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Help! Brisket Questions!

Discussion in 'Grilling Beef' started by stevenm621844, Dec 25, 2018.

  1. stevenm621844

    stevenm621844 Newbie

    So, newbie here so if I'm not following certain forum rules, I apologize!

    I've only smoked one brisket and it was a few years ago so I'm basically having to learn the basics all over again and have a few (most likely subjective) questions. I will he smoking 2 briskets (9# and 11#).

    First, I have a Traeger. The recipe calls for placing the fat side down. I've seen so many conflicting views on this and maybe one isn't more right than the other but I can't decide what to do. Typically I've placed fat side up so it will render down and keep the meat moist. But, I've also read that the fat running down it will remove a lot if the dry rub. I've seen where having the fat down will act as a good heat barrier which i think would be nice because the outsides of the grill tend to get quite a bit hotter and having that fat down I feel would help with that. I guess I am leaning towards fat down but wanted ya'll to chime in.

    Also, I've read conflicting opinions on putting the brisket in cold (direct from fridge) so that there is more time for the smoke ring to develop. But others say you need to let it get to room temperature before putting it on. I'm leaning towards putting it on cold, but again wanted everyone's opinions.

    Thanks ahead of time for any and all guidance, it is appreciated!
  2. bregent

    bregent Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The fact that there are so many opposing views tells me that it really doesn't make much of a difference, so don't stress over it. Doing it one way or the other will not be the difference between success and failure. Many feel that putting the fat towards the heat source will help protect it. In a pellet grill, you've got a combination of radiant heat from the drip tray and convection. My personal preference is fat up in my pellet grill. While the rendered fat won't penetrate into the meat, it does seem to baste the sides and keep it from drying out.

    To truly bring a brisket to room temperature would probably take 18 hours or more - don't bother trying.
  3. mike243

    mike243 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I have done them all different ways and not sure 1 way is better,i take it from the fridge to the smoker,last 1 i did I trimmed it heavy then put the fat on the rack above the brisket and let it render and baste the brisket,didn’t notice the rub getting washed off.if your smoker tends to cook hotter on the bottom the fat will add a buffer zone
  4. Winterrider

    Winterrider Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I know Pops and others have mentioned numerous times, fridge to smoker is best procedure. To many other things can getting to room temp.
  5. schlotz

    schlotz Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Fat up or down on a pellet is pretty much a personal choice, it doesn't really matter. From the fridge to the smoker or resting on the counter for an hour also doesn't matter that much.

    What does matter is paying attention to the basics, after all the key here is to create good eats. Know your true grate temps, do not rely on built-in thermos. Decide on method (slow or fast) and set the heat accordingly. Many go slow around 225º, while a number do it faster at 250-280º, some go even higher. Personally I choose 275º which basically powers through the stall. Use a calibrated reporting probe to monitor the IT. No peeking! If you're lookin' ya ain't cookin', ie each time you open the lid the temp drops dramatically and it takes time for your smoker to recover. Briskets are done when they want to be, they don't adhere to time or temp standards. The key to being done is probing for tenderness in many places and when they all show no resistance you're ready to pull it. Start probing at 190-195º and repeat every 30-40 minutes or so until tenderness is found. Some get there in the high 190s, others take longer, anywhere from 200-210º.
    TomKnollRFV and stevenm621844 like this.
  6. stevenm621844

    stevenm621844 Newbie

    Panic mode has set in! One of my briskets, the smaller one, most likely 7 lbs after trimming is almost done after 3.5 hrs!? I'm attaching the graph. The spikes you see toward the end is me probing it and trying to find cold spots. It still has some resistance to it so doesn't seem done yet but I don't see a stall at all. In fact for some reason it jumped like 20 degrees suddenly while I was sleeping. I was wanting to wrap at 160 but it was 180 already when I woke up. Does this make sense!?

    Attached Files:

  7. schlotz

    schlotz Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    What temp are you smoking at and have you verified that in fact the grate temp is equal/close to the setting? 3.5 hrs sounds off to the point something else might be working against ya, ie incorrect temps, bad therm or placement. Are you sure the probe therm you are using is in the middle of the meat? Have you tested it in freezing & boiling water to validate?
  8. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Some thing is definitely off..

    Can you verify with other thermometers? There's no way it would be getting there so fast unless you are using a flamethrower..!
  9. stevenm621844

    stevenm621844 Newbie

    I ended up moving the probe and it came down a decent ways, to like 170, I think I had it in some fat or something. In any case I decided it to wrap that one since it was smaller than the 11lb packer, which I ended up wrapping at 160.

    Both rose at a much slower rate from that point on and packer slowly crept up to almost match the temp of the 8lb, I'm assuming because it was wrapped. In any case, I pulled the larger one at 201 and the 8lb at 205 because I poked both and as far as I could tell they probe went in decently smooth. I'm still very much a brisket novice so it is possible it shouldn't have had that much resistance but we will see. I jiggled the packer and it was like jello which I heard is good, at least at the time you take it off. Anyway, I basically smoked them both from 230am to 1030am for total of 8 hours. They finished close to each other despite the size difference because I wrapped the big one.

    They are both foil wrapped and in towels in a cooler and will be there for 3 to 4 hours until we eat. Hopefully I produced something decent!
  10. stevenm621844

    stevenm621844 Newbie

    Well, everything turned out okay! I ended up wrapping the larger one and leaving the small one unwrapped and they finished at the same time. I think I actually enjoyed the unwrapped one better. The taste was amazing but do wish they were more tender. I think leaving them on a bit longer would have broke them down a bit more and made them better. I ended up resting both in a cooler for around 4 hours. I definitely think pork butt is a much easier smoke!

    Attached Files: