Packer or Flat Brisket, and why, etc etc etc....

Discussion in 'Beef' started by id2nv2nj2ca, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    So, I have done a few briskets, all "packers" from Sam's Club because I'm not wealthy, and they were about $2 or more per pound less than the "flats" they had. Wasn't too bad. However, I think they could have tasted a lot more flavorful, especially on the point end.

    Sooo, yesterday I was in Sam's again to get some butts for pulled pork. Actually took one out about 15 minutes ago, and it is resting comfortably in the cooler while the other gets to 200 IT. Wish I knew why there was 20 degrees difference between them, but it is what it is. While there, I looked at the brisket. All they had were two flats for sale at $4.77 per pound. Yikes.

    Well, I bought one that was 6.6 pounds, took it home, rubbed it with Jeff's dry rub and put it in the fridge. Now, just waiting for the other butt to finish so I can put it in. It's amazing how "wet" it looks and how much liquid is in the pan.

    A few questions.

    1: What do most of you buy, flats or packers, and why?

    2: If you're a packer fan, do you separate the two, and how? I wanted to, but thought I would end up with a big mess on the ones I did before. Paranoid?

    3: If you were going to attempt selling brisket sandwiches, which is the best cut to buy? I guess that may be answered in #1, huh? I want the moistest, most tender and easiest to slice possible if we do this. The flat appears like it would be easiest, but you folks are the experts.

    4: What is the best temperature to smoke at, and approximately how long should it take to get to the best IT, which your opinion?

    Thanks for everything, guys and gals. I really appreciate this site.
  2. puddy

    puddy Smoke Blower

    1. Packer, I like to have burnt ends.
    2. I separate at the stall, there's a fat layer between the two, just follow that. I reseason the flat and put back in the smoker. The point gets cubed seasoned with rub and sauce and put in the smoker.
    3. Definitely flat, cut it across the grain.
    4. I try to hold between 200-250 and take it to 200 internally.
  3. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    Thank you for the feedback. Much appreciated.Thumbs Up
  4. Not 100% sure by your wording, but if you're not aware the packer is a flat with point attached. If so sorry for pointing out the obvious but not everyone knows that.

    Personally I like the packer because as above I like to make burnt ends from the point, and I separate at the stall. I also think the point helps to protect the flat a bit.

    Last weekend I did a 10 lb packer and a 6 pound flat at the same time. Got busy and didn't get around to separating the point and just let it go. After both were done and sliced couldn't really tell what was what.

    Strange part was the flat took an extra hour longer than the packer. Just goes to show the meat will be done when it gets done.

    If you are selling sandwiches and arent doing burnt ends you will probably end up with more even slices with just the flat, and if you are doind chopped who cares.. But I would just go with whatever is the cheapest.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  5. This is pre written for mostly new folks but I think it answers all your questions.  Is still just my opinion. This is only my OPINION and not the only way to do brisket.  We get so many brisket questions it is hard to keep up so if I have sent this to you in the past I do apologize.  I only ever do whole packer briskets.  I think the flat alone too easily dries out.  The quality of the beef will affect the finished product.  Different parts of the country are known for different smoked meat and styles.  For Texas it is sliced brisket.  Not pulled, that is for pulled pork.  I slice pork butt but that’s another story.  I have been smoking brisket for almost 40 years and as I am OLD  school and from south Texas; I am going to give you my take on traditional smoked Tx. style sliced brisket.  I still learn a trick or two every time I cook but this is how I learned it.  This may sound boring as no rubs are used, but trust me, folks were doing brisket like this a long time and the taste of a traditional, properly cooked and smoked brisket is a thing you will not forget.  I do not  trim my brisket before smoking, I trim when I slice.  I smoke all large cuts fat side up ( thought being the fat bastes the meat ).  I do not use rubs, salt and black pepper or cayenne pepper only.  I season the meat as the smoker comes up to temp.  I do not add sauce.  I serve it on the side.  I try to let the taste of the meat and smoke shine.  IMHO rubs and sauces can detract from the taste of the meat.  Quality brisket does not need to have the taste hidden.  I do sometimes  mop/baste to add a slight flavor change.  Bark belongs on Carolina style pulled pork, not sliced brisket as it CAN be hard and tough on sliced brisket.  I don’t foil until the rest period.  I would say that IF you are going to foil and continue to cook a mop is NOT necessary because you will probably add some sort of Au Jus to the foil , but if you want to mop to add a certain flavor it ain't gonna hurt it.  I don’t do burnt ends ( but they ARE good ).  The conventional method calls for a temp of around 225 but I would run the temp round 300 - 350.  Pull it off the smoker at 190-195 IT and rest for at least  2 hours wrapped in foil and towels or blanket.  Wood SHOULD be mesquite by tradition, but pecan, oak, and hickory are good ( in that order IMHO ). A mix of Pecan , Oak and cherry is good.   Having said all that I must admit ( if lightning doesn’t strike me ) that this is not the ONLY way to achieve a great tasting  brisket.  This is all personal preference based on tradition.  If you LIKE rubs and sauces then by ALL means add them.  MANY threads here to help you with those.  Chef Jimmy J has a good au jus recipe.  Brisket is really pretty easy but the KEY!!!! to brisket is patience, and patience, and more patience;  and no peeking; LEAVE THAT DOOR CLOSED!    Buy a good dual probe therm and use it.  My MAIN advice is to write down everything.  Weight, temp, rub, mop, wood, time, foil/no foil, and anything else you can think of including weather conditions.  Next time you will have options to change whatever.  Find what you and the family like and stick with it.  Sorry for the novel.  Good luck.  Be sure to let us know how it turns out as we are a nosey bunch, and don't forget the Q-view.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

  6. bigwheel

    bigwheel Smoking Fanatic

    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  7. bigwheel

    bigwheel Smoking Fanatic

    Hey..tried to send you a PM on showing how to market trim a packer. Hope it helps. Check your mail.
  8. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the reply.  Yes, I knew that packer had both parts attached, but it wasn't that long ago that I didn't.

    I like to throw whatever I am smoking in and not even open the door until it's ready, so separating at the stall would increase the overall cook time, no?  I wonder if anyone ever separates the two pieces before smoking, so both get the same amount of seasoning, rub, etc.

    The one I put in today, I put in at 1:30pm, the smoker has been hovering between 215 and 240, and it is still only at 176 IT.  So, I just went and wrapped it to help prevent drying it out.

    I've never done burnt ends, they just haven't sounded that appealing to me for all the extra work they take, but may give it a shot. 

    Thanks again.
  9. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    Thank you so much Danny.  A lot of what you posted here looks pretty familiar, so I think I may have read it somewhere else.  Seems like smoking pretty much anything is like photographers debating on which camera to buy, Nikon or Canon, and whether to shoot in RAW or JPEG.  There are lots of options, I'm just looking for something that will be easily duplicatable that will provide a great product each time.  Especially if we do try to make some sort of a business out of it.  My biggest problem is living in California, where they love to tax and regulate EVERYTHING.  
  10. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    Thanks so much for this, and the message, I appreciate it.

    Didn't understand this sentence, though. "I know this old guy who made a good living for many moons peddling offsetted sliced  clods for sandwiches. Less waste but over all higher cost."

    Thanks again.  Have a great week.

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