Brisket help for a first-timer

Discussion in 'Beef' started by bertman, May 12, 2014.

  1. I've smoked a variety of things, but for a number of reasons have shied away from brisket. This Sunday I am responsible for lunch for my parents and in-laws before my son's high school graduation, and want to spend Saturday smoking my first brisket. I am looking for any advice you all can give me from prep to finish. I am a sponge. Fire away.
  2. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Briskets get done on their own schedule & usually take 12+ hrs to smoke. Of coarse depending on the cut ( I usually do packers) ! Packers mean the whole brisket, now ya may find like I do in my butcher shop sometimes they offer for example the flat or point parts of the brisket.... There are two parts to a brisket, the flat & the point.... I sometimes try to change things up a bit and will get a variety in sizes, but I for the most part stick with the packers !

    Now the prep ! Now a lot of folks trim the fat cap.... to each their own but I personally trim up the loose stuff if there is any but do not trim off the fat cap.... I leave it on ! Now the rest of the prep, I rub down with plain yellow mustard or EVOO or Peanut Oil (I do this with a lot of my smoked meats as it IMHO creates a great barrier to help with keeping in moisture... Things that are gonna smoke for a while & it gives a great base to apply rub and the mustard or EVOO or Peanut Oil does not affect how the meats turn out, ya can't even taste it..). So after that I apply the rub or half the time I just use salt, pepper and a little onion powder and garlic salt.... Then let sit for half hour or so....

    Smoker ! I let it heat up to 225*-235* while gettin the prep done, then put er on for a long smokey nap !! I put the brisket with the fat cap up as IMHO, as it smokes the fat cap so to speak self bastes the brisket...I don't spritz or foil, I just let er go til approx. IT of around 198*, I will start checking for tenderness, i.e. the toothpick test.... Now each brisket is different, I've had some done at 198* IT and some go til 205*+ IT !! The toothpick test means ya just get a good round toothpick and if it slides into the brisket easily, like butter then she's done.... Pull off smoker, wrap in foil & a couple towels & off to the cooler for a few hours to rest so the juices will redistribute throughout the meat... I just use my camping cooler !!

    This is just my method I usually use !

    Hope this helps some !

    Couple pics of the last brisket smoke using this method !
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
    demosthenes9 and bertman like this.
  3. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    Like Water said, time will depend on the cut of the brisket.    Generally speaking, a flat will cook faster than a full packer.  It's not about the weight, but rather, the thickness of the particular piece of meat.

    Water's advice is spot on (as it always is).  One thing that I'd add is to warn you about "the stall".   The internal temp of your brisket will rise steadily after putting it in the smoker.   Somewhere around 150 degrees or so, it might hit a wall and the temp will STOP climbing.  The temp might even drop a little.   You'll swear that something must be wrong, that your thermometer must be broken, or that you are probing the brisket incorrectly. 

    What is actually happening is that the brisket will be undergoing something called evaporative cooling.  Basically, the brisket is sweating which cools it down.     There's three ways to deal with the stall.    First way is to shrug it off, open another beer and just give it time.  The temp will start increasing again at some point.   Second method is to wrap the brisket tightly in some foil and put it back on the smoker.   Third option is to crank the temp up on your smoker (if you can) and power through the stall.    One other thing to point out is that while the brisket is wrapped in foil you can put it your oven if you want/need to.

    One downside of foiling is that it makes the bark of the brisket much softer. 
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  4. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Demos makes a great point on the infamous stall.... Real good point... Out of the three ways to cope, :cheers: IMHO, that's the one I'd opt for !
    demosthenes9 likes this.
  5. "There's three ways to deal with the stall.    First way is to shrug it off, open another beer and just give it time."

    I like that advice! [​IMG]  I'm familiar with the stall. I've smoked quite a few pork butts.

    Thanks for the great advice so far. You two have made me much more confident to try this myself, even though those pics from Water sure are intimidating! Headed to Costco in a little bit, and I'll see what they have.
  6. Ok, I've been reading many of the other discussions on brisket on this forum, and I'm hoping someone can reply before tomorrow morning and give me an estimate as to how long a 12.5-lb. brisket will take to assume room temperature after taking it out of the refrigerator. I'm trying to time all this out so that I can get to bed by a decent hour tomorrow night.
  7. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

      Hi Bert  I would not wait till it comes to" room temp" as this will have the meat in the food safety zone for too long. Set the meat out, rinse, and pat dry. Go set up smoker then prep with your rub. Or , have meat pre-rubbed, put on counter, then get smoker ready. So starting about 1/2 hour before putting on smoker. Hope this helps.

    bertman likes this.
  8. That's my usual method, but I had heard from a few different sources that I would get a more even smoke if the meat doesn't have to rise in temp that quickly. I think I'll take your advice, though, SoMS. Partly because it's what I've always done, but also because someone with 1,645 more posts more than me probably has advice I should listen to!  [​IMG]
  9. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    SMS had some great advise there for ya ! Usually with brisket I would say estimate an hour and fifteen min. per # at between 225-230* ! However, each piece of meat (brisket, pork butts, etc) have a mind of their own.... Some get done sooner & some later ! That's the best I can tell ya with my experience... Hope it helps ! IMHO, if ya don't have one yet.... get a Maverick ET-732 thermometer & ya can get a little shut eye as ya can set an alarm at a specific I.T.

    bertman likes this.
  10. I just wanted to add another thank you for the advice that I received. My family, my parents, and my in-laws LOVED the brisket! [​IMG]  As a matter of fact, my father-in-law, who is a beef producer, called it "the best brisket he has ever eaten".

    And before I get reprimanded for not including photos, I did not really have the time because I had to help get the house and yard looking nice for company (HS graduation was today), and have to assemble a retirement gift for a staff member at school.

    Probably the greatest asset of this site is the knowledgeable, friendly folks who take the time to share great advice.

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