Just starting out my weekend off work with a slow, long fuse...I wanted to slow things down a bit again so I can maintain what little sanity I have left (...LOL!!!), and this also gives me the opportunity for a side-by-side comparison to toss out for the brisket enthusiasts to ponder.
If you're new to the world of brisket, you may not understand, but it may give you a few things to consider for future brisket smokes. What I discuss here is more along the lines of advanced skill level...get your first brisket under your belt, eaten and all. Then after a couple more so you can get a good handle on things, you'll understand where this all comes together.
Well, these were quick briskets, for me, anyway. These were pretty close to 1.25 hrs/lb...never happens for me...a packer seems to take forever...it's just one of those things, and I always start much earlier than I think I need to so I have extra time. You can't rush a good brisket, so I don't, and a packer generally runs far beyond the 18-hr mark for me. Last night @ 6:15 pm, I dropped a pair into my Smoke Vault 24 @ 225*.
At 5:00 am, without a clue as to why I woke up (alarm set for 6:00), I threw on a robe & went out to stab a couple temp probes. It was nearing 180* in the point and flat of the smaller of the two (12lb) which I had in the lower-mid level of the smoke chamber. Weird...it was as if the brisket was sending me signals, as is to ask me wether I wanted to slice it, or just keep on going to pulling temps. Anyway, I haven't figured that one out yet, but if I do I'll let you know. I've had some strange things happen while smoking meats, but this probably tops the list.
So, pulled brisket for lunch with that little fella. I hadn't decided yet what the fate of the second victim would be...maybe burnt ends and sliced flat...maybe no burnt ends...I'm just having a lazy 1st day of 2 days off work. So, with no promises to keep, and no pressure, anything goes. The best part about that is I can work up whatever I like along the way, and whatever feels and sounds the best at the time. That's my idea of a lazy day, anyway...do whatever you like for just a day...well, for me, I like smoked brisket, and how I go about it isn't all that important (I have preferences which I play on at times). That it ends it's existence in our bellies is what's really important.
BTW, one these packers was to be transformed into corned beef pastrami. I had the brine/cure (minus cure) made up and chilled 36 hours in the fridge. Last night I decided to wait on pastrami...not in the mood, I guess. I have 4 more packers in the freezer anyway, but, what to do with the brine solution? Pork Loin, that's what...no, it's not a traditional corned beef brine (my ancho chili recipe), so the loin won't taste funky...ha-ha-ha! Anyway, that's another day...loin is in the brine now.
I did a quick basic throw-together rub on these instead of using the KISS method (garlic, s & p), consisting of cbp, kosher salt, chili powder, thyme, rosemary, minced garlic, cumin, cinnamon...nothing specially prepared or exotic, but a few hints of extra flavor to take the already great flavors of the brisket a few steps farther. Oh, and I did trim away most of the "corn" and the excess fat cap, leaving at least 3/4", then I cross-hatch scored the fat-cap prior to rubbing.
Let the drool-view begin...you may as well cover your keyboad and grab some paper towels now, while you still can...LOL!!!
Just into the Smoke Vault 24 @ 6:15 pm, with cherry/pecan...point ends are on the left, which runs a bit hotter in my particular SV24...a nice little load for the vault:
12.5 hours in...it still amazes me how such a knarly looking hunka beef can transform into something like this:
166* in the flat on this guy...got a little while to wait, but he'll make for some nice slicing:
The pulling victim, now touching 190* in the flat, 186* in the point...aaaah, that should make for a nice lunch:
Hmm, only 15 hours for the small one to hit 203* in the flat and 199* in the point:
Into a foil tented pan...top/fat-cap:
Bottom...meat-side with grill marks:
Popped it into the "O" @ 170* to hold for about 90 minutes or so, then I'll shut it off and let it come down slow.
I didn't get a pic of it, but I stabbed the two probes into the bigger brisky after yankin' the small one (looked like a porcupine), and temps were 182* in the flat (2 probes) and 180* in the point @ 15.5 hours, so it went into a foil tented pan as well:
So, if you're having trouble handling the view so far, you better stop now and regain your composure...it's about to get REALLY WICKED, UGLY & BAD!!!
(sliced and pulled brisket to follow)
The bigger cousin goes under the knife...this will only hurt for a moment...then, you'll be all better:...
Not much loss of juices in the pan...ah, man, this is going to be a juicy brisky:
The point is removed and on the board while the flat rests in waiting:
Pretty tender slicing...I went for about 3/8"-1/2", cross-cut:
Ready for a peek???
Moving on to the flat...leaner, more fibrous muscle construction compared to the tubular muscle the point:
The two small pieces at the bottom are cut with the grain, for reference...also, notice they are drying out much more quickly than the cross-cuts (all the sliced pics are posted in succession of the order taken):
A slice of point on the left, with a nice little pile of flat on the right...on top of slices of crusty french bread...that's all I need for a good sandwich today:
That looked and smelled good enough to eat...so, I ate it...
For dinner...just a little bit of rendered fat and liquids in this pan...this will stay with the meat, though:
The little guy gets forked...oh, you didn't know you can pull the flat, you say? Fat cap on works the best for moisture retention, and 200* temps will get you there...this was held/rested for 5 hours in the "O" before pulling...about 125-130* internal temp, so I got it chilled quick after pulling.
Pulled point on the left, flat on the right:
So, ~180* for sliced, ~200* for pulled, regardless of the cut, but I keep the fat-cap mostly intact if I'm pulling.
Personally, I like the pulled flat more than the point, and the sliced point more than the flat...go figure...just the opposite of the easiest way to do a brisket. Hmm, I always have been a character with my brisket preferences, though. It's the texture/chew and looks of the sliced point and pulled flat that really do it for me. As you can see from the pics, the pulled flat has a very long grain and is not mushy at all when pulled (if excessive temps/holding were not used), and is relatively lean. The sliced point has a knock your socks off tenderness, and the marbled fat is just....mmm-mmm-mmm....well, it's too hard to describe, even for me. You just have to try it to see for yourself, and trust me, if you get it right, you'll know why I like it this way.
The family likes either cut, either way, mainly because I can do either way for both cuts quite well, even with a single brisket to smoke. For me, well, I have grown rather fond of the almightly brisket in the past couple of years, and I really enjoy exploring all the possibilities it has to offer. The flavor, textures and versatility of the brisket is what makes it king of smoked beef, IMHO.
We may be briskied-out for a bit after today, so most of this will go for freezer stocking. Then, it'll be ancho chili brined pork loin for sunday. Hmm, I still need to pair up a few simple seasonings for that bad boy, before it hits the smoke...see ya then!
Well, I guess that's it. If this wasn't enough to inspire you to get started with brisket, or to take brisket to the next level, then I can't help you...you need a professional...LOL!!!
You can stick a fork in me, cuz I'm done!
Great smokes, all!