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Brisket Help,My First Brisket!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

i wanted to start off with a small brisket, but my butcher only sold the a whole packer brisket (19 Lbs). I'm not sure how long this is going to take. i have a 30" master built electric smoker. i obviusly need to cut the brisket in half cause it won't fit on one rack, so should i separate the point from the flat, or just cut it in half? From what i read from other threads i plan on trimming off most of the fat, applying a rub, and injecting it. I'm going to mop it every Hr or so and cook it fat side down. it seem like pulling the brisket at 165*, foiling it, continue to smoke until the IT reaches 195-200, and pull it and let it rest in a cooler.  


How long do you think it will take to cook this beast? Any recomendations on a injection? and does this method seem like it will produce a good juicy brisket cause i don't feel like throwing away a $90 on a piece if meat.


Any advice is appreciated!

Thank you! 

post #2 of 13

Hello.  Welcome.  I see this is your first post.  Please take some time and swing over to Roll Call and introduce yourself so that we may give you a proper "Hello".  All info you can provide us with such as smoker type, location and so on will help us answer any questions you may have, and pictures help a bunch.  As for your question: Cut that brisket into 4 pieces unless you are having a party.  Leave the flat and point in tack.  NOW you have 4 trials to smoke a brisket.  MORE smoking time.  Try one salt and pepper.  Rub one.  Inject one. And the other is up to you.  Find what you and your family like and that is the correct way to smoke a brisket.  Be sure to post picts.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!


post #3 of 13


I think Danny has you on a good track for a fast smoke. If you want to spend a day and a half hit the search bar and do a low and slow smoke. If you cut the point off of the flat you will cut the time a bout in half. figure 2 hours per pound. If you cut it in smaller pieces figure the time for that piece. 

Now jump over to roll call so we all can give you a proper SMF welcome!

Happy smoken.


post #4 of 13

Yes, you'll need to cut down the size as it definitely won't fit the MES. Total cooking time @ 225* chamber temp would be around 1.5 hrs/lb, depending on elevation, etc. Cutting in half, leaving the bulk of the flat on one piece and bulk of the point on the other, will reduce cooking time for the point somewhat, but not alot. You could push about 240* and reduce the cooking about 15-20%...at the cost of a bit less smoke flavor.


Mopping: every time you open the smoke chamber you lose heat and smoke...this requires additional time for recovery of temps and regain what you lost. I don't mop, just me, but I do prefer the lower 225-235* smoke chamber temps.


Injecting: I don't recommend it due to turning an intact whole muscle meat into a compromised muscle which is recommended to pass through the 40-140* internal temp range in 4 hours...commonly referred to as the 40-140/4hr rule, as described here:



Juiciness of a brisket doesn't seem to be effected that much by injection. Sure you can add to the flavor profile with things that you wouldn't normally want to use in a dry rub, however, if you consider using beef broth as a base for your injection, could you not use beef bullion in your dry rub? Anyway, think about this: the same hole you make with the needle to put the liquid marinade/broth into the meat is the first place the liquid wants to go back out when the meat begins heating up and the muscle fibers start to shrink from cooking. Think of liquid in cooking meats like electricity...it follows the path of least resistance. If the muscle has not been injected, the juices have to spend more time looking for a way to get out...translated as: more juices in the meat when cooked low & slow after reaching finished temp. A muscle full of holes placed into a hot cooker offers little resistance for escaping juices...they find a way out faster, thus less left over when the meat reaches finished temp. Smoke chamber humidity has an effect on this as well...drier means more retained juices due to tightening of the surface fibers of the meat. This is more noticeable with lean-trimmed meats.


Read this when you get some time, but don't worry about it on your first time with a brisket...you can see/eat your results, then discover what you like or didn't like about the outcome, and work on things to make it a little better (we can help you work these things out once you know what you like/dislike based on your result), as every smoker and everyone's preferences will vary.

Wet-to-Dry Smoke Chamber Method


This thread gets right to the chase on brisket with wet-to-dry method:



And, a satisfied follower who used wet-to-dry for a brisket flat:



Fat-cap up or down: I go up, to allow the fat to self-baste the meat as it slowly renders down during cooking.


Finished internal temp: the higher you take the I/T the more tender it should become, but this also increases the risk of a drier finished product. 185* should produce a fairly tender slice...closer to the 195-200* mark will yield a pull-able meat...not easily sliced thin, and can be difficult to slice thick as well. Be sure to probe for tenderness before removing from the smoker to rest...if it probes with slight resistance, it's slicing-tender. If little resistance is felt, it's pull-tender.


Hope this gives you some food for thought and some additional starting points to plan around.


Many will say that brisket is a beast to smoke and smoke well (tender & juicy)...don't fear the brisket...treat it with it's due respect, learn from this (and every) smoke, and continue forward, bringing what you learned to each smoke that follows.




Edited by forluvofsmoke - 11/19/14 at 7:05pm
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

i'm most likely going to follow Danny's advise and cut into smaller pieces, but what do you think about starting it at 7PM @ 225* give it about 3HR of smoke, waking up at 5AM reloading some chips, and take it from there...

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks Forluvofsmoke

post #7 of 13

The biggest thing with brisket is leave it alone. I know that sounds trite and simple, but that is the secret to good brisket.


Put a simple rub on it, go low and slow (220-240), and try not to open the door unless you have to. No peaking, no spritzing, no mopping..... just let your smoker to the work and leave the door shut. Don't rush it - even if it means ordering pizza for dinner - you rush a brisket and you end up with tasty shoe leather.

post #8 of 13

Cutting a packer in half isn't going to noticeably cut down on the cook time.  Even quartering it will have little effect.    Reason for this is that the shortest dimension of the meat is what will determine the cook time (along with chamber temp of course).     Say that an 18lb brisket is 20 inches long, 10 inches across and 3 inches thick.   Cutting it in half will give a 1/2 brisket that is 10 inches long, 10 inches across and still 3 inches thick.   This 1/2 brisket will take roughly the same amount of time to cook as the full brisket since it's thickness hasn't changed.  


X mins per pound only really applies to full, intact cuts.   Reason for this is that as the weight changes, so does the thickness of the piece of meat.   An 18lb packer is going to be longer, wider and most importantly, thicker than a 12lb packer.   The increased thickness is what accounts for the longer cook time.



ElectricSmoke, I wouldn't mop the brisket every hour as doing so is going to seriously increase the cook time.  Two reasons for this.  First, each time you open the door, you lose heat in the cooking chamber and it takes time to recover and bring the temp back up.   Also, mopping tends to cool the meat down unless your mop is hot.   If you want to mop, I'd suggest doing it less frequently.


Also, I'd advise against cooking to a certain specific temp or temp range.   Brisket is done when it's done.  That might be at 190 IT, or it might be at 210 or more.   The way to tell when a brisket is done is by sticking a probe into a couple of spots at the thickest part of the flat and when it goes in and draws out like a knife through butter, the brisket is ready.   I start poking mine around 190 or so. 



Good luck with the smoke !! 

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Where should i be checking the IT? And is it possible i will have to pull the thinner part before the thicker end?
post #10 of 13
Originally Posted by ElectricSmoke View Post



Check the IT and the tenderness on the thickest part of the flat as it's the slowest to break down. 

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

But if i wait for the thickest part to have the correct IT and tenderness won't the thinnest part be overcooked/dry?

post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by ElectricSmoke View Post

But if i wait for the thickest part to have the correct IT and tenderness won't the thinnest part be overcooked/dry?


Happy smoken.


post #13 of 13

Your biggest enemy will be yourself... how , by being nosey and looking at it... put a probe therm. in it and set back.:beercheer:


Have fun and . . .

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