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Doing my first packer, need some advice

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

OK, so I'm going to be trying my first packer this weekend. I've only done a flat until now. But I really want to try my hand at burnt ends. Also, I'm thinking about separating the flat and the point prior to smoking due to space concerns in the smoker. Here are a few questions I need to hammer out before the weekend...

 

  1. If I separate prior to smoking, when I foil the flat, do I foil the point as well? Or do I not foil the point? I think I'm getting confused by all the conflicting info I've been finding about the point.
  2. At what internal do I need to foil? Is it different for point and flat
  3. Do I need to take it over 200 to break down all the connective tissues? (I'm mainly a pork guy)
  4. Once I cube the point, and throw some sauce on the cubes, how much longer should I smoke them?
  5. I was shooting for a smoker temp of 225-235, is this about right?

 

Thanks y'all. I just like to get all my questions answered before starting a new big project like this. Don't worry, I'll have plenty of q-view.

-T

post #2 of 11


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SCVinegarPepper View Post

OK, so I'm going to be trying my first packer this weekend. Packers are the best!  I've only done a flat until now. But I really want to try my hand at burnt ends. Also, I'm thinking about separating the flat and the point prior to smoking due to space concerns in the smoker. (This will also provide greater surface area for more smokey goodness and rub flavor.) Here are a few questions I need to hammer out before the weekend...

 

  1. If I separate prior to smoking, when I foil the flat, do I foil the point as well? Foil when each piece hits temp (165*). Or do I not foil the point? I think I'm getting confused by all the conflicting info I've been finding about the point.  The point is cut up for burnt ends after it hits fully cooked temp and is then cut up and smoked a second time.
  2. At what internal do I need to foil? Is it different for point and flat  165* for both.
  3. Do I need to take it over 200 to break down all the connective tissues? (I'm mainly a pork guy)  190* for slicing, 200-205* for pulling.  I'd prolly go 190* for the point, then cube for round 2.
  4. Once I cube the point, and throw some sauce on the cubes, how much longer should I smoke them?  JIRodriguez says, "Take the point, trim off the fat (easy to do once it is cooked), then cut the meat into 2" square chunks. Dust the chunks with more rub, then toss them with some BBQ sauce and place them in a single layer on a pan (disposable foil pans work great). Then put them back into the smoker for 2-3 hrs. and let em get nice and dark (the look almost burnt). Pull them out and enjoy what some of us refer to as "Man Candy" - they truly are a super tasty treat!"
  1. I was shooting for a smoker temp of 225-235, is this about right?  Perfect.

 

Thanks y'all. I just like to get all my questions answered before starting a new big project like this. Don't worry, I'll have plenty of q-view.

-T


Looking forward to hearing about your adventure!  Cheers!

 

post #3 of 11

Sounds like James has you covered.

 

Don't forget to take photo's of your first packer!

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Awesome info! Thanks so much. Just a few more questions...

 

  1. Does it matter which way I cut the point? Meaning, I know I need to slice against (or perpendicular to) the grain on the flat. Does this matter at all for the point? I know that's probably a silly question, but I have zero experience with a point
  2. When I foil the point and flat, do I need to double layer the foil? I always use HD foil, and I double layer it when I foil butts, just didn't know if I should also double layer the foil for brisket
  3. With regards to the flat...I'm probably going to take it to right at 195, or a little less, because I'm sure it may rise another degree or two while it's resting. I definitely want to slice it, not pull it, but I still want it to be good and tender, so I figure I'll try and get right between the two. Now, do I leave it in the foil, on the heat until it hits 195? If I do that, do I immediately take it out of the foil to rest? Or should I throw it in a cooler with some towels? I would just worry that if I put it in a cooler with towels, and the internal at 195, it might climb too close to 200 and not be suitable for slicing. Thoughts?

 

Really looking forward to this! And don't worry, Al, I'll have plenty of pictures. I don't know if they'll compare to yours though. Your q-view pics usually have me salivating.

-T

post #5 of 11

James has given you some great advice!!

 

Ya might want to check out Raptors brisket and burnt ends.

 

I had a small plate of his burnt ends that had me craving for more a few months ago...

 

  Craig

post #6 of 11


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SCVinegarPepper View Post

Awesome info! Thanks so much. Just a few more questions...

 

  1. Does it matter which way I cut the point? Meaning, I know I need to slice against (or perpendicular to) the grain on the flat. Does this matter at all for the point? I know that's probably a silly question, but I have zero experience with a point.  By nature, cubing will require cutting with and against the grain.
  2. When I foil the point and flat, do I need to double layer the foil? I always use HD foil, and I double layer it when I foil butts, just didn't know if I should also double layer the foil for brisket.  The main thing a double layer does is prevent a lot of liquid leakage, IMHO.  I usually single wrap mine in HD & set in a baking dish to catch any drippings that might escape (see below).
  3. With regards to the flat...I'm probably going to take it to right at 195, or a little less, because I'm sure it may rise another degree or two while it's resting. I definitely want to slice it, not pull it, but I still want it to be good and tender, so I figure I'll try and get right between the two. 190* is perfect for tender slices. Much beyond that & it will disintegrate into pulled brisket.  Now, do I leave it in the foil, on the heat until it hits 195? 190*, yes.  If I do that, do I immediately take it out of the foil to rest? No. Or should I throw it in a cooler with some towels? In the foil, in the towels, yes.  I would just worry that if I put it in a cooler with towels, and the internal at 195, it might climb too close to 200 and not be suitable for slicing. Not to worry IF you stop at 190*.  Thoughts?  Don't over-think this thing!  If you follow the instructions in the 2 posts, your brisket & burnt ends will turn out great. (BTW -- I assembled and applied all of this info from other SMF members, and I believe giving credit where it is due; however, my confidence is from personal experience!)

 

Really looking forward to this! And don't worry, Al, I'll have plenty of pictures. I don't know if they'll compare to yours though. Your q-view pics usually have me salivating.

-T


And make sure you capture that liquid love in the bottom of the foil pouch &/or pan!  OMG the things you can do with that stuff!  Au jus for the brisket sammies, gravy, beef bullion base for soups & stews, demi-glaze, etc.  Just pour it into a container and set in the fridge to separate the fat and gelatin base.  Remove the fat puck and slice up the gelatin to package for freezing.  I usually wind up with about a cup of gelatin, which I divide into quarters for future use (see pix).

 

IMG_2076.JPG

 

IMG_2077.JPG

 

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

You're the man! Thanks so much. I over-think everything. I guess I'm kind of OCD. Hopefully it will serve me well taking the bar exam in February. Just like to have all my bases covered. But I think I'm good to go now. I need to quit delving so deep into my new projects and just do 'em, and learn via trial by fire. Looking forward to getting this sucker going! At first, I wasn't going to inject the meat at all, just rub. But now I'm seeing some people inject with beef broth. I think this sounds fantastic and would add more moisture to the meat as a sort of "failsafe." I'm thinking of going this route unless someone can persuade me otherwise? However, if I do inject, I can't decide if I should inject the night before, when I rub it down, or closer to the smoke time and let it marinate while it's cooking. I never really have any trouble with the 140 in 4 rule of thumb, so that's not a problem.

 

I'm also thinking of doing two different rubs. Meaning, a saltier/pepperier rub (probably with montreal steak seasoning as my base) for the flat, but more of a barbecue/rib rub that's sweeter for the point/burnt ends. Thoughts? I just like my brisket (flat) with more of a saltier and pepper crust on it with some good smoke. But I want the rub for the point to have some sugar in it to get nice and crunchy sweet. Thanks.

post #8 of 11

I've never injected and everything comes out plenty moist.  Of course, another reason for injecting is flavor, but I've never had any complaints in that department either.  rolleyes.gif  Do what you like in that regard.  I've used multiple rubs for different outcomes in the same smoke, so that is also a matter of personal preference.  Experimentation is what makes this so much fun, but you can't be afraid to take a risk and "fail" every now and then.  That's how you get better.

post #9 of 11

Looks like you have good advice so far. I don't think you should inject on your first one and I would keep the rub simple as well. Get a good idea of a plain-jane brisket and then make some tweeks from there to see the difference. I like to keep my temps a little lower if I can, like in the 220 to 230 ballpark. It can be harder with the ol stickburner but real easy in my uds. I think it's virtually impossible to overcook a point, this is why they make good burnt ends. Try the probe test for the flat if you like. When it get's time to be done, try to insert a toothpick, if it goes in easily, it's done. If it goes in with resistance, it needs more time. Leave the toothpick in so as not to create a juice vent.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pit 4 Brains View Post

Looks like you have good advice so far. I don't think you should inject on your first one and I would keep the rub simple as well. Get a good idea of a plain-jane brisket and then make some tweeks from there to see the difference. I like to keep my temps a little lower if I can, like in the 220 to 230 ballpark. It can be harder with the ol stickburner but real easy in my uds. I think it's virtually impossible to overcook a point, this is why they make good burnt ends. Try the probe test for the flat if you like. When it get's time to be done, try to insert a toothpick, if it goes in easily, it's done. If it goes in with resistance, it needs more time. Leave the toothpick in so as not to create a juice vent.


Awesome advice on the toothpick. And I would not have even thought to leave it in. But, this isn't my first brisket, per se, I've done just flats a couple times. This is just my first whole packer. I think I'm going to inject, I just want to try it out for a change.

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCVinegarPepper View Post


Awesome advice on the toothpick. And I would not have even thought to leave it in. But, this isn't my first brisket, per se, I've done just flats a couple times. This is just my first whole packer. I think I'm going to inject, I just want to try it out for a change.

Ok, so now you're gonna inject. Not a bad decision since you have some brisky under your belt so far. I read the post as if you had just fooled around with flats.. I have had good luck with and without injecting. With that being said, I now lean towards injecting/marinating when I do them. As far as what to inject, the sky can be the limit. I have had good results with everything from stock to Erdinger Dunkel beer. Be aware of the "puncturing whole muscle meat" and the safety zone! If you are injecting to tenderize, then keep it in the fridge until ready to smoke. If you inject for flavor, inject cold liquid into a cold brisky and get it on asap.

 

Ohh, BTW somebody did a great tutorial icon_rolleyes.gif on separating a brisket here..http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/a/brisket-separation-technique

 


Edited by Pit 4 Brains - 10/26/11 at 6:55pm
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