Another Brisket Question!

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smoking in yale

Original poster
Jul 7, 2007
yale, Virginia
I had to cut my brisket in half to fit in my vertical smoker. Now the flat part has reached 165 and I've wrapped it in aluminum foil and is at almost 190. The other half is only at 60. Is that normal????
thanks Debi,

the link link you sent kinda overwhelmed me. I had no idea about corned beef or pastrami. the brisket turned out pretty good. I don't feel like there was much of a smoke ring, but the flavor was good. the Point was a lot more tender than the flat. I'm highly impressed with what I've seen on your site so far. Great info.
It's a shame to cut a brisket in half. They are so much better when left intact. Do you suppose that you might be able to hang the next one?
I would imagine that being as the point is much thicker than the flat, it just took longer for the heat to penetrate. I'm with Clyde though, I only cook whole packer trims because of the way that the entire cut is constantly basted in the good fat and juices.

If you do habg the next one, try to hook it through the fat layer between the flat and the point. This will help prevent excess moisture loss. It will also keep the thickest part near the top where the temps are hottest and give you a more uniform cook.

Marty -

Sorry I overwhelmed you. Maybe I'll make a separate page on just spliting the point from the flat. Will that help? At least you enjoyed your smoke that's the main thing!

Tim/Clyde -

I almost always split my briskets and they are always nice and juicey. I can not stand to bite into fat! I make lots of pastrami from the flats and sliced beef, corned beef, pulled brisket or just burnt ends from the points. Never had a dry one yet!
Split it after you cook it. It's easier than doing it before you cook it. And the meat will be jucier.

I never serve fatty bites of cow meat.
I was wondering about both of those ideas. Is it better to smoke a brisket untrimmed and cut the fat off after its smoked? And is it better to hang the brisket while smoking or lay it flat on the rack? I have a NB Bandera vertical so hanging it would be easy.
If you are on a fat free diet, you shouldn't be eating brisket anyway. Leave all the fat on. When it comes to flavor in meat, fat rules! It's easier to remove the excess fat after cooking anyway.

I prefer smoking flat in a foil pan, but then I have a relatively large smoker. Laying in a foil pan braises the meat, and that is a preferred method for a tough stringy cut such as brisket.

If you can't fit it in that way, I would think that hanging would be better than cutting it up. Just be sure to catch all the drippings, and I would also have to paint them back onto the meat as often as I was able..

BTW, your sig. says "bait". What do you fish for?
Jimbo, by leaving the fat on the brisket, depending on your method will do different things.

Laying it flat, fat side up with the thicker part of the brisket toward the firebox will baste the meat while smoking. In a vertical smoker laying it fat side down will add some protection to the meat if you have a major heat spike. Fat side up will produce the basting effect. I have been starting my briskets fat side down and once the temps settle down, I'll turn it fat side up.

Also, I find that the fat is easier to remove after you take it out of the smoker.
BTW, your sig. says "bait". What do you fish for?[/quote]

Howdy Clyde,
I'm a displaced Oregonian and most of my life I fished salmon and steelhead, (and smelt if you call that fishing) trout in the rivers too, then some saltwater bottom fishing for rock cod and halibut as well. A few long off shore trips for tuna. Down here in Texas about all I've done is bass and croppy, been meaning to try for some red fish but haven't done it as yet.
Thanks for the info Dutch! I've been spending way too much time trimming I guess. I was thinking of hanging the whole packer with the hook through the fat between the flat and the point like one of y'all said. But that would leave the thin end closest to the heat in my vertical NB Bandera. Should I fold it up and pin it to make the thickness more uniform?
Hey Shellbellc,

So far so good with the smoker. Its the first one i've ever been around so I'm starting from scratch. I will say I smoked a pork butt. It was awsome. I've did baby backs twice, 3-2-1 method. i think the best i've ever tasted. so i like it. Its seems to be sturdy and well made. I've got over 30 hours smoke time so far and the gauge is still showing green on the tank. Oh yeah and beer butt chicken that wasn't too shabby either. I'm still feeling it out when it comes to temps. i haven't had any cool days to see how that works. Always seems to be in the 90's here.
I'm not familiar with the dimensions and layout of your smoker, but I would think one would want a water pan a few inches directly above the heat source. This would help diffuse a major central hot spot. If that were the case, the highest temps would be toward the top of the unit (heat rises).

The real "meat of the issue" is that given the shape and thicknesses of a brisket, you will always have some parts that get a little more cooked than others. Burnt ends do well chopped and put on a bun, or you can do what we usually do, and chop them up and throw them into your next batch of beans.
We do fat side up for 2 hrs, fat side down for 1 hr just to get the smoke going on the bottom, then fat side up and foil. We think 2 hrs on the "naked meat" isn't necessary for good smoke penetration, and dries the meat more than it needs to. We also sear our briskets before they go in the smoker though.

If you've never tried a brisket that's been seared well, then put in a foil pan to smoke, you truly don't know what you're missing. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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