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BigTerp
06-07-2018, 08:35 AM
I'm totally new to smoking brisket. Have done tons of ribs, chicken, pork butts, etc. on my UDS with great success. But have balked at trying a brisket, honestly because I've been nervous of screwing up such a large, relatively expensive piece of meat. So I've come here for some guidance/re-assurance. I plan to do a whole packer, wrapped in butcher paper around 150 or when the bark looks right, then pulling around 200 (depending on feel) and then into my faux cambro for an hour or three before slicing. Simple enough, right? A few questions on all of this though......

- What temp do you guys have the best results with? I've been smoking my ribs and butts at higher temperatures (250-275) lately with good results. I'm thinking 225 for a full packer would take forever, even with wrapping. Thinking that 275 or even higher would be more appropriate. About how long per lb can I roughly figure on at 275 to get a full packer up to 200 IT?

- Do you guys like to inject your briskets? If so, what do you like to use? I've read just plain beef broth works well.

- I'm planning on a simple rub of just kosker salt and coarse black pepper or maybe even Meathead's big bad beef rub. If you guys have something you like I'd love to hear about it.

- 2 layers of butcher paper appropriate for wrapping? I have never wrapped anything on my smoker, so this will be new for me as well.

- After pulling and before going into my cooler for holding, should I wrap in foil or just straight into my cooler still wrapped in butcher paper?

- What do you guys specifically look for when shopping for a full packer brisket?

This is all for a pool party at the end of the month. So I've got some time to work it all out. Thanks for any help, tips, advice!!!!

Stlsportster
06-07-2018, 08:40 AM
Try BluDawg's KISS brisket. Never fails!

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showpost.php?p=3001532&postcount=67

NickTheGreat
06-07-2018, 08:47 AM
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=57882

I started with this one, and it turned out so well that I never have really deviated from it too much! :thumb:

BigTerp
06-07-2018, 08:55 AM
Thanks!! Forgot about bludagws method. Read about it awhile ago.

pjtexas1
06-07-2018, 09:10 AM
Thanks!! Forgot about bludagws method. Read about it awhile ago.

i can't remember but i think he leaves out that he trims a lot of the fat between the point/flat and when he wraps the fat cap is up. it is a really good place to start as it is simple to follow and the results are good.

try not to wrap too many layers of BP. one or 2 at the most. you do have to overlap somewhere to get the paper to stay.

sudsandswine
06-07-2018, 09:12 AM
This is all for a pool party at the end of the month. So I've got some time to work it all out. Thanks for any help, tips, advice!!!!

My personal golden rule is I never cook something for the first time when having guests over. I do at least one dry run to learn and adjust so that I dont disappoint hungry guests. If it were me, especially with brisket, I would cook a practice one sometime before. Its personal preference but for me, theres almost nothing worse than having to serve food I know is substandard to guests.

Also, there are several threads on the first couple pages for people asking advice or troubleshooting what went wrong, lots of good info in there with tips and tricks.

Good luck and be sure to post up some pics! :thumb:

aks801
06-07-2018, 11:14 AM
Alright, first brisket time! You'll love it.

Responding to your questions in order:

- Cooking around 275 can achieve great results. That is about where I run my WSM. I don't think you mentioned the size of the packer, so no way to guess. I tend to cook 14" packers around 280 and it takes about 9 hours in the smoke.
- I never inject. Some people do. Since this is your first one I would advise you against it. Keep this first one simple, establish the baseline.
- S&P works great. SPOG works great. Just try what you want.
- butcher paper wrap: don't double layer it. When you wrap and fold it you will be creating layers. Also, you don't even have to wrap it, especially since this is the first one. Baseline....
- The Hold: set the brisket out on the counter for at least 20 minutes, not wrapped or covered, and only then wrap it (foil) and put it in for the hold. If you put it straight in the heat will end up overcooking it (taste good but crumbly).
- shopping for packer: get the highest grade you want to spend money on. Look for relatively uniform thickness across the flat. Get one that is fairly floppy instead of stiff. Don't be put off by a large amount of soft or hard fat, you'll be trimming that anyway.

Someone else mentioned doing a test run before the pool party: GREAT advice. Think of it as relatively cheap insurance.

Let us know how it goes and ENJOY!!!!

m-fine
06-07-2018, 11:27 AM
If you are looking at internal temps, even if you are saying “about” you are setting yourself up for failure. I would strongly advise a first timer to leave the probe thermometer in a drawer somewhere far from the smoker, but no one is willing to do that these days, so I will suggest that once the meat hits 175-180 range that you pull any thermometer and resist the urge to check anything but texture for the rest of the cook.

Pulling at about 200 works only a certain cooking temps and only if you know what it should look and feel like. You might need to pull at 190, or maybe 210, and knowing the current temp at any given time won’t tell you which one it is going to be or where in the middle you’re will fall.

Look for shrinkage and texture. Then cook some more. If you haven’t been exposed to briskets before virtually everyone pulls early, so keep in your mind to err on the slide of slightly over cooked vs under. Video and descriptions can help, but often you need to experience probing into butter and “meat jello” to get it.

I would keep things as simple as possible at first. Skip the injection, it won’t save a bad cook. Keep the rub simple. Maybe just salt pepper and granulated garlic. Some do just salt and pepper.

225 will take a long time and if you don’t wrap, it will have an extended stall. 275-300 will cook faster and lower through a stall with or without wrapping. A good formula that will widen your windows and increase odds of success is to start fast and then slow down. Get it past the stall range of 160-165 at 275+ and then at an IT in the 180 range lower the pit temp. This keeps the meat from getting too much hotter and expelling more moisture and it also extends the period between done and over done so you will have a better chance of pulling it at a good time. You can wrap or not wrap at that point. A good bark is firm and almost black and once well set it will mostly hold up to wrapping. If you want to keep it simple, I would do the entire cook at 275.

One to three hours of rest is on the low side. I would suggest 4 minimum, and as long as the meat stays above 130 degrees, longer is good. The meat will continue to tenderize which could bail you out if you pulled too soon.

Good luck!

fwdiii
06-07-2018, 02:17 PM
All great advise. I always smoke my brisket in the 275 degree range. Cooks faster, stall is a lot less and no difference in taste.
Good luck!!!

guero_gordo
06-07-2018, 02:36 PM
IMLE:
If your pit runs clean and steady at 275, letter rip. Most of mine have been at 250-ish, but I've done 225, 270 and 325. Main difference is how fast the bark darkens and dries.

I start probing for doneness at 185F, because that's the coolest I've had them be done

CentralOhioBBQ
06-07-2018, 02:53 PM
If you are looking at internal temps, even if you are saying “about” you are setting yourself up for failure. I would strongly advise a first timer to leave the probe thermometer in a drawer somewhere far from the smoker, but no one is willing to do that these days, so I will suggest that once the meat hits 175-180 range that you pull any thermometer and resist the urge to check anything but texture for the rest of the cook.


I think this is too aggressive for a first time cook and disagree, acknowledging it consistently works for you. It wasn't that long ago I was practicing brisket, i still do, and to get seasoned it helps to have a temp range target and then learn as you go. I would suggest shooting for 200-205 in the thickest part of the flat.

The feel, jiggle, and probe tenderness can only come with time and experience IMO.

m-fine
06-07-2018, 05:59 PM
The only temp info I had learning to smoke was a bimetallic on the door of a smoke house, and later the teltrus on the Lang. We never thought to check the internal temp of the meat, and didn’t have digital probes to do it anyway.

When I made my first smoked brisket, it was something I had never seen or eaten. I only read about in cookbooks from Texas and they said cook to feel with no mention of IT. So I tried it, and waited for tender and they came out great right from my first attempt. I will admit that I had a huge advantage though. I grew up in a house that made braised briskets often enough, so I knew all about it taking time, and the texture that I was waiting for. I also knew it would be better to over cook and have it fall apart than undercook. You can always sauce it up and make sandwiches.

I think the best and fastest way to learn is to do a cook with someone who already knows how, so you can see it, feel it, and probe it yourself and know what you are looking for.

The next best thing is to read this forum, watch videos from guys like Franklin, and do your best to infer what it should feel like.

Going by internal temp is tough because there are too many variables. I strongly believe the proliferation of digital meat probes and the focus on internal temps online are what has made it harder for people to learn brisket. I am always reading about people struggling and people giving up, because they pulled at x degrees and it was dry. And then others are afraid to try because they think it is so difficult to cook a brisket. It’s actually not hard at all. You just need to apply heat until it is the right texture. Going by hours per pound or IT may get you close, it may even nail it perfectly, but it is so much more likely to come up short and cause frustration.

It may not work for everyone, but I have walked several people through it over the phone and they had immediate success, so I know novices can learn fast if they set the thermometer down and patiently wait for tender.

aks801
06-07-2018, 09:16 PM
^^^^^^^^^^
Here here!

OklaDustDevil
06-07-2018, 11:05 PM
1. For starting out, I suggest you use the more traditional method of low and slow. It will take longer, but there is a reason it is the Texas traditional path to great brisket: the margin for error is greater. Once you get your method down, then you can start adjusting your process to hot and fast if you wish. (But after 30+ years, I still do all mine low and slow!). So shoot for 225.

2. I find most folks who inject briskets do so to compensate for a hot-n-fast cooking method. If you stick with low and slow, you won’t need it. I tend to use injection only for a meat that doesn’t have its own significant flavour, like turkey or chicken; no need to inject beef.

3. Your Rub sounds great — many Tex folks go a bit heavier on the pepper.

4. I suggest you smoke it nekkid. If you learn to smoke a great brisket, no need to wrap!

5. Re: holding, I tend to do it only for timing convenience, in order to bridge the gap between when the brisket finishes and dinner. Some folks seem to consider holding as part of prepping the brisket, but that’s not my approach. I do agree, however, that if you’re going to wrap and hold, you should let it vent the heat for 20 min or so before wrapping and holding.

6. I mainly look for as thick a flat as possible at the end.

Best of luck, I’m sure you’ll do great!!

Cook
06-08-2018, 10:01 AM
m-fine has it down! Pretty much exactly what I recommend for young pitmasters (young in experience, not necessarily age). Cook several (whatever you're cooking) fairly simple to learn a couple of things...1) You learn how to cook the meat without worrying about alot of outside factors. Learn to cook your meat of choice without injections, without brines, without all the crap people put in them these days, and you'll actually lean how to cook...2) You will learn what that particular meat tastes like. I bet there are people today that have no idea what a pork butt actually tastes like. Brisket is the same...learn what it tastes like in the beginning, and then you'll know what your "experiments" actually did to that flavor.

JS-TX
06-08-2018, 10:57 AM
I'd skip injecting your first brisket and I think only 1 layer of paper is enough. 2 or more layers will buffer the heat too much and delay cooking in my experience. Cooking 275+ at grate level may help that but be sure of your temps.

smoke ninja
06-08-2018, 11:05 AM
I agree with M-fine and cook. Turn off your targeting system. Use the force. Destroy the death star

CentralOhioBBQ
06-08-2018, 12:06 PM
m-fine has it down! Pretty much exactly what I recommend for young pitmasters (young in experience, not necessarily age). Cook several (whatever you're cooking) fairly simple to learn a couple of things...1) You learn how to cook the meat without worrying about alot of outside factors. Learn to cook your meat of choice without injections, without brines, without all the crap people put in them these days, and you'll actually lean how to cook...2) You will learn what that particular meat tastes like. I bet there are people today that have no idea what a pork butt actually tastes like. Brisket is the same...learn what it tastes like in the beginning, and then you'll know what your "experiments" actually did to that flavor.

Clearly my suggestion is the minority here. Whichever way you decide you're comfortable with, good luck and report back on how it goes!

Burnt at Both Endz
06-08-2018, 12:20 PM
Clearly my suggestion is the minority here. Whichever way you decide you're comfortable with, good luck and report back on how it goes!

I thought maybe EL would step up and help, since this fella was wanting to cook it on a drum? These guys are giving advice and probably have never cooked one over direct heat?

Anyway, here is my advice to the OP.....

http://blog.gatewaydrumsmokers.com/the-white-rabbit/

He doesn't need to buy the waygu though..:cool:

OklaDustDevil
06-09-2018, 07:17 PM
Clearly my suggestion is the minority here. Whichever way you decide you're comfortable with, good luck and report back on how it goes!

I know it’s not fashionable here, but I also usually cook to a temp. 30+ years ago, when we didn’t have digital thermometers, WiFi, alarms, etc., I used an old fashioned meat thermometer. 203-205 has always worked for me for brisket. So when you’re starting off, I agree with CentralOhio: instead of probing, jiggling, thinking of peanut butter or jelly, etc., cook to a temp low and slow, without injecting but with a simple rub, and adjust from there. Just MHO.

Redleg71
06-12-2018, 02:54 PM
great advice all around. only suggestion I have is to add some liquid (beer/cola) to a drip pan. I swear it makes a difference.

Also, I dont worry about temp so much so long as it is probe tender and above 275. I always go 225-250 cook temp