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Brisket Packer Prep - how to cut it up

post #1 of 3
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Hi everyone, I have been looking to step up my smoking game to include brisket.


The last beef product I tried was a roast, and basically all I ended up with was a BBQ flavored cement cube by the time I was done.


Because I am on a fixed income I have to now be far more careful in buying and smoking meats.  It has to be done right the first time and every time, and because of that first attempt at beef,, I have stayed clear of any beef products until now.  My 97 year old dad just LOVES brisket dinners from restaurants,,, you know,, like the blue plate special,,, brisket open faced on 2 slices of bread, mashed potatoes in the center, all drowning in brown gravy, with a small bowl of corn on the side. Those briskets are oven roasted, but I want to give him a really great smoked brisket that he will love too.


I will be buying full brisket packer.  Once I get it, my plan is to cut the flat from the point so once the flat is done it can come out and start resting while the point continues its cooking.  I have a MES 40", with the Amazin-smoke tray.  I will be using a mix of oak/apple/hickory amazin-dust with a few applewood chips poked in there at different places.  I have found that that will give me fantastic smoke for 8-10 hours.  My plan is,,, MES set at 235*, for however long it takes the flat to get to 175*-180*, wrap it, then watch for the IT to hit 200*, check for done with toothpick, if it needs more time,, let it go to 205, check it again,, and then whatever temp it decides its done at,, pull it and let it rest over night.  At the same time the point will continue until the same temps get there, and just repeat the process as with the flat.


Cut it all up the next day after it rests.




1. I have seen the packers my butcher can get,,, when I get the packer, it looks like the fat cap still had skin on it, should I trim the skin and leave the fat?  I want that fat cap because that's whats going to help keep it moist, but if there is tough cowhide that won't cook and people can't eat, I don't want it on there.


2. Where exactly do I cut to separate the point from the flat?  A picture of someone doing that would be wonderful!


After I get everything set, I will come back and discuss an idea I have for the injection, rub, and the wrap liquids I want to use.


AND, of course, I will be taking pictures all the while too, and will be posting them here as well.



post #2 of 3

Here's an old post I found in my threads with a quick down and dirty point/flat separation:



Here's another, separating a semi-frozen packer for pastrami:



Brisket won't be sold with hide on them, unlike the pork picnic shoulder, which often is.


For slicing tenderness, you shouldn't need to go over 200*...in fact, I've pulled the point at less than 195*, and have also pulled the flat at under 200*...when it's still hot, of course. You do run a higher irsk for drying it out the higher the internal temp goes. If you will be reheating, the risk of actually drying out the meat, meaning evaporating it's natural interior moisture, will be even greater.


For a separated brisket with conventional smoking methods in vertical cabinet smokers with a water pan, a light fat-cap will be desirable for self-basting as the fat renders down, so I would trim it, but not bare the meat underneath the fat-cap. Place fat-cap up when smoking...do not flip the meat during cooking..no need to and no real benefit, either.


As for injecting brisket, I never have, but some do. You will be, as a result of injecting, compromising the muscle...that said, if you do inject, recommend that you adhere to the 40-140*/4hr rule, so the meat is not in the danger-zone temp range too long.


Reference to the above:



Since you father will be partaking of this feast, may I suggest a simple rub, as beef does not need a lot of enhancement with spices and herbs, and brisket has a great, strong beef flavor that's stands up and walks on it's own, referred to here as SPOG: Salt, Pepper, Onion, Garlic (in equal parts, but I prefer more garlic and onion than salt). A ration of 1.5:2:2:3 works well for my liking. If black pepper doesn't get along with your father, maybe due to respiratory problems, you can greatly reduce or omit the pepper.




post #3 of 3

Separating the two pieces of meat is done by following the fat vein that runs between them.  The flat will

normally have less fat on it and will have distinctive grain to it as you probably already know.  If you want to separate the two just cut through this fat vein.  We trim down to between 1/8-1/4" on the fat.  Since smoke them whole, we dig out a good portion of the fat between the point and flat as well.  Since you want to separate, I'd go down to 1/8-1/4" of fat. 


Have tried fat side up and down, we are sticking with fat side UP. 


We smoke our briskets whole placing the probe where the point and the flat meet.  Then separate when the temp reaches 210 internal, let rest till about 170, then slice into the heavenly goodness.  We wrap when the internal temperature reaches about 160.  At these temps the flat is done, still moist and the collagen is completely broken down.  The point will shred into stringers and is very tender and moist.    


You didn't ask but we normally trim the meat, season and then let it rest for about two hrs before putting in the smoker.  At 275 a 10lb brisket has been taking about 6hrs.

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