Hi everyone. Today I enjoyed my first ever solo brisket smoke and I used Lumberjack 100% Mesquite pellets!!!! As I've said before, I'm not sure why anyone would smoke beef with anything but Mesquite... at least when it comes to pellets :)
First the Qview and then the write up. Also, I barely managed to get these pics snapped before the brisket was assaulted hahaha so maybe next time I will have more sliced pics :)
About 8 pounds of brisket
The point slices that I could snap before they were gone hahaha
Flat slices below
The quick facts:
- Pre Trimmed Brisket Weight: 12.5 pound Choice left hand side brisket
- Post Trim Weight: approximately 8 pounds; 3 pounds of fat removed and about 1.5 pounds of meat trimmed to square up brisket
- Smoker Temp: 275F
- Total Cook Time: 10hrs 54 min to an IT of 205-206F in the thickest part of the brisket (point/flat area)
- Smoke Applied for: 8hrs 36 min, via AMNPS (filled 2 rows to, this burned slowly)
- Wood Used for Smoke: Lumberjack 100% Mesquite Pellets
- Seasoning: kosher Salt, coarse Black Pepper, dehydrated Onion, and granulated Garlic
To do my first solo smoked brisket as well as using 100% Mesquite pellets and seeing how long smoke could be applied while also following Franklin's BBQ's recommended trim/prep of the brisket.
I've been a part of many brisket smokes but I've never done one all by myself from beginning to end. I've also never seen or done the Franklin's BBQ recommended trim prep for a brisket so I was going to try and to learn how that is done. Finally, it is damn near impossible to find accurate information on smoking a brisket with Mesquite much less 100% Mesquite pellets. I wanted to discover how long I can smoke with the 100% Mesquite pellets and just generally learn as much as I could because information is scarce when it comes to the use of the pellets.
- I followed Franklin's BBQ brisket trimming process from the Franklin's book
- I seasoned well with SPOG which is my go to seasoning for just about any meat
- I created my double/triple foil wrap and foil pan setup so that I could easily transfer and wrap the brisket when I was done with applying smoke
- I put a rack (which was too small) on the pan and the brisket on the rack. I had to finagle the brisket onto the rack so it would would sit acceptably on the rack
The cook was pretty straight forward. I inserted 3 probes into the brisket.
1 into the thickest part which was the Point/Flat area
2 into the fattest part of the flat just on the edge of the Point/flat area
3 into the middle of the flat from the middle of the flat end with the tip of the probe pointing towards the point side of the brisket
- The plan was to cook the brisket to an IT of 203F and then probe it for tenderness. Well my phone app probe alarms didn't to off until it hit 205F and 206F so I went a little over my desired mark but it probed tender so no big deal.
- I applied smoke until it had clearly exited the stall which was not a super stubborn stall but more like a snail paced creep through the stall. Smoke was applied for 8hrs 36min. The stall was clearly over at 171-173F so that was when I foiled. Yes this was 8hrs 36min of 100% Mesquite smoke!!!
- The 100% Mesquite pellets pout out the thinnest TBS I have seen to date. Boy is it clean and flavorful! None of this "too strong" stuff that people often bring up when stick burning Mesquite wood for their smoke. The pellets and the AMNPS make this Mesquite smoke heaven!!!!!
- I then wrapped with the foil which contained all drippings. This was a triple foil wrap.
- After pulling the fully foiled and panned brisket from the smoker I wrapped in 3 bath towels and rested on the counter for a little over 2 hours
- I sliced and we ate :)
- The Brisket had extremely good aspects and some areas I can improve upon
- This brisket had Bark, Burnt Ends, Braised pieces, some dry'ish flat, perfectly juicy flat, and the most amazing flavorful and juicy point of any brisket I've ever eaten!
- Bark - I'm not some super bark loving maniac or anything but I like some bark and this brisket had good bark (to me) especially for an electric smoker cook
- Burnt Ends - well the skinniest portion of the flat at the very end of the brisket for about 1.5 inches was burnt end crispy. This was not on purpose but seemed inevitable for the way way I cooked going so long before wrapping. I knew the flat end on that side was a bit thin and in the future I may just trim that bit off and throw it in the pan under the brisket to braise in the juices. I'm not much of a burnt end guy but I'm glad it turned out well for the people here who go crazy for burnt ends.
- Braised Pieces - when trimming the Franklin's way it seems that in squaring up the brisket you will cut away perfectly good brisket meat. Well I took this meat and any good meat from fat removal sections, balled it up, and laid it in the pan under the brisket so it could braise in the juices. This was a great call and that meat turned out as braised goodness!
- Dry'ish Flat Pieces - for about 1.5 nch after the burnt end section of the flat was a dry'ish/lean'ish bit of the flat. This was desired by a person who is all about not having the fat and they loved it but it's not something I would intentionally want on my future briskets but may not be able to avoid if I want that thin end of the flat to go burnt end.
- Pefect Juicy Flat - after the dry'ish flat section it became juicy flat heaven. I would love to be able to have this throughout the entire flat but what can you do if you have a skinny end that is going to dry up on yo u a bit
- Amazing Point - WOW! The point was so good that when I had a piece wrapped in bread with a touch of homemade BBQ sauce on it my brain was fooled into thinking there was some kind of cheese or butter or some savory rich spread in there! I was blown away and this is the reason the brisket is the King of smoked meats... at least in TX :)
- The color and look was exactly what I was hoping for and I am glad because I wasn't sure how the electric smoker would do in this area and was part of the reason I went as long as I did before wrapping in foil
- The flavor was amazing! The Mesquite smoke was not overpowering at all (see lessons learned section as to why) and gave such wonderful spicy and robust flavor. The seasoning flavor was out of this world and had great yet simple character that SPOG always seems impart and always seems to amaze myself and others. People couldn't believe it was just SPOG.
- In all it was a great outcome and there are some areas I think I can improve upon to go from an A- to an A+ brisket in my mind
- I will look for briskets that have a thicker flat so the very end of the flat doesn't automatically turn into burnt ends
- I will likely wrap earlier to try and prevent burnt ends and reduce any dryness in the flat
- I learned that the thickest part of the brisket is where I will want to stick my probe(s) and make my temp based decisions off of. This isn't really covered well in posts or information about IT on a brisket and I see lots of posts where people are probing all over the place
- Probing/poking/checking the brisket for tenderness is THE way to determine doneness and I used the IT to guide when I would check
- I will set my Android Probe alarms app to go off about 3-4 degrees below the IT I want since it seems to have a delay in checking temp and doesn't go off immediately when the alarm temp is exceeded
- I will likely foil somewhere below the 173F mark that I foiled at this time around. I just wanted to ensure the stall was really done AND I was busy sleeping and being lazy hahaha
- *****Lumberjack 100% Mesquite pellets produce the most amazing and thin TBS I have seen from any pellet. You seriously could hardly see it coming out of the smoke vent. I set the AMNPS on the ground and after rising about 2 feet the smoke became invisible!!!!
- *****Lumberjack 100% Mesquite pellets in the AMNPS seem to not really suffer from the overpowering issue/situation most people run across when stick/chunk burning Mesquite. I applied smoke for over 8 hours and it was heaven!!!! No sign of over smoking what so ever!!! From my experience assisting stick burners using mesquite they always seemed to produce thick smoke and not much TBS with mesquite. I also did some reading/research I found a trend where people almost always produce or discuss the "heavy/thick/white" smoke that comes from Mesquite. I think they are simply having problems producing TBS with the hot burning wood and that leads to the overpowering smoke flavor
- *****Lumberjack 100% Mesquite pellets in the AMNPS burned for quite a while and just worked flawlessly so do NOT be afraid of 100% Mesquite pellets!!!!!! There is very little info out there regarding people's experience with 100% Mesquite pellets or reports on how they behaved. I hope this post helps people out with my experience on the brisket and I also had a similar great experience in the past using the pellets with a Chuck Roast I smoked
- My roasting rack plus pan situation must be improved for Brisket smoking hahaha. My rack is not long enough and the same goes for my costco foil pans. The brisket wanted to take up all the space of the rack while leaving NO space between the meat and the pan to allow smoke to get under the brisket. I had to arch the ends of the brisket up and hold them in place with some wooden skewers to avoid this situation hahaha. So yeah I need a better setup :)
- Throwing the trimmed meat chunks in the pan to braise in the juices was a fantastic idea! I don't like the idea of throwing out good meat or having to figure out what to do with like 1-1.5 pounds of brisket chunks.
- Three (3) pounds of fat was trimmed!!!!! Man I did not expect that but that is how it turned out. My family members either do ZERO trimming or they do the smoke first and "trim" later approach. I like the trim first approach so I can vac seal beef fat later for making things like my Venison Pastrami Loaf :D
- The Franklin's approach to trimming seems solid and having a use for the removed fat is a bonus as well as throwing the trimmed meat sections to braise makes for a nice bonus. You could also do burnt ends with those pieces if you just set them aside and add them to the smoker later towards the end of the smoke :)
- Cooking/Smoking at 275F is no issue and produces great brisket just as many many many people here and around the world report
- If you can manage 100% Mesquite wood or preferrebly pellets in an AMNPS for smoking beef I would never go any other wood for these big hearty beef cuts. In my mind Mesquite + big beef = best beef smoke flavor achievable!
- My heavily moded MES40 just tackled Brisket so I am 100% positive it can tackle any smoked meat job out there!!!! I feel unstoppable!!
Phew, that was a lot of lessons learned but I hope it helps people out, especially when it comes to many things involving 100% Mesquite smoke with pellets and the AMNPS!
In all I am very pleased and very excited to see how well I can work to perfect my Brisket smoking. In my mind I just eliminate unintentional burnt ends and some dryness in the end of thin flats and I'm in business. I think I will improve thinigs if I just choose better Brisket cuts, foil earlier, and if need be bite the bullet and trim the thin end of the flat so a greater thickness exists and the end.
As for smoke and seasoning flavor I have that down. For trimming I think I am 90% of the way there and can get better with practice. The shortcomings have been easily identified and I believe the solutions have as well.
If you have made it this far I appreciate your patience and again I hope this info helps you or anyone else out there. Thanks for riding along! :)
Edited by TallBM - 8/15/17 at 9:35pm