thumb:

07-08-2011, 01:12 PM
Have plenty of beer available :thumb:

07-08-2011, 01:20 PM
good luck on your first cook... My preference is a packer over a flat, the flats can be hard to cook and easier to make leather out of them IMO... Get a packer trim the excess fat and the hard fat in between point and flat, rub with kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and some garlic powder, throw on smoker at 225 to 250. THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE:
DONT BE IN A HURRY IT WILL GET DONE WHEN ITS DONE!! WHEN THE PROBE GOES IN THE FLAT WITH LITTLE RESISTANCE. Pull off and wrap in foil when done and let rest in a cooler for about an hour then enjoy!!:thumb: Keep us posted with pron.... Smoke on Brother!!!

07-08-2011, 01:35 PM
I ended up picking up a 4.11lbs flat from Costco. Called a butcher, Costco and BJs and none had a whole packer. My local grocery store butcher said "What's whole packer, never heard of it".

Kill me... Sometimes living where I do makes BBQ difficult!!

07-08-2011, 01:45 PM
Quick question... how long should I expect a 4lb flat to take? I have seen 60 minutes per lb but that just seems WAY to short of time for brisket. I figure if I put it on around 7am it should be ready for the cooler around 3pm and serving at 6. Do you agree?

07-08-2011, 01:51 PM
Another vote for doing a full packer. You can go simple with course black pepper and kosher salt or kick it up a notch with a complex rub - either will taste great.

Do make sure to use the point meat to make burnt ends - this is truly the best part (as Johnny_Crunch said). I recommend cooking both flat and point together unseparated. Before you wrap, separate the point from the flat using the back of a knife - wear some insulated rubber gloves. Chunk the point meat and add some additional rub (S&P or complex) and put back in the cooker to render down the fat while the flat continues to cook. Pull when the flat is done and enjoy. This link should help you identify the point/flat meat and how to separate them: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1686128

Good luck!

07-08-2011, 01:55 PM
Quick question... how long should I expect a 4lb flat to take? I have seen 60 minutes per lb but that just seems WAY to short of time for brisket. I figure if I put it on around 7am it should be ready for the cooler around 3pm and serving at 6. Do you agree?

I use 1.25 hours per lb on full packers @ 225 degrees. It all depends how constant your cooker is w/re. to temp & how many times you open it up to check the progress. Use a minimum of 1.25 and a max of 1.5 and you'll be fine. Make sure to add at least an hour to rest. If it gets done early you can leave it in the foil and wrap with towels to keep the heat in until you serve.

07-08-2011, 01:58 PM
I ended up picking up a 4.11lbs flat from Costco. Called a butcher, Costco and BJs and none had a whole packer. My local grocery store butcher said "What's whole packer, never heard of it".

Kill me... Sometimes living where I do makes BBQ difficult!!

Funny how regional some things can be. Any grocer around here will have at least 10 packers on hand in their meat case.

07-08-2011, 02:03 PM
sent ya a PM, but I live in your area, check out the Restaurant Depot - they have packer briskets for about $2.59/lb. I picked up a nice 15lb one last week and it smoked very well.

07-08-2011, 02:46 PM
I see you went for the flat. Good choice for first time.
Just be patient. Remember the meat temp will platau at 165-175 for a long time. Just ride it out and magic happens during this time.
Post some pron too!

07-08-2011, 05:43 PM
Good luck, keep us posted!:cool:

07-08-2011, 06:03 PM
Hi. I've done about a dozen briskets now, some with my old POS offset barrel smoker and then on my totally awesome vertical UDS home made. And my friend did probably another dozen.

The flat's can work for your first time; they are a lot less work. But... you kind of miss out. So maybe next time. :) If you are using a UDS smoker, keep the thing at 200-225. If you're using an offset then I think you can get away with 250, but that would just be bad. Briskets gotta go slow.

I made a totally yummy store bought flat when I wrapped it after about 3-4 hours of smoking in foil. Then let it continue until it reached 190. Let it sit for a while, etc. When I sliced into it, the juices were pouring out the top. This was made for slicing, and worked really well the rest of the week as slices for grinders.

If you'd like to have it fall apart, you gotta let it keep cooking past 200.

The temp will appear to sky rocket until like 160. Then it'll crawl really slowly. So don't use the temp change as your timing gauge.

For next time when you get the "whole packer" when you find a real butcher (not the commercialized garbage we have at places you mentioned), then with the Flat you get.. The Point. Some more yummy goodness.

You can search on line and read till your heart's content about fat up, fat down, fat off, etc. I did all that and read a lot of it. So my experience is this...
Trim ALL ALL ALL the fat from the thing.. including gutting in-between the huge fat layer that's between the Flat and Point. There is so much fat already running throughout the meat that you don't need any of that extra fat that is visible. Then rub rub rub! and you can get all the way in. The fat will not "render away", and it will just protect the meat from the smokey flavor and the rub which you're trying to get in there. So when you do this, "fat up or down" doesn't matter because there isn't much if any left. If you do this, then you finished product will have nice meat that you won't have to cut fat pieces off later.

Smoke this until something like 170-190 (longer if you'd like a harder bark) then .. (now get this!!) separate the Flat from the Point and wrap the Flat, but leave the Point on the grill, or at least that really really really fatty part of the Point. Eventually that fat will reduce some... not a lot, but it will.... well it makes me salivate thinking about it. :)

And again, for slicing, just cook till 180-190. For falling apart like for sloppy grinders, get it past 200. I've done 210 and still was great.

EXCEPTION TO THE FAT RULE: If you are using a vertical UDS and you are not using a baffle, the heat from the coals will be hitting the meat directly. In that case, you can leave a bit of fat and leave it on the BOTTOM so it protects the meat from the heat and will actually add to is moistness.

IF YOU USE MESQUITE, DO JUST A LITTLE BIT OF WOOD. That typically makes a brisket over powering if too much mesquite.

So there you go. I'm no expert, but I can repeat my process and know it will come out great. Science also works :) meaning that reading up on "meat-science" (http://www.amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/meat_science.html) will help you understand the heating and melting process.

Oh yeah.. and I also got lots of advice from folks from good friends I have in TX and from OK. Still, everyone has their own opinions of what's good. :) Totally depends on what you're trying to accomplish. I personally love it when the stuff just falls apart.