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New here and First brisket tomorrow

Discussion in 'Beef' started by JBPilot, Oct 11, 2019 at 12:55 PM.

  1. JBPilot

    JBPilot Newbie

    I’m new here and know that this isn’t the introduction section but I can’t wait to say thanks to everyone who has contributed here. I’ve spent many hours reading and looking at pictures and wanted to throw my contributions in as well.

    I’m going to give my first brisket a go tomorrow. I’m nervous because it’ll also have to be an overnight smoke. I’m taking it for lunch up to my in-laws house about an hour and a half away. But it’s got to come off by about 8:30 in the morning because we’re going to drive up for church to watch my niece get baptized (YAY!). Anyways that brings me to the overnight smoke. I’ve got a master built sportsman elite propane smoker and have done several racks of ribs as well as a few pork butts, chicken breasts, and a couple turkeys. I’m not a complete novice but this will be my first “big” smoke overnight.

    My plan is to swap to an almost full bottle right before I go to bed and put several hickory chunks in for the smoke. They should smoke for several hours and give me all that I need. I’m shooting for about 250* for the whole cook and expecting 12-13 hours total. I’ve got a 10.33 lb (before trimming) full choice brisket. It doesn’t look like I’m going to need to trim much fat off of it. A family friend that competes in several local cooking competitions has given me his personal brisket rub so I’m going to pit that on tomorrow morning after trimming whatever fat I need to trim and let that sit in the fridge most of the day. Eventually I’m going to make my own rub but wanted to go with something that I know is good for my first one.

    I’m a terrible sleeper and may get up during the night to check on it anyways. I’m going to start to probe the flat for tenderness once it reaches about 190-195* Obviously since it’s an overnight smoke I’m not planning to wrap through the stall. I have tried wrapping things before and found that I don’t like to take the time and mess of doing it. I’d rather just let the bark get nice and crisp and keep it going all the way through. Once I pull it off (hopefully around 8-8:30 am) my plan is to let it set for 30 minutes to an hour then wrap it tightly in foil and put into an ice chest with some old towels for the trip up for lunch.

    Well, that’s pretty much my plan. Do any of you experts here see anything I’m missing or need to do differently?

    Oh, worst case I turn it into dog food. There is a local bbq place with great brisket and I’ll be stopping there on the way to my in-laws lol!
  2. kruizer

    kruizer Master of the Pit

    Sounds like you got it nailed.
  3. JBPilot

    JBPilot Newbie

    Thank you, I’ll post pictures of it!
  4. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hi there and welcome!

    Sounds like you have a good start, there are just a couple of things to seriously consider regarding your timing.

    1. At a constant smoker temp of 275F, an unwrapped brisket, and not opening the door until time to check for tenderness, a brisket takes a little over an hour a pound.
    I think your 250F smoker time and the amount of time you have estimated may very very likely fall short of being done. At 275F your 10 pound brisket (even if it is trimmed go with 10 pounds as your number) would very likely take around 11hrs to cook, complete, and be tender.

    2. A wise practice is to plan things so you finish about 4-5 hours BEFORE time to serve and eat. Why so early? Well your smoke may run longer and you need the 4-5 hours for one. Two, even if you finish 4-5 hours early you simply double foil wrap the brisket and then wrap in 3 bath towels and set on the counter. It will be PIPING hot 4-5 hours later when it is time to serve and eat.
    With this approach you never lose and it is always nice, hot, and ready to eat!

    So your general approach is not wrong but you would do well to figure out more accurate timing for a brisket per hour at 250F smoker temp AND still try and plan to finish 4-5 hours early.
    It seems that people most often like to learn this lesson the hard way hahahaha. So heeding this advice and utilizing this info would greatly benefit you but in the end this is your baby and it is all up to you. Enjoy the smoke and the brisket! :)
    ofelles, fivetricks and jcam222 like this.
  5. jcam222

    jcam222 Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Great advice above from Tallbm! I would add that for overnight smokes I cannot rest without using a remote thermometer to monitor pit and meat temp. One that allows me to see a low and high temp alarm. It has come in handy more than once for me on overnight cooks. Not mandatory but sure is nice to have.

    Relative to trimming I can tell you I am not very good at trimming a brisket. I am fine at trimming the fat cap and silver skin down but brisket has a significant internal fat deposit that most folks trim out. I absolutely butcher mine when attempting that :)

    Good luck on your smoke and post up some delicious pics. Welcome aboard.
  6. JBPilot

    JBPilot Newbie

    Thanks y’all!

    Tallbm, I thought I had a good expectation of time at 12-13 hours, I was thinking about 1.2 hours per pound. I can’t afford for it to be late so I’ll up that to about 1.4 hrs/lb. that gives me 14 (or maybe 15) hours. I planned on double wrapping it in foil then towels to keep until lunch. Thanks for pointing out that might not be long enough I appreciate it!

    Jcam I’m working on getting a better thermometer. I actually just ordered the Inkbird on the special they posted today. I’ve got a remote thermometer but I’ll feel better when I get this next therm. As to the trimming I’ll have to see how it goes lol first time for everything! I’m not planning to do much if any trimming between the Point and flat.

    I’ll put some pictures up once I get it out of the wrapper and also seasoned and if I open the smoker up during the cook I’ll try to get some put up.
    tallbm and jcam222 like this.
  7. JBPilot

    JBPilot Newbie

    Ok, so after opening up the brisket it was pre trimmed. I cut off just a little bit more but not much. For the record I didn’t do that bare spot on the top of the picture showing the fat cap. It looked like the fat cap is already about 1/4-3/8 thick. I seasoned it with a beef rub from “The Redneck Gourmet” from South Arkansas. It’s unwrapped sitting on a cookie sheet in the fridge. I’m planning on putting it on around 4-4:30 this afternoon/evening so that it should be done by about 7-8 in the morning. That’s a 15-16 hour smoke. I’ll plan on getting up probably around 5 and checking the temp and if needed I can bump the temp up or throw it into the oven for the last hour or 2 to get it probing well.


    6F339F22-25C9-4F6A-8681-0D9C8C48E867.jpeg upload_2019-10-12_9-36-2.jpeg upload_2019-10-12_9-37-11.jpeg
  8. JBPilot

    JBPilot Newbie

    6 hours in and the temps are at 143*. I think I’m doing pretty good for about 15-16 hours. I’m about to hit the sack for the night. If I get up in the middle of the night I’ll check it again but otherwise I’m planning to get up at about 6 am and check on it. I gotta admit, I did sneak a peek and it’s looking awesome!!!
  9. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Yeah check on it then.
    Also don't be fooled it will get up to about 145-150F at a rate that seems quick and then the temp rise takes a nose dive in speed and then you hit the stall and then temp rise continues but not at a very fast rate.
    People often get fooled by the initial quick rise in temp but don't worry it will drastically slow down on you lol.

    Keep at it and remember that the meat is done when it's done :)
  10. JBPilot

    JBPilot Newbie

    Yeah, I got up at 3:30 and it was at 155*. I think that the smoker had cooled down some since it was about 42*F outside. I bumped the heat up just a little more. I just now checked it and it’s up around 173* so that’s much better. I was expecting it to kinda plateau a little around 150-160 but that was a bit of a surprise to me. I’m just going to let it keep going. I was a little worried at 3:30 but now I’m back feeling better about it being done in time. I know it’s done when it’s done but I need to leave at 9 so it’s got 3 more hours to cook before I have to start making rash decisions lol! Thanks for the encouragement and advice!
  11. JBPilot

    JBPilot Newbie

    Looks awesome!!! Going to let it set for a bit then wrap and towels! I’ll report back with sliced pictures and taste tonight or tomorrow morning. I can’t thank y’all enough for the help! Tallbm I wouldn’t have been anywhere close to done in time without your advice, so thank you especially!

  12. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hahahaha looks like you have experienced a standard brisket smoke, the pic looks good from here. I'm glad my info helps. Also don't ever be afraid to run briskets and pork butts at higher temps, those cuts really don't care.

    Every brisket cook can teach you something. This being your first things won't go perfectly but at least you are on paper. From here you just dial in improving on the areas from the previous smoke and soon you will be hitting the bullseye (target shooting analogies here lol).

    Just wait until you nail finishing 4-5 hours early and then you wrap in foil and towels and then slice and serve and you will be amazed at how different the overall experience of smoking and eating is. Things seem better and taste better when you aren't in a rush hahaha.

    I look forward to the upcoming posts and hearing about how it turned out and what your tweaks will be for the next one :)
    JBPilot likes this.
  13. JBPilot

    JBPilot Newbie

    Well, all and all I’d give myself probably a B+ to A- on this one. The flavor was great, the timing worked great, but it ended up being a little bit dry for my tastes. Everyone else loved it and there wasn’t any left so I don’t think they were eating it just to be polite lol! My wife agreed with me that the flavor was wonderful but it was a little bit dry. I think that having better thermometers (I just got the inkbird IBT-6XS this evening) will definitely help. I feel that I probably overcooked it but not much. It was very tasty! I probed it until I felt that it was done (about 195 but probe temp read 205 in places) but don’t know if the 4-5 hours wrapped in foil affected it any. I’m going to do another one soon and hope to get it a little bit more moist. I have loved for a long time smoking things and grilling things. I get a lot of enjoyment out of knowing that I cooked it and it tastes great! I’m sure that I’ll get this better, but just going to have to practice more!

    Thanks again to everyone for the advice, now as promised here is a picture of it with a few slices. I like the color and the smoke ring, just wish it was a little bit more moist.

    tallbm likes this.
  14. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Nice work!

    You are finding out that temping a brisket is not a straight forward thing.
    I always recommend putting the temp probe in the thickest yet center most portion of the flat (this is the flat portion usually under the point).

    If your brisket is dry and a little tough then it is UNDERcooked.
    If it is dry and fall apart then it is overcooked.
    If it is dry and charcoal texture then it is WAY overcooked hahaha.

    My guess by your picture is that the flat may have been a tad UNDERcooked.
    The Point is always fine and I find it often to be come up to temp well before the flat. You won't ruin the point. The Flat is the problem child of the 2 muscles hence having to probe it instead of the point.

    I usually use 3 temp probes and I usually only get 1 placed properly hahaha.
    This is why I use 3 :)

    All of this is why briskets are a bit more difficult than other cuts and will often teach you something new.

    -Temp the thickest yet center most portion of the flat.
    -Figure out a rough understanding of what your smoker temp hour per pound behavior turns out being
    -Start earlier and aim for finishing 4-5 hours before eating
    -Improve any other aspects once the initial 3 are managed well (like different kinds of wood smoke, go all unwrapped, try different trim approaches, etc.)

    I'm glad you had success and I look forward to the next brisket smoke, the usually only improve from the 1st :D
    Keep at it and you will improve your brisket.
    JBPilot likes this.
  15. JBPilot

    JBPilot Newbie

    Thanks! I didn’t think that it could be undercooked if dry although it does seem that I remember reading that. I didn’t have a very good thermometer setup for this one, but I do have for the next one. My plan is to probably use all 5 probes for my next brisket and to also not have such a hard deadline on time.

    I did just put a coupe boneless skinless chicken breasts into the fridge from the freezer to thaw out. I’m pretty sure they’re going to go into the smoker Wednesday for dinner for my wife and I. Her comment on that was “find us something healthy to go as a side with the chicken!” Seems like just providing the main course of the meal isn’t enough lol!
  16. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Yeah you'll be better prepared next time and will continue to just get better and better.

    A tip on the chicken breast. If you have a big enough tupperware dish/container put them in it and weigh them.

    Then multiply that weight by .0225 and that number you get is how many ounces of salt you want to then get.

    Take that weight in salt and blend it in the blender with a liter of water until the salt is dissolved. Pour that in over the chicken and add just enough extra water to cover the chicken. Put a lid or cover the dish with plastic wrap and leave them until you are ready to season and smoke them.

    Pull them out pat dry. Season with everything but NO SALT (no garlic salt, no salt of any kind). I recommend Pepper, Onion,and Garlic.
    Smoke them to 165F internal temp (IT) and your wife will be amazed!

    What I described is a simple 2.25% equilibrium brine. The breast will be exploding with juice and flavor. This is the simplest brine in the world (salt and water).

    As for health vegetables, nothing beats cauliflower. It takes on whatever flavor you want to give it and you can roast it in the oven or on the grill. Just get a fresh head, but off base, break up into chunks, throw in a bag with some olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper in there, and she to season and coat in oil. Then roast in oven or grill until golden brown.

    Anyhow I hope this helps you hit a home run with the chicken breast and has you looking like a champ with the wife! :)
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019 at 9:48 PM
  17. JBPilot

    JBPilot Newbie

    Thanks, I’ll give that brine a try! I’m always willing to experiment!