Basic Brisket Smoke

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Jul 7, 2005
Midvale, UT
I posted this in answer to a question on how to smoke a brisket. Iceman (Gary) asked that I re-post the answer here and make it a *sticky*. As there are many variations to doing a brisket as there are doing butts and ribs, feel free to share your *secret* technique.

Smoke that brisket to 170 deg. Wrap in foil with a good splash of your spray/mop-back into the smoker until it reaches 190 deg. Wrap in several old towels and place into a blanket lined cooler for a couple of hours to rest and redistribute the juices then slice or pull and serve. Keep in mind that a piece of meat this size will hit a plateau and you'll think your thermo has gone south on you. DONOT adjust your heat, Just leave it alone-It's is during this time that the heat that has built up in the muscle mass begins to break down the connective tissue which in turn will make the brisket tender. Be patient with it and it will reward you a great meal.
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Thanks for the sticky!

I'm preparing for my first brisket smoke this weekend. Can I use the same rub that I've been using on pork? Its just a basic brown sugar + spices, but I like it. Also, any special mops I should use? I've used apple or pineapple juice for my pork butts and ribs. Will that be ok for brisket too?
If you have a rub that you like, you should definately give it a go on the brisket. That's the only way you'll know if you like it w/ beef or not. Also, the taste test will help figure out any tweaking your rub might need for brisket. I have a commercial rub I really like that I use when I don't make one up. At one time or another I've shook it on anything you would imagine putting a rub on, and it taste great on hardboiled eggs.

I've never used pineapple juice on a brisket, but I intend too. I used cherry juice on the last one I smoked and have always used apple juice before. I put it in a spray bottle and every hour or two when I need to turn, flip, or add wood or lump to the fire I give it misting down with the sprayer.
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I am looking at doing a brisket. I need help with what to look for when I buy a piece suitable for the project. Most people in this country eat brisket salted (or corned). Was thinking that I need a piece of fresh meat, unsalted, about 4 kg [9 lbs] with a good layer of fat, is an inch enough ? Do I treat the meat prior to smoking. I read here somewhere about scoring the layer of fat? This might be a good idea and rub with a sugar base to encourage caramelising. Just a thought. Any hints from the professionals .
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We like a 12-14 # (6kg) brisket. You want a good layer of fat on top. Don't score it. You don't want one that has too much fat marbled into the point cut. The best to pick one is to try to wiggle the brisket in the middle of the point cut ( thick end), Oh did I mention that you want a whole brisket? At ant rate, the ones that wiggle most easily will have the leaner points. If you get one w/ too much fat marbled into the point, the point will be too fatty to serve sliced.

We also believe in searing the brisket (totally black) before smoking in order to achieve caramelization. I posted a poll and started a thread on this subject. As I recall it was most controversial, and most who responded said they'd never tried it. We have, and as a result, we never do it any other way.

Now, I'm not sayin' that you hafta try it that way, but for our $.02 worth, it's one of the most important steps toward the perfect brisket.
We don't foil brisket. You lose too much of that magic jus when you foil. We smoke in a foil pan or a baking pan, then cover tightly w/ foil fat side up after about 3 hrs of smoke.

We've tried the dutch oven thing, and all I can say is hats off to the guys that can do it well. I mean, getting the top and bottom done both at the exact same time w/o burning either!
Yep-Competitive Dutch Oven cook here :D IDOS member to boot!
A friend of mine does that dutch oven cooking competitively too. I've watched him do it and it's amazing. The only food I've eaten is a pineapple upside down cake, and it was fantastic. What is it about this kind of stuff that makes food taste so much better? I mean things like coffee, bacon, heck everything seems to taste better cooked over an open fire, on a real bbq pit, or a dutch oven doing it's thing on and under coals and not stuck into a convection oven. Just more proof that the old ways are the best ways.
I have an old cast iron kitchen cook stove, all wood or coal fired. It's huge and has to be moved with a big forklift. I've never personally cooked on it, but I have eaten many, many meals from it as my old granny used it up until the day she died. You adjust the temp by cranking the coals closer or farther away from what you are cooking. She used it for heat and cooking. When I get my dream log house built, I plan to use this as my only means of kitchen cooking and home heating.
Aw heck Gunny, this thread is so old I don't think anyone would mind a little inadvertant hijack.
Thanks you blokes. Dickydoo, when you talk searing the meat, I take it you mean to cook the fat side down on the plate or griddle until it is the required shade of blackness. Then to the smoker. Do you smoke flat of hanging. ?
I have a flip up lid on my firebox w/ a grate under it. It's just the right size to accomodate a brisket. I sear the meat over a hot flame on all sides, not just the fat side, all sides and ends too.

We smoke flat in a foil pan fat side up for 2 hrs. flip& smoke for 1 hour, flip back and finish w/ a foil cover tight on the pan. Usually another 4 or 5 hours.
So many ways to cook a brisket..... so who is right, and who is wrong?????

Dutch, I too cook mine to 170, wrap in foil, pull at 190 and put in a towel wrapped cooler to rest. I have great success with both the packers and flats that way.

I have started doing primarily flats, as I have been able to find nice ones lately, in the 4-6lb size, with a decent fat layer on them. I had a hard time finding brisket in my area for a long time. I found the beef council website, and read the stats to the store manager on how many were cooked a year. We have had no problem finding them since. Both packers and flats, and he even said that at first the sales were kinda slow, but they picked up rather quickly.

So, if you can't find what you want, ask.....

And by the way, do NOT score the fat.... I tried it thinking the rub would get into the meat better.... NOT.... the fat washed it a way, and I did not get a good finish at all, and the flavor was gone.

'slinger, methinks that 'bloke' is aussie for 'dude'. :mrgreen: is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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