About to smoke my first ever brisket, realized I had a few noobie questions.

Discussion in 'Beef' started by corne84d, Jun 27, 2015.

  1. corne84d

    corne84d Newbie

    So I'm about to smoke my first brisket in my new WSM. I started setting things up when I realized there were a several small variables that I hadn't even thought of until I went to put the meat on.

    Do people usually go fat side up? or down? Does it matter? Why? (sorry I'm brand new and would just like to know the reasons behind things I'm doing)

    Secondly, would it be better on the top or bottom rack? From what I could tell in my trial, meatless runs, the top of my smoker stays about 20 degrees hotter than the middle. So is using the lower rack simply a "it'll take longer" type scenario or will it actually affect the quality in terms of smokiness, tenderness, etc?

    Thirdly, I know when I worked in a small BBQ restaurant in TN (we only had pork stuff) that we would spray apple cider on the meat as it smoked to keep it moist. Is this a pork thing? Or does that translate well to beef also?

    Sorry for the super-amateur questions, I realize a lot of this is trial and error, which is half the fun, but I just want to make sure that what I make on this first run is at least edible :p

    Thanks for any tips!

  2. pockets

    pockets Fire Starter

    Cant help with rack but i do fat side up so when it renders it drips through meat, and i do mist or mop randomly with juice or brine to keep meat moist. Also may want to cover with tinfoil half way through ur smoke time to keep a nice bark
    corne84d likes this.
  3. texasslowsmoker

    texasslowsmoker Fire Starter

    Tbh all 3 questions are circumstantial. Since you're using a vertical smoker I think most people would say fat down. I cook fat up on my offset. If your top rack is at the temp you like cooking, I'd set it there. Easier to access. I don't sop or spritz brisket, as the fat keeps it moist. I don't cook on a wsm, so hopefully someone else may give better advice for that cooker.
    corne84d likes this.
  4. aggie94

    aggie94 Smoking Fanatic

    How big is your WSM compared to your brisket and can you get it all on one rack?  I use an offset smoker and cook fat side up usually but sometimes flip it over.  I would go with the rack that stays closer to the temp you want to cook at, I try to maintain 250 degrees.  If  you are cooking a brisket with a lot of fat (packer) you shouldn't need to spritz it but if you do it won't hurt it.  Just plan on cooking it a long time to get it tender.  It really is trial and error and it can be expensive getting experience, so don't get discouraged if your first one doesn't turn out exactly like you want.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2015
    corne84d likes this.
  5. Hey everybody on here was a rookie at one time. Never hesitate or feel bad about asking questions. I've been smoking a really long time and I still ask questions.  I do a lot of Briskets, Smoked in ECB's SF's and RF's   I always go fat side up, Not saying it's the right way or only way, just works for me.  Doesn't matter which rack as long as you know the temp and can maintain it.

    Use seasoned Wood for a nice mild flavor.  Here are a couple of Post I did on Brisket




    corne84d likes this.
  6. texasslowsmoker

    texasslowsmoker Fire Starter

    The "let's talk brisket" thread has taught me more than a thing or two.
    corne84d likes this.
  7. aggie94

    aggie94 Smoking Fanatic

    As the "Lets talk brisket" poster child, I agree it has been very helpful.  Thanks Danny and Gary!
  8. corne84d

    corne84d Newbie

    Thanks a lot for the reply those links to the past forums were extremely helpful.

  9. Keep us posted and let us know how it turns out

  10. millerbuilds

    millerbuilds Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Most vertical guys smoke fat side down.  Offset guys fat side up (which is how I smoke).

    Here are a few hints that I find smoking a brisket easier.

    1- Score your fat cap

    2- Rub with your favorite rub the night before

    3- Ensure your brisket will fit on your rack with plenty of room for the smoke to whisk across the meat

    4- Use a mellow wood (Hickory and Mesquite can over power)

    5- Keep the outlet all the way open, use the inlet to control your temp

    6- Wrap your brisket when you hit the IT stall

    7- Pull it when it hits 195 & a toothpick pushes in easily

    8- Wrap it when you pull it in foil and two beach towels, throw it into a cooler for 2 hours before cutting

    9- Cut the burnt ends loose and toss them on a screen or pan with holes (one used for fish or veggies) to cook down, chop it up with some brisket mix it with the juice left in foil when you pull cut up the brisket, add a bit of sauce, stir and you have a great little treat to make a sandwich with.

    10- Keep trying even if you don't get it right the first time!

    Good Luck and Smoke ON!

    corne84d likes this.
  11. corne84d

    corne84d Newbie

    Ok, got her all rubbed up, the smoker is stable at around 240 on the top grate and 225 on the bottom, off we go!

    7.5 lbs, trimmed

    Fat side, everyone suggested scoring it, so I did. Better for smoke penetration?

    All rubbed up. Kept it simple for this first try: 50% salt, 50% pepper

    I read a lot about the amount of coal to put in, consensus seemed to be that it is better to have too much than too little - so I filled her up. Five big chunks of hickory on top.

    Barely fit on the rack. Can you just chop it in half and put one on the bottom and one on the top?

    Anyways, I'll post some results on here in about 10ish hours!

    Thanks again to anyone who offered up tips :)
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2015
  12. millerbuilds

    millerbuilds Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    You can cut it in half, just remember to rotate due to the temp difference between your racks.
  13. Off to a good Star,t Keep us posted,

  14. aggie94

    aggie94 Smoking Fanatic

    Corne how did it turn out?
  15. corne84d

    corne84d Newbie

    Alrighty, so the brisket is done and we have eaten. It was great! I wound up cooking it for about 4.5 hours until it plateaued at 160 degrees. Then I wrapped it in foil and kept going for another 4 hours until it was about 190. I took her off and put her in a cooler for another hour and then cut her up. Here is what the final product looked like:

    It wasn't too smokey, the outside was a bit peppery though, probably will go less pepper next time. It was a bit dry in the middle, but was extremely tender throughout. The knife went through it like butter. All in all I think it came out great for a first time.  Thanks everyone for the great tips!

    See you next time,

  16. pockets

    pockets Fire Starter

    Look like you did a good job to me! Congrats!
  17. aggie94

    aggie94 Smoking Fanatic

    It looks delicious!  You can make small adjustments next time, if it wasn't smokey enough put more wood on it or too dry add some extra liquid when you wrap it.  I think getting it tender is the hard part and you got that easily.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2015
  18. pockets

    pockets Fire Starter

    Can also leave a little more fat when u trim it to help hold moisture
  19. millerbuilds

    millerbuilds Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    You did a great job for your first Brisket Smoke.

    To help with the moisture, you can leave more of the cap on, inject it, SOP or MOP it, add some liquid when you wrap (both times).

    As for the smoke, You have a great smoke ring, what type of wood did you use?

    Great Job and Smoke ON!
    corne84d likes this.
  20. corne84d

    corne84d Newbie

    Yeah, I think next time I'm going to try and get a non-trimmed one from the butcher and trim it myself in conjunction with spraying some apple cider on it during the cook.

    As for the wood, I used five decent sized chunks of hickory. The flavor was real nice, not too bitter but definitely present.

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