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First brisket, i got a few questions...

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I havent been smoking for long but i got my smoker in february and have been smoking alot since then. Ive done ribs, prime rib, chicken thighs, chicken wings, burgers and a pork shoulder. Ive had success the majority of the time but i have a 15lb brisket im gonna smoke for saturday and ive got some questions.

Theres alot of info on this site which has been helpful but i thought it might be easier if i just asked some direct questions with specifics.

Ill start off with what ive got and what im using and doing before i ask my questions...

I have a 40" propane masterbuilt sportsman elite. I also have a maverick 733 thermometer. I will be smoking it at a temp of around 235-240. I also will be using either a mix of hickory/cherry or hickory/pecan. I know a rule of thumb is an hour and a half per pound so for a 15lber thats about 23 hours so i will be throwing it on around 530-600pm on friday after work (trying to eat like 430-500pm on saturday). I havent decided on what rub im gonna use yet but i have a few to choose from.

So now some questions...

Is 235-240 a good temp to maintain?

If i do maintain those temps is my timing right? About 22.5 to 23 hours? I know all cuts of meat are different and take different times but will it be close to that time? Im cooking for a buncha people and am just trying to plan accordingly.

I also plan on wrapping it...what IT should i wrap it at? Should i wrap it in tinfoil completely or leave the top open a bit? Should i put it in a tinfoil pan, add beef broth and then cover it with foil?
Also after wrapping it do i maintain the same temps or go higher for the rest of the cook?

How much time does wrapping it cut down on the cooking time approximately? If i wrap whats my average cooking time looking like?

My last question is what IT do i want to pull it out of the smoker at?

I know these questions get asked all the time but im really not trying to screw up this large piece of beef and then have to serve people backup hot dogs or something haha.

Also any advice that isnt related to my questions is very welcome. You guys on this site are great, my pork shoulder came out awesome when i asked advice so im coming to you guys again.
post #2 of 15

I'll attempt to answer these questions, but just remember there are different opinions on some of these.

 

235-240 is a fine temp to maintain.  General advice is 225-250 so you are right in the middle.

 

As far as time per pound, for me it is closer to an hour a pound.  Higher you are on the temp, the shorter the cooking time.  I tend to split my briskets in half, don't know if anyone else does, but a 13lb brisket would have two pieces each at 6 to 7 lbs.  My cooking time usually comes out 7 to 8 hours (plus rest) but had one go 12 hours.  Difficult to plan cooking time around company, but you can rest it a little longer if need be. 

 

Wrapping IT usually 160 to 165 degrees.  Wrap completely and maintain same temp.  You can experiment with a foil pan and extra juice but not required if your brisket has fat on it.  I would say wrapping saves me about an hour, but I mainly do it to try to hold moisture in and be more tender.

 

Temperature it is done generally 190 to 205.  I like my meat more on the well done side so go on the upper end of the scale, others pull off the heat right at 190.  Many recommend probing for tenderness.

 

What has helped my brisket the most has been resting it an hour or two, wrapped in foil and put in a cooler.  You can stretch this to 4 hours and possibly more if you need to time it for dinner.  Use to think resting was a waste of time but mine has been more tender since I've done that. 

 

Good luck with your smoke

post #3 of 15

So now some questions...

Is 235-240 a good temp to maintain? That temp is fine I usually go for 225-230

If i do maintain those temps is my timing right? About 22.5 to 23 hours? The last two I did went right at 14 hours. I have never had one go 22hrs.


I also plan on wrapping it...what IT should i wrap it at? I usually don't wrap, it will power it's way through the stall without it, as long as you have the time. Should i wrap it in tinfoil completely or leave the top open a bit? If you wrap it you should wrap it completely, Wrapping softens the bark and I don't care for that personally. Should i put it in a tinfoil pan, add beef broth and then cover it with foil? This is certainly an option and a personal preference decision.
Also after wrapping it do i maintain the same temps or go higher for the rest of the cook? same temps

My last question is what IT do i want to pull it out of the smoker at? I usually pull mine in-between 190 and 195.

 

I don't recall you mentioning trimming the fat cap down. I recommend that so when you are done smoking the fat you left has rendered itself gone or just a thin layer left. Most people don't want a big glob of fat on the end of their cut of brisket.

 

Good luck and enjoy.
 

post #4 of 15

All of the above is PERFECT information!

 

I will add this about "resting" the brisket.  Wrap it in foil tightly, wrap it in as many blankets or towels as you can that will still fit into an empty ice chest, place it in the ice chest and allow it to "rest" for a minimum of a couple of hours if you possibly can.  I have a good ice chest and an old wool Army blanket that I use for this purpose.  2-4 hours is a great target.  Resting plays a big part in a moist brisket.

 

I placed a 190° brisket into the blanket and ice chest at 10:30 PM and didn't look at it again until 7:00 the next morning.  It was still hot and most of the juice had reconstituted back into the brisket.  Now, that is an extreme rest for sure, but we wanted to know just how long it could go and still be hot.  

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrankyBuzzard View Post
 

All of the above is PERFECT information!

 

...I placed a 190° brisket into the blanket and ice chest at 10:30 PM and didn't look at it again until 7:00 the next morning.  It was still hot and most of the juice had reconstituted back into the brisket.  Now, that is an extreme rest for sure, but we wanted to know just how long it could go and still be hot.  

 

I just did that with a couple of pork butts, and the results were the same. Still hot the next morning.

 

I have had briskets go up to 25 hours before. Every one is different. Best to leave plenty of time before the dinner. You can always use any extra time in the "resting" stage.

post #6 of 15

That's really surprising you can rest a brisket (or pork butt) all night and still be hot.  Probably has a lot to do with wrapping it in that wool blanket.  I've rested a brisket wrapped in foil for 4 hours in a cheap cooler, it was still pretty warm, but I wouldn't call it hot.

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggie94 View Post
 

That's really surprising you can rest a brisket (or pork butt) all night and still be hot.  Probably has a lot to do with wrapping it in that wool blanket.  I've rested a brisket wrapped in foil for 4 hours in a cheap cooler, it was still pretty warm, but I wouldn't call it hot.

 

really depends on the R value (insulation) of the cooler.   For example, your cheapy cooler might hold ice for 1 day while a Yeti will hold the same ice for 5+ days.    Same thing applies for keeping things hot. 

post #8 of 15

Makes sense Demos, and I guess that's why those Yeti coolers are so expensive!

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggie94 View Post
 

Makes sense Demos, and I guess that's why those Yeti coolers are so expensive!

 

 

Yeppers.  When you throw a wrapped brisket into a cooler, it gives off heat and warms the air trapped in the cooler.  As the air cools down, it saps heat from the brisket and the brisket cools down as well.  The better insulated the cooler, the slower the cooling process of the air inside as well as the brisket.

 

 

 

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demosthenes9 View Post
 

 

really depends on the R value (insulation) of the cooler.   For example, your cheapy cooler might hold ice for 1 day while a Yeti will hold the same ice for 5+ days.    Same thing applies for keeping things hot. 

Yup, what he said.  The ice chest I use will supposedly hold ice for 5 days, not a Yeti, but a good one.  Also, when I rest a brisket (butts, etc), I do so inside of the house where the temp is stable.  If you leave it outside, temperatures can fluctuate.

 

I'll bet we are giving the OP a headache about now...  :icon_eek:

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you to all the guys who responded...it was very helpful...im torn on whether or not i should wrap it when it hits 165. Im gonna fire up the smoker in about 2 hours to throw this thing on. I trimmed off all the hard thick fat and rubbed it down last night.

What you guys think...should i wrap it or not? Does wrapping it make it alot more tender? What way do u guys like better? Whats the better way for a first timer?
post #12 of 15

I wrap with butcher paper at the 160°-165° mark, mainly because I think it helps keep the meat moister, doesn't completely soften the bark, and because bbq legend Aaron Franklin recommends it. If all you have is foil, that's okay too, but the bark will not harden at all. It won't effect the flavor, just the texture of the bark.

post #13 of 15

Like Mneelley said, Franklin wraps in butcher paper and it works for him.  Butcher paper is sorta the inbetween on wrapping, holds more moisture than nothing, but less than foil.  Some people cook it with the foil on for the last half of the cook and then unwrap it completely for a half hour to firm up the bark.  Let us what you end up doing and how it works out for you.

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
I will take some pics and let u all know how it goes
post #15 of 15

I didn't really answer your question.  I vote wrap, for me it has help turn out a tender brisket.  You've probably heard wrapping in foil is called the "Texas Crutch", maybe so but considering the bad brisket I was ending up with it is a crutch I'll use till I get good enough to not need it.

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