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Did I buy the wrong thing?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Looking at all these posts for brisket and pastrami got my mouth droolin'. So yesterday I was at the store and bought a piece of meat. It's only 2.6 lbs and is labeled "Flat Cut Corned Beef Brisket Tenderized with Papain". The sodium content is 1150mg. There's very little visible fat on it. It's in a vacuum sealed package. I don't see it offered very often except around St. Paddy's Day. I'm assuming this is something that is best turned into corned beef and cabbage.

I've been trying to read up on smoking a brisket. It seems there's a lot of opinions on what works for everybody. So I pose the following...
1) Is this cut of meat appropriate for smoking?
-I know "all meat is appropriate for smoking" you know what I mean. Did I waste my money for a smoke and I should just boil it for cabbage.
2) For a first time brisket smoker what are your recommendations for preperation? ie; brines, marinades, rubs, injections, mops, etc. Give me all you can, please.
3) Since it's a small piece, what is a good guestimate for cook time and internal temps?
4) Do I put it in a pan and smoke or right on the grate?
5) What temp do I keep the smoker at?
5) I'm thinking it will be knife sliced, so what about final steps to make it suitable for doing this?
6) What else am I not thinking of?

Thanks in advance for everything.
post #2 of 15
Yep, you bought a portion of the flat portion of a brisket alright. What you look for when you're at the store is a 10+lb pack of brisket known as a 'packer'. Don't buy the 'super trimmed' or 'market trimmed' ones. You want a good fat cap and marbling on the cut.

Personally, I'd hit that flat with an hour of warm mesquite smoke then foil it and hit it with 275' till done. By warm, I mean 100' - 150'. If you try to follow the guidelines for a packer, it's going to turn out extremely dry for you.

You won't be disappointed with the packer if you follow the temp guidelines and all,


[edit: Oops, not sure how I missed the sodium part of your post. It could very well be a corned beef brisket.]
post #3 of 15
What he said.
post #4 of 15
Well Dude, that is exactly what you want. And you got flat cut! From what you said it was called then it is already corned beef, but you have the right cut to smoke into pastrami. If it is indeed a corned beef brisket then you could boil it if you wanted. To make a cortned beef you need to brine a beef brisket, then it becomes a corned beef brisket.
I always smoke mine directly on the grate, just season ahead of time and you are good. Smoked mine to 140 then wrapped in foil and brought up to 180, though I accidentally went to 190 something so they were a bit dry.
To make it delicious cool it after you smoke it and rewrap, throw in the fridge overnight and the next day rig up a way to steam it, then slice and it will be like pastrami butter.
Hope I was helpful, any other questions you know someone on here will be able to answer them.
Good luck!
post #5 of 15
I have smoked one of those packaged corned beefs before. I smoked it till round 140 and wrapped it up till it got to temp for slicing (170? cant remember).

It came out amazing, the cut had very little fat on it but was still moist. Id sprinkle some Worcester sauce on it to keep the meat moist and a little in the foil also.
post #6 of 15
With that much sodium you will need to soak it and do a fry pan test for sure.

Most of your questions can be answered from my last ones.


Good luck!
post #7 of 15
I'll share what I know and have learnt, Dude.

Before anything else, what you bought is a small cut. the advice below applies only to 8 LB plus whole briskets. Yours will cook up great and in no time.

1) I'm sure it is for the reasons you stated. You prolly already know that papain is a meat tenderizer extracted from the papaya fruit (go figure. Papaya is sweet, soft and great; never thought of it as having meat tenderizing properties, but anyway....) Obviously with papain, it will be way more tender than the average brisket, and not need 12 -14 hr barbecue.

2) Not a brine kind of man, here. Have done them, but just don't think they're needed nowadays. Marinade for a brisket, no sense either. For a better cut of meat, yes. Rub- H**L yes, and the jazzier the better. Brisket is that kind of meat! Injections- not my style. Mops- DEFINITELY. Gotta mop your brisket, even if it is tenderized. A good mop recipe that works for you is worth keeping. There are lots here at SMF to check out so I won't list them. PM me if you want my recipe and details- be glad to share.

3) This isn't what you want to hear, but it's the truth. Got to barbecue that puppy until its 190 F. The variables are your unit, the meat, the heat, the wind. Sorry, but it's the honest answer. I've made 9 hr briskets and 16 plus hour briskets...no two are the same, and yes, that sucks.

My rule: A Brisket Is A Commitment.

4) Done both. I didn't like the pan version and stick with straight on the grate. It is personal preference, Dude.

5) Try to keep that puppy at 225 F. It will spike and it will drop, no worries, that's part of life. I have an offset charcoal/wood unit, so my smoking is a "participative sport" as my beautiful wife teases me. Good reason to sit outside, feet up, watch the temp gauge and consume adult malt beverages. No worries man, it's all about the ebb and the flow. Just let it ride, you'll be okay.

5 Again -knife slicing) You can pull it off prior to 190 F internal if you're going to slice and it will still be fine! Just make sure it has reached 180F Internal. Otherwise it may be tough. I loved sliced brisket sandwiches and share them all the time- a full brisket is a LOT of meat. Nobody has ever complained that mine is tough or stringy, and I live in BEEF COUNTRY. There's really no secret to brisket, just a lot of commitment and patience.

6) Hmm..maybe your favorite beer. Really. Since a brisket is such a time hog, buy a sixpak of your favorite. When I brisket, Moosehead is mine. Snacks are important too. You are going to get hungry. A subway BigMeatTrio works great at about the halfway point as will a Fattie and ABT's.

May the TBS follow your smokes, Dude. Hope my two cents can clear things up for you a bit. There are a lot of good and probably better techniques floating around here in the SMF; take and use what you like of mine!
post #8 of 15
Yep, what he said!
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. While it doesn't look like I bought what I thought I was getting, it's still salvageable and might actually be pretty good. I figure it's small enough that it'll make nice practice piece for me and hopefully some decent sandwiches... which was the goal from the start.

Ron, tough to tell from your picts but I think I've got a cut that's pretty similar to the post you recommended. I think mine has a higher salt content so I may go ahead and just soak for a bit to reduce the salt. It's so small I hate to do a fry test. Maybe I'll change my mind later. But at that point I may just decide what the heck am I gonna do with it now. LOL. Might as well smoke it.

Rivet, thank you for taking the time to address my post point by point. I found this very helpful. Seriously, I know this took you some time to address this like I requested. Mounds of information here. Hopefully with such a small cut of meat it'll go quickly. I don't know if I'll make it this weekend, but when I do look for the qview!

Muchas Gracias Everyone!
post #10 of 15
Dude, rivet, well he "riveted" it down!!! pay particular attention to #6!!!

you will get some great sammies i am sure!!! get some "farmers cheese" with caraway seeds to top and a good rye!!!
post #11 of 15
[quote=The Dude Abides;293919]
Ron, tough to tell from your picts but I think I've got a cut that's pretty similar to the post you recommended. I think mine has a higher salt content so I may go ahead and just soak for a bit to reduce the salt. It's so small I hate to do a fry test. Maybe I'll change my mind later. But at that point I may just decide what the heck am I gonna do with it now. LOL. Might as well smoke it.

Well I recommend the soak, just My MHOP or the test at least. All you do is slice a small piece off the end and fry it. If it is ok go ahead and smoke, if not I would soak it for a couple hours at least, better safe than sorry. But It is your choice.
Good luck!!
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well today's the day I try and smoke this sucker. I'll do a new post tomorrow with picts!

After a good rinse off, I soaked it in water for about 6 hours and did 3 water changes during that time. First thing I noticed was quite a change in color. It went from bright red to a pinkish/grey. Hope that's ok.

Then about 4:30 yesterday afternoon I dried it off good. Then slathered it down with Famous Dave's Texas Pit BBQ sauce. Then a good coating of rub and a bunch of brown sugar and then rubbed in the included spice packet.

Then I put it into a gallon sized zip lock bag (I did say it was only a couple pounds right) and it sat in the fridge until I threw it on about 6:30 pm. Been fighting the temp but averaging about 130". I've been playing "ride the dampner" since 6:30 pm.

It's 8:45 pm now and the temp has been sitting at 135 for about a half an hour. I plan to foil it at 170", add some apple juice and Jim Beam and take it to 190". Then I'll put it in a cooler to sit for a couple of hours. Then chill overnight. Then I'll slice and reheat for sammies tomorrow.

How does this sound to you experienced types? Am I doing ok? Any suggestions?

Oh and looking at RonP's stuff...I did a drip pan with beef broth, onions and garlic. Might use this as an au jus.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Arrrrgggghhh. I wasn't ready for this. My thermo just hit 165. I figured that's close enough to foil. Figured I'd do a quick double check with my cheapo dial thermo and it read 150". So I moved the Maverick digital to a different area and got 147". That's surely not high enough. This piece of freaking meat had better be worth it.

I admit this is my first brisket but this just seems wrong that something so small (2.6 lbs) would take so looooong.

Anyone still up reading this with any input?
post #14 of 15
I would just foil it if it were me.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
10-4 That's my thought too. Then take it to 190 or until I can't stay awake any longer.
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