Doing my first brisket saturday, need some help!

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
Sep 17, 2009
Seminole, Oklahoma
I have never smoked a brisket before.  My smoker holds heat really well with minimal effort so that part will be easy.  The parts im scared about are about temps, which side up and estimated time.  From what I have read it takes 8-12 hours.  Im wanting to make chopped brisket sandwiches.

Now you will find little differences for your brisket smoke. I start by trimming the the fat cap and I only trim the hard stuff and that's all. I like the fat left on the brisket and use it to baste the meat. Now I always smoke it fat cap up and it will keep the brisket moist. I like to keep my smoker at about 240-250°ish. Now it can go up and down some but try to keep an eye one it. Then I take the meat to 165° and then spray some spritz into the foil and wrap it up for the remainder of the smoke. Then take the brisket some say to 195° for slicing and 205° for pulling. I like to take it to 200° for both. Then wrap it with a towel and place it into a dry cooler and fill the cooler with towels and then wait. Oh yea before you cooler the meat, this is where you can take pictures (Q-view) ans let the meat rest for at least an hour. I have kept one in the cooler for upwards of 5 hours and it was still burn your finger hot too. So go get your brisket and smoke it and please don't forget the Q-view.  
Mballi (Mark) covered the basics very well for you. Bout the only thing I do differant from his advice it I usually keep my temps lower, more like 210-225.

Also I can not stress enough that THE most important thing to a successfull brisket smoke is TIME - do not rush your brisket! If you get in a hurry and crank up the heat, pull the brisket before it reaches at least 190, don't give the brisket at least one hour to rest, or any combination of thos three things....... you will end up with a tastey chunk of shoe leather.

Figure out when you want to eat, allow for approx. 1.5 hrs. per lb. of brisket plus 1-2 hrs. of rest time.... then add another 1-2 hrs. as a safety window. If the brisket finishes early you can always hold it in a dry towel lined cooler for several hours.

So take you time, relax, take a few deap breaths, take lots of Qveiw, and it will all turn out good!
All great advice given so far. This is where I learned to do brisket. One other suggestion that I learned here was injecting the brisket with beef broth. I've done them both ways and I really liked the results I got when I injected the brisket. 
All good advice so far.

 Only thing i can add is a little trick that works for any lg piece of meat you are going to inject.

 Take the brisket and season w/ whatever you decide to season with.

Wrap the brisket in several layers of plastic wrap.  Mix the beef broth w/ 1 tsp (tblsp if ya like spicy) of liquid crab boil .

 Inject the brisket through the plastic wrap.  The wrap helps keep what injection that leaks out on the surface of the meat.

 Into the fridge over night. When you get ready to smoke ,remove the plastic wrap and reseason the meat.

 Smoke when ready
 I usually do briskets fat cap down and at 250ish on the temp. I've noticed brisket will "stall" more often than other meats so don't be surprised if the internal temp hits a stall point for an hour or two. Let it take it's time.
I love that idea of wrapping the brisket in saran wrap before injecting. I'm gonna try that next time. My wife is always yelling at me when I'm slowly pulling out the injector & it gets to the end & sprays all over the kitchen. She's gonna love this tip! I usually inject the brisket with beef broth, onion powder, garlic powder, & black pepper. I also like to trim off most of the fat & silver skin, then I rub it with mustard, black pepper, & steak seasoning. I know a lot of guys leave the fat cap on, but I think if you take it off the bark is much more tasty, sometimes the fat cap is so thick that you end up discarding most of it before you cut the brisket, or there is a ribbon of fat at the top of the brisket that is unappealing to some, personally I like the flavor that the fat brings, but in this household I'm a minority. But that's just my opinion. If you smoke at 225-230 take it to 165 foil it with beer & drippings then take it to 205 & cut it cross grain it will melt in your mouth, no matter what rub or injection you use.
Wow, lots of tips! Thanks y'all.  Meateater, here is my smoker.  I made it out of an old propane tank. I dont have a new pic of the firebox, so the second pic if from when I was in the process building it.  As for the size of brisket, im not sure yet.  I see that someone estimates 1.5hrs per pound, so probably around 5lbs. About how long till it reaches 165? build/?action=view&current=482488b3.jpg
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Nice looking rig! I've found that smoking brisket at lower temps (around  220) gives you more smoke penetration (thicker smoke ring). If you're doing a flat and it isn't very thick I'd keep the temps low. I usually try to find a nice thick slab of meat and run about 250. There's no telling how long it will take to get to 165, every one is different. Do you have a remote thermometer? I usually just check it when i stoke the fire.
Hey everyone. I've decided to piggyback on this thread to avoid cluttering up the forum. I'm also considering doing my first brisket this coming Sunday for Christmas with my roommates. We did a turkey for Thanksgiving that blew all of our minds and now we're looking to up the ante. I'm not entirely sure that I've got all the resources I need, and I have no idea about the right strategy, but I was told to come here to get advice from the masters.

First: I'm using a Weber kettle grill, 22.5 inches. How do you recommend setting up? coals/wood chips to one side, with a drip pan beneath the brisket?

Second: As I prep the brisket, how integral is an injecting broth or liquids into the meat? What about rub and or mop sauce recipes... does anybody have tips? How far in advance should I be prepping?

Third: I'm seeing that y'all are recommending 1.5 hours per pound. How closely should I be tending the meat and/or grill/coals throughout the cook?

That's all the questions I can think of right now. I'm excited to hear any advice you guys have, and I'm excited to have my mind blown again. I know the kettle grill takes some more intensive work, but I really enjoy the whole process and I'm hoping to walk away from my roommate Christmas a better man than I was walking in.
I've done briskets both ways. Injecting and not injecting. For me I found the one I injected to be a little better tasting. As far as moisture I din't see a big difference between the 2 methods. I followed what I learned here in that I foiled it at 165 and brought it up to 205 before taking it out the smoker. Wrapping it in towels and placing it in a cooler to rest is also a nice tip I learned here. It will stay hot for a long time. It also allows the meat to become even more tender as the connective tissue continues to break down. I always smoked whole briskets. I found the flat to be very tender but you would still be able to slice it. The point was more like pulled pork and very tender. 

As far as time, I think the 1.5 hrs per pound is good for estimating the total time so that you can plan for that amount of time. But for me, mine have always finished a few hours short of what was estimated.

I'm sure you will hear from others that are by far more of an expert than me.

You've come to the right place to find what will work for you.

Good Luck

P.S. I don't own a WSM, many others here do. So I'm sure they'll answer your questions
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