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first brisket - step-by-step with q-view

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
a friend of mine and i are going to try a brisket this weekend. the briskets he has access to are around 9 lbs and about 3 inches thick. that's all the information i have for now. it will either be cooked on a weber kettle or an ECB, i think. he might borrow his cousin's smoker, which is an offset, IIRC.


what kind of temps should be be cooking at? i am used to cooking at 250 degrees but can adjust if necessary.

what kind of cooking time are we looking at? the goal is tender brisket that can be sliced easily and is of course mouth-watering! ;)

if we do end up using the weber kettle, any advice or tips?

thanks in advance and i will of course keep people infomred of our progress!
post #2 of 29
Just smoked one friday....10# at 250*, took about 12 hours.
Lookin forward to pics of your first!
post #3 of 29
Usually cook mine at 250, and they always come out nice. I started cooking briskets in a weber kettle, and it is fine to use. You'll just have to use indirect heat, meaning piling up your charcoal on either "side" leaving the center clear. With a kettle, it can get tricky as you add more charcoal and the piles can spill. You don't want the burning charcoals under your brisket.

If you have a foil pan, you can put it underneath the brisket to catch the juices and help keep the hot coals in their place.

In a kettle, your going to have to remove the meat and grate to reload charcoal, but that's no big deal. You take a hit in temp loss, but if you have your charcoal measured out and ready, you can feed the fire fairly quickly and minimize the "open time" of the kettle.

Figure on about 12 hours plus for the brisket. No two are ever the same and the plateau can be a bear! Just cook it past 190 slow, and you will have a great tender piece of beef.

A couple times I made one in a kettle, I put a bit of liquid in the foil pan. A can of beer is fine, Just don't fill up the pan. It's better to keep adding as you go when you have to open the lid to refuel, mop or check temps.

Good luck to you and make sure you post pics!
post #4 of 29
I just did my first brisket last weekend pretty much just as rivit said. 9 pounds at 225 and it took about 14 hours. Good luck!
post #5 of 29
As said before by others each brisket I have done has been a bit different. But they key is keeping the temperature low and making sure you do not panic at the plateau where the temperature will sit and some times even fall. Just make sure to cook until at least 190. I took the last one to 200 then foiled, wrapped in a towel, and stored in a cooler for 30 plus minutes to rest. During the process while changing your coals you could take this opportunity to spray the brisket and keep it moist. Be prepared for a long smoke 8, 10, 12, maybe even 14 hours that way if it goes done sooner no big deal. One last final tip, make sure to test your thermometer by doing a boil or freeze test before hand so you are certain of the probes accuracy.
post #6 of 29
Big project, wow those suckers take 12-14 hours? Looking forward to your day with that!
post #7 of 29
I did a 2.6 lb corned beef brisket a couple of weekends ago.
I did it on the Weber Kettle. It was a little tough. I have my suspicions (although I cannot confirm) that the Weber may have had something to do with it. Do read the section about where I was getting different temp readings in different areas of the meat.
I was using the Weber charcoal holders
but still. I don't think this was "indirect" enough and may have lead to the toughness. Then again, the cooking style may have been just fine and it was the meat that made it this way

My grate has sides that flip up to allow me to add wood, lump, whatever to the charcoal baskets without removing the meat.

But I've done plenty of fatties, butts, ribs, loins, chicken, etc exactly the same way with good results. I'd say if you have access to a true smoker go that route. From my experience and from what I've read here at the SMF, a brisket can be tricky enough without fighting with the grill.

Good luck and hope to see the results.

I just had a sammie from my leftovers today. Might be a little tough, but dang it sure was tasty.
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
guys - thanks much for the advice so far. i'd better tell him that we're going to need to start this EARLY!

i might also see if we can confrim using his cousin's offset - if not, i will definitely offer my ECB.
post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 
we're going to give his weber kettle a try since we decided to go with a brisket that is about 8lbs and will be starting around 8am. i have to play guitar at church, so will be friving up 20 miles to the smoke, helping to get started, then leaving and driving back 20 miles to church and then coming back up after church. my wife might veto this idea though, reminding me that gas doesn't grow on trees! if that happens, i will miss out on the beginning and will simply show up after church.

we'll take it a step at a time!
post #10 of 29
Hope that works out all around for ya!

Hey cool, you play the guitar too?
post #11 of 29
tas, i would rethink the weber in lieu of the ecb or a different smoker. the temp management willbe difficult in a weber kettle. i have smoked many racks a ribs in a weber kettle but those are short smokes compared to a brisket. not saying it cant be done but want this to be a success for you. the key to good brisket is low n slow and those guys are not kidding when they say when the temp probe feels like it slidin in soft butter its done, usually between 200-205 deg... good luck and be watchin!!!
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
yep, just your basic three-sometimes-four-chord old country and gospel stuff. one guy in our group has a telecaster and is good with it, almost as good as ol' luther perkins!
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
erain - i hear ya buddy and i offered my ecb but he wants to give the kettle a try and said he's gotten pretty good at temp control with it, so we'll see how it goes. he knows his stuff pretty good and i am pretty sure that if anyone can pull it off, he can!
post #14 of 29
I would agree with erain, but if you're friend wants to try it, I guess it's worth a shot. It's going to be a long day of lifting the lid and shuffling coals though.

Don't let your friend get in a hurry -- don't try to rush that brisky biggrin.gif -- it can get "done" before it gets "tender". That's why you got to smoke it low and slow. It is the internal temp AND the time at that temp that breaks down the connective tissue and performs the magic.

Don't be discouraged if it doesn't come out the way you expected. I sincerely hope it does -- but a brisket smoke on a Weber kettle sounds like quite a challenge.

post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
dave - i hear ya and agree - i'm hoping we can get it right on the first try but i expect a pitfall or two to get in the way. one obstacle we faced was the fact that we live 20 miles apart and i've got a lot on my plate this weekend, including church service tomorrow in which i'll need to be playing guitar (also communion and this year's confirmation, so it's going to be a long one).

since my buddy's buying the brisket, i figure we'll do it his way - i know the weber can be a challenge but if we can pull it off, then we wil have conquered the world! big risk, big reward ~ i will see about getting one here in a couple of weeks and trying it on the SnP, or perhaps teh ECB.
post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 
alright, i am off to get ready for church - immediately after, i will fix a potato salad and run on up to my buddy's place with ABT fixin's to see how this brisket is going. wish us luck, especially sincew e're doing it on a weber kettle!
post #17 of 29
OK good luck! Bet it comes out good :)
post #18 of 29
Good luck. Anything goes good with ABT's and potato salad. icon_lol.gif Enjoy your feast and enjoy the day!!

post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
alright, guys - here's the report and the q-view - fasten your seatbelts and get yourselves a napkin:

this last weekend i was in on my first brisket barbecue. a friend who lives in havre and i were talking and we realized neither of us had done a brisket, so we figured we'd do a brisket project. he provided the brisket, i brought potato salad, some french bread and the fixin's for some ABTs. we also had corn on the cob and a pasta salad.

but getting back to the brisket....

i had to play guitar at church sunday morning, and it was an extra-long service due to the confirmation of two young people - so i got out a little later than usual and made the potato sald. it was about time for my wife to get off work, so i waited for her and then we went up with the kids.

but getting back to the brisket....

we smoked this on a weber kettle - i know it isn't the most popular choice with such a long smoke requiring temperature control, but my buddy said he'd gotten pretty good with it and had a plan...i figured i'd trust his judgement and am sure glad that i did!

when i got there, the brisket had already been on a while. my friend put it on at 0800 and it was probably about 1500 when i finally made it up there. he had it over low, indirect direct heat from charcoal with a couple of cans directly below the brisket to provide humidity and a little temperature control. a couple of hours of some sweet hickory smoke and that thng was smelling like a little piece of heaven.

this was about 8 lbs and the portion of the brisket called the flat. whoever sold it to him had trimmed off most of the fat cap, but there was about 1/4 inch to work with.

as you guys know, briskets get really dark due to the rub etc (this one was a nice home-made rub). that is on them - plus the long cooking process, but that darkness is only skin deep and is, in truth, a very big chunk of the flavor! about an hour and a half or so before it was done:

you can also get an idea of the charcoal set up, off to one side of the kettle. the leathery-looking things are a sliced gala apple that was sitting on top of it for a while. when these pix were taken, the brisket was getting flipped over and the apple slices went to the bottom. the better to spread the flavor around!

the little light-colored bits are minced garlic, which my buddy added to a nice sauce to use to paste it with. i don't know what exactly weber does with their kettles, but their design creates a very, very efficient cooking chamber for great bbq:

the internal temperatrue was 180 degrees and the temp on the grate was, near as we could tell, somewhere around 225. we pulled the brisket off at 1730 (exactly 9-1/2 hours for the total smoke) and it looked wonderful on the plate - here's a shot of the internals:

the smoke ring is not terribly deep, but keep in mind it was only over smoke for around an hour and a half, maybe two hours - be that as it may, it had a great smoky smell and taste. it was quite tender and juicy as well and required no effort at all to carve or to cut with a fork as we were eating:

at times when we were carving you could actually see the juices running down. all-in-all a great smoke and i must say a very convincing vindication for the weber kettle!

after trying this juicy, tender, smoky treat, i know i'll be doing one soon and experimenting with rubs, mops etc. this is a new favorite and i was glad to help out with it.
post #20 of 29
all right tas, you thought you were hooked after you did your first fatty???? you better fasten your seat belt buddy!!! and wait til you use that weber to sear a brisky and then throw it on a smoker... believe me as good as it was, i assure you it gets even better!!! great first brisky smoke bud, points to you on that, id chew some a that beast!!!
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