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Doing a beef brisket for the first time

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Greetings and its been awhile!!  I had some questions in regards to doing my first beef brisket since I have never done one before..  I was asked to smoke some BBQ for a huge party (around 30) and I decided it would be great to use the WSM 22 so I had planned a 20 hour gap between the time the party started and when the meat would be ready.  In my WSM I am smoking 2 boston butts around 6-8lbs on the first rack and I wanted to do something different so I decided to try beef brisket on the top rack.  Per my research its best to hit 195-200 internal temp because it becomes tender.  

 

However, I was curious:

Should the brisket be wrapped like the butts?

Is there a spike point or hover point with brisket like butts?

Do you sprits (I usually do every two hours)?

When is a good rest time for the brisket (I had scheduled 2 hours for my butts wrapped in foil and blankets)?

What is the average time for lb. (For my butts I average 2 hours a lb.)?

post #2 of 6

Should the brisket be wrapped like the butts?

Lot of different opinions around the smoking community.  Most people wrap.  I wrap with butcher paper because I think it keeps the bark more firm vs. foil.  And I usually wrap once it hits 165-170 degrees, or when I think the bark is solid.  There is nothing really wrong with foil either though... I just like the butcher paper and it seems to work for me.  

Is there a spike point or hover point with brisket like butts?

Yes, typically.  Some meats will stall at different temps.  For the most part, I notice a stall anywhere between 150-170 and again when it is in the 180s.

Do you sprits (I usually do every two hours)?

I used to spritz but got tired of opening the door.  I now use a water pan that sits right under my cooking grate and just refill the water about every 4 hours (which means I open the door half as much vs. spritzing)

When is a good rest time for the brisket (I had scheduled 2 hours for my butts wrapped in foil and blankets)?

I will pull the brisket off right around 200ish degrees and let it rest for at least 45 minutes in foil/blankets in a cooler.  I once let it rest for 4.5 hours and it was still piping hot but got a little overdone... (by that I mean it was pulled brisket as opposed to sliced).

What is the average time for lb. (For my butts I average 2 hours a lb.)?

I cook my briskets at around 275 degrees and can expect them to go about ~1 hour per pound.  Could cook a little longer.  If you cook at 225 degrees expect at least 1.5 hours per pound.  

post #3 of 6

Brisket on the 22.5" WSM is fairly easy - main thing is leave it alone and don't rush it.

 

1) To foil or not to foil: depends on if you like bark or not. I used to foil, but now mostly do unfoiled. Since the butts will finish first I would cook them on the top rack and put the brisket on the bottom. This will give you the added benefit of basting the brisket for you as they cook - don't worry the brisket will still taste like beef.

 

2) Brisket will stall, I usually cook full packers (13-15 lbs) and 90% of the time they take 16-18 hrs. of cook time. But I have had one go as long as 20 hrs.

 

3) Don't spritz! Every time you open up your smoker you add approx. 10 minutes to your cook time - that adds up fast! Close the lid and leave it alone as much as possible. I usually only open my WSM to add wood chunks. Definately fill the water pan!

 

4) Rest for 1 hour minimum.... longer is better, I usually go for 2 hrs. Wrap in double layer of foil, then place in a dry towel lined cooler, fill rest of cooler with more towels - it will stay hot for 6+ hours that way without any issues. So better to finish early and rest a long time than finish late and not have enough rest time.

 

5) I usually cook brisket and pork butt at 250°, a rough rule of thumb is 1.5 hrs. per. lb., but every piece of meat is different and usually the 1.5 is a bit on the generous side. Your 20 hr. window should be good for cooking time and a couple of hours of resting time. If your brisket hits 190° internal and you still have over 4 hrs. to serving time I would pull it at 190° and keep it hot in the cooler for the rest of time. It will still do a little cooking, but by pulling it at 190° it won't get mushy on you from sitting in the cooler for so long. Same with the pork butts.

 

I usually start my briskets and butts at about midnight if we are doing them for dinner between 4 & 6 the next day. I have a welding blanket I wrap my WSM in so it doesn't have any issues with overnight temps or wind. Once I have the meat on I usually go to bed till about 6:00 AM, then check it when I get up. After that I just let it cruise till it's done and ready to rest.

post #4 of 6

The info above is accurate but I will add, if you plan to Foil Rest the Brisket any longer than 30-60 minutes, pull at an IT of 185-190°. All the time spent over 160°F will continue to breakdown Collagen. You can expect a min of a 10° rise from carryover and with them toasty Butts snuggling the Brisket you will have Pulled Beef with in a couple of hours...JJ

post #5 of 6

Yep! Keep your lid shut and tend the fuel and smoke color and . . .

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post
 

The info above is accurate but I will add, if you plan to Foil Rest the Brisket any longer than 30-60 minutes, pull at an IT of 185-190°. All the time spent over 160°F will continue to breakdown Collagen. You can expect a min of a 10° rise from carryover and with them toasty Butts snuggling the Brisket you will have Pulled Beef with in a couple of hours...JJ


Good catch JJ, I forgot about the butts keeping it extra toasty in the cooler.

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