First Brisket

Discussion in 'Beef' started by funk, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. funk

    funk Smoke Blower

    Being new to smoking, I have done poultry, ribs and butts, and now I want to do a brisket for an August party of about 12 people.

    I do not even know where to start with the questions. My first is about the brisket itself. What am I looking for when I go to find one? Is there a special cut? Is it best to marinade it first then smoke?

    Basically I need help from the beginning up to the end. Thanks.

    Funk
     
  2. icemn62

    icemn62 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Funk, what kind of smoker are you using, and where are you located at? I usually go to a store called "Food 4 Less" and gt my briskets. 1-2 days out, I marinade. I have tried different kinds, you will have to search around and find your personal taste. I generally cook the packer/full brisket.
     
  3. cajunsmoker

    cajunsmoker Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Funk,

    If you look headlong at a cow :roll: , the brisket is that point at the bottom of the neck and above the front legs. The brisket is made up of two parts. The flat and the point. The flat is the best part for making sliced meat and the point is good for either chopped meat or cubed meat.

    You can buy a whole brisket which is called a packer, or just buy the flat.

    The packer is a better price per pound because a lot of the point is fatty.

    The best way to pick a brisket is to get one that bends most when you hold your hand in the center. That means it is more apt to be good and tender.


    After you have your brisket just pick out your rub, and get settled in for a good long smoke. 8) Low and slow. Thats what brisket is all about.
     
  4. batman

    batman Newbie

    Hi Funk,

    I hope I can help. I did my first brisket last weekend and it came out great. I bought a 12# packer from Sams club at $1.39/lb. I rubed it down with yellow musturd and cowtown rub the night before (after just a bit of trimming) and wrapped in saran wrap overnight. I fired up my brinkman smoke n pit (horizontal smoker with offset fire box) about 8 pm Friday night and set the meat out about the same time. I put the meat on about 45 minutes later. I set the meat as far from the fire as possible with the point (thickest portion) closest to the fire. I kept the temp between 225 and 250 as much as possible. Beginning about 11 PM I started to mist the meat with apple juice when I added fuel to the fire. After about 9 hours of smoking I rotated the meat so the flat was closest to the fire. When the thickest part of the point hit 160 degrees, I wrapped the brisket in heavy duty foil (I poured some coffee on it to keep it moist). When the thickest part hit 190, I pulled it off, wrapped it in another layer of foil and put it in a cooler surrounded by fleece blankets. It was 11 AM and dinner wasn't until 5 PM. I got lucky and it held it's temp (above 170) until time for slicing at 4:30 PM. I pretty much sliced the whole thing (make sure you go opposite of the grain of the meat) but did set aside some burnt ends from the point. It was fabulous and the guest loved it (along with the two pork butts I did). Good luck and hope this helps..
     
  5. bob-bqn

    bob-bqn Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    A lot of folks do the flex test when buying a brisket, try to bend it in half (one end to the other) the ones that bend the easiest are "supposed" to be the better choice because the fat is soft and the meat is marbled.

    I cooked 7 briskets last Monday using this simple procedure:

    1. Slathered with a thin coat of yellow mustard and sprinkled generously (but not caked) with rub.
    2. Put briskets in my two SS GOSM smokers and kept it running at 225*.
    3. Replenished smoke wood and water as needed.
    4. Checked the briskets' temperatures at about 13 hours into the cook.
    5. Let them cook 2 or 3 hours longer and checked temperatures again.
    6. Removed them from the smoker when they reached 190-195*, wrapped in foil and placed in a "warm" cooler for a couple of hours before slicing.
    7. Served at party.

    In a nutshell, it’s that easy. The one thing I would suggest you be intimately familiar with before cooking a brisket is knowing about the “plateau†stage when a brisket hits the neighborhood of 160*. The temperature may stall or even drop and it can hang there for hours. I once had one hold at the plateau for six hours. If you don’t know what’s happening it can drive you crazy. This is when the cellular structure begins to break down and the sinew starts turning to gelatin, releasing moisture and tenderizing the meat.

    At first you’ll want to check to see if your thermometer is broken or stoke the fire to get the needle moving again, but you need to let the beef ride it out and take its time and you’ll have a much better final product.
     
  6. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A good point on the plateau Bob. A number of folks who have never smoked large cuts of meat may not be familiar with with what's happening in the smoker. Markeli did a couple of 70 pound batches of pork butt for a family reunion for Father's Day weekend and he reports encountering a double plateau. Folks need to know that it happens with beef as well as with pork.
     
  7. smokebuzz

    smokebuzz Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    your getten great advice here, but one thing i would watch is the mustard, use a VERY thin layer of it , i'm probly the only one that dont use mustard and i love the stuff. also choose a rub u like the sound of ,(whats in it) and use it hevaly, keep asken questions if yuo need specics , i still ask a lot and learen a ton, i've been cruzen around and have probly picked up more here than anywere else.
     
  8. cajunsmoker

    cajunsmoker Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    1. Slathered with a thin coat of yellow mustard and sprinkled generously (but not caked) with rub.
    2. Put briskets in my two SS GOSM smokers and kept it running at 225*.
    3. Replenished smoke wood and water as needed.
    4. Checked the briskets' temperatures at about 13 hours into the cook.
    5. Let them cook 2 or 3 hours longer and checked temperatures again.
    6. Removed them from the smoker when they reached 190-195*, wrapped in foil and placed in a "warm" cooler for a couple of hours before slicing.
    7. Served at party.


    I agree with everything Bob says. The only thing I would add is to not to wait 13 hours to check your temps. It depends on the individual cut.

    My brisket has been on since 6:30 AM (7hrs) and it is at 185 deg already. Plateaued at 160 for a hour and a half. Packers cook different than market trim or flats.
     
  9. smokingn00b

    smokingn00b Fire Starter

    Man this thread has a ton of good advice. I haven't smoked a brisket yet either. This is my first summer of smoking and I've conquered the chicken, ribs, and pork butt but after reading this I'm ready to take on a brisket.
     
  10. I have smoked one brisket so far and am about to start another one tonight. I did not have good luck with the first one and that is because I did not smoke it for a long enough period of time.
    By the way, can some one out there tell me what the average weight of a packer brisket is compared to a market trimmed brisket and which smokes better?? I wanted to do one about 10 lbs but all I can find are large 12-15 lb briskets (packers)
    Thanks!
     
  11. cajunsmoker

    cajunsmoker Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi cazorp,

    That 12 - 15# range is pretty much the normal size on packers. Market trimmed or flats usually are in under 10# range.

    If you have the time to devote to a long term smoke (maybe 18 hrs) you can't go wrong with a packer. Flats or market trim will finish quicker but you have to be careful not to dry them out cause a lot of the fat has already been removed.
     
  12. trout

    trout Newbie

    If you want to hear somebody rant about mustard PM willkat98.

    Some people love to use it as a base others hate it. I find that it leaves a off taste in the bark, so I stay away from it. Once I rise the meat, I dry it and let it sit for about 30 mins on a cooling rack. Then I will put a rub on it the rub which ever one you use will bring enough moisture out of the meat to adhear the rub. Set the meat into the frig over night and cook as the others have told you.
     
  13. icemn62

    icemn62 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Yes, you really must get Bill's views on mustard to act as a 'glue' for your rub
     

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