Newbie trying a Brisket

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Original poster
Dec 28, 2006
Ft Worth
Hey guys.
I am a newbie and joined when I attempted to smoke turkey breasts during the holidays. thanks for the tips then and I intend on posting those pics of the turkeys if the wife hasn't deleted them yet.

Well now I've been volunteered to cook a brisket for a superbowl party. So this weekend I'm going to practice.


1) 1/4" or 1/2" of fat on top of brisket? I'm looking at about a 6-8lb brisket

2) Should I have the brisket in a pan inside the smoker? I don't flip the brisket do I? Don't you want the fat side up all the time?

3) Does anybody live in DFW and know where I can get a good brisket?

4) What the cut? I want to slice it, how do I tell a good cut?

Thanks guys, and I will post the picks of this brisket.

I will also probably do a smoked turkey breast or pork loin.

i like a 1/8-1/4" fatcap. i don't use a pan, and don't flip it. smoke it fatcap down. there is a few people on here that live in the dfw area. i take mine to 170° internal, then foil it until it hits 200° internal. have you read the basic brisket smoke thread at the top of this section?
Thanks Chris,
You put the fat face down. I've always heard that the fat should be face up so the juice from the fat drips into the meat.
Hmmm. Everybody does it different huh.

BTW, I just finished reading that thread. It helped but it does confuse because there are many different methods and opinions.
Jody, I prescribe to the fat cap down method, too. When you look at how the fat melts, it basically runs off of the fat and then off the side of the brisket. With the fat cap down, the fat adds a layer of protection to the meat and will absorb the damage of any heat spikes that may occur. Whit the fat cap down, any mop that you use will end up on the meat and not on the fat.

The brisket comes one of three ways- 1) a packer brisket which may or may not have the fat cap trimmed and consists of the flat and the point. 2) the flat which is quite lean and is the choice for slicing, it is also easy to overcook which can result in a dry piece of meat and 3) the point which contains more fat marbling and is usually chopped rather than sliced.
Thanks Dutch for the info.

Do you flip the brisket at all? Can I assume that you have it in a pan?
Do you drain some of the fat out and add it to a mopping sauce or anything?

Also, I have tall narrow vertical NG :shock: smoker with a water bowl and smoke box at the bottom. I've heard of people putting beer, coffee, and whatever brew they think of in the water bowl. Will the really affect the flavor since the brisket is in a pan? Does that flavoring make that much of a difference when you have all the rub flavors, smoke, and mop sauce added to it?

Now concerning the cut of brisket I would like to get. I would like to slice the brisket when it is done. However, it sounds like I don'e want the flat since it is easy to dry out but it is good for slicing. Can I slice up the "packer brisket" because I would like the good fat cap on top to make it juicy? To slice could I just cut the cap off of the section I'm slicing?

Crap! I didn't think I was complete idiot concerning brisket but apparently I am. Teach me oh great ones.
Jody, I answered your questions within the quote in this post in red letters. You are getting alot of answers to alot questions in about three different places on brisket. None are the end all be all correct way, nor do their authors think so most likely.

Since this is the first one you have done keep it simple. Hit it with a little salt, black pepper, and maybe garlic powder and another thing or two that sounds good to you. Since you have a vertical smoker toss it in there fat cap down, it will help protect your brisket from the heat directly below it. Try it fat cap up the basting action sounds best to you. It won't ruin it or make it perfect either way. You just have to try these different methods a little at a time until you are happy with your product. Keep it simple, think basic, and enjoy your first brisket. Ask all the questions you want as thats what we're here for just remember that BBQ is kinda freestyle with not many hard and fast rules.

Take pics and let us know how it turns out.

Go to a Sams club, WalMart or Brookshires store. They all should be in Fort Worth. Get a packer brisket. Pick it up and balance it on your hand. Get the one that folds over the most (it's the most tender). Put some Tony Chacere's or whatever seasonings you want and smoke it fat side DOWN at no more than 225*. IMHO fat side up results in a greasy brisket. Smoke it to 200* internal foil at 170 if you want to. Let rest for at least one hour after removing from the smoker. Seperate the point from the flat. If you go to 200 they almost seperate themselves due to the fat in between them. Slice the flat and chop up the point. I'll bet you the point gets ate first. :D

Good luck, and go LSU :!:
i always slice the flat and pull the point. the point does disappear first. last week when i smoked a brisket, i made the lone steer brisket sauce. it was very good.
Jody, I have a vertical smoker, 36 inch GOSM Big Block fired by propane, I just stick to using water in the water bowl and a mix of hickory and cherry or hickory and apple chunks in the wood pan. I don't flip it since all the heat is rising from the bottom and the brisket sits directly on the food rack.
Jody welcome to the forum glad to have you. I think everyone has pretty much covered you question. What part of Ft Worth you located in

I just made my first brisket this weekend, I pulled it and put the finishing sauce on that's a sticky in the beef forum. It turned out really well. Good luck.

Not an expert here, but have done my share of briskets without ruining too many.

There is a LOT of controversy abt fat cap up or down. I recently hear a podcast abt that. I liked the reasoning. If you are cooking with a cooker with the heat coming from the bottom, fat cap down. IF you are cooking with an offset where the heat is more on the top, fat cap up. Still controversy. I have done both in my offset, and really found no difference.

I tend to put fat cap down, so that the rub and "juice" will be on the top. With the fat cap on top, it shields the rub and "juice" from the meat itself.

I cook to 170*F and then foil. Add "juice" and then take it to 190*F-200*F. I then place towels in a cooler previously filled with hot water and dumped, then the brisket and more towels. I like to let it rest at least 30 minutes to 1 hr or so. Then take it out and slice.

I think, if memory serves me correctly, Dutch sticks a toothpick in the meat running with the grain of the meat so after it is cooked you can tell which way it is going to make slicing easier. I love the idea and use it every time now.

As far as a pan, I do not put the meat in one. I do put a pan of hot water under my cooking grate though.

A 6-8 lb brisket is a little large for a flat, and a little small for a full packer. I have started using flats a lot, but I do try to find them with a layer of fat, which is sometimes hard to do.

Let us know what you decide and what you do.

Thanks Guys for all the tips and advice.

Here is what I'm thinking about doing. Let me know if I've gone astray somewhere.

Remember I have a skinny vertical gasser, water bowl, wood box, and three racks
1) Meat - I'll try to find a 6-8 lb flat with a good healthy layer of fat.
2) Rub - I'll put together a rub or I'll buy some pre-made rub, wrap it in plastic and let marinate over night to begin cooking in the morning.
3) Mop sauce - Put together a mop sauce from a recipe or buy some and mop it every 30 or 45 mins after the 1st 4hrs of smoking.
4) Smoke - I'm still contemplating. I was thinking of a mix of Mesquite & Oak or maybe a mix of Hickory and a fruitwood as Dutch said. I'm worried about the mesquite or hickory by itself would be too strong.
5) Meat arrangement - Fat cap down (middle or top rack??) directly on rack, no flipping, foil after 170° internal till it reaches 200°internal.
6) Remove and let rest in a warm cooler packed with towels.

Remaining questions:

- As Dutch said the fat cap can protect the meat which I think will be good for me since mine is a vertical gasser. Should I put a drip pan on the rack beneath the meat to catch the drippings? The waterbowl will catch most of it though.

- Foiling? Is this the same as tenting or do you wrap the entire brisket in foil and put it back in?

Thanks again for the help and advice. I'll let you know how it goes.
Any further inputs would be greatly appreciated.

CajunSmoker, where are you from?
I grew up in Baton Rouge, went to LSU, and now I'm in DFW due to Lockheed Martin.
When I foil I wrap it tight and leave a little hole around where the thermometer probe is inserted. That is layer 1, leave it on when it's done and wrap in foil tightly again and completely with layer #2 then towels and into the cooler.

The rack you use won't matter much unless you are smoking other things besides beef and that will dictate the briskets location. From top to bottom, beef, pork, chicken. FYI, verticals are usually slightly hotter at the edges where heat rises around the water pan and goes up the walls and at the top. All that being said, if I was just going to smoke a brisket flat I would use middle or upper racks and get it farther from the heat source.

You might want to go ahead and take a look at full packers while your shopping so you can see what has been trimmed off of that flat. Around here flats are very barren in the fat dept. Also, they cost 2-3 times as much per lb. We better get some pics outta this deal! ;) Good Luck!
i like the idea about in a vertical fat down, and horizontal fat up. but i like the flavor of the grease, mmmmmmm mmmmm good. when slicing i will usually take a knife and scrape all the fat off and then i can see the grain and slice it accordingly, as it is different through out the meat. then i will make the lone star sauce (with only half the fat) or another concoction or blend it and make a brisket fat smoothie!!!! mmmmm soooo gooood. what ever im in the mood for.

i guess i am a little weird since i stand my brisket on its side like i do my ribs, similar to the vertical method i put the fat side towards the firebox. when it falls apart by itself i assume then it is done.

i do not think i like the idea of the pan, for me that is. because i do not want my brisket cooking in its own grease like that. i am afraid of what the flavor would be like. it would be either so good i could never tell any one how i did it. or so bad and i could never tell anyone that i did it. either way i would still have a full belly by the end of the day.
oh yea i forgot, to mention to you i live in the dfw area, just off of lake lewisville. we have a great family owned meat market in old town lewisville. there a little more expensive but they raise their own cattle and butcher it. its so fresh and good it will scare you.
Hi There JP4LSU

I agree with buzzard on the issue of the pan. If you place your brisket in a pan after awhile the juices, fat and whatever you are mopping or spraying with will end up in the pan and you will end up Braising the Brisket instead of Smoking the Brisket and that will end up being a different product than authentic B-BQ. Place your brisket by itself on your grate.

Stick to the punch list you have in your thread and most of all just relax and enjoy the day/night.

A little rub; a little mop or spray; and most importantly a low steady temperature will yield awesome results.

Hey there buzzard! Your new avatar is great!


ranger72 :P

OTBS # 14
Hi Buzzard,
What is the name of the shop? I will give it a shot. It sounds like exactly what I would like.

That would be quite a drive for me so it better be good :lol:

Thanks ALL :!: :!:

Thanks for the tips and advice. I can't wait to get to work on it. You guys are great.
Hi Buzzard,
What is the name of the shop? I will give it a shot. It sounds like exactly what I would like.

That would be quite a drive for me so it better be good :lol:

Thanks ALL :!: :!:

Thanks for the tips and advice. I can't wait to get to work on it. You guys are great.
Well D-day is here.
It's Sunday morning and I'm about to get the smoker going.

I'm going to do a brisket and a pork tenderloin with a mix of hickory and cherry. Late in the smoke I might switch to all cherry since the tenderloin will go in later and the brisket will be foiled for some of the smoking. I just don't want the pork to get too strong with the hickory.

But then again the hickory cherry mix may be fine for the pork.

Brisket = Stubbs beef marinade over night. Just dry rubbed the brisket with Bad Byrons Butt Rub but I add some sugar to the rub since it doesn't have any. My thought is that the Stubbs liquid marinade and the rub may be too much spice and garlice, so I threw a little sugar to maybe tone it down.

Pork Tenderloin = Stubbs pork marinade and now I'm trolling the website to figure out what sort of rub to put on it.

Mopping sauce = I'm not sure what do for the brisket. I'm still searching right now and am going to make a dash to the store for ingredients of whatever I find for a mopping sauce.

Any thoughts or ideas would be great.

I'm a little worried about the brisket. First the darn butcher cut almost all the fat off before asking how I wanted it trimmed. He didn't have anymore in the back to do another so I just took it since I was in a hurry.

Plus I'm worried about the brisket marinating all night. The bottom side got sort of dark maroon from sitting in the marinade. I hope it come out fine. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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