MMMM.. BRISKET..
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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 08-28-2015, 02:38 PM   #1
smokingkettle
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Default 1st Timer / Brisket on WSM

Howdy.

This is my first thread.

I'm a newb to smoking. I really just got into it at the start of the summer and bought an 18.5 WSM. I've spent the better part of the summer perfecting spare ribs, pork butts and swineapple (looked too awesome to resist trying and it turned out great twice). Now that I feel like I'm getting great results, I'm ready to move onto something more challenging.

So Costco had an angus prime 10lb packer brisket for $32 today. I couldn't resist (the marbling brought a tear to my eye). I have it in the fridge right now. I know. I know. I read the forums here after I bought it and everyone is saying "Don't start with an expensive cut." Oh well. I started with prime. No regrets. I'm not scared after reading these forums and it's not the end of the world if it doesn't turn out perfect (which is probable). But for right at $3 per pound on a prime packer cut, I don't look at it as that risky. Besides, if I succeed, I end up with a damn fine dinner.

Here's my plan:

I'm going to get up around 4AM and get the fire going (three chunks of hickory and one chunk of mesquite). While that's happening I'm going to prepare my brisket (light trimming, 1:1 salt/pepper rub) and throw it on the top grate. Then I'm going to set the temperature ranges on my Maverick and pass out for a couple hours. It will beep annoyingly loud and wake me up if I go past or below my range. I'm shooting for a median temperature of 250 (Let me know if you think I should change that).

Then I'm going to do the Franklin method where I look for it to be mahogany after a spray from the bottle. If it is, I'm going to wrap it in parchment paper (I don't have butcher paper). Your thoughts on that are appreciated. Then I will let it go until it's jiggly. Yes, I will resist the urge to pull it early. My target is to have it ready in the middle of the afternoon. I can toss it in a cooler and wrap it in blankets to keep it at the right resting temperature until it is time to serve. My guests are also fine eating as late as 6PM, so I don't think I will have any issues with what time it finishes.

Being new, I'm not going to take it personally if anyone finds a flaw with my method. Your critiques are welcome, as I can assure you that you are better at smoking brisket than I am.

I am just curious about why I should roll without water in the water pan. I get the fact that it burns a little hotter, but is the lack of moisture going to be a problem or does the brisket have enough to where this isn't going to be an issue? If 250 is a good temperature, I can maintain that with water no problem. Anyway, clarification on the water pan questions is appreciated.

I'm really excited about this forum. I have been lurking and have already learned a ton thanks to the contributions of the great members of this forum. I appreciate it.
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Old 08-28-2015, 02:41 PM   #2
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You have a great plan but I'd be cooking @ 275° for the cook.
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Old 08-28-2015, 02:44 PM   #3
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You have a great plan but I'd be cooking @ 275° for the cook.
Yes, Franklin recommends 275. My newb self is scared of it finishing too early. Should I be? I know brisket isn't as forgiving as pork butt.
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Old 08-28-2015, 02:48 PM   #4
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No, cook it until it's probe tender in the thickest part of the flat.

After that, let it rest until it hits 145° then slice her up!
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Old 08-28-2015, 02:50 PM   #5
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No, cook it until it's probe tender.

After that, let it rest until it hits 145° then slice her up!
Thanks.
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Old 08-28-2015, 03:06 PM   #6
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Cook @ 275° so you can get some extra sleep!

The rest period "usually", takes a couple of hours.
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Old 08-28-2015, 03:15 PM   #7
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Smile I'd do more smoke...

I tend to like what I describe as a more TX flavor to my beef briskets.
That means mesquite!! I'd definitely add more wood to your WSM. I had one awhile back..and I'd throw multiple handfuls at a time in there to keep plenty of smoke going for all the time it would absorb smoke....and leave a nice, predominate ring when sliced into.

Again, I like strong flavors.....I live in the deep south.

But I'd at least do 50/50 on hickory and mesquite if I were you....

And add one more every 1.5-2 hours as needed....it sounded from your description you might be thinking of adding wood only at the beginning...with about 3 chunks? I may have misread tho....
:)

Anyway..good luck.

I'm not sure the Franklin method...I'll have to look that up. But I also like my brisket VERY tender and near fall apart. I cook mine to about 165F-170F...pull it off, seal in foil with some of my mop spritzed in there..and put back in to cook to 190F-200F or so.

Often my cooks will last till late at night and I'll usually take my briskets (and whatever else I have) out, keeping sealed in the foil, and stash in an igloo ice chest I keep just for food...and layer the meats in foil in with towels (old cooking towels)...and seal the lid up.

That will keep the meat hot for 8+ hours easily...so, I'll often time my cooks the night before to come off...put in ice chest...and be ready to go next day for lunch when I bring them out and cut into them...still nice and hot.

Anyway..good luck...I would (after this long diatribe) at the minimum advise more wood and make it more mesquite, at least 50/50 mix.

Post pics and keep us up to date as the cooking goes!!!

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Old 08-28-2015, 03:20 PM   #8
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I cook butts and brisket at 250 on my WSM all the time but I have been known to crank it up to 275 on occasion.

The only difference in 250 and 275 is speed. As long as you are checking your meat you'll be fine.

Check for color, then wrap, then check for tenderness. That's always the process whether you cook at 225 or 350
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Old 08-28-2015, 03:24 PM   #9
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I think you have a fine plan, where I would do different.

1. To me (I am not from Texas, but, am a student of BBQ) I would drop the mesquite. It isn't the right wood for Texas BBQ. If at all possible, post oak and a little pecan is what I would do.

2. I would cook at 275°F, in truth, the likelihood of something bad happening is higher at lower temperatures. I much prefer cooking 275° to 300° (my UDS runs very naturally well at 275°F though). I would add here, that at 10 pounds, assuming 275°F, I would estimate 45 minutes per pound, that's 7.5 to 8 hours cook time. At 250°F, you are definitely looking at an hour per pound, maybe more.

3. Wrapping in parchment is not the same as wrapping in butcher paper. It is better than foil. Your bark will be softer than BP, but, firmer than Foil. That being said, I don't wrap if I don't have to. I watch color and texture.

4. I run water in all small cookers (be it kettle, WSM or UDS). I believe that not only does it aid in moderating temperatures, but, it aids in creating a moist cooking environment early in the cook that aids in creating bark as I prefer it. YMMV

Best of luck, and starting with a Prime packer is not wrong, especially at $3 a pound. Not wrong at all.
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Old 08-28-2015, 03:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cayenne View Post
I tend to like what I describe as a more TX flavor to my beef briskets.
That means mesquite!! I'd definitely add more wood to your WSM. I had one awhile back..and I'd throw multiple handfuls at a time in there to keep plenty of smoke going for all the time it would absorb smoke....and leave a nice, predominate ring when sliced into.

Again, I like strong flavors.....I live in the deep south.

But I'd at least do 50/50 on hickory and mesquite if I were you....

And add one more every 1.5-2 hours as needed....it sounded from your description you might be thinking of adding wood only at the beginning...with about 3 chunks? I may have misread tho....
:)

Anyway..good luck.

I'm not sure the Franklin method...I'll have to look that up. But I also like my brisket VERY tender and near fall apart. I cook mine to about 165F-170F...pull it off, seal in foil with some of my mop spritzed in there..and put back in to cook to 190F-200F or so.

Often my cooks will last till late at night and I'll usually take my briskets (and whatever else I have) out, keeping sealed in the foil, and stash in an igloo ice chest I keep just for food...and layer the meats in foil in with towels (old cooking towels)...and seal the lid up.

That will keep the meat hot for 8+ hours easily...so, I'll often time my cooks the night before to come off...put in ice chest...and be ready to go next day for lunch when I bring them out and cut into them...still nice and hot.

Anyway..good luck...I would (after this long diatribe) at the minimum advise more wood and make it more mesquite, at least 50/50 mix.

Post pics and keep us up to date as the cooking goes!!!

cayenne

Yeah, I could add a bit more wood. I'm just afraid of over smoking. Especially from what I read about mesquite. I love a good smoke ring, and would like to introduce a good taste, but I don't want to over power.
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Old 08-28-2015, 03:46 PM   #11
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Have fun!
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Old 08-28-2015, 03:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by landarc View Post
I think you have a fine plan, where I would do different.

1. To me (I am not from Texas, but, am a student of BBQ) I would drop the mesquite. It isn't the right wood for Texas BBQ. If at all possible, post oak and a little pecan is what I would do.

2. I would cook at 275°F, in truth, the likelihood of something bad happening is higher at lower temperatures. I much prefer cooking 275° to 300° (my UDS runs very naturally well at 275°F though). I would add here, that at 10 pounds, assuming 275°F, I would estimate 45 minutes per pound, that's 7.5 to 8 hours cook time. At 250°F, you are definitely looking at an hour per pound, maybe more.

3. Wrapping in parchment is not the same as wrapping in butcher paper. It is better than foil. Your bark will be softer than BP, but, firmer than Foil. That being said, I don't wrap if I don't have to. I watch color and texture.

4. I run water in all small cookers (be it kettle, WSM or UDS). I believe that not only does it aid in moderating temperatures, but, it aids in creating a moist cooking environment early in the cook that aids in creating bark as I prefer it. YMMV

Best of luck, and starting with a Prime packer is not wrong, especially at $3 a pound. Not wrong at all.
I wanted to get post oak, but didn't have any at the time of my impulse buy. I realize I'm in Austin and could find some easily, but they are usually logs, not chunks and I don't have a mitre saw or anything to break it down. I ordered 15 lbs of post oak today from a place online. I will be trying that out next time. My in laws have a pecan farm on the San Saba river and are well-stocked on both pecan and mesquite wood and they have the tools to break it down. I'm going out there in a couple of weeks to bring home a huge score of smoking wood.

I didn't realize that there's a higher likelihood of issue at lower temperatures. That's good to know. I don't mind burning hotter.

Interesting information about parchment. I know butcher paper is all the rage right now, but I'm sure parchment paper can get me great results if I do everything right.

Good to know about the water thing. I see that lots of people run with and without water, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do there. If it regulates the temperature, I'm cool with water. I can hit 275 with water, just gotta open up the vents.

Thanks for the great advice, and yeah, $3 for prime was a good slap in the face.
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Old 08-28-2015, 03:51 PM   #13
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Ok now I have a question. Why the big flux in temp preference? Someone posted, let it cook to 145*, others to 200*. Is there any reasoning to this?
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Old 08-28-2015, 03:52 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Right on Q View Post
I cook butts and brisket at 250 on my WSM all the time but I have been known to crank it up to 275 on occasion.

The only difference in 250 and 275 is speed. As long as you are checking your meat you'll be fine.

Check for color, then wrap, then check for tenderness. That's always the process whether you cook at 225 or 350
Do you go with or without water in the pan?
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Old 08-28-2015, 03:53 PM   #15
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Ok now I have a question. Why the big flux in temp preference? Someone posted, let it cook to 145*, others to 200*. Is there any reasoning to this?

IMO, different methods, different cook temperatures, different cookers...all leads to a variety of ways to cook any one thing.
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