How to properly smoke 2.5 pound brisket

Discussion in '5 Day Smoking Basics eCourse' started by jonnyg, May 27, 2015.

  1. jonnyg

    jonnyg Smoke Blower

    So I've given this a shot, smoking a 2.5 lb brisket, and haven't been successful.  I wanted to learn how to smoke a small brisket first since I'm pretty new at smoking (first year).  I've been unsuccessful the last 2 times, and was hoping to get some guidance.  

    First time I smoked a small piece of brisket I smoked it around 225-230 degrees, but it seemed like it was cooking very fast (within a couple hours internal temp was up to 160) I then foiled, and threw it back in the smoker and got the internal temp up to 195, but I didn't get any elasticity, and wasn't tender, pretty tough.  I did foil when internal temp got to 160 but I didn't rest the brisket after I got the internal temp to 195.  

    2nd time, I decided to smoke it ultra low and slow, down to 210-215 degrees, wait to get the internal time to 150, then foil, and I smoked till 187 degrees internally.  It was a little bit better in terms of flavor, however, most the brisket wasn't tender and still lacked elasticity. 

    What do you think I should do?  Do you believe in foiling a 2.5lb brisket since it cooks so fast, since it is a small cut?  The last 2 times I have foiled I lacked barked on the brisket. 

    I'm going to give it another shot this weekend, and this is my plan.  Night before, inject it with beef broth mixed with a little bit of bacon grease, and then let it sit out to get to room temp before going in the smoker.  I was going to smoke at 220 until internal temp reaches 197-200.  I figured I wouldn't foil it, since I don't get a good bark when foiling it.  A small cut of brisket like this, tends to reach 150-160 within a couple of hours, where I'm seeing its not enough time to get a good bark.  Also, how important is it to rest?

    Help is greatly appreciated. 


  2. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'd get really simple with it.  Stick it in a 225-250 degree smoker and cook it until it's done.  Once it hits about 185 degrees, start poking a probe into the thickest part.  When the probe goes in and out with no resistance, like a knife through warm butter, the brisket is done.  This might happen at 185, or 190, or 200+.  When it's done, it's done. 

    Once it passes the probe test, pull it from the smoker and let it set on the counter under some foil for about 20 mins.  Then wrap with foil and allow it to continue to rest for another 20 mins or so at minimum.    The reason for tenting it with foil first is to allow the retained heat to dissipate a bit and halt the carryover cooking.  The additional 20 mins is to let the muscle fibers relax and allow the juices to redistribute.

    The goal here is to get you to recognize what a brisket feels like when it's done.  Once you have that under your belt, then you can start experimenting with other things like wrapping in foil or butcher paper.
    jonnyg and foamheart like this.
  3. robcava

    robcava Meat Mopper

    I have found it to be a lot harder to get a small brisket like that right than a large one. There is a really small window between getting  a 2.5 brisket done and drying it out. Try Demosthenes approach...but I would recommend going up to at least a 6 pounder. More margin for error.
  4. jonnyg

    jonnyg Smoke Blower

    Thanks Robcava.  I figured.  I don't read many articles about smoking a 2.5 pound brisket.  I figured I would start small, since its cheaper to get acquainted with it.  Thanks for the post.  
  5. jonnyg

    jonnyg Smoke Blower

    Thank you very much Demosthenes9!  Sounds like a plan.  I definitely appreciate your approach.  I'll most definitely give this a shot this Saturday and post some pictures.  



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