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Considering my first brisket

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm considering doing my first brisket soon, and I need a little advice. I plan to get a whole brisket (i.e., not with flat and point separated as it's probably more expensive that way), and I was wondering whether I should try separating the flat and point before smoking. From what I have read, the point has much more fat marbling than the flat, and thus I was considering smoking each to a different temperature. That is, I was considering slicing the flat and pulling the point, and thus smoking the flat to about 180F and point to about 195F.

Also, I've read some folks marinate/inject their briskets for as long as several days before applying the rub and smoking. Thoughts on this?
post #2 of 26
here's some great advice ~

post #3 of 26
Yep, what he said!^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

good luck on your brisket!
post #4 of 26
The last brisket I made was from a packers-cut and I separated it using the tutorial below. It was so much better, I'll do it from now on. Here's the link full step - by - step pictures that make the separating and trimming almost foolproof.

Around here, packer cuts are many dollars cheaper than trimmed pieces. I'll go for a packer and trim it myself everytime from now on. The tutorial was clear and easy to understand~ highly recommeded.


Hope your brisket turns out great!
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies folks. I have seen this tutorial, and I was considering doing just this. I was a little skeptical of using a Wal-Mart brisket (as about the only meat I buy from there is ground beef). Toughts on a Wal-Mart brisket?
post #6 of 26
GO FOR IT! I've used the Wal-mart packer briskets before....they work just fine!

Just pick through their selection and find a "floppy" one and follow the tutorial.

Tough to beat the flavor of a well-smoked brisket......cool.gif

post #7 of 26
>>>Toughts on a Wal-Mart brisket?<<<

probably not the best in the world, but mine was just fine.

besides, bbq is all about taking a tough, stringy piece of meat and turning it into good eats! :)
post #8 of 26
You've had some good advise, so all I can say now is allow for plenty of time, and good luck my friend.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
I just noticed that my closest Wal-Mart has only a couple of packer briskets, but I have several Wal-Marts close by. The ones I saw were in the 12 lb. range (at $1.86/lb), and the amount of fat on cap seemed quite significant. Of course, I know that I'm supposed to trim that so that I only have about 1/4". Once I separate the point from the flat and trim, how does the weight of the flat and point compare? It seems that the flat has more meat, and thus I suspect that the net weight is probably at least 60% flat (and thus 40% point). That is, for one of these 12 lb. packers, I'm thinking that the resulting flat and point (after trimming) should be around 6 lbs. and 4 lbs., respectively. I apologize in advance for these technical questions, but I guess that's what happens when a mathematician takes up smoking. icon_lol.gif I just like to know what to expect before I start my smoke.
post #10 of 26
This is about as accurate as I would guess myself, from having done just that (trimming, separating a packer), without going out and using a scale.

Good job on the estimate!
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well, I've purchased as 12.6 lb packer from Wal-Mart, and I've separated the point from the flat. I've done quite a bit of trimming, but I did try to leave the < 1/4" fat cap on the flat. I didn't take any pics of my trimmed point and flat (which is probably best since no one can criticize my rookie brisket trim now), but I will try to remember to take some before they enter the smoker. Both the flat and the point are in the marinade that I concocted using a dry McCormick Mesquite marinade, Moore's liquid marinade, and beef broth. I'll either let it bathe in the marinade for the rest of the day today and smoke it tomorrow or let it sit an additional day and smoke it Friday.

Other than injecting the marinade, are there any suggestions for keeping it from drying out? I've read that brisket has a tendency to do that, and my guess is that it's because it's long and slender as opposed to a pork shoulder which is bulkier. I don't want to smoke the brisket in a pan or Dutch oven since I really want to get a crispy bark, but I do want to take whatever means necessary to keep it moist. Now I plan to spritz the brisket with apple juice and flip it every hour of so after the first couple of hours, but I have no experience in determining how much this well help keep it moist.
post #12 of 26
Spritz is good, as is mop for a brisket. Do not do anything to it, do not open the lid for at least 2 to 3 hours after putting it in. Just drink beer and imagine good food!

The first couple times, spritz. This will allow the bark to form. After the first 4 hours, I start to mop, but gently-so as not to disturb the bark. Also don't drown the meat cause the bark will run off.

A kitchen basting brush is perfect for this, just dab the stuff on.

Also, don't overcoat your brisket in rub. I've overdone it a couple times and it's not as good. The thick rub coating never seems to "crust up" right. A nice run on the thin side works best over here, but you can decide for yourself after you practice a bit.

May the TBS follow you on your smoke and keep us posted!
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well my first brisket smoke was pretty much a success. The smoke consisted of mostly red oak and some mesquite. The brisket was a little dry, but still quite tasty. Attached are two pics of the finished product. In the first, the piece with the probe thermometer is the flat and the other is the point. In the second pic, the slices are from the flat. I had a difficult time slicing them as thin as I wanted (since I don't have a slicer), but no harm is thicker slices I guess icon_confused.gif
post #14 of 26
Sure looks go to me, congrats on a successful brisket.
post #15 of 26
hey, troy - looks great to me!

sorry that i missed a couple of those questions, but it looks like you got great answers and also did a very good job there. i'd say you've got some good eats for sure. a good thing to know is that brisket is also very good the next day, hot or cold. in fact, some prefer it re-heated!

here's another factoid for you - if i recall in my reading somewhere, a brisket loses about 40% of it's weight during the smoking/cooking process. keep this in mind when trimming so that you get what you want in the end as far as weight goes.

heck of a good first brisket and one to be proud of!
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info and encouragement. I'll remember about the weight loss thing next time. In fact, I assume that the brisket will lose weight and the family and I will gain it PDT_Armataz_01_27.gif I need to invest in a sharp knife (or knife sharpener) and try to get it sliced thinner next time, but all-in-all, I am pretty pleased with my first brisket.

Thanks again,
post #17 of 26
that was the problem with my first as well - it seemed like i sliced it a little too thick - either that, or the connective tissue hasn't quite melted down enough, yet, which is very possible.

the best part about learning BBQ is that you gotta try another one soon and apply the little tweaks that you learned from the one before ~ ;)
post #18 of 26
Congratulations, that was a very nice first brisket!
post #19 of 26
Great first brisket Troy! Nice bark & smoke ring! That's a big step, briskets are tough to smoke and take great patience. Great job!
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
does anyone have a good "finishing sauce" (if you will) for the brisket? my brisket has incredible flavor, but it is a little dry and rewarming it without any type of sauce makes it even drier.
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