First attemp at smoking is two 4lb briskets

Discussion in 'Grilling Beef' started by trundle888, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. Hi,

    Im going to try smoking for the first time ever this weekend. Im going to try and smoke two 4lb briskets, it was an 8lb packer but too big for my smoker so il cut it in half so it will be a 4lb flat and a 4lb flat and point.

    My first question is ive read roughly it takes 1h15m per lb at 225 degrees, how does that change when you have two separate briskets on two separate racks? (im sure they will take longer than the 5 hours to smoke a single 4lb but less than the 10 hours to smoke an 8lb)
    Do you put your brisket directly on to the rack or on/in an uncovered foil tray?

    If i put the two briskets one above the other do i need to rotate them so they both cook evenly, if so how often?

    I heard i want to try and keep my water tray in smoker about 2/3 full all the time is this the case?
    Should I top up my soaked hickory chips ever 2/3 hours?

    Some things ive read mention them resting wrapped in a towel in a cooler, is this necessary?

    Here is my plan for smoking this brisket, is anything wrong or missing?

    Im going to cut my 8lb packer in half then inject each brisket with marinade, apply my rub then wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge friday evening.

    Im going to leave it in the fridge until sunday morning when i will let them sit for an hour or two before putting it on the smoker.

    I will have the smoker at 225 and the water tray 2/3 filled before the briskets go on.

    Leave the briskets on the racks (the water pan below will catch any drippings i assume) until the internal temp if 160, not sure how long this will take as im sure two briskets will change smoking time.

    Once im at 160 take them off and wrap each in aluminum foil and put back in the smoker for a few hours until internal temp of 200.

    Take them off, let them rest for an hour or so still wrapped in aluminum foil, slice and serve. 

    Thank you all very much for any help or info you give me, I really hope this turns out well, ill maybe post a few pictures as i go.



    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    It's very hard to answer your questions, not knowing what smoker you are using.

    However your plan sounds good, except that I would take the brisket directly from the fridge to the smoker.

    I wouldn't let it sit out & come up to room temp. Since you injected it it needs to get to 140 degrees internal meat temp in 4 hours. So get it right in the smoker.

    Also I would figure 2 hours per pound, so your looking at 8 hours total time. If it gets done early just wrap in foil and towels in a dry cooler. It will stay hot for hours.

  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Cutting in Half will give a thin piece that will be done much sooner than the thicker one. You can separate the Point from the Flat along the natural mostly horizontal seam. These will be more uniform in thickness. NEVER warm Injected meat. The only meat that benefits from warming is Beef or Pork that will be cooked to no more than Medium, for even cooking edge to edge. If you smoke the Brisket to Probe Tender, 190-195 typically, maybe 200°, it is Done. Rest 30 minutes on the counter and slice. If you put meat that is Done in a Cooler it will continue to cook and you will open the pack to Falling Apart brisket that can't be sliced...JJ
  4. Hi,
    Thanks guys for your input. I managed to track down the smoker that im using online,
    Ok, so change of plan now.
    The brisket does not need to be cut in half, I can cut a small strip off the flat end and it will be small enough to fit in my smoker, im figuring it will be 6.5/7lb. So you guys think i should be allowing 2 hours per lb for a 14 hour total smoke smoke time?
    So if i inject the brisket i do not let it sit to warm up before putting it on the smoker, just straight from the fridge onto the smoker? (Ive never heard or seen that before)
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The only place Bacteria can be on meat is the surface. Meat is sterile until they cut it. Now you inject it and every stick of the needle pushes bacteria into the center of the meat. At any temp between 40 and 140, bacteria grows. At 80 to 100 bacteria goes into hyper-growth. Injecting pushes a little bit of bacteria in. You put the meat on the counter to warm and that bacteria in the center gets happy over the next 2-3 hours and multiplies. You start to smoke and the center is warming more, you get to an IT of 80 and instead of a few bacteria, that would have been in the cold meat, you have a huge colony, from warming on the counter, that grows exponentially into Billions until the IT gets over 140 and they all die. The frequent response is, " But Chef, they are all dead so what's the problem? " Bacteria can give you Food Poisoning two ways. One, you eat a lot of live Bacteria and they make you sick in various ways. The Second and of more concern is, while all those Billions of bacteria are multiplying, they are generating Toxins. Even though the bacteria are killed off at high temps, some toxins are heat stable and these can cause an heck of a lot more problems than eating live bacteria. Any time a knife/needle or knives cut into meat, bacteria is transfered to the cut edge. Use a knife to make holes for Garlic in a roast, bacteria get's in. Cut out the bone then roll and tie the meat and bacteria are deep in the center. Grind the meat and bacteria is spread all throughout the meat. We want to limit bacteria and growth as much as possible. This is why you will see a lot about getting the meat IT from 40 to 140 in 4 Hours. This is the best way to limit growth. To do this, we put Cold injected or ground meat in the smoker at a minimum smoker temp of 225°F and the IT will usually get to 140 in about 4 hours. Not 1-2-3 hours warming then another 3 hours in the smoker for maybe 6 hours to get above 140, with way more bacteria and toxin than if you went in Cold from the Refer. This also applies to commercial Poultry since most birds are now Enhanced, as in injected with broth and salt at the factory. This broth is in a receptcle below the birds to catch runoff and is recycled to limit waste. The broth and all the poultry juices with it's bacteria are injected bird after bird contaminating the enter run. So poultry is not warmed.

    Now with a nice Beef Rib Roast. If we add the meat Cold it takes a long time to reach an IT of 140, Medium, or lower for Med/Rare. With cold meat we get a Well Done ring with a Pink bullseye. So we warm the meat on the counter for more even cooking edge to edge. We are not going for Med/Rare with Brisket or Pork Butt so there is no benefit to warming. And with an Injected Brisket, you are asking for trouble warming the meat. I hope this helps explain our worries about you original plan...JJ
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  6. WOW!!

    Thank you very much for such a detailed response, it taught me a lot!! Looks like il be going from the fridge to the smoker then!

    I have my wood chips and water tray at the bottom of my smoker then two racks above, one about 12'' above the water tray the other about 24'' above the water tray. Which should i put my brisket on?


  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    You are Welcome. We like to watch our members backs around here...If your smoker holds temp evenly, either shelf will work. Fire the smoker, let it warm 30 minutes or so and take some temp measurement. Which ever has the most even heat side to side and front to back, that's the best spot to put the meat. Give the recipe below a shot some time...Best of luck with the smoke...JJ

    Many folks enjoy dipping their Beef in Au Jus for flavor and moisture. This recipe is made in the Smoker while a Beef Roast or Brisket is being cooked.

    Smokey Au Jus

    1- Lg Onion,

    4-5 Carrots,

    3-4 Ribs Celery

    3-4 Peeled Cloves of Garlic

    Toss them in a pan under the Beef, and let the whole deal Smoke for one hour,

    THEN add 4-6 Cups Beef Broth,

    2 Tbs Tomato Paste,

    1/2tsp Dry Thyme (4-5 sprigs Fresh)

    1-2 ea Bayleaf

    Finish the Smoking process to the IT you want. 

    While the Roast is resting, dump the pan juices veggies and all into a 2-3Qt Sauce pot and add 1Cup Red Wine, something you like to drink, and bring the Jus to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Strain out the veggies and let the Jus rest a minute or so for the Fat to rise. Skim off the bulk of the fat then using strips of paper towel laid on top of the Jus, drag quickly across to take off the last little bit of fat.

    The purpose of Smoking the Vegetable for 1 hour before adding the Broth and Herbs is...The Smoked vegetables Roast in the Dry heat concentrating their Flavors and Sweetness giving the finished Jus a Richer, Deeper, Full Flavor.

    Serve the sliced Beef Au Jus or thicken the Jus to make Gravy.

    NOTE: If you are using this recipe with Brisket or a long smoke, additional Water will have to be added periodically to maintain the proper volume. Do not add more Broth as repeated addition and reduction will make the Au Jus too salty..
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  8. Im almost scared to ask but... I injected and rubbed my brisket yesterday evening, Friday, wrapped it in plastic wrap and its now in the fridge. My plan is not to start smoking it smoke until Sunday morning so to leave it in the fridge until then. (it will go straight from the fridge to the pre heated smoker). Thats ok yeah? I dont want to possibly make anyone sick.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yes it will be fine...Don't let the concept of Bacteria and Injecting make you crazy! Just be aware that there are extra handling precautions that have to be taken when low and slow smoking injected, BR&T roasts and ground meat. There is a lot to learn about smoking meat and the added concerns about food safety are part of it...JJ
  10. Ive read you need to soak your wood chips for 2/3 hours before putting them in the smoker. I plan on starting smoking at 7am tomorrow morning and dont really fancy getting up at 5am to soak my wood chips. Am i good to smoke them overnight, can you over soak them?
  11. smokeymagoo

    smokeymagoo Smoke Blower


      welcome to the addicting world of smoking. Soaking vs non soaking wood chips is one of those personal preference arguments. Kinda like Ford, Chevy, Dodge. I personally have not soaked a piece of wood in years. I stopped because one smoke I forgot and through them in dry. Dry worked better to me. Soaked chips or chunks seemed to sit and steam before they actually smoke. So if I were going to soak some now I would use half dry half wet. That would insure there would be smoke at the beginning. That beginning smoke is the most important by far. After a few hours on the smoker all meat will stop absorbing smoke and it just builds up on the outside. Not in the nice bark way either it is the bitter belch up at 3am kind of smoke. I am sure there is a scientific proof of this but i am not that educated. This just comes through my experience. But once again that is just my style.

  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yes, soaking overnight is no issue if you wish. Many don't bother unless the chips will be going on Hot Coals. The water cools the coals and lets smoking start before the dry chips burn up. In a Gasser soaking is not really needed. I would suggest getting Chunks. They don't need to soak and they smoke a lot longer than chips. You may also consider the AMNTS Tube Pellet Smoke generator. Load it, light it and forget it for several hours...  

    As far as meat taking/absorbing smoke, again it is up to your taste. Meat will only absorb the Nitrogen Dioxide given off by burning wood or charcoal, gives the Pink Smoke Ring, for about 4 hours. But Smoke flavor will continue to accumulate as long as you make smoke. If your smoke is heavy, you can get an Ashtray Taste or bitter flavor. However, if you apply Thin Blue Smoke as you should with a long smoke, you can smoke 24 hours and the meat will still be sweet and delicious. Look at Competition Stick Burners...They got no choice but to make smoke for as long as the meat takes, 10-16 hours or more, and the KCBS Judges don't complain the meat is too smokey. Folks smoke Bacon 8 hours a day for 3-7 Days! Again TBS and the flavor just gets better. I have tested the theory that any more than 4 hours of smoke is not needed. The Pork had nowhere near the delicious smoke flavor 20 hours of TBS gives a pork butt that I usually use. If you prefer very light smoke, smoke a couple of hours and toss the meat in the Oven to finish. No sense in using a Smoker if you ain't making smoke...JJ[​IMG]
  13. Ok thanks guys.
    My new plan is im not going to soak my hickory chips and put 3 handfuls in my flame disk bowl, line my pan with foil and fill it 2/3 with water.
    I want my brisket to get a strong smokey flavour and really hope it gets a good smoke ring!


  14. We're off!
    Set my alarm for 7am to get the smoker on and cooking, brisket went on at 7.45. After an hour I'm steady at about 220 and hoping it can maintain this for the next 8-10 hours.
    Il try and post a few photos of my work in progress.
    Thanks for everyone who's given me any guidance and input, I really hope this turns out well!
  15. IMG]
  16. After 4 hours im at about 120 internal temperature, that sound about right?
    Ive stayed pretty steady at just under 225, any idea after how long should i expect to be at 160 and ready to take it off and foil wrap it? (I know this would be a rough estimate time)
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
  17. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Your IT is about 20°F shy for that time and temp. Are you measuring the smoker temp with a verified therm? The therm on the unit is worthless and often 25-50° off. I think your smoker is running a lot lower than 220. If you don't have another therm, you can pull the therm probe in the meat, stick it through a small potato and verify the smoker temp, it will take about a half hour or so to stabilize...JJ
  18. Well, after 9.5 hours on the smoker and 30 minutes resting it was a huge success!!! (I know it could probably rested longer)
    My brisket was juicy and tender with good bark and a nice pink smoke ring. My family were my test subjects and they said it was as good if not better than the BBQ joints in town.
    It was surprisingly stressful monitoring the temperature, topping up water and adding more wood chips but after the end result it was totally worth it! Im sure I will be smoking again very soon!
    Thank you to everyone on here who gave me any help and information, in particular JJ, who probably stopped my family from getting sick! Im going to post some pictures of the finished product
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
    chef jimmyj likes this.
  20. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Great looking Qview! I was happy to participate. Next time try the Smokey Au Jus. It can be used instead of the water pan or along with it. The nice thing is, at the end you have a useful treat to compliment the meat. Freeze any leftover Jus and use as a starter for Beef Soup, Stew, Chili, Gravy or whatever you want some Beef and Smoke flavor in...JJ [​IMG]

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