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Brisket in Old Smokey

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I just assembled my new electric Old Smokey and plan to use it for the first time on Xmas day by making a brisket. I am very well aware that brisket is probably the most difficult meat to begin my smoking career with, but I am up to the challenge. I also realize that electric smokers may not be the "old school purist" way to go, but I chose this model based on a variety of factors (mainly because I'm a beginner) so replies encouraging me to return this for a charcoal model are not encouraged.

All that being said, based on a multitude of research on-line and through BBQ enthusiast friends, I have decided to proceed according to the following set of bullet points. But like I said, I'm just beginning and very impressionable. So should any of you have any expert advice for me on any of the below mentioned points it would be greatly appreciated!

* I don't have any true butcher shops near me, but some great supermarkets that have butchers in the meat section that are very helpful and accomodating. My plan is to obtain a completely UNTRIMMED BRISKET from them?

* Even though I am only feeding 4 people, I plan to buy a 10 lb. brisket as I understand it will shrink in half and I plan to trim all the fat off after I cook it?

* I plan to use a dry rub, either store bought or by hand (from an on-line recipe). I have heard that it may be wise to mop the meat with a thin coat of regular MUSTARD before applying the rub. I guess it tenderizes the meat and may also help the rub adhere to the meat?

* I plan to cook with the fat side UP to make sure the meat is basting itself throughout the cooking process, right?

* My plan is NOT to add any water to the drip pan, as this model is completely electronically temperature controlled and, with no ventilation at all, is supposed to maintain a great deal of moisture inside?

* I plan to cook the meat at 220 degrees and keep an internal thermometer in the meat and stop cooking and serve when it reaches an internal temperature of about 185 degrees? I have no idea how long this will take. 8 to 10 hours?

* The smoker came with wood CHIPS. I have read that chunks are better, but I'm tempted to use these chips they gave me. I am also very cautious about oversmoking my first time out, so I plan to use less than more....yet I still have no idea how much to use. I'm thinking...a handful?

* I may open the lid once just to check things out, but I do not plan on basting the meat at all and just letting it cook without touching it till it's ready to eat, so as not to mess with the temperature and circulating smoke inside the unit?

* I do NOT plan to use aluminum foil AT ALL in the process.

* I do NOT plan to use towels and a cooler AT ALL in the process.

* I am no expert trimmer, but I plan to slice off most of the fat after the meat is done. First I'll trim the top layer of fat off and then I understand that the two pieces of meat of the brisket are connected by another layer of fat that needs to be disconnected so that the meat grans can be alinged for proper slicing across the grain?

I think that's about it. As you can see, there are plenty of question marks. I know it's somewhat last minute, but any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!!!
:D
post #2 of 18

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

I just assembled my new electric Old Smokey and plan to use it for the first time on Xmas day by making a brisket. I am very well aware that brisket is probably the most difficult meat to begin my smoking career with, but I am up to the challenge. I also realize that electric smokers may not be the "old school purist" way to go, but I chose this model based on a variety of factors (mainly because I'm a beginner) so replies encouraging me to return this for a charcoal model are not encouraged.

All that being said, based on a multitude of research on-line and through BBQ enthusiast friends, I have decided to proceed according to the following set of bullet points. But like I said, I'm just beginning and very impressionable. So should any of you have any expert advice for me on any of the below mentioned points it would be greatly appreciated!

* I don't have any true butcher shops near me, but some great supermarkets that have butchers in the meat section that are very helpful and accomodating. My plan is to obtain a completely UNTRIMMED BRISKET from them?
i am no expert, either, but i buy packer cuts (whole cuts, what you describe).

* Even though I am only feeding 4 people, I plan to buy a 10 lb. brisket as I understand it will shrink in half and I plan to trim all the fat off after I cook it? i buy 10lb and less briskets. i feed 2, sometimes 3, and always have leftovers.

* I plan to use a dry rub, either store bought or by hand (from an on-line recipe). I have heard that it may be wise to mop the meat with a thin coat of regular MUSTARD before applying the rub. I guess it tenderizes the meat and may also help the rub adhere to the meat? the mustard helps the "bark" create on the brisket. i smoked my first one with mustard last night. i have never done the mustard thing before.

* I plan to cook with the fat side UP to make sure the meat is basting itself throughout the cooking process, right? put it fat side down. fat side up, and the fat just runs down the side during the process. there is plenty of connective tissue inside to keep it moist.

* My plan is NOT to add any water to the drip pan, as this model is completely electronically temperature controlled and, with no ventilation at all, is supposed to maintain a great deal of moisture inside? can't help you here.

* I plan to cook the meat at 220 degrees and keep an internal thermometer in the meat and stop cooking and serve when it reaches an internal temperature of about 185 degrees? I have no idea how long this will take. 8 to 10 hours? you can figure roughly 1.5 hours/pound. i take mine to 195° internal.

* The smoker came with wood CHIPS. I have read that chunks are better, but I'm tempted to use these chips they gave me. I am also very cautious about oversmoking my first time out, so I plan to use less than more....yet I still have no idea how much to use. I'm thinking...a handful?
i use branches cut just small enough to fit in my firebox. i might put a couple handfuls of applewood chips in there. i have a different type of somker though.

* I may open the lid once just to check things out, but I do not plan on basting the meat at all and just letting it cook without touching it till it's ready to eat, so as not to mess with the temperature and circulating smoke inside the unit? mop it every half hour to hour. i start after it hits 140° internal.

* I do NOT plan to use aluminum foil AT ALL in the process. personal preference.

* I do NOT plan to use towels and a cooler AT ALL in the process. i don't either, i just let it rest a few hours on top of the stove.

* I am no expert trimmer, but I plan to slice off most of the fat after the meat is done. First I'll trim the top layer of fat off and then I understand that the two pieces of meat of the brisket are connected by another layer of fat that needs to be disconnected so that the meat grans can be alinged for proper slicing across the grain? i just slice the flat, and choip the point as good as i can. i remove large pieces of fat.

I think that's about it. As you can see, there are plenty of question marks. I know it's somewhat last minute, but any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!!!
:D

i answered each of your points in the quote above. my thoughts are in red. like i said above i am no expert. i am a newbie smoker myself. i just put what i have read here, or already knew.

Posted edited by Moderator (Dutch) for easier reading. 9:13 am, 12/24/06
post #3 of 18

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

ChargerPower, 1st - Welcome to the forum. You have indeed taken on an ambitious project. Please read all the instruction that came with the smoker and don't forget about seasoning it to get all the factory yuck smells and flavors out as that will undoubtedly taint the meat flavor.

Chris covered most of your questions. As for the not smoking too heavy. Just remember to not have smoke boiling out. If you don't want a heavy smoke, then the smoke should be very transparent, almost invisible.. but you can smell it. If you want light smoke, then use chips sparingly until you find the right amount for you.

As Chris said, when figuring when to start your smoke... allow about 1 1/2 hrs per pound as a loose estimate... different cuts cook at different rates. Be patient to let the meat get through the stall, somewhere around 150º. During the stall is when you are making the meat tender.. don't rush it by turning up the heat. Let it be happy.

I would suggest basting the meat, but its your world.. do what you like. Same goes for the foil and the cooler. They just make life easier.

You have very definite plans and this is a trial and error sport.. so have fun, be patient, and enjoy the good life.

Did I mention not to forget to season the smoker????

Keep Smokin
post #4 of 18

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

First off, I'm a Bronco fan and I hate LT because he is not on my fantasy FB team. Second, my opinion is the best one that I have, which according to my wife is always wrong. :lol:

I love brisket, I've done 8 since Nov 1.(not all for us) I personally like 12-14# briskets, please don't ask why.....I don't know. Maybe leftovers? I make my own rub and use alot of cajun spice. I also don't use mustard, too messy and if the kids see me using it they won't eat it no matter what. I like to use worchst. sauce, pour over the brisket and then add the rub. Same on both sides, I use ALOT of rub too. I also do this in an alum pan (cheap alum foil type for turkeys). The extra rub falls off when I put it in the smoker. I keep this pan for when the internal temp hits 160-170. I then put it in the foil pan, fat down after being fat up on smoker, and cover with alum foil til temp hits 205. All of this is personal preference, each to their own.

One thing I/we really like is the "burnt ends". I am actually doing some now. Before you cut up the brisket, separate the point from the flat(google search). It is easy to do with a long knife and "feel" your way. Slice up the flat and then chop the point. After slicing the flat, put it in a deep pan and pour the juice that was in the alum pan over the top, this really helps when reheating and makes it nice and juicy. Then take the point and chop it up into about 1-1.5" chunks and remove most(but not every little bit) of the excess fat. Then throw it in the alum pan, put a bunch more rub on and put it back on the smoker. This is the fun part! As I smoke the point, I will mix it up about every hour or so, tasting each time until it is how I want it. By then I'm usually full. By doing this it adds some pieces with XTRA smoke and rub, while the flat has a nice "hint".

I didn't like to foil as I wanted to do it the quickest/easiest way. Foiling helps speed up the cooking and the juice is great. The juice is just fat and rub.

Try doing it your way first, then try the extra little steps later. The best part of this hobby is that nobody is really wrong. Everyone has different tastes and you can perfect it to the way you like it.

Have a merry christmas and be sure to wish the broncos the very best. :lol:

Let us know how it went.
post #5 of 18

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

Yep, I'm a pellet smoker. Have been since March of 06. It's a lazy way of smoke'n......................and I love it. :lol:

Go Fish is right, do it YOUR way and you'll be much happier. Then you can take 100% of the credit. Use all the ideas you can, change it abit and SHAZAM, its your way.
post #6 of 18

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

The only thing I would add that hasn't been said is, you should at least read this post before you cook your first brisket. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=1639 It is the absolute best way to cook one IMHO. If after reading it you decide you want to change something (ie. foil, cooler) then so be it.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

WOW! I must say I am shocked and pleasantly surprised to see the speed, volume and depth of the replies I received. This site is awesome!

Just wanted to say how much I appreciate all of the feedback.

Similar to LT, when I do things I like to do them well. So to take it one step further I plan to smoke on Xmas day AND the following Wed 27th for the Emerald Bowl (to watch UCLA). That will give me a quick TWO notches on my belt.

I will definitely be posting before and after photos of the meat!

Thank you,
ChargerPower
post #8 of 18

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

Not even a spray of apple juice? If ya don’t baste, how do you expect to develop your bark? Just a thought. Don’t forget to throw in a fatty or 3 for the effort! :roll:
post #9 of 18

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

It was mentioned above by PigCicles, but I think it bears another mention because it is one of the most overlooked factors in cooking tasty meat. CURE YOUR SMOKER! I say again, CURE IT!! Most folks grab a new smoker, put it together, and fire up their virgin cooker with a nice piece of meat only to have their meat taste metalic and icky because the metal and paint from their new smoker imparted a most gnarly flavor on their meat.

Get some olive oil or bacon or some other type of oil and rub down the inside of your new toy and get it really hot the day before you use it for your first brisket. Some folks even like to rub it down, heat it up, cool it down, rub it down, heat it up, cool it down.

Another hint or tip about brisket selection, when looking for a brisket, bigger is not always better. Grab the brisket and drape it over your arm in the middle. See how much "sag" there is. A "tender" brisket will bend. Compare the relative "bendiness" and the one with the most bend will generally reward you with the most tender finished product.

Another comment about the wood chips vs chunks vs sticks, I do not have an electric model, but I have a friend that does. The way to use the wood chips is to put them into an aluminum foil packet and poke a few holes in the foil to allow the smoke to escape. This will help keep it from "oversmoking" and will also keep the chips from burning up to quickly.

As for fatcap up vs down, I have done both. Some people say that fat-cap up results in a juicier product, but I do not necesarily think that is always true. It results in a greasier product, but not necesarily juicier. By doing fatcap down, it protects the brisket from heatspikes (probably not a problem with an electric). The grease will generally run off anyways, but with the fatcap down it will not rinse the rub off the meat. IMO It is also easier to remove the fat if it is cooked fatcap down because you can merely "scrape" it off and the fat comes right off leaving only meat below.

Others have spoken of wrapping the brisket in foil during the process and I almost always wrap mine as well somewhere between 165 and 175 depending on how long out of the plateau it has been. You mention you do not want to use towels and coolers, and that is a personal preference, but make sure you allow the meat to rest for at least 30-60 minutes before slicing into it. Otherwise you will lose all of your juices fast.

Good luck and let us know how things turned out.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

Okay, so I got a bit anxious tonight and thought I'd cook a little something to put a dent and possibly "cure" my smoker for the big feast on Xmas day. I bought a 2.5 lb Tri-Tip from the local grocer and gave it a nice rub down from the following link:

http://www.texascooking.com/recipes/dryrub.htm

I used a handful of water soaked hickory & mesquite wood chips.

The smoker cooked at 225 degrees and the meat reached 180 internal in only 75 minutes.

I took the meat off and wrapped it in foil for 15 minutes.

It was DELICIOUS, the meat had a nice smokey flavor and the rub wa excellent, good and spicey.

Next time I cook a Tri-Tip I will set the smoker at 200 degrees and liftoff at 170 internal, as the meat was a bit tough....if I may be critical of myself. Also, I should have kept it wrapped in foil longer as I let a lot of juice escape. I was too hungry at that point!

Oh, and the meat didn't absolutely require sauce, but I had some Sweet Baby Ray's so I couldn't pass it up.

Happy Holidays!
ChargerPower
:P
post #11 of 18

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

Charger, you did well on your 1st try! As I've always said, it's what works for you that counts.

Take heed in what some Pitmasters such as myself and a few others here give you. The link cajun gave you to Dutch's post is a good one. Foiling is a personal option. To not open your Smoker thoughout the cook and not spray or baste is a bad idea. Regardless of what your thermo tells you, you need to visualize your product at least every hour after the first few hours have passed. With larger cuts such as Brisket, Butt or Fresh Ham, wait at least 3 to 4 hours when using a Dry Rub before Spaying or Mopping. It is the age old question in the 'Q circles, but trust me.......always cook with the Fat Cap DOWN.

Merry Christmas!

Jeff
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

My first go at smoking a brisket is behind me. It was a learning experience but overall went very well, thanks to the help I received from everyone here on the forum.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find a whole brisket nearby and ended up settling for a 7 lb. flat (first) cut from the local grocer. $35!!! Next time I will shop around. As it is, this BARELY fit on the top grill of my Old Smokey, so I am not sure that I can fit a whole brisket unless I stand it on it's side on the lower (taller) grill.

Because I cooked the Tri-Tip so quickly, I decided to go low and slow on this Brisket. For fear that it would take forever, I set it on Low (electric) at midnight of Xmas eve. According to my thermostat, Low is equivalent to 150 degrees, so it cooked at that temp overnight until about 8am. The internal temp was also 150 degrees at this point. My plan was to take it off at 185, so I cranked it up to Medium, which is like 200 degrees. As soon as it reached 185 (around noon today) I took it off and rested it for two hours. I then sliced into it and make sandwiches shortly thereafter with a doctored batch of Sweet Baby Ray's to complement.

Attached is a look at the final product. Because I cooked it so low and slow, I didn't get much wood burning, yet it still had a nice smokey flavor. No smoke ring however, and no bark (didn't spray or mop), but the rub stayed on nicely as a result. Next time I plan to start early AM at 200 or 220 degrees and monitor it frequently. I also may think about spraying or mopping to get some charring.

That's all for now from the rookie. Glad that the Brisket brought the Bolts some good karma, 13-2!!!

Happy Smoking!
ChargerPower
post #13 of 18

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

Looks good ChargerPower. As it is said.. it's all about the learning.. and the good food. Take what you've learned and keep smokin
post #14 of 18
But how did you like the product? Was it smoked to your taste and was it tender?
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

I would have enjoyed a bit more of a smokey flavor. I didn't mention but I used a combination of wood chips and one large chunk (in the middle). I'm not sure if it was temperature related or if the chunk was too large, but it did not visibly emit any smoke as it looked the same as when i first put it in, zero burn. Next time I am sticking with chips....I think they are probably better for an electric.

The meat after nearly 12 hours of cooking, however, was extremely tender and I eagerly look forward to the leftovers tomorrow morning!
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

getting closer to perfection every try..... 8)

GO BRUINS!!!
LL
LL
LL
LL
post #17 of 18

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

It look real good on my screen,and would make a tasty meal
post #18 of 18

Re: Brisket in Old Smokey

Palisades, eh…that’s a long drive…still, that’s some fine lookin’ grub! :roll:
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