Hi everyone...I'm back in the saddle again for another nice, smooth and slow ride today. I had this notion lastnight about the brisket my wife grabbed for me a few nights back. It seemed I needed a challenge to really get me on my feet again after a very long 12 day stretch of not burning any smoke wood...seems like an insane amount of time for me, but I survived, as I had pulled pork along for the trip out of state.
My wife loves burnt ends, and she can't pass up a price like this to get some, so that will be the order of the day...:
Anyway, I wanted to see what it would be like to slap a medium sized (to me) packer into the the gourmet...without even thinking about it, I knew the flat cut wouldn't fit the 15" round grates, so I unpackaged the beast and immediately set out for a good trimming and point/flat separation. I also get a much nicer smoke without the fat cap and with the pieces separated...more exposed surface area of meat for the smoke to react with.
I did a quick check of the merchandise before grabbing a fresh knife and found a boo-boo cut on the end of the flat, from the processing plant:
I hadn't removed the corn first before separating before, so I guess I was just tossing a different method into the mix today. Some say it's easier this way...I haven't really thought about it that way myself...it's just a task which we choose to do or not do, I guess. So, how you go about accomplishing that task is not really important, as long as you get the same end result, IHMO.
I started separation here, and placed everything back so I could get this shot...the corn is on the upper right:
The point is on bottom @ 6 o'clock...and were off to the bliss of separation...hey, it's better than getting divorced....LOL!!!!!!!:
The flat is now on bottom, point on the lower left:
The flat cut is upper left, and the point lower right:
It looks like a mess at the moment...that's where the trimming comes into play:
And thats about all there is to it...to put it into perspective, if you flip the left side of the point over onto the flat (right side of the board) and pulled it over the flat towards the foreground, it would be as found before separation:
OK, that did seem to fly apart with ease when compared to the methods I've used in the past. I liked to have my brisket @ about 20-25* when I started separation, other wise it was a quite a tedious undertaking. So, yea, removing the corn first is a nice change...no more frost bitten hands either!
The point is trimmed on both sides...thin end on the upper left:
This is the side which was attached to the point, as evidenced by the thin layer of remaining connective tissues on the exposed meat:
For the novice brisket smoker, I trimmed 3lb - 13oz off the point and flat combined...this was bagged and frozen for grinding into sausage mixes.
So, with a relatively lean trim as done here, the percentage of trimmable fat to meat is calculated as follows:
First, we'll convert the scale measurement of the fat from lbs/oz to lbs/decimal; 13oz / 16oz = 0.8125lb + 3lbs = 3.8125lb.
12.35lbs (total weight) / 3.8125 (trimmed fat) = 0.3087 (percentage of fat)
Note also, when cooked, you will notice shrinkage which is a normal part of the process, and some interior fat will render out, especially from the point, which is heavily marbled with fat (that's why we use it for burnt ends).
Time for some Red Bell Pepper Rub...the point:
And the flat, which as I mentioned earlier will not fit the gourmet grate size...problem? No problem at all...I have a knife!!!
I cut about 1lb of the thin edge off and tuck it under itself on the grate to form a bulkier cut to aid in moisture retention and slow the cooking process down...brisket really benefits from low & slow cooking, so I want to protect that little fella. I also bulked up the larger flat cut as well, to help it fit the grate:
I think we're ready for some hickory smoke just about...well, right now:
I visited with a guy I frequently see at work yesterday and mentioned that I had a brisket waiting for me in the fridge at home. I told him I'd bring him some out when I go back to work on Thursday, and he said he's game for it. He hasn't had it before, so his reaction should be pretty interesting.
This little 1lbr should do the trick...he'll love it!
I pulled the small flat cut @ 170* and it felt probe tender, so I think I'm in the mobey on that one.
I started with the point on the lower grate, which runs a bit cooler than the top and also, gets less smoke. Since I'll be cubing and double smoking the point for burnt ends, it will get plenty of smoke flavor anyway...we'll see shortly how the smoke reaction worked out when I cube it all up.
I rotated the point/flat grate positions after the first 6 hours. The flat getting a good dose of smoke, then going more to the steam end of things after it was in the upper 150* range. Oh, it climbed to 169* (EDIT: 159*), then slowly dropped out to 153* the last check I made.
The point, after rest a few minutes foiled and toweled...pulled it out @ 175*. I was busy here posting when my probe alarm sounded and I had the camera memory card still in the PC card slot...
The gourmet has been suffering some temp swings, partly due to the changing wind conditions today, so my flat is still in after 9 hours...temp was 163* about 10 minutes ago, so the stall is over, after more than 3 hours...heh, this is a rather short plateau on a brisket for me (even trimmed/separated), so I'm not gonna complain. I'll pull it out to foil and towel wrap @ 180* and the rest (resting) will be history.
A few burnt ends and some sliced flat will follow, so, see ya soon!
Thanks for peekin'!
Edited by forluvofsmoke - 9/15/10 at 9:12am