Originally Posted by Junkers88
Ok folks I'm planning my first brisket smoke on Wednesday. I've read several posts/threads on different beef to get (Wal-mart vs meat market prime cuts vs certified black angus vs... everything else) and the census seems to be that the meat doesn't really matter unless you're doing a competition just as long as the cut is fresh, not frozen, has a good fat side and isn't so marbled that you have more fat than meat. I also figured that 6-8lbs should be good for 4-6 people since it'll cook down a bit and still have some left over for cold meat sandwiches the next day (I LOVE cold brisket). I have finally figured out how to keep my pit (Brinkmann SNP) between 225 and 300 degrees for an extended time and know how much wood to use for a light smoke flavor. What I can't nail down is a good tasty hand made rub that won't be too spicy. Neither my lady or my self like a crazy hot rub and prefer a light taste to augment the beef flavor.
This is the rub I've found that looks the best.
2 tablespoons smoky paprika
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon celery salt
Can I sub in something else for the chili powder and cayenne that will give a similar flavor and not increase the spicy heat? Oh I also read to coat the beef in yellow mustard so the rub will stay on better.
One other question, sorry there are so many, I read that for poultry and some fish you need to brine the meat for 6-10 hours before you cook it but I didn't find any solid answers to whether or not you need to brine beef. If so I'll do a simple salt and water brine if that's acceptable.
Last one. I really can't afford any of the digital remote meat gauges and will be doing this one using what I hope is appropriate time and even temps (250 degrees for 4-5 hours for a 6-8lb beef). I do have one of those probes that you stick into the meat to check internal temps but that will require me to have the lid open for a few seconds to check it and that might throw my time line off with the sudden drop in temps. Any thoughts on this?
*sigh* ok one more..... what temp should the inside of the beef be for a medium rare cook? I know it's here somewhere but after going through several threads I couldn't find anything more solid than 160-185 degrees. Is that correct? Thank you again for all the time and patience.
My last attempt at smoking beef turned out to be beef jerky since I was still learning how to maintain heat. Hoping to avoid that this time. Richard.
Gotta agree with Al...I would consider brisket to be among the top 3 cuts of meat which benefit the most from low & slow cooking (pork butt/boston & picnic being the other two).
Since you've got a thermometer now, do not insert the probe until after several hours...this will allow you to take advantage of the intact whole muscle meat guidelines which are much more forgiving then the non-intact muscle guideline. And yes to being ready for a stall...let it ride and it will come through it eventually.
I never add anything to help the dry rub adhere to the meat. With just a small percentage of salt, the salt will draw some natural moisture from the meat after the rub is applied. Just give it a couple minutes after you apply the rub to let it begin working it's magic, then gently turn it over and apply the rub to the other side(s). If you had enough plastic wrap, you can rub, wrap and rest in the fridge overnight. Next day, fire up and drop the meat in when the smoker is ready to rock out. ANother thing aboiut addeditives is that anything containing fats/oils can reduce smoke penetration. The fat cap will also do this. For the most smoke penetration, I seperate the point/flat cuts and trim lean (when I have the time to do so). You can also seperate the point/flat after smoking to 180* or so, then foil the flat and rest for slicing while you pop the point back in to take to 200-205* for pulling...pulled brisket is wickedly dangerous good eating...oh, burnt ends from the point are too, btw.
On the dry rub, a couple things: added sugars tend to scorch on really long smokes, even at lower temps. The cayenne in the recipe you show is a minor quantity (low percentage/ratio), so you'll not notice it's absence or presence very readily, and spicy heat will be almost null. Even the chili powder is not that high of a ratio, but it does add alot to the flavor profile...spicy heat won't be alot. If you saw 10-15% chili powder, and especially about that much cayenne, I'd be looking for some serious doses of dairy to have on the table before serving to anyone...it would pack a wallop for the non-chili-heads.
If you've got temp control down, the other consideration with the SnP is mods...tuning plates, exhaust vent riser and such to even out your cooking grate level temps. I did a ton of mods to mine almost 2 years ago so I could load it up and get even cooking temps...not a must but good to know what your grate temps actually are running at. Factory therm is useless except as a baseline gauge.
Originally Posted by jfkiii
I have a question about technique .... I like to cook my meats in a disposable foil pan to save the juices, cool it , skim the excess fat and use as gravy or as it comes out. Since the meat is in a foil pan can the pan just be sealed with foil on top and continue to cook in the smoker and get the same results you describe? Then as a final finish, after removing from the smoker, double wrap in foil and rest in the cooler with towels before slicing and serving.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
If you can, place th efoil pan underneath the cooking grate so the meat is out in the open...much better resulting smoke flavor while the drippings are still caught in the pan. I use a foil tented pan to bring certain meats like ribs up to temp quite often...anything with bones in it can punture the foil, even double pouches...yep, been there. If it's a butt or other meat that you just want to bring to temp in foil tented pan, then rest, you don't need to remove and transfer, just wrap/cover it with towels and let it hang out in the cooler, oven, whatever for a couple hours. When your ready to slice or pull, you've got the drippings for a natural finish sauce just needing to be defatted and you're set to go.