First serious brisket

Discussion in 'Beef' started by aggie930, Jun 5, 2013.


    I have a Brinkmann Gourmet Electric that I've used several times, but not in a while. I started searching the interwebs for a refreasher and learned how much I don't know. Long story short, I think I figured out 90% of what do to for a Saturday smoking. Here is my plan along with a few questions. Please comment, critique and nudge me in the right direction.

    Night before:

    Wash off, try with paper towel.
    Trim fat including some of the fat band between flat and point, score the remaining fat.
    Rub yellow mustard all over.
    Rub rub all over.
    Wrap with Saran wrap.
    Refrigerate overnight.
    **put wood chucks in water to soak** - conflicting adviceMorning Prep:
    Take brisket out to let warm up (I think I read that putting it on cold helps with the ring, but if that is the only reason, I'll let it warm up.)
    Put water on to boil.
    Start smoker.
    Put wood chips and chunks on lava rocks, probably in short can.

    Put boiling water in water pan.
    Put thermometer in the flat.
    Put pan on bottom shelf to catch drippings.
    Put brisket on.


    While cooking:
    Check to make sure smoke is still billowing, add chucks as necessary? Or just throw another one in every xxx (hour??)
    Mop every two hours??
    When internal hits 160 - 165(??) put brisket in drip pan and cover with foil (or just foil). Leave it until internal hits 195 - test with toothpick.
    Cut point off, apply rub, cube ??. Put half in drip pan and put half on holy pan and put back on grill (trying to see which is better)
    Wrap flat in foil and towels and put in cooler for an hour.

    Should I soak the wood when using an electric smoker.  I always have, but read conflicting advice.
    Let meat warm up to room temp before smoking?
    How often should I add wood chucks and for the whole time?
    I will be pressed for time, dinner is at 6:00. It is an 11 lbs brisket, is it safe to assume I'll trim about one pound off? I'd like it to be done in 10 hours. I really don't want to wake up earlier than 6:00 to start this. I understand that might be blasphemy around here. Is there a certain time I should wait for before wrapping, before/during/after stall?
    I've never done burnt ends. Is the cubing or putting it on whole the best/easiest route?
  2. Happy smoken.

  3. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Aggie , I think you got a pretty good handle on the process. I think your time frame might hurt you , though. I don't know how long it takes for that electric smoker to come up to temp and for you to be all set up with hot water and all that , but if it was me I would want that meat COOKING at 6 AM.....meaning you might wanna get up with the birds at 4AM to get prepped. And there's STILL no guarantee that the brisket will be done at 6. I mean , it might be cooked , but not enough to be tender and juicy. You could go to all this work and trouble and at 6 that brisket could still be at 180 and tough and dry..... Is cooking it overnight not an option for you?
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  4. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  5. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use an electric smoker, although by a different manufacturer. Let me start by saying its all personal preference. Everything you read here is how someone else has found that they liked it, there is no etched in stones rules for success's. I cooked a 15 pound brisket weekend before last.

    The only time I ever soaked wood was when I was using chucks with charcoal and I am not sure it made them last longer, just started later.

    I don't remove fat, I don't do burnt ends normally, and I cook with the fat/cap side up. Burnt ends is brisket's grain turned the wrong direction, I like all brisket. Unless you are cooking competitively, brunt ends are good, but ..............

    I didn't plaster the brisket, I only spice, and that's whatever you like and is locally available. I usually just use salt pepper, and some Cajun "More Spice", but I do marinade in Claude's Marinade, personal preference.

    I set the meat out when I am ready to start the smoker, I just leave it out till I am ready for it. When smoker is set up and ready I throw it in.

    I don't use liquid unless its a critter that still has its skin on. I don't mop, it is an electric smoker, no need to drive it crazy trying to maintain temp.

    If ready time is critical, cook it ahead of time, then just place back on the smoker to warm it up before serving.

    Make sure and get a good foil time (here's where the liquid comes in). One hour bare min., I usually do 2 hours. I like mine all rested and happy happy for the party!

    Just some views from my perspective. Remember no two here will be the same, there is no perfect way, only the way you like.
  6. Hello.  I read your roll call and was going to post there but then I saw this.  I feel for ya.  I moved from Tx. to England 13 years ago so I had to say Hello.  Think finding BBQ and Mexican is hard in Pittsburgh?? [​IMG]I knew you opened a can of worms here.  You have a method that will definitely work.  The time I agree with others is risky to say the least.  You also got some great advice.  I have to order brisket from a special butcher here.  It isn't even packer trimmed.  Cut straight from the carcass, off the bone and silver skin removed.  I don't now and didn't with Tx. packers: trim or score the brisket ( until slicing ), use rubs, mustard, marinade, mops or sauce ( during the smoke ), foil ( until done ), separate the point and flat, use water pans, use a meat therm, use electric, or make burnt ends.  If you can't cut my brisket with a fork I have failed miserably.  Sometimes things do go wrong as with anything but 99.9% of the time I have no problems.  BUT I don't do competitions like bruno994 and others here.  BTW buno994 I quoted your toothpick method to another on here but couldn't member who posted it.  Thanks for sharing.  Have not tried it but sounds like a good method.  Back on point here; my point is exactly what Foamheart said.  I do things almost exactly opposite what you are going to try.  Most  folks experiment with different technique and spices until they find what they like and works well for them.  And after all; if you aren't competing and your smoking method is safe ( the 40-140-4 rule ), what you and the family like is the most important thing.  Some folks like liver, some won't touch it.  Give 'er a whirl and let us know how it turns out.  Don't forget the Qview.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

  7. Thanks everyone, this place is amazing.  When I used to smoke brisket several years ago, I just put a rub on it put wood chucks on the lava rocks, made sure the water pan wasn't empty.  Always assumed there was more to it, but never took the time.  I thought I used to smoke brisket for just under an hour per pound.  I recall reading something about the later hours smoking brisket.  Is the meat "cooked" earlier and the later hours are getting it up to 200ish degrees to render it and make it more tender.  I do remember my previous attempts not as tender as the restaurants.  Still didn't have to use a knife, but I think my wife might have.  I just chalked it up to using a crappy smoker. 

    For 20 hour smokes, do you stay up all night, or check on it every few hours?

    How much time does wrapping save? 

    I did a test run tonight and the smoker kept a temperature of 250, maybe up to 260 with wood in there.  I have not done the standard mods yet, so there is limited ways to adjust it.  How much time will that save me?  I have a feeling this one will be going in the oven at some point.  Not sure how much it is worth staying up all night for a group of friends that think BBQ is throwing diced or thin sliced ham and BBQ sauce in a crock pot.

    KC, reading your post reminded me of this:

    The French are the chefs
    The Italians are the lovers
    The British are the police
    The Germans are the mechanics
    And the Swiss make everything run on time

    Hell is Where:

    The British are the chefs
    The Swiss are the lovers

    And the Germans are the police
    The French are the mechanics
    The Italians make everything run on time
  8. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Looks like a plan to me...
  9. Just so long as you end up with some good food on the plate,  the road taken doesn't really matter.  Sounds like your Pittsburgh friends need educating on good Que!  Have an enchilada ( or 3 ) for me if you can find some good ones.  Good luck.  Don't forget the Qview.  Keep Smokin!

  10. I participate on a car forum (if interested, the numbers in my UN provides a hint) and the unwritten law there is pics or ban.  In keeping with that I present tonight’s work.  Is Qview pics?

    I trimmed it, got a little too close in spots. 

     Guessing one pound came off, maybe a bit more.

    Applied mustard and a rub consisting of salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder, oregano, cayenne pepper.   This is our standard rub and my wife is skeptical so I didn't want to change too many variables.  We usually don't apply the rub the night before.  I mainly did it to save time so I can get it on earlier. 

    I'm still wrestling with when to wake up. I think I'll wake up at 4:00 and get it on between 4:30 - 5:00. That will give me 12 hours of cooking (1 in a cooler) split between the smoker and oven. Is there a rule of thumb on how fast it will cook in the oven? Trying to figure out when my cut and run time is.   Wish me luck.  I'll update tomorrow.  I think I should have restarted my smoking with a shoulder. 
  11. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    If your going to get 4 hours of smoke or so on the brisket in the smoker then pop it in the oven, it will probably take 2 1/2 to 4 hours at 300 degrees to finish off to toothpick tenderness in the oven.  But make sure and give your self plenty of room for error as the saying goes for big cuts of meat, "It's done when it's done". 

    Shoulder or brisket, both big cuts of meat, you'll be fine.

    Best of luck and happy smoking!
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  12. Looks good so far.

    The oven rule is the same as the smoker rule. 240 deg= 240deg. doesn't mater what you use to get to 240. it is still 240. Same for 350 deg.

    Happy smoken.

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  13. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Seriously , Aggie. The best ingredient you could have for your cook is "Patience". Nuff said...
  14. That pretty much sums it up

  15. Yeah, I know.  Unfortunately, this is for a party we are hosting so I have a time constraint.  

    You are not too far from me (Pittsburgh).  I'm having a horrible time sourcing packer cuts.  A butcher can special order one, but at $4.50/#.  Another cuts fresh, didn't get the price, but I keep reading the cryo packaged are better.  Are you able to g et packer cuts up there at a good price?
  16. If you have a Sam's club there try them for the cryo pack. I don't trim much before i cook one. Fat cap up always. then trim when finished.

    Happy smoken my friend.

  17. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wakey Wakey Wakey............. Lets see that beautiful beef footage. Wake that brisket up slowly, you don't want a mad pouty brisket early this morning, no way to start a bright pretty Saturday!. Make it some coffee so it smells that aroma and gets up all happy happy, I find that fresh bacon or sausage w/ homemade bisquits works well for this also. I would have added sausage gravey or grits but I realize how you folks north of I-10 can be.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  18. Well, woke up at 3:00 and it was on at 3:40.  At 10:00 it was at 168 and put in foil pan.  I left uncovered.

    Currently, it is 180 and I have 4.5 hour until it is served.  Do you think I can get 5 degrees per hour so I can let it sit for 1.5 hours? 
  19. Looks good so far. I think it should be done in time. Remember to let it tell you when it is done.


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