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Looking for some Brisket advice…

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Most of the briskets I cook are just the flat, somewhere around the 6-8lb range. Usually takes in the 7-9 hr time frame cooking between 240*-260* (250* is my preferred cook temp).


I went out and bought a 15.5lb full Brisket as I’m kinda a go big or go home guy… Any way, my question is what kind of time frame would you estimate? I figure the time out at 19.5-23 hrs depending on whose numbers I look at.


To me, that seems like an awfully long time. I have cooked a fair amount of meat and have under or over shoot my time estimates a little. I understand every piece of meat can have a mind of its own, but I’m trying to plan my cook so it’s not ready to come off at the last minute, or in the middle of the night.


Additionally, I know foiling vs. not foiling (which I do typically foil) will expedite the cook and help through the stall, but I just want to get some opinions to help along this smoke…


Ps: Any thoughts on injecting a brisket this size and getting past the 140* in 4hr mark smoking at 250*?


Thanks for any advice…

post #2 of 10

There are a lot of guys on here who have far more brisket experience than me, but I have recently been learning the holy grail of brisket from the experiences of others on this forum and can share what I know.


The 15.5 pounder you currently have could MAYBE be trimmed down to 14 pounds, depending on how much trimming you do.  You will want to leave at least a qtr. inch of fat cap.  I also trim any loose pieces off.  Here is a great video on youtube talking about trimming the brisket by Franklin BBQ in Austin:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmTzdMHu5KU


I did a 12 pound packer a few weeks ago at around 260 degrees and it took 15 hours.  So to say that a 14-15 pounder could take 19 hours sounds about right.  It is just the nature of the beast.  That is why I don't like to buy anything over 13 pounds.  I'm actually doing a 13 pounder on July 4th and will start it at midnight on Thursday (yay for no sleep!).  But if you do the brisket right, the taste will make that 15-19 hours totally worth it.


Foiling will speed up the process, but can also make the meat taste less like BBQ and more like a pot roast depending on how long it is foiled.  If you foil, I would suggest not doing it at least until the meat is 165 degrees to allow for the smoke and combustion gasses to do their magic.  If you want an alternative to foil, you can try butcher paper or parchment paper.  It allows the brisket to breathe a little better and gives a firmer bark.  Watch the brisket videos online from Franklin BBQ (the link above and also the "payoff" video) and it will give a lot of good info on the brisket.

post #3 of 10
Don't be shy about boosting your temp with brisket. It can take it with no loss of flavor or tenderness. It will also help drive thru the stall. Also, be advised that the point is probably going to be done before the flat so monitor the IT of that. And last, be sure to add about 2 hours of foiled rest time to your total projected eat time. Its always better to be done earlier than having people wait. A brisket that size, wrapped tight with foil, then wrapped in a towel, and dropped in a cooler will stay for several hours and come out hot and ready to eat.
post #4 of 10

At the temp you propose, 1.25 hrs per pound plus a 2 hour rest, should get you real close if not done a little early. Foiling is a personal choice and works well. I am totally on board with using Butcher Paper on my next Brisket. Injecting is ok too. Although the brisket is heavy they are still thin over all compared to say a 9Lb Pork Butt. At 250° a Brisket or even a large Butt will get to 140 in 4 no problem. If you inject you will need to stay on top of that Smoker, no sleeping, because it is now critical that you maintain the smoker temp. I am thinking you are on the right track and will be fine. Try my Smokey Au Jus for a great Dip for your Brisket...JJ



Smokey Au Jus


1- Lg Onion,

4-5 Carrots,

3-4 Ribs Celery

3-4 Peeled Cloves of Garlic

Toss them in a pan under the Beef, and let the whole deal Smoke for one hour,

THEN add 4-6 Cups Beef Broth,

2 Tbs Tomato Paste,

1/2tsp Dry Thyme (4-5 sprigs Fresh)

1-2 ea Bayleaf

Finish the Smoking process to the IT you want. 

While the Roast is resting, dump the pan juices veggies and all into a 2-3Qt Sauce pot and add 1Cup Red Wine, something you like to drink, and bring the Jus to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Strain out the veggies and let the Jus rest a minute or so for the Fat to rise. Skim off the bulk of the fat then using strips of paper towel laid on top of the Jus, drag quickly across to take off the last little bit of fat.

The purpose of Smoking the Vegetable for 1 hour before adding the Broth and Herbs is...The Smoked vegetables Roast in the Dry heat concentrating their Flavors and Sweetness giving the finished Jus a Richer, Deeper, Full Flavor.

Serve the sliced Beef Au Jus or thicken the Jus to make Gravy.


NOTE: If you are using this recipe with Brisket or a long smoke, additional Water will have to be added periodically to maintain the proper volume. Do not add more Broth as repeated addition and reduction will make the Au Jus too salty..


post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for the advice. I figured I'd ask about the timing as it seemed a little high, but I guess I'm in for the long haul!

post #6 of 10
If it takes 19 hours it will be dry. I have done a ton of briskets in the 14.5-15.5 range and in my experience, I target 10-12 hours to get them done. For a big boy like that try 275 as a target temp and don't fear 300. Also, time is not linear by pound, so any per pound calculations are only valid in a very narrow range.

If I was cooking that brisket...

Avoid any piercing with forks thermometers etc.
Rub and rest overnight.
Get smoker started and on its way to 275.
Light lump charcoal in the grill.
Sear the brisket over the charcoal
Rub with seasoned oil (your rub seasoning will do)
Put in smoker.
Repeat oil rub every 3-4 hours or so (silicone oven mits make this easy with a heavy hunk a meat)
Somewhere around 8 hours or so you can stick in a temp probe or check with a handheld thermometer although experience may tell you when it is far from done and needs way more time. I tend to decide when it is done by look and feel and only verify with the thermometer.
When at desired temp (open for debate because tastes vary) take it out, wrap in foil and drop in a cooler for 1-3 hours.

I let the tip "over cook" a bit (for shredded sandwiches) and do the flat a bit under for better slices.

The oiling and lack of foil in the cook stage will keep it moist and give a good crust/bark but the foil stage at the end will soften it up. If you want to preserve a crunchy crust let the meat rest uncovered.
post #7 of 10
I smoked prob 15-20 flats before my first packer. I was gonna sell my rig out of frustration with the flats. Glad I didn't because the whole packers turned out much better. They're far easier in part because they're much larger. Don't pay attention to time. Focus on internal temp. My 15 lb packers get trimmed down a few pounds and usually cook in about 12 hrs at 230-240 degrees. Yes, I wrap in foil at 165 degrees. Bring that thing to an internal temp of about 205-210 degrees and let it stand for at least 30 min to 1 hr. You'll be the talk of the town. Good luck.

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post #8 of 10

Don't cook brisket by either time or temp.  Rather, cook it til it's done.  You'll know that it's done when it passes the poke/probe test.   Take a meat probe and slide it into the thickest parts of the flat.   It should go in and out like a knife through butter.  This might happen at 190, or 195, or 200, or even up at 210.

post #9 of 10

Hey Pookster, I just posted this, take a look and maybe it will be of some help   http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/166136/how-long-to-cook-a-brisket-or-the-misconception-of-the-1-to-1-5-hour-rule



post #10 of 10
Good stuff Gary. Thanks for sharing.

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