First Brisket

Discussion in 'Beef' started by team ramrod, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. team ramrod

    team ramrod Newbie

    So I just smoked my first brisket yesterday and it turned out extremely tasty. However, I would have preferred it not as chewy and a lot more tender. I seasoned a 2.6 pound cut over night and smoked it for about 6 hours at 225. Since I did not have a digital thermo yet, I used my old fashioned one that requires you to open the door to use. Now, when I stuck in the thermo at hour 3, the internal temp was only 120 degrees, which is also where is stalled at. Even at hour 4 it still would not get over 120. After doing research I found that it should only stall at 165. Thoughts/Suggestions? 
  2. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Many people don't probe their brisket, but go by feel. I'd recommend a good meat thermometer because it will pay itself off after a coupe good smokes.

    You can tell is a brisket is done by feel by using a skewer or toothpick. If it slides in like a warm knife through butter, then it's done. I've heard of the fork method also; poke a small fork into the brisket and if it twists easily, it's done. There is a "rule" that's been floating around here that it takes 1.5 hours per lb of meat for a brisket to be finished, this should be used as a guideline only of when to start and expect to be done.

    Any brisket I have done has stalled way before 165*F, but I have not heard of any stalling at 120*F. Get yourself a good therm, one to probe the meat, the other for your smoke chamber temp. Start checking for tenderness when IT has reached 185*F.

    Hope this helps.
  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yeah... you had a couple of things working against you: not having a good thermometer and starting with a small chunk of meat.

    Brisket works best if you can get a full packer - usually between 10-16 lb. - with the fat cap on it. Trim the fat cap down to approx. 1/4", score the fat, put on your rub and cook it low and slow. The fat cap will really help keep it moist while the heat does it's magic on making it tender - usually takes between 12-16 hrs. for most briskets I have done. That being said every piece of meat is different so you have to go by internal temp and feel - thus the need for a good probe thermometer.

    When trying to get a small chunk of brisket to cook long enough to get to a 190+ internal temp. you usually run the risk of drying it out. If you only have small chunks available you will probably have to foil your brisket with some beef broth at the 165 internal temp mark. Then continue the low and slow till it's done. You won't get a very good bark, but it should at least taste good and be tender.

    Biggest mistake most folks make is they don't allow enough time and then try to pull it early or rush it by turning up the heat. Don't do that - all you'll do is end up with tasty shoe leather. Once you hit an internal temp of 190 poke it with a skewer or a fork in a few places - if it slides in with very little resistance your done, if not keep cooking and check it every hour with the skewer.

    The final step is rest it! Wrap it in heavy foil (or if it's a small chunk in foil), then put it in a dry towel lined ice chest for at least one hour.... preferably two.

    Don't give up and don't be afraid to keep trying - once you figure it out brisket it really isn't hard to do.
  4. team ramrod

    team ramrod Newbie

    Thanks for the help, definitely gonna try a larger cut next time. I smoked my last one on 225, would you recommend going lower?
  5. I smoke everything at 225-235 so you are good to go temp wise. Definitely get a good digital therm. Using the type therm you have actually works against you because you have to open the door to check the temp, therefore losing heat. Once you close the door you want to keep it closed. Not sure about how the size affected the cook as I only do whole packers. I have a 14.4 pounder rubbed down in the frig waiting to go in the mes later tonight.

    Smoke it up.
  6. team ramrod

    team ramrod Newbie

    Yea I just pulled the trigger on a digital wireless thermo so I can check the temp from my couch. 14 LBS man I feel like that would last me a week at the least. What type of dry rub did you use?
  7. It will actually last quite a while for us unless I have people over, which tends to happen if the wife puts it out there on that thing they call facebook.
    As far as the rub, I am trying a new seasoning on this brisket. It's called Salt Grass Steak House 7 Steak Spice. It is fantastic on ribs, burgers and of course steaks so it's gotta be good on brisket.

    For reference, that's a 18x24 cutting board it's laying on.
  8. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    225-250 is where you want to be don't go lower.

    Also get yourself a vacuum sealer - I smoked a 16 lb. packer last weekend, then cut the point into two pieces and the flat into 3 pieces, and vacuum sealed all of it. Then I just toss the vacuum seal pack in a pot of hot water to reheat (not boiling, but very hot). Comes out very juicy and tender.

    For beef I keep my rubs fairly simple salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and maybe a little bit of chili powder.

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