Brisket Recommendations?

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
Oct 18, 2009
out on the western plain
I've got one smoke under my belt (ribs), and now for my 2nd smoke, I want to try a brisket.

I'm sort of apprehensive because I've read a bunch of threads/comments about briskets being sort of tricky to cook at times. 

Would I be better off chosing as small a brisket as possible in order to avoid an interminable smoke?

Any tips on how to pick out a likely candidate from the meat case would be much appreciated. 

EDIT:  sorry, folks, i see this question is covered in another area.  this is why it says 'newbie' under my name

LOL @ myself
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Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Mar 12, 2009
Thornton, CO
LOL no worries.  many questions get asked time and again.  Search functions seem to bewilder people as much as the mighty brisket itself.  Good luck, and I hope you got all the info you needed!  

pit 4 brains

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Dec 16, 2009
Summerville, SC
I would go for the pork butt (shoulder) or the Picnic (shank) for your next smoke. Both of these cuts can take between 8-12 hours to cook. In this time you can practice fire / smoke management and get some experience with the "stall" or otherwise known as the ' plateau". If you go to the brisky and ruin it, it can be very traumatic to your smoking ego. Pork is hard to ruin as it is a very forgiving meat. The butt and shank meat make the pork sandwiches you are so familliar with and freeze / reheat well..

Do a chuck before you do a brisket..
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Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Aug 27, 2008
Yeah, I'd take things a bit slower and go for something a bit easier, being you're in the early stages of learning. Get to know how your smoker likes to run a bit more for sure.

Not to discourage you from what I consider to be the king of smoked beef...brisket needs low and slow as much or more more than any other cut, IMHO, as I consider it to be the toughest cut of meat on the steer (that I've smoked, anyway). My 1st brisket was a far cry from the texture I would have expected, and it took me a long time to try another one. I waited until I had sponged-up as much about briskets as I could absorbe from here on the forums...maybe 8-9 months. So, as Pit4Brains mentioned, maybe wait a bit so you are armed with as much tips and methods as you can'll know when you're comfortable with giving it a shot.

You may want to pick one up and toss it in the freezer for a couple weeks or so, just so you have it on hand when you want to give it a shot. Then, be sure to have a full 24 hours to dedicate to creating your masterpiece. And, if you haven't considered doing them yet, you should try burnt ends from the point cut (they're great), and use the flat for slicing (or pulling, if you really want to go all-out).

As for weight range to choose from, I recently smoked up a 17lb and a 18lb for our family reunion. Normally I look for ~14lbrs, as they require a bit less time when doing a full packer. And with a family of 7, we always have leftovers from a packer in that weight range anyway.

Trust me when I say this: once you get a brisket right, you'll be hooked for life! I can't smoke brisket often enough at my house. And the burnt ends...oooooh my!

Good luck with your upcoming brisket burn!

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