My first post on this forum about my second attempt at brisket on my Traeger. The first one was a small 3.5 pound flat I found at Walmart that worked out pretty well - not as tender as I would've liked, but very tasty. This time I bought the a 5.5 pound USDA Choice hunk of flat (HOF) from a well known San Diego meat shop. I tried to use the knowledge I gathered from reading through posts on this site and a few others. I combined a lot of ideas and tried to use good sense for the cook. Here's an account of how it went.
I trimmed a little more off the fat cap – I left about 1/4 inch of fat on the cap side and seasoned the meat with Stubbs. I wrapped it in plastic and butcher paper and put it in the refrigerator.
On Christmas morning, I was up at 5am. With my LED headlight strapped on, I filled the hopper on the Traeger with hickory wood pellets from Pacific Pellets and fired up the smoker/grill. It was dark-thirty out and the moon was setting in the western sky. It was cold and windy with moisture in the air.
I put the HOF on the grill to start the cook at 5:30am with the grill preheated to 200 degrees. I went back to bed but couldn’t sleep. I got back up at 6am and went outside to check the smoker. I left it on the smoke setting which usually keeps the pit up around 200 degrees. The combination of five pounds of cold meat and the strong wind had the pit temperature stuck at 135 degrees. I changed the setting from smoke – which feeds pellets based on a timer instead of the temperature probe – to 180 degrees. This activated the signal from the temperature probe. A half hour later the pit temperature only rose to about 160 degrees. The ambient temperature was in the high 50s with sustained 20mph wind. I turned the grill up to 225 degrees.
I spritzed the meat a couple of times with a sprayer filled with 12 ounces of beer mixed with 3 ounces of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. At 9:30am I checked the internal temperature of the meat with an instant-read thermometer. It was nearly 170 degrees. I took the HOF off the grill and double wrapped it tightly in foil, spritzing it generously before I closed up the foil and put it back in the smoker/grill. I let it cook for another four and half hours, checking it again just after 2pm. I think my instant-read thermometer reads a little high. I’ll have to check it in boiling water. It showed the internal temperature of the thickest part of the brisket at 210 degrees. This was a little higher than I expected. The temperature probe slid easily into the meat in several places.
I took the brisket off the grill. With it still wrapped in foil, I rolled a towel around it and put a second towel over it. I stored it in the microwave oven to keep it in an airtight, confined space so it would rest and slowly cool.
Two hours later I unwrapped the brisket. It was still steaming hot!
The brisket was a hit at the potluck!
Edit: I checked my instant read thermometer by immersing it in a pot of boiling water. It read 213.8 degrees, so I guess it's pretty close.