Brisket Help

Discussion in 'For New Members' started by mallen32, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. mallen32

    mallen32 Newbie

    Hey everyone,

    I have a small gas smoker and I've been successful (at least in my opinion) at smoking ribs and pork butt, and even chicken.  The question I have is about brisket.  And here's my issue...I don't need, nor do I have room for, a large brisket.  We have a store in town that sells what they call a beef brisket roast...they're about 1-2 lbs, but they are fully trimmed and have very little fat.  I need help smoking these things, because it's just me and my wife eating so I don't need a 20 lb brisket.

    Here's what I have tried with the small brisket "roasts."  I cover the top with bacon to simulate the fat back, and smoke them on the rack until they get to about 160 degrees.  Then I put them in a foil pan with a little beef broth and cover it until they reach about 200 degrees. Then I take them out again for a short time to try and get a crust on it.  I've been able to get them fairly tender this way, and they have good flavor, but they're still not as juicy and tender as I'd like.

    Everything I find online about smoking brisket assumes a 20-80 pound cut, and anything I've found about small briskets is still assuming  around 10lbs.  Maybe what I'm looking for is just not possible with such a small cut with no fat, but any advice would be much appreciated!

  2. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Mallen , here's a neat trick I feel will help you and big Briskets ,  find a Brisket you can fold in half fairly easily . . . roll it up and tie it with Butchers twine . Take all the shelves out of your Smoker , except one for the Meat. Place it in and cook as usual . You won't get a lot of Bark , however you will have the room for a

    Biggie , [​IMG]

    Have fun and let me know if you had any luck with this...
  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Buy a full 15 lb. packer, cut it in half, put half in the freezer for later days, and smoker the other half. You get the benefit of having the fat cap there to help it stay moist.
  4. bear55

    bear55 Master of the Pit

    You could, instead of cutting the brisket in half separate the point from the flat.  There is a very nice "how to" available here, just search it.

  5. mallen32

    mallen32 Newbie

    Thanks everyone, great advice!

    One other question...anytime I've smoked things I've been able to keep it warm until meal time, but I am doing a bunch of meat for a Christmas lunch in a few days and I'm gonna have to smoke it the day before. Any advice on the best way to heat up smoked meat without drying it out?
  6. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey Marcus.  A 1-2 lb brisket cut is really small.  It's just my wife and me too but we still cook brisket cuts in the 7-10 lb range.  We love leftovers and get creative with the meat we don't stick in the freezer after eating on the brisket for 3-4 days (chili, stroganoff, beans, vegetable beef soup, etc). 

    A brisket cut that small it is probably cut from the leaner flat.  The only way it will get juicy is to melt the connective tissue but there isn't a lot of mass there to hold the juices once they start melting.  Sounds like you're doing a great job of adapting though.  Try taking the Internal temp up another 3-5 degrees to 203-205.  Sometimes with brisket a few degrees can make a big difference in juiciness.  I've never smoked a brisket that small though but it would be worth a try. 

    How to warm up smoked meat?  What works for everything is an oven, low temp (250F), meat wrapped in foil with a little additional liquid like beef stock for beef, chicken stock for chicken, apple juice/cider for pork.  A crock pot works too.          
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Reheat it wrapped in foil with a 1/4 to 1/2 C beef broth in a 200° oven for about 2-3 hrs. Low and slow just like you cooked it. Don't slice it until it has re-heated.
  8. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    I've never seen a brisket over 20 pounds. And I wouldn't consider a 10 pound brisket 'small'. To me, anything under 8 pounds is small. And really it all comes down to whether it is a whole packer or just a "flat" - the lean part.

    All in all, the flat is always going to be hard to get just right. Cook it without wrapping of some kind and it will dry out. If you wrap it for a while you may get a pot roast kind of profile.

    I did a flat once in the smoker for 3-4 hours bare, then finished it in the crock pot with beef broth and onions/peppers. Cooked it till it was pull apart tender and we used it for tacos. Had a decent smoke flavor but wasn't true "bbq". Just hard to get that with a lean flat IMO.
  9. What the crap is a crock pot for?


    next time it will be


    Happy smoken.

  10. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    Hey, I DID put the disclaimer on there that it wasn't true bbq. I only did that because it was a lean (grass fed actually) brisket flat. Would have been dry as leather had I not. I guess I could have wrapped it in foil instead of the crock pot, but what's the difference really of foil vs crock pot??

    when I do a whole packer it stays in the pit...............
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2014

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