I fought the brisket and the brisket won

Discussion in 'Beef' started by ajthepoolman, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. ajthepoolman

    ajthepoolman Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I smoked my first brisket this afternoon and I am slightly disappointed with how it came out. Some pointers would certainly be appreciated. I'll tell you the obvious problems I made and you can smack my hand with a ruler and correct me!

    First off the cut. I have had a hard time finding packer brisket lately. Don't know why. When I finally did find them, they were $35 or more. Too pricey for me to practice on. So I stumbled across a pack of "Trimmed Brisket". It was only 2.5 pounds and appeared at first to be 2 different pieces of meat. So I grabbed it. It had good marbling and had a decent fat cap.

    Thursday night I took the brisket out and discovered that it was in fact, one piece of meat. It had a funny "fold" in the middle that was substantially thicker than the rest of the meat. This seemed like a good place to cut the meat into 2 pieces. My ECB wouldn't hold the 1 piece anyway.

    So, I cut it up and put Jeff's famous rub on it. Wrapped in Saran Wrap and back to the fridge.

    I plugged in the ECB at 1 and threw a stainless steel pan on the stove top and cranked the stove to High. After the pan was rocket hot I threw one of the brisket cuts in and tried to sear it. It didn't go as well as I had hoped. The rub began to burn and stink so badly that I almost set the smoke alarms off! I couldn't even stand in the kitchen it was so bad. But I flipped it over to sear the other side. I did this with both cuts of meat. Then straight on to the smoker.

    Now, the meat wasn't blackened, but it had some spots where it had a good sear, while some other spots were just browned. The smoker was running at 260 degrees. I put the cuts into their own little pans and put the cover on and then had to throw a blanket over the smoker to maintain temp.

    After 2 hours I quickly flipped the brisket over with my tongs.

    After another hour, I foiled the brisket. And by foiled the brisket, I mean I put foil over the pans they were in. Perhaps that is why they didn't come out very juicy. Is the idea to wrap the meat in foil, like a pork butt?

    By 6, I had hit 200 degrees. So I brought them in and let them sit for 45 minutes before I cut into them.

    I won't say it was the best thing I have ever had. I also won't say it is the worst. It is the first time that I found myself not caring for Jeff's rub. I just don't think it goes really well with a beefy cut like this.

    It would cut with a fork, which I figured was good. But the spice of the rub didn't compliment it at all. I had to smother in BBQ sauce to enjoy it.

    So, where did I go wrong? Obviously the cut of meat played a part. Is the idea of foiling, to take the meat out of the pan and wrap it up like a pork butt?

    I'm not giving up on brisket, but I can tell that this cut of meat is a much less forgiving beast than pork! Any help you can offer would be appreciated! Attached are some pics to go along with my post.
  2. peculiarmike

    peculiarmike Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    AJ, I highly recommend you follow the SmokyOkie method to the letter. It produces a fine brisket.
    You have to sear the brisket over a HOT charcoal fire in a grill. You need a long fork or tongs, otherwise you probably won't have any hair left on your arm. [​IMG]
    Now, about the piece of meat you found - no idea. [​IMG]
  3. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ah,that's that genetically altered beef.. LOL! No idea got a pict?
    I only do that outside, over a flaming hot wood fire just starting to settle down. Now ya know why! Plus it WILL char a bit...heat cannot char like flame.
    Pan? What pan? I never use a pan for large hunks of meat, but maybe that's just me. I DO foil tho... after like 160-170 for pulled meat. Were ya aiming for pulling?
    Jeff's rub is probably not the best to be searing/flaming. It has ALOT of sugar. Mix a batch with a quarter the sugar, and the standard for a mop if ya like the flavor
    yea, that's pretty much it. Or place it IN a pan with foil covering. I just put it in the oven at that point, but folks whine about my non-traditional approach.
    It is more difficult than a butt... but ya got experience now!
  4. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    first problem i say, was........plugged the smoker in...........LOL.......sorry, just had to say that..............

    i foil at 170 and put in oven till 200........then foil and wrap and rest for a couple hours........

    i have YET to do the sear method..........mine has come out great so far.......so, have yet to see the need...........
  5. ron50

    ron50 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    A lot of people have success with the SO method and while I mean no disrespect to him, I prefer not to char the heck out of my meat, lol.

    I was successful by following the basics of smoking, keeping the temp at 225, putting a tasty rub on it, a good mop every few hours, and foiling it.
    I got plenty of juices using this method, it had a nice smokey taste as both sides of the meat were exposed to the smoke unlike in a pan and it had a nice tasty bark on it. (qview attached)

    I think the bad taste wasn't so much that the rub didn't go with beef as you probably burnt the sugar in it when you tried to sear it. I know Chris uses Jeff's rub on his brisket with great results.

    Some of it might have been it being a very small flat and it was easy to overcook and dry it out. What temp did you take the brisket to before you took it out?
  6. coldjava

    coldjava Fire Starter

    I know I'm a rookie but, I've never heard of searing a smoked brisket. From your pics it looks as tho it was way over done. IMHO.
  7. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

  8. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    d88de looks to see if smokie okie is online..........
    texas........SEVERAL of the members do this.........ALOT even.........its just a matter of choice...........i guess you didn't look at the links provided

  9. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    ahh.....my bad dude.........my bad.............thought you was talking the site...........i apoligize...........and am even sorry............[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  10. pigcicles

    pigcicles Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    AJ - I'd say the first problem was probably the sugar content of the rub. I did one with Jeff's rub using the sear and it wasn't great either. Change the rub, make sure you get a good sear and follow the directions in the other links and it should come out with an excellent taste.

    I've done many briskets. I never seared one until after the first Gathering in Clinton where Okie showed us how to do it. Since then I have seared most of the briskets I have smoked. It isn't for sealing in juices - it's for the taste. If you are after a huge smoke ring I would suggest using the 'normal' low n slow methods.

    Just my pennies worth on the subject.

  11. peculiarmike

    peculiarmike Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    SmokyOkie sears his brisket, then smokes it. I've eaten brisket from Minnesota to Texas. Okie's is excellent!
    Takes courage to try something new. A closed mind misses out on a lot of good things. [​IMG]
  12. ron50

    ron50 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nothing closed about anyone's mind here. Everyone is entitled to their method of choice whether it is to sear or or not to. Nothing about courage either.
  13. ba_loko

    ba_loko Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Okie's method is outstanding........I think it's a brave and couragous brisket too.....[​IMG]
  14. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ballsy at least. frying the H E double-hockeystix outta a $50 hunk of meat...well you know... but WOW.
  15. glued2it

    glued2it Master of the Pit

    I know we call it the smokie okie method, but searing a brisket is an old Texas method.

    " The old Texas way"
  16. smoke freak

    smoke freak StickBurners

    AJ, Brisket can be a challenge for sure. Smaller ones always end up kinda dry on my cooker.

    I never Okied a brisket but have done so with chuck roast (a much more forgiving piece of beef). In fact Im doing one today.

    My beef rub contains NO sugar. But thats just how I like it.
  17. bigal

    bigal Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    AJ, keep it simple for your first. You just had too many things going on w/that first brisket. Next one WILL be better.

    Get a packer if ya can, get on here and everyone will help step by step. Once ya got it, it's easy.

    1.) Lay the brisket out and separate the flat from the point, I'll try to find a link to pics of this, but I know Richtee will get it fast, he's good at that. (hint, hint [​IMG] )

    2.) Worchest sauce, salt and pepper w/the worchest optional. Shake some worchest on to get the fat cap side moist and add k.salt and pepper, don't overdo it. Then do the other side

    3.) I'd get the smoker to about 225 and probably put the flat FAT DOWN on the lower rack then the point above it fat down also. This way the fat cap on the flat will protect from heat spikes and the point will drip down on the meat side of the flat to keep it moist. If its not moist just squirt some apple juice on it to get it moist and then check every hr or 1.5 hrs.

    4.) close up smoker and get somethin' cold to drink. This step is NOT optional! [​IMG]

    After about 2hrs check the meat to make sure you flat is moist on the meat side(top). This will help develop a nice smoke ring.

    *******forgot to add to put therm in the middle of the flat, you will only use this as a guide and don't worry about the point, it'll be fine.*****

    This part is what I do and I like it. When the flat hits 160-170 or the plateau, put it in an alum pan and cover w/foil. Could do this w/the point also. Keep the therm in the flat and wait till it hits 195-200. At this point you don't really need the therm in the meat. Poke the therm in another spot, if it goes in like butter then it's done, if not wait 1/2hr or so and check again. When it slides in w/little resistance take it off, throw a towel on it or just let it rest in the foil for at least an hr.

    I hope this helps. I don't sear, but I told Okie that I'd try it and I have one ready to try this week. Sear'n is tough to do and I plan on use'n charcoal and see what happens.

    Good luck on the next one AJ, briskets can be tough till you find YOUR way of do'n it. Then you can start experimenting.
  18. crewdawg52

    crewdawg52 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    AJ, try simmering the brisket in a pot of water for about an hour, then into a crockpot with Liquid Smoke. [​IMG] Leave it in there for about 7 to 8 hrs, remove, slice, and eat. [​IMG][​IMG]
  19. ajthepoolman

    ajthepoolman Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    This one seems like the best advice! What do you guys think? [​IMG][​IMG]

    Thanks for all the responses so far. Many of you had questions that I will try to answer.

    Ron, I think you asked what temp I pulled the meat off the smoker. When it hit 200 I took it off to rest.

    Several of you mentioned that to get a good sear you need flame, and damn big ones at that! I am at a disadvantage there as I only have my beloved Ducane gasser grill. That thing produces flames that rival Bic lighters. Might get a good sear on a little smokie, but that is about it!

    So, as a good project manager I always try to do a "lessons learned" stage of my projects. And this was nothing more than a project to me. So, lessons learned are as follows:

    Meat. Don't settle for a funky cut of "brisket" at $9. I see that there were two versions of brisket at Wal-Mart yesterday (of course, since I couldn't find them the weekend I wanted to smoke). They had the huge cryovac cut of brisket that had a ton of fat on one side and was the size of a lunch room tray. They also had a cut that they labeled the "flat cut". It was more squared off and was quite a bit smaller. It also had decent fat on it, but it had something hard in the middle of it. Possibly a bone?

    Searing. A pan on a stove top won't cut it. I might go buy a cheapo grill just to have around for this kind of thing.

    Rub. If searing, skip the rub til after the sear. Make a mop of the rub if necessary.

    Foiling. I think I did this right even though I used a small aluminum pan. There was no bark to the meat, which was fine with me.

    So far it is Brisket 1 ajthepoolman 0. But I will try again and let you know how it comes out!

    Thanks all!

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