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Smoking a 16lb Brisket

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 



We are having a large family Thanksgiving dinner so I bought a 16lb brisket to feed everybody. I have never cooked a brisket this size. We usually have smaller gatherings and I usually cook a 10lb brisket but everybody wanted brisket so I'm going to attempt to do this.  This is how I do my 10lb briskets which everybody really likes. I just want to make sure I'm doing it right because their is going to be a lot of people here. I have a 1520 Charbroil offset smoker. I am using charcoal and apple wood chunks to smoke my brisket. I figure it's going to take 24 hours then another 4 in the cooler.  I usually put my rub on 24 hours before and put it in the fridge then I separate it at the flat and the point and cut off that piece of fat in their. I usually cook it fat side up and pull it at 195. My question is does anybody have any suggestions to help speed up the cooking time. I know people that wrap it in foil after 6 hours and put it in the oven. How do you & what is the best way to foil? I've never done that but do you think it would shorten the cooking time? If you have any suggestions I would really like your feedback. Hope everybody has a great Thanksgiving.

This is what my last brisket looked like with my smoker:  https://goo.gl/photos/XZZDJ9L6bGHPi3GU6



Edited by BlueViper - 11/21/15 at 5:13pm
post #2 of 6

I don't think it will take 24 hours to smoke, especially if you are splitting the point from the flat. 


I have smoked 16-17 lb. briskets and it usually only takes 12-13 hours, and I smoke them whole. What temp is your cook chamber? You can raise the chamber temp to 250-275 without drying out the brisket. The important thing is that the internal temp gets up to 195-205.


Many people wrap in foil about half way through the cook or once it gets to 165-170. Other peolle use butcher paper. And still others will leave it unwrapped. It's all up to you. It will cook a little faster in foil as the juices will braise it. 

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

I try to keep my chamber temperature at 220-225 (doesn't always work out that way but...)  I've never really cooked a brisket with the temperature above that. I was always afraid it would dry the brisket out. I have never split the point from the flat before I have a friend who always does ( he is very experienced. He smokes meat everyday with a huge smoker, and sells it outside the grocery store) it and he said it cooks faster. I am not that experienced I've smoked about 15 briskets in my lifetime.  I was just going to take the fat between the 2 out and not completely split it apart. Do you think it's a good thing to do it this way? I was really just trying to find the best way to smoke that big of a brisket using just charcoal & apple chunks.I've never foiled one before either I'm not against it I've just never done it. What do you think about foiling? I've never foiled before how would you do it and what would be the best way? I've not really had one come out dry they've always been moist with a good smoke ring I just didn't want this to be my 1st one at Thanksgiving with all my family who are looking forward to having the brisket :biggrin: If you have any advice or suggestions I would really appreciate your help.

Edited by BlueViper - 11/21/15 at 5:15pm
post #4 of 6

At 16 lbs, if you trim some of the hard fat off, I think you will end up somewhere around 14 lbs total. That's not that big of a brisket. 


Myself I would leave it whole. If you separate the flat and point, then you definitely don't want to cook it for 24 hours. Probably 8 or 10. 


I always foil about 5 or 6 hours into my smoke depending on how big it is and put it back in the smoker for the rest of the time. I'm going to try the butcher paper if I can find it this week. I use hickory, and spritz the brisket with apple juice while smoking every hour or so to help keep it moist. But I have used apple wood and it is good also. 


I used to try to keep the smoker temps at about 225. But the older I get, the lazier I get and after reading a bunch and watching a bunch of videos and talking to people that run barbecue restaurants, I think 250-275 is a better temp range. If you leave the fat on the brisket then you need to get the temps up a little more to get the fat to render out and keep the brisket moist during the cook. 


There's a big Mega-Brisket thread here, check it out.




I stand by my recommendation that 12 to 14 hours at 250 will be fine. No need for a 24 hours long smoke. 

post #5 of 6

Im with JC Bigler on the getting older and wiser part!

Low and slow seems to be described as starting around the 225 degree range  range or higher and I have found that I get just as good results with no matter what I'm smoking if I just insure that it is anywhere from the 225 to 260 range! I usually have the best luck keeping the temps in  the 240 to 250 range and if I over feed the fire box then I can adjust it with my damper somewhat and a temporary temp of as much as 280 or 290 is fine with me! The advice is to get an internal temp around 195 -  200 degrees but have found perfection for my taste at 205 but would settle for 195 if I was ready to get the smoke done. 

 I would think that as long as you have a reliable meat thermometer you should get along fine with some higher temps and that will hasten the smoke process some what. Its the stall  when I have to show patience and not try to hurry it with more fuel.  

post #6 of 6

My humble opinion..... they way you smoke depends upon your equipment. Firebreathers smoke normally at a higher temp, they offset the hightemp dryness by moping, spritzing and saucing. Its my favorite way. Its just a different taste using wood with coal or just wood.


But many come here as old firebreathers wanting to gain knowledge about electrics which maintain a more exact temp while maintaining better moisture.


Both smoke great meat when used by an experienced smoker.


Advantages/Disadvantages to splitting the point from the flat. Much easier temperature maintance when split with the meat due to the more even thickness of the meat. You are less likely to have dry corners on the thin pieces of the flat. Personally I think the fat is a total benefit, my normal style of smoking I will remove excess fat after the brisket is cooks. it protects the meat while cooking, but yes it does extend the cooking time. I don't split also because ...... I prefer sliced brisket to burnt ends. Its just me I know.


The best briskets I ever ate, were cooked at 265 degrees, wrapped in brown paper, w/ I never found out his liquid. He could put out outstanding brisket in 6 to 8 hours and never missed. I can't do that.


What I am saying is there are as many ways to smoke a brisket as there are people on this forum. No one is the most perfect. What you are wanting to learn is which one best suits you, your smoking style, and delivers that superior food you want to share with others. Its lates along time to get it down. Much less though now with the advent of remote thermo-sensing devices.


Don't try and rush a smoke, if you will remember that you really can't mess up. Enjoy the smells the cool air, the comradery, and the day off from honey dos.


I suggest you search thru the treads and see if you find one that is most similar to how you wish to smoke it. don't try and use the time from one, the prep from another, the temp from another, etc etc... find one and try it there way. Most here are proud to answer questions about their smokes.


Good luck with your smoke, and remember that patience will solve nearly every problem you'll imagine you have.

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