First time doing a brisket

Discussion in 'Beef' started by yjay, May 17, 2014.

  1. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    I have a beef brisket I am going to cook tomorrow. I've got a Masterbuilt electric smoker. The brisket is small, 2.67lbs. The only other beef I've done was a tri tip last weekend that was a similar size . I  searched around and it seems that people do brisket at a higher temp than tri tip, like 250, and to a much higher internal temp, and allow for a much longer rest time. I did my tri tip at 200 and finished at 225 and it only took 2.5 hours, internal temp of 140, foiled and let rest for like 20 minutes. Perhaps I did it wrong but it came out well in our opinion, in fact my wife said it was some of the best she'd ever had, not too red, cause we like more medium. Just enough pink in the middle. I feel like I'm gonna murder this brisket getting the IT as high as I've searched.

    I am reading that people do brisket for way longer than that for a similar size cut. What say the experts?

    Good smoking temp?

    Approx. cooking time?

    SPOG dry rub or got something better? How long to let it sit with rub before smoking?

    Rest time?

    Thanks in advance, kinda new to this. Just confused why it would be so different than smoking tri.
    Last edited: May 17, 2014
  2. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'am far from an expert but below is how it do my briskets .... To answer your question on brisket vs. Tri Tip.... Tri Tip is a tender cut of meat and is best served with IT of 135* IMHO ! Brisket is a meat that is tender but has to be taken to a higher IT as to break down the connective tissue & such inside it... Kinda like a pork butt.... They are tender when taken to higher IT !
    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 !

    Note with a smaller size brisket, won't take as long as a packer !
  3. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  4. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I nearly always pull mine at 203 IT, there is something special about that IT because it nearly always works. But never trust a temperature. You can either use the toothpick test, insert a toothpick and if it feels like you are sliding it thru warm butter its done. OR you can do the fork test where you stick a fork in and twist. That's right, I understand that's where that old adage comes from, "Stick a fork in me, I'm done"

    Since you are a MES smoker, you'll get accustom to using a favorite temp., I use for my low and slow 220. And electric holds temperature beautifully. To an electric smoker 250 to 275, I don't really consider low especially when its the top end of your range. But a firebreather would start laughing in reference to my low and slow temp. they usually start in at 325. Which I completely agree with when I am burning wood.

    Time depends upon your technique. With an electric I seriously see no reason to use the Texas crutch. Its not like I am wasting time or charcoal letting it cook low and slow au natural. I am just lazy. It doesn't need it, why do it? I use for guesstimation 1 hour and 20 mins. per pound. BUT that just a guesstimation, only the meat knows when its done.

    Remember with an electric you'll not see a smoke ring. Don't use any water. Don't soak the chips. Don't open the door, and there is not need to mop, baste, spritz, or sauce. Leave the door shut.

    Low and slow, patience, lots of refreshments, leave the door closed, and have a good time..... its all about enjoying the smoke.

    Its all about patience. 15% preparation, 5% blind luck, and 80% patience.
    Last edited: May 17, 2014
  5. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    Thanks gentlemen.

    The package says "Beef brisket BNLS trimmed" whatever that means. I just rubbed it down with SPOG and put her to bed in the fridge for smoking early tomorrow.

    Do you guys ever use soy sauce ? I love it in steak marinade.
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think "Bnls" stands for boneless. I have a huge laugh at some of the listings in sales circulars as to what they call meats. Its like the advertising people that make the ads and the people selling the food don't even talk. The folks making the ads, think the more words they add, the better it will sell, or they are paid by the letter.  

    My favorite is boneless bacon. ROFLMAO.

    " </insert store name> Special Reserve Black Angus Premium Cut Quality Bone-In Beef Shanks",

    "</insert store name></insert company's farm production name> Boneless Skinless Prime Quality Cut Fresh Frozen Plump Chicken Breasts>

    I am still waiting to see a pork boneless fat trimmed prime ribeye steak chop?

    LOL      Come on, people..... Seriously, If it works fix it, and if it don't work paint it, right?

    Of course, I prefer to assume BNLs means "Bare Nekkid Ladies"  At least it makes me smile when reading it.
    Last edited: May 17, 2014
  7. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    Went in the smoker at 12:00 noon. We'll see how she goes.
  8. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    3:30 and an IT of 150F. Haven't hit the wall yet.
  9. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Three and a half hours with a 2.7 lber and you are only at 150? You must be cooking real low. Either that or the mes therm is way off. Which is not too unusual.
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  10. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    Started at 225 and have eased up to 255 now. IT at 158. Just double checked the temp with a calibrated thermometer and it's spot on.
  11. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Then you have one stubborn piece of meat there. Hang in there. Still seems odd that you are 4 hrs in and only at 158. ???
  12. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Not really.  It's another case of people getting caught up in "X mins per pound".     A 2.7 lb brisket flat will take just as long to cook as a 6 lb brisket flat IF they have the same thickness as the thickness of the cut is what determines the cook time.
  13. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    After over 2 decades of smoking I'm well aware of not going by "x minutes / lb". But this guy is gearing up for well over a 6 hour smoke for 2.7 at 250. Although there is no normal if you're saying that not stubborn we'll just have to agree to disagree. I cook packer and flat brisket at 250 to 265 regularly and never came close to that amount of cook time that requires over 2 hours a lb. So I'll say it again.....thats one stubborn piece of meat.
  14. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    Tweaked it up to 275 a while ago. Hoping to get to eat sometime tonight. IT 167 now.
  15. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    geerock, your statement illustrates the point;  "never came close to that amount of cook time that requires over 2 hours a lb."    That's "x mins per pound" thinking.

    Let's go with a hypothetical.  Say that a whole trimmed brisket flat is  8 inches wide and 12 inches long and 2 inches thick.  That piece happens to weigh 8 lbs.   If he were on here saying that his 8lb brisket was sitting at 158 after 6 hours in, everyone would be saying "Yep, it's doing good".

    Now, cut that brisket in half from side to side.   That would make it 8 inches wide, 6 inches long and still 2 inches thick.  It would also drop the weight by 1/2, bringing it to 4 lbs.    If he were on here saying that his 4lb brisket was sitting at 158 after 6 hours in, some would be saying "Hmmm, that's kind of low".

    Now cut off  a third of that piece of brisket off.   It's 8 inches wide now, and only 4 inches long, but it's still 2 inches thick.   Weight was cut by 1/3 so it's now 2.68 lbs.   If he were on here saying that his 2.68lb brisket was sitting at 158 after 6 hours in, some would be saying "Something's going on here".

    On all the briskets discussed above, the shortest dimension is the height/thickness and it's 2 inches on all of them.    Contrary to popular belief, all 3 briskets above will take approximately the same amount of time to cook even though 1 is 8lbs, 1 is 4 lbs and the last is 2.68 lbs.    Why ?  Because the cook time is governed by the smallest dimension of the meat.
  16. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Look, buddy, I'm not getting into a pissing contest here. I understand what your saying. All I was saying was that its taking a long time.... x per lb or not. Let me ask you this..... if he was taking 3 hrs or 4 hrs a lb ... would you say he had a stubborn piece of meat then? Thats all I was saying. I'm sure the new guy got great info from your last post, but I've got close to 200 briskets under my belt over the years. Nothing but respect for your posts and knowledge but you're looking for a fight where there is none. All the best to you and have a good night.
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  17. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    Took it out of the smoker at IT of 176. I know that's way too early but it was 6:30, wife and kids were hungry, and no back up plan for dinner. I had no idea it would take as long as it did to get to where it did. Threw it on the BBQ on high for 10 minutes in foil, then wrapped it in a towel  and let it rest for 20 minutes. Connective tissue wasn't terribly tough but definitely not like butter. A little tough. Flavor was really good. Lesson learned, start waaay earlier than you think to be sure it's ready for dinner.

    I also double checked my smoker temp with a mercury thermometer and it was correct. I'm kinda pissed to tell the truth. I think next time I'll start at like 260. Tri tip sure was easier.


    Last edited: May 18, 2014
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  18. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Geerock, I respect your opinion, I just have a different one.  I'm not trying to be in a pissing contest here, nor am I looking for a fight.  I'm just discussing thoughts/beliefs.    I respect the fact that you have 200 or so briskets under your belt.   That said, I have 30 years of my own cooking experience that I'm basing my belief off of.
    Yjay, don't let this cook discourage you.  Brisket does take much longer to cook than Tri Tips do.  Then again, Boston Butts take a lot longer to cook than center cut pork chops do.  That said, when a brisket comes out right, man, it's seriously delicious.  
  19. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    I shall brisket.

    I may do another tri tip or something to regain my spirit.
  20. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It's all a learning experience man... Don't get discouraged, briskets can be stubborned & quite time consuming.... When ya have the time, try another... You will nail it ! Thumbs Up

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