First Brisket Questions (And other questions that may not belong in this forum....

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Aug 28, 2006
Powder Springs, GA
Doing a whole pile of stuff tomorrow... and I have a few questions.
Here is what I'm doing, and I have a few questions.... sorry about just posting this here. Please move if need be.

2 6 lb butts.
1 4 lb half picnic shoulder. (I've done both in the past, but I damn sure forgot which cut was better. I'm brining one of the butts, and wanted a baseline, so I couldn't just do another shoulder.)
2 racks spareribs
1 package brats (Publix brand, not Johnsonville, these were more handmade)
1 tray BBQ Beans (Bush's all doctored up. No offense Dutch, I need to try yours, but I love the way mine turn out. :) )
1 fattie. Had to try one!

I bought the only brisket I could fine -- it's about 4.5 lbs. I'm a bit concerned about it. What should I do? I used my usual rub on it, and it's sitting waiting until tomorrow. Anything special, let me know. I'm thinking of doing a brown sugar/bourbon mix when I foil it. Let me know.

Do I rub the butt after the brine? Sugar, salt, worcestershire, some spices in the brine, but nothing else.

Another question -- the majority of this stuff is for Saturday afternoon. Butts are easy. I'm planning on doing them tomorrow, letting them sit overnight and then pulling them Sat morning. I'm not worried about those. The big question is the beef and the ribs. How do I do those so they will keep well? I don't want my ribs to be too dry, nor the beef. I also don't want to start the ribs at 5am either.....

I usually do a 50/50 mix of hickory and mesquite, but since I'm doing pork, I'm planning on getting some apple and cherry. (Or just apple) I ordered some wood this last weekend from Nature's Own, but haven't gotten it yet. Tomorrow would be nice! Where is the best place to get some apple wood otherwise? Lowe's never has anything but hickory/mesquite.

I have the Lowe's BBQ Grillware smoker that I got last summer. It replaced my ECB that I tossed a few years ago. I love the propane smoker, but this damn smoker is too small. I don't see me keeping this after this year. I just hate the 3-400 investment for another one. Although, Sam's used to carry a GOSM I believe that looked well worth it....

I digress. I'm still a newbie, but I've been smoking for a few years.
Thanks a ton guys. I forgot to take pics on NYE, but everyone loved my stuffed pork loin (thanks for the recipe, Dutch!), pulled pork, chicken and beans.
Hi Guido, If you're brining the butt, just rinse it well and if you want to rub it that's fine as long as your rub doesn't have a ton of salt in it, as far as the brisket, 4.5lbs suggest's that it is really trimmed down.... does it have any fat cap on it??? If not, you might want to think about letting it form a bark for an hour or two. Then, put it in a foil pan with some bacon strips on top to try to keep it moist. As for the ribs, you could start them at 9:30 AM, they would be done at 2:30 PM using the "3 - 2 - 1" method. They can be foiled and put in a cooler if need be.

I'm sure others will have some ideas and chime in. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
Simplicity is the best way to go. Put some type of binder on it such as wooster,mustard, or dr. pepper, and then apply your favorite rub. Cook until 160 degrees then wrap with plastic wrap and then foil it and take it to approx 197 degrees. An a small brisket like this one I would take out of wrap and put on pit to firm up just a bit. Or you could leave the plastic wrap off and once you reach temp wrap it in towels or blanket an put into a cooler to let the juices reconstitute for an hour and slice. Both have turned out great and I have done this on all sizes of brisket and clods. Enjoy
Thanks for the info. I probably will have a little bacon left over, so that make work. Hrm.

What about apple wood? HD or Wally World, or somewhere else?
Can's say for sure in your area, but around me I cannot find chunk wood other than hickory or mesquite. In a pinch, I bought apple chips from a local BBQ/grill store. Many hardware stores carry the chips as well. I soaked the chips for 20 minutes and used it along with hickory chunks. I have since bought apple & cherry chunks from Nature's Own - best prices with very reasonable shipping charges. BassPro Shops has the cheapest hickory & mesquite chunks - $3.99 for 10# bag with shipping rates based on total $ instead of weight just like Nature's Own.

No need to spend $300-400 for a decent propane smoker. How about GOSM Big Block for $189 with no shipping charges right here on
[wrap]SmokeEater, ya got me to thinking about the finding applewood on LI, my daughter lives in Wading River and I know there's a apple orchard the next town over in lot's of others out that way on the north shore. This is about the time of year they do their pruning, you should give them a call and see if you can grab it for free or next to nothing.... by the time you run out of your current supply it would be seasoned and ready to burn.

Found this link, it has the one in Calverton's # number
Arright. I have some pics of the spread I'm doing.... I should probably post this in the pork forum too :)

I was about 3 hours late getting everything on that I wanted to get on, but that's OK. I had SUCH a mess on my hands since I just wrapped things up with plastic wrap - I had rub and juice all over the place in my fridge! Yeowch!

The beef is coming along. It's close to time wrap it. It's in the back on the 4th rack....

A GOSM Big Block may be sooner than later. This damn smoker is too small......



Ugh.... I put a pan of beans in there for... well, when you forget about them, it's a long time. I forgot about the butts too for a bit, but they were a bit more forgiving. I had 20 folks over here for poker tonight, and it ran very late, and I couldn't break away, and by the time I got back to the beans... well, I'm just glad it was just the beans!

All but one of the butts is in the cooler... the other one is in the oven finishing off. Shouldn't have taken 11hours, but ahh well. The other two look damn nice though :)

Will post pics tomorrow. The brisket is also in the cooler resting. I'm curious to know how that turns out.

The fattie and brats turned out well, but I found out one thing... I need to get hotter ones and spice them up next time. They were very plain, and though good, no twang at all.
Wow, talk about chock a block!!!! Looks great from here Guido!!! Let us know how everything else turned out. Was all that food for your poker buddies?? We play cards with friends every weekend, playing has somtimes distracted me when I was trying to finish up a day of smokin too, so I finally told everyone if they wanted to eat my Q they would have to be patient and then I put them to work!!!!
I don't know how long you left them there, but I foil mine and bring them up to 205º and I don't let them rest in a cooler. I think if the foil isn't leaking, it really don't matter how you finish them. Mine are as juicy and tender as when I was using the cooler. I just like to get all I can out of my firewood and it make for fewer steps to get them done.
The butts came out great. I put them in the cooler overnight, and pulled them late morning (about 9hrs in the cooler), and I found out some things.
1. Boston butt > Picnic shoulder as far as pulled pork goes. Both are good, but a butt was much jucier and a deeper flavor.
2. Don't brine, just rub. The butt I did a brine on actually came out tougher, I thought. A tad saltier, but other than that, I didn't see a benefit at all.

I took pics and I will upload them later today.

Oh, and the beef brisket came out good! It was a tad drier, but it still pulled well. I think if there was more fat on it, it would have been fine. I think it had a great flavor, but I'm still more of a pork guy myself, as so many are, I'm sure.
Drooling now Guido and want a pulled pork/beef sammie for breakfast!!!! Looks fantastic
, you never said how you ended up doing the brisket??
Whoops. The brisket is the 2nd picture. I treated the brisket similarly to a butt. I foiled it with some bourbon and apple juice in the foil, but I misread some things on here, and it got to 190/195 instead of 180/185. Because of that, I ended up pulling the brisket just like pork, and it was good. Very very different flavor. Next time, I'll try the finishing sauce for beef and really focus more on using a richer rub. On my rub, I tend to use:
1 cup + brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup hungarian paprika
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili power
Either 1 clove garlic or 1-2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dry mustard.

Everyone has their own recipes, right? This provides a GREAT crust and a great flavor. I'm going to concentrate on less sugar next time.

I just got my apple and cherry wood in this week. I'm thinking about doing some ribs or doing a loin next Saturday..... Thinking about doing an injected loin wrapped in bacon, and only using apple wood, or maybe apple and cherry. Is apple best used in conjunction with hickory or mesquite, or should it stand on it's own?

My wife loves it when I cook, however, I can just about NEVER make the same thing twice. It's very tough for me to do.

If anyone here ever wants a good korean BBQ (Bulgogi) marinade, I have a good one.... :)
Sounds great my bbq brotha. Do what works best for you and keep tinkering until you think it is perfect and people like it.
One note to consistent cooking is a log or a journal of some sorts, I know we all get busy with everything(including the consumption of adult beverages) while seasoning and cooking, but it is well worth it. One more thing.....great looking que!!
I have started writing more down with Que, but I need to extend this to other items as well. It gets rather frustrating sometimes!
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