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Brisket Weight/Smoking Time Question

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I am having close to 20 people over this weekend and am going to smoke a brisket. Due to the width of my smoker I have to have the brisket cut in half and smoke on two racks. Here's the question, if I smoke for 1.25 hours per pound, do I lessen that because it is in two pieces or do I consider the entire weight? Sorry for the elementary question but I want to get it right for sure. Thanks for your help.
post #2 of 20
The (estimated) time is based on the individual piece and it's weight. Bulkier (thicker) items will take more time.

The only consideration for large quantities of smaller meat items is that your smoker will take longer to build up temps when you load it up (more meat absorbs more thermal energy), so this will add to the overall time involved to finish the food.

Edit: BTY, welcome to the forum! Please stop by the roll call forum and introduce yourself and let us know about your experience and equipment...thanks.

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the welcome and the reply. So I should try to have the butcher cut the brisket such that the two pieces are approximately the same weight? Say the original weight is 16 pounds, I should have two 8 pound cuts, smoke them at the same time for 10 hours total (8pounds X 1.25 hours/pound)?
post #4 of 20
Welcome to the SMF, and good luck on your smoke. You'd better allow more time, in the event that you hit a stall in temperatures, which is a common. 1.25 hours per pound seems an underestimation in my experience.
post #5 of 20
If you really are concerned about the time involved, then I would go with 2 smaller flats, instead of a full packer. Or, I have done trimmed and seperated point/flat smokes and this really cuts down on smoking time by reducing the cross-sectional density (thickness), and also getting the bulk fat out of the equation.

This is a link to the process on my first brisket prepped and smoked with this method, if you care to see how it works:

I absalutely love brisket now that I've learned a good prep and smoke method...I'm convinced that brisket is the KING of beef Bbq.

post #6 of 20
You should also go by the internal temperature of the meat not time...

Don't depend on the built in temp guage that came with the smoker for your temps, use a digital or an analog probe...
post #7 of 20
Instead of cutting the brisket in half I have folded a small portion of the thinner flat side under and this has worked well for me.
post #8 of 20
First off welcome to SMF Dan and Christy. Next to your smoke. First thing first is we smoke by tempature NOT by time. Even if you cut that hunk of meat in half it's gonna smoke for the same amount of time. You need and I mean NEED to allow yourself plenty of time because you can always wrap your briskets in heavy duty foil use 2 layers and put it in a dry cooler with towels. It will stay hot for many hours. Please stop into rool call and tell us alittle about yourselves.
post #9 of 20
I smoke Briskets all the time in my 30" MES. In order to do this I trim the Brisket with the following method


It will seperate the point from the flat. At this point the two pieces should be small enough to go into any smoker. I count on 48 hours for mine. 24 hours smothered and wrapped with my Beef rub in the fridge, and 18 to 21 hours on the low and slow smoke till the middle of the meat hits 185 to 190 for slicing and 200 to 205 for pulling. I smoke at 225 for the first few hours then take it down to 190 for the night, then I bump it up to 225 to finish the next day. I rest wrapped in foil and towels for 1 to 2 hours. Average smoke time for me with this method has been 19 hours. Well worth it. As a matter of fact I have one in the fridge right now that goes in the smoker at 8PM tonight for a party your size. That and 4 racks of St louise style ribs PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #10 of 20
I was wondering when i would come to that answer..welcome to smf. you can use a ball park time figure with weight. but in the end you are looking for temps. plan on starting early enough to have a couple extra hours. you can always put it in a cooler for hours to hold it's temp.
post #11 of 20

Keep an open mind

I know i'll probably get thrown out of the house for saying this, but i've tried it myself and it does work, so here goes.....

With that size of a brisket yes you can do a low and slow cook, OR you can do a fast high heat brisket which borders the line between BBQ and Grilling.

Simply put, 325-350 unti internal temps read 160-165, foil and continue to cook until FORK/PROBE tender. Pull and let rest 90-120 minutes. Whole cooking time probably won't run you much more than 5 hours plus two for resting.

The results are a very moist, tender and juicy brisket with a decent smoke ring, great flavor, but MINIMAL bark/crust. Again, I know, i've tried it, and got the idea off of Weber Virtual Bullet as one of their members has done well over 20 packer briskets this very same way and "claims" that the longest he's gone is 4.5 hours total cook time plus 2 hours or longer resting. I "claim" to believe that statement as I have done it myself.
post #12 of 20
Diggy thermos. Temp is the way to heaven.
post #13 of 20

Are YOu Totally Confused Now?

Sometimes the shear volume of information here and various techniques used can create information overload. This is the key points to consider.

Since you should rest your brisket in a dry cooler wrapped in towels a minimum of 45 minutes, and since it will stay hot that way for hours, ( i have done 4 hrs and still hot) START EARLY! Give yourself plenty of time. It will keep find tucked away in bed in that cooler!

Total cooking time per pound is an estimate. GO BY INTERNAL TEMPS! I slice brisket at 190 F and pull at 210 F and it is never dry.

FOIL your brisket at about 160 F internal temp and finish cooking in the foil. Toss in some liquid when you foil to aid the brasing in the foil which is actually what you are doing by wrapping it. I use apple juice.

Do these things and it may not be perfect but it ain't gonna be bad.

Good Luck
post #14 of 20
pretty much ditto what rick says, remember when you get it up to temp, make sure that probe slides in like going into hot butter, dont quit until it does. and like rick says, the cooler is your friend... foiled and wrapped in towel in a cooler it willstay hot for a long time so better off starting way early if a meal time is in the plans.
post #15 of 20
Sorry if I hijack this thread, but any reason on why I can't hang the brisket using a bacon hook and smoke in my MES? The only drawback I can see would be uneven cooking and would be a pain to foil.
post #16 of 20
Innovative thinking...I think it would cook evenly as long as the cabinet has adequate ventilation for uniform temps, and if you've already done a pork belly cure and smoke with good results...I wouldn't even hesitate.

Try it and let us know.

post #17 of 20
My only concern would be as it's reaching it's final temps it may get to tender to hold up it's own weight. Also be careful of flame ups depending on your smoker.
post #18 of 20
If you seperate the point from the flat, you can get the Brisket on the racks without a problem. I have done a bunch this way in my 30 inch MES. Matter of fact I have one in now sitting at 180 :) I do not foil mine until I pull them for the resting. I have never had a moistness issue, and I think I get a better bark by mopping right until I pull.

This was a huge Brisket I did a few weeks back. It weighed about 18 pounds, and it still fit just fine.

post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey fourthwind, how long did you smoke that 18 pounder?
post #20 of 20
Took about 20 hours as I recall, but my dwell at the lower temp was shorter too. It was only at 190 for about 6 hours instead of 8. rest of smoke was at 225. I am at nearly 6000 feet in elevation, so it may affect what the time may be at lower elevations. 20 bucks for a remote digital thermometer is money very well spent. I am 2 degree's from pulling today's brisket. It was 16 pounds before trimming. So that put's today's smoke at about 19.5 hours.
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