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20lb brisket questions

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Been lurking here for a while but finally became a member because I have a few questions about a 20 lb packer that I picked up.


Local supermarket had untrimmed packers for $1.69 per pound so I just grabbed the first one that was the most flexible.  I didn't really think about the size of it at the time.  I am currently thawing it in the fridge (had to remove 2 shelves to get it to even fit in there) and I'm starting to realize that this sucker may be a little too large for what I need.  Especially for my first brisket...


I am planning on smoking it on my small pellet grill.  It will fit lengthwise, but I'm not sure about the 24+ hour smoke time.  Don't want to tend to it all night to make sure it doesn't run out of pellets.  Was hoping for a total cook time of 12-14 hrs.


So what is my best option?  

Separate the point and flat before cooking? Is there an average weight for each piece (70/30)?

Can I cut 3-5 lbs off the end of the flat to reduce weight and then separate point at 165*?


I plan on using the point for burnt ends.


Thanks in advance.  

post #2 of 4

Cutting some of the flat off won't reduce cooking time, so if it will fit in your smoker, just roll with it. Top-off your pellet hopper once it's running how you like to see it and catch a nap for a few hours...check/top-off your fuel, check chamber temp, etc and catch another nap. Unless you don't like frozen/reheated meats cook it whole, do your burnt ends and enjoy the experience of it all. If frozen/reheated isn't your thing, then I'd cut it in half, but your smoke time really won't be much different, and that is because of the sectional density or thickness of the meat...foot-print size isn't as much of a factor. Pre-smoke separation of the point and flat is an option, however it changes things a lot...tapering thicknesses in the meat creates overcooking in the thinner areas...it complicates things, and if you're not prepared for it, you may not be pleased with the end result. For a first run especially, I'd say keep it simple...smoke it whole, and definitely yes to burnt ends...they're a great treat!!!


Again, enjoy the experience of smoking your brisket...it is an accomplishment to take pride in.





BTW, you got a steal at that price...no beef under $4/lb around here, and brisket is up to $6 depending on the retailer.


Oh, and welcome to the SMF family!!!

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the help.  I went for it and it turned out great!


After trimming, it turned out to be closer to 16-17 lbs.  It had about 1/4" on each side inside the smoker.


Started it at 10:30 on saturday and it hit 200* at 11 Sunday morning.  I'm guessing my smoker was a little higher than 225*. 


The burnt ends went back on for another 3 hours along with some beans.  They were both amazing!


Wish I would have bought a couple more briskets at that price. I didn't realize that was such a steal at the time.

post #4 of 4

Way to go!!! If you nailed the first one down pretty good, the rest get easier and better. Yeah, meat prices are pretty rough, lately...at least around here. Beef, mostly...pork and poultry isn't that bad, yet. Grab what you can when the price is decent, and stock up.




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