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Labor Day Brisket

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Just found this site tonight & have already learned a bunch just from reading several of the brisket posts.  I've done a couple of briskets in the past for me & the fam.  They turned out ok - not as tender as I would have liked, but good flavor.  Doing my first one for company this weekend.  Got an 8.5 lb untrimmed brisket tonight from the butcher.  Here are my questions:


1.  How much of the fat should I trim off?  I've never trimmed a brisket before, so any & all instructions/recommendations are welcome.  ALL the briskets I've done before have come trimmed.

2.  I recently got an injection kit.  Would you recommend injecting the brisket?  If so, when - the night before with the rub; a couple of hours before going on the smoke; or even during at some point?  I'm in virgin territory with the injector...

3.  Timing - I'm planning on 10-12 hours @ 225ish degrees.

4.  Drip pan - just water or would you recommend something else?


Thanks for your help.  If I can figure out how to work my phone, I'll post pictures of my progress.

post #2 of 5

Here's the most recent discussion I've seen and written in, if you missed it...covering alot of basics, burnt ends, ect: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/110807/brisket-questions


I trim part of the fat-cap, but not all, unless I seperate thepoint from the flat before smoking. Remove most of the corn (a large chunk of hard fat on the heaviest/thickest end near the corner)...this is the point cut of the brisket. I take off the rougher looking portions of the fat cap and try to estimate and leave at least 1/2 - 3/4", then score the fat-cap with a cross-hatch pattern.


Personally, I don't inject non-cured whole muscle meats...at all. Main reason being, if you inject with marinade or brine (or insert a temp probe too early during the smoke), the meat is no longer considered intact whole muscle meat, and therefor requires a bit more stringent guidelines for food safety.


12 hours might be a bit shy, depending on the individual smoker, weather conditions, elevation (water boils at higher temp with lower elevation, and higher elevation requires more time at the same temp to cook). If it's a whole brisket (untrimmed, with the point and flat muscles attached together as one piece), then it may take up to 2 hours per pound, depending on the finish temp you take it to. 200* for pulling the meat, 180* for slicing, or a combination of 180* in the flat and 200* in the point, or...well, you should read the thread I linked above...covers all that.


Drip pan: you can add some chopped onion, garlic, a bay leaf, water and beef boullion...mix it all up a bit. The steam from this pan will help keep the brisket moist, as well as add a bit of flavor to the meat while smoking. The drippings will add tons of flavor back to the meat when you bring it all together in the end. Defat these liquids and remove the bay leaf while the brisket flat is wrapped in foil/towels and resting. Then, add instant coffee for au jus if you like.


Anyway, the above link is fresh and active, so I recommend you go through it.


See ya soon, with pics??? If you can, no pressure...LOL!!!


Enjoy the forums and have a great smoke!



Edited by forluvofsmoke - 8/30/11 at 9:43pm
post #3 of 5

I can't improve on "forluvofsmoke's" comments,  he nailed it in my opinion



post #4 of 5

Yep Eric's got you covered!

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice & answers to questions.  


The brisket turned out very good - VERY tender & had a slight smoke ring.  Not as prominent as I would have liked, but it was still there.  It was on the fire for 6 1/2 total hours; I wrapped it in foil once it hit 160 degrees; pulled it off all-together once it hit 200; then rested in a cooler for a couple more hours.  When I wrapped it in foil, I included 1/4 cup apple juice & drizzled some honey over the top.  It cooked faster than I intended, but still turned out really good.  


Here are some pics from the process:


Prior to going on the smoke with the rub:




2 hours into the cook:




Just prior to slicing:







Today's menu is baby back ribs.

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