My first attempt at brisket, not sure how to proceed.

Discussion in 'Beef' started by mowin, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Well I picked up this 9.8# point yesterday. Got it for $35. I've read tons on here and have a game plan, but im second guessing myself. I was planning on keeping the rub simple. CBP, onion and garlic powder.
    Pit temp of 225-250*. Keeping in mind the 40-140 in 4hr rule.
    Foil at the stall, and pull around 201 or probe tender.

    But the wife threw a curve ball, she suggested pastrami. So now I'm thinking of cutting this in half and doing both. Is there a correct way to cut this, or just have at it.

    Suggestions please.

  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    First off, don't worry about the 40-140*/4hr guideline, as you have a whole muscle meat, unless you were to inject it with marinade or otherwise puncture the brisket.

    If I were in your boots, contemplating which route to take, I'd do a complete point/flat separation and use the point for burnt ends, and cure the the flat for corned beef pastrami. Why? Pastrami can be made from virtually any cut of beef (or turkey and???) while the absolute best burnt ends you'll ever have the pleasure of dining upon come from the brisket point, IMHO...I smoke brisket so I can make burnt ends...that alone makes it worth it. You can get a decent pastrami and some great BEs out of the deal.

    Point flat separation can be found in these threads:

    Here's a good method I've used for burnt ends from a pre-smoke separated point muscle...different circumstances, yet very similar, as while making corned beef pastrami I decided to make a point into burnt!!!:

    Just remember to not fully cook the point to a tender state before cubing into chunks, as it creates the best finished product, according to family and friends here...I like them best this way, also. Any time after about 155* I/T, but I prefer to stay below 175* when yanking the point to rest before cubing and finishing on open grates. AT higher temps, the point will be more tender, but you run the risk of a drier finished product, causing a leathery, grainy texture if taken to extremes. I've never finished BEs in a pan, as we like the caramelizing and crispy exterior texture created when finished on open grates.


    Huh, I miss-read...thought you had a packer, but you have a point!!! Lucky devil, you!!! If I could find points around here, I'd buy about 75lbs just for BEs...LOL!!!

    That said, portion it down to whatever sizes you like for each project meat and roll with your plan. Your rub is fine for brisket...beef, especially brisket, doesn't need much enhancement to yield a good, strong flavor. Salt is optional, and of course if you're on a reduced or no-salt diet, a big no-no, so go with your needs on salt.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
  3. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Thanks for the info... I guess I'm lucky enough to be able to get a whole packer, flat or point whenever I want. I doesn't come cheap though.

    This particular point was very close to becoming corned beef if I didn't snatch it up. That being said, I " bragged" to too many families and friends about my good fortune, and somehow there coming to dinner this Saturday. :icon_eek:.

    Since I never seen or cooked a brisket, or a point, the pressure is mounting. I need to keep this as simple as possible.

    I've haven't been this nervous since my wedding day.
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well, if you want simple, brisket is a good place to start. Brisket point, IMHO, is the choicest piece between the 2 muscles, as it has intramuscular fat with a tubular muscle construction...translated in layman's terms, nearly impossible to screw it up, short of taking it to somewhere in the neighborhood of  215* or so internal temp, that is.

    If you want to go down the rub, smoke and slice route, it couldn't be easier. If you want burnt ends, I mean really rockin' knock em' dead burnt ends, you can do that as well, with just a little more labor and time. You can also just smoke the daylights out of the point to around 200-205* until it probes tender and pull that bad boy for pulled beef sandwiches...this being the easiest, but taking a bit more time in the smoker to reach finished temps. No matter what you choose, it's not difficult, but it's all quite good on the plate.

    Don't sweat it, my friend. Brisket commands respect, sure, but only due to it's long cooking times for packers...especially the big dogs in the 20+lb range...I've done them (18-22lb) and I can say they just need your patience. With the smaller piece you have, figure it around 14+ hrs, low & slow @ 225* to hit the 200* I/T. A big packer can run 24hrs+, so you'll have an easy first round with this point.

    We'll get you through it, no worries. BTW, when's your smoke day, serving time (I want to be there to taste it...LOL!!!), and have you decided yet on what this nice piece of beef will be transformed into?

    Oh, if your meat is done early by several hours, and you're slicing it or pulling it, don't fret...just do the foil/towel wrap and cooler rest (insulate it well and it will slowly drop in temp)...this also helps make it even more tender and redistributes the natural meat juices for a better finished product>

    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
  5. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Eric, I decided to keep it simple and slice it. I'll skip the burnt ends this time. I'm going to give myself 14 hrs for the cook + a couple for the rest period. I just hope it doesn't get done too soon.

    So, if this cook ends up getting done way faster than expected, how long can I keep it in the cooler if its wrapped up well?
    If it cools too much, whats the best way to reheat?
  6. 4,5,6-10 hrs. wrapped in a good cooler won't hurt a thing. If it needs warmed up some, put it in a 200 degree oven for 30 mins. or so before slicing. Or.. slice then re-wrap tight in foil with the juices then warm in oven.
  7. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Thanks for the info, dirt. One less thing to worry about. Thumbs Up
  8. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I went to a military surplus store a few years ago and bought several wool blankets.  You know, the ones that itch like crazy!

    When I take a wrapped brisket from the pit I place it into an empty ice chest that is at HOUSE temperature, not a cold one from the garage or shed.  In the bottom of the chest is one of the blankets, and then I put the brisket, wrapped in another blanket on top of the one already in there.

    I've had them in the chest for around 10 hours and when I pulled them out, the foil was still too hot to touch with my bare hands.

    Old towels work for a wrap as well, but those cheapo blankets are great.
  9. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    For slicing, the point will likely only need to hit around 185-190* I/T to get probe tender (some will slice tender at lower temps than that), so that will reduce some of your cooking time. Don't worry about it getting finished early...early = good...late = not so good. As others mentioned, (double)-foil and insulate well, and it can rest for hours and hours without any harm. Long rests are desired for the best finished product when you have a lesser/tougher cut of meat to work with...brisket is among the toughest you can find on a steer.

    I'll be hangin' and watchin' for ya, come Saturday...I'll have a long...well, sorta long smoke going, myself, so I'll be around if you have any more questions. Huh, I'll be here Friday, too, smokin' something.

    Trust me, nobody wants to see you fail, so we'll be you support group to help you see it to the end.

    I probably forgot to mention this, but the point is a VERY forgiving cut of'd have to just completely ignore it for couple hours or more after it reached finished temps/tenderness without pulling it out of the cooker before it would start to get dried-out or have a mealy texture...these babies are pretty much indestructible. It'll be a piece a cake.

    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  10. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Ok, so now you've thrown a curve ball. I've been thinking a IT of 201* , but now your saying 185-190*?

    This thing is thick, its probably 4" at it's thickest point. Should I use the tooth pick test in the thickest spot?

    My plan is to get up at 4am, and set the pellet smoker at 225*, and I should be able to get the brisket on by 4:30. Once the brisket is snuggled in the smoker, I'll go snuggle with the misses until the fur kids tell me its time to go outside. I'm hoping it will be done by 4-4:30 pm. That will give me at least a 1 1/2 hr rest. Hoping for 2+ hrs of rest.
    Dinner is around 6 pm.

    I really appreciate all the help and advice. I promise to take pics and post the results weather good or bad. I'm confident it will be a huge success.......
  11. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yeah, 200*+ for pulled meat...that's pretty normal. But for slicing, that temp will likely yield extreme difficulty in will probably want to fall apart under your blade. An electric knife would be better, but you'd still have slices that could hardly be lifted off the plate.

    Toothpicks won't really reach deep enough for you in this case. Your temp thermo probe would work fine for that...and at the same time it will give you multiple I/Ts while probing for tenderness. When slicing, you don't want your probe to fall right through the meat...that's too tender. There should be a little resistance, but not like you have to force it into the meat. For pulling, yes, it should have very little resistance, but more when slicing.

    Yeah, you'll have a good meal, no doubt. If you have any doubts about cooking time, you could run 240* chamber temp and knock an hour, give or take, off the time...just sayin'. 250* chamber wouldn't really hurt, but I'm not too fond of hot & fast brisket...some swear by it, but most, like me, prefer low & slow (renders out more fats). Some cookers take longer than others, depending on their convective not being familiar with how efficient pellet smokers are, I can't say if will take more or less time than a propane cabinet smoker or a vertical charcoal smoker at the same temp, for example.

    Oh, forgot to mention this: keep your smoker lid closed as much as possible...every time you open it you loose a lot of heat, and recovery time can really stack up against probably already knew this. Also, don't stick your temp probe in for at least an hour...this will give the heat some time to pasteurize the surface of the meat so you don't push any nasty critters in there with the probe...clean/sanitize the probe very well first, of course.

    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  12. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Well, i guess i'd rather have it fall apart than be tuff. Lol.
    It seams there's a zone between slicing and pulling that i need to hit. New plan is ill use my temp probe to test tenderness around 190 ish. If my in-experanced probes say its done, then i'm pulling it... One thing I have in my favor, is those coming ( me included), have never tasted true brisket cook... So if it's sub par, they, and me, will think its a home run..:sausage:
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  13. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ha-ha!!! Well, you can't go wrong at all, then, now can you?!?!?!? Like I said, brisket point is very'd have to be a couple bubbles off level to really mess one up, because they really can take a lot of abuse before they give up the fight.

    It's been my experience that most brisket points will slice pretty decent below 190*...some are more stubborn...but, I've finished points every which way but loose. Like you say though, too tender is better than too tough. If it does fall apart, you can always do the pulled beef route...and there's absolutely nothing wrong with pulled beef brisket point, either...melt in your mouth deliciousness.

  14. smokeindaville

    smokeindaville Fire Starter

    Thinking of doing my first brisket this weekend too but have no idea where to start. I read this thread and got some ideas but shat should I look at buying for a family of 4? I definitely want to have leftovers.

    What is CBP? I am very new to this. Have only smoked chicken thighs, pork tenderloin, and turkey breast. Just looking for a simple rub.

  15. landcruzr

    landcruzr Newbie

    CBP means coarse black pepper where I come from....and its in line with the rest of his ingedients.....
    I just stuck a 7 lb flat on the smoker this morning using the same basic recipe...
    Dont second guess yourself....just do it! Lol
  16.  I did this one last weekend.

      Jeff's Texas Rub

     Started at 8am with pit temp @ 275

       Foiled @ 2pm IT @ 165

    Pulled at 6pm IT was 207, sliced 3/8" thick with electric knife

      Fork tender
  17. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  18. smokeindaville

    smokeindaville Fire Starter

    Did you trim it before smoking Food Junkie?
  19. Yes, I trimmed away the hard fat lump and half of the 3/4" cap.
  20. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    My plan is to take it out of the package tomorrow eve. Trim, rub with CBP, salt, onion and garlick powder. I'll wrap it in saran wrap and back into the refer overnight.
    Plan on having this on the smoker around 5 am Saturday morning. Pit temp of 225-250*. I'll wrap at the stall, and start probing around 195*. I'll pull it when my inexperienced probing says "now", than into a cooler for a min 2 hr rest. Hoping to eat around 6 pm.
    Hotdogs and my back up

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