First Brisket Next weekend

Discussion in 'Beef' started by coffee_junkie, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey folks.
    So I am going to try my first brisket next Sunday, I was looking for the sticky but it is not there. Can anybody point me in the right direction? I plan on starting about 4 am and hopeing to rest for an hour in a cooler and have dinner ready around 6:30pm. I would guess that is is a 5-6 lb brisket. I am smoking in my GOSM. So here are my questions:
    What wood should I use, cherry, hickory or mesquete?
    What temps should I keep the smoker at?
    Should I foil?
    Should I rub?
    Should I inject?
    Should I cook to 200* and pull or?
    Should I use a finishing sauce?
    Thanks to everyone in advance.
  2. ellymae

    ellymae Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    So many questions... and you will get so many answers.. so here's what I would do if it were me...
    Get your fire going earlier then you think you will need it (that's where I always get stuck - getting started then I want to).
    While the fire is getting happy, rub the brisket - you doing a flat I assume?
    I would use cherry, hickory, or oak.
    Once the temp is steady, put the brisket (and at least one fatty) in - I like to shoot for 230 degrees and take it off when the internal temp is aout 200 degrees AND (and this is important IMHO) the probe goes in like a warm knofe through butter.
    Wrap in foil and a towel and throw that puppy in a warm, dry cooler for an hour or two. When its time for supper, take it out, slice it up, and drizzle the juice in the foil over the meat. I usually serve sauce on the side and let the folks decide if they want to use it.
    Good luck, have fun, don't get stressed.
  3. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  4. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  5. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    great questions - i've done a lot of reading but have only been in on two brisket smokes - take my advice for what it's worth:

    What wood should I use, cherry, hickory or mesquete?

    i would say try hickory first - a good basic wood that can't go wrong. you can always try something new when you've got a good method down. mesquite and cherry are supposed to be good choices for beef, so there probably ain't nothing wrong with them, but for a first attempt i recommend hickory.

    What temps should I keep the smoker at?

    i try to hold smoker temps between 225 and 250. with wood or charcoal, it is tough to get exact, but this is a good range. i believe that anything lower will rsult in drier meat and anything too much her could result in the meat being "done" before it becomes barbecue (connective tissue breaks down to make tender, juicy good stuff). i can say with confidence that if you keep it between 225 and 250, you will not fail.

    Should I foil?

    some do, some don't - it's a personal preference. if you like bark (who doesn't?) i say no foil until it has reached your desired finsihing temperature. then foil it and wrap it in towels and stick it in an empty cooler for at least a half hour OR until everyone's ready to eat. those big hunks of meat hold their temps for a long time and as long as its internal temps is abbove 140, you should be good.

    Should I rub?

    strongly recommended that you put something on there, but it is not required. if you ahve a favorite rub, give it a try. if you want to try making one, think garlic, pepper, salt, paprika, onion and maybe a little of turbinado (raw) sugar. that's a suggestion, the decision is up to you! MIKEY has an excellent no-salt-no-sugar rub that he will be happy to share. i tried a variation on it that went something like this:

    1 tbsp mrs dash table blend
    1 tbsp granulated garlic
    1 tbsp chopped freeze-dried chives
    1 tbsp dried basil
    1 tbsp chili powder
    1 tbsp paprika
    1tsp worcestershire pepper
    1 tsp cumin
    1 tsp coriander seed
    1 tsp ground mustard powder
    1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    1/2 envelope unsweetened black cherry kool-aid

    regarding the kool-aid powder, don't knock it til you try it! also, it;s not a bad idea to brush on a little mutard before applying the rub. it will help you make a great bark and it will NOT taste mustardy when done - i guarantee this.

    Should I inject?

    i see absolutely no reason to do this - you can if you want, but the whole idea behind barbecue is to use the meat itself (and its fat and connective tissues) to produce tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. it's your choice, but i recommend no.

    Should I cook to 200* and pull or?

    if you want something that will slice nicely, cook to around 192-195. if you want to pull it, cook to 200-205. it's your choice and you can't go wrong either way!

    Should I use a finishing sauce?

    once again - personal preference and it's up to you, but RIVET has an outstanding finishing sauce for brisket that can be mixed in or spooned onto the final product - he's posted the recipe before, so i'll post it here again:

    1 medium onion finely diced
    3 TSP minced garlic
    1/4 Cup olive oil
    2 Cups tomato sauce (here's where my Sicilian Tomato Sauce can be used)
    1 Cup molasses
    2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
    2 TBSP chili powder
    2 TSP mustard powder
    1 TBSP celery seed (or you can substitute 1 TSP celery salt- U use seed toi cut the salt and haven't noticed any diff.)
    2 TBSP paprika
    1 TSP cayenne pepper
    1 1/2 TSP coarse ground black pepper
    1 cup water

    Sautee onions in olive oil until almost clear. Add garlic and continue for a minute or two. Don't let the garlic brown.

    Add all other ingredients. Bring to low boil, then turn down heat to low and let heat below a simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring often. It will thicken up nicely or you can continue to cook until it reaches the consistency you want.

    That's it! Good Stuff!

    that's about all i got for ya, and i hope it helps! good luck and be sure to give us a bloe-by-blow and plenty of q-view!
  6. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks TasunkaWitko, that is all great info I will try the rub and the sauce....I am even willing to go with the koolaid, what the heck right? I have used yellow mustard on the pork butts with great results so I will definatly go with that also. I see you are up on the high line, wanna just hop down on Sunday and help with the smoke? No really thanks a bunch for the great info.
    So one more thing then, if I start this bad boy at 4 am will that be enough time? Like I said it is a small one around 5-6-7lbs. I would like to eat around 6-7pm.
  7. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    hey, coffee junkie -

    i appreciate the offer and it is tempting! my wife works this weekend, or i would be down there. we were in helena a couple of months ago and i always forget how crazy the streets in that town are - even though, i love it there and always enjoy a visit.

    i think your timetable is just fine and you should have no problems. on the day of the smoke - keep us informed and if you need any "real-time" advice you can sure get it here. i've only got two briskets to my credit (and one of those is only partial) but it is amazing what one will learn from the experience.

    regarging the rub, i whirleed all mine in the blender and the result was powdery and a little dry, for lack of a better word. it would probably better to use whole spices and give them a quick whirl in a grinder or something to crack them up withut turning the whole thing into powder. some powder is OK, but all powder seems to be bad.

    any more questions, just ask, and if you ever get up this way, let me know! i'll do likewise if i head down there.


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