Ok... now for MY first brisket!

Discussion in 'Beef' started by idahobangbang, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. idahobangbang

    idahobangbang Newbie

    There is just my wife and I in the house and she doesn't eat red meat (yes... in know, right?), so I didn't try a brisket for a long time.

    I bought a brisket at Costco, a whole one, and brought it home ...clueless on what to do.  So, I followed my friend's instructions:

    Not bad ...just one complaint:  It's FATTY, not like the brisket that I've had in restaurants!

    Here's what I did:

    - Trim fat cap to 1/8" or less (not the greatest job, and there are apparently RAVINES of fat going into these things)

    - My friend's instructions said "Cut in half by following the line of fat that divides the two halves".  Fine... uh oh, where's that line of fat again?  I "think" I could sorta see a diagonal plane of fat that went from top to bottom sorta midway across the brisket, so I tried cutting the thing into two following that sloping plane of fat... no clue on whether that was right or not.  One piece turned out more rectangular, and one more triangular (a flat and a point?), so I thought maybe I got it right.  OPEN TO INSTRUCTION HERE - FYI!

    - I vacuum packed and froze the 'flat', if that's what it was.  I rubbed the 'point' (if that's what it was) with my friend's secret rub mixture, and smoked it for 4 hours in my Weber Smokey Mountain 18 using blue-bag Kingstons and lots of hickory chunks.  Then splashed What's-this-here (worcestershire) sauce over it, some soy sauce, and more rub, double wrapped with heavy duty restaurant grade foil and baked (spank me) at 225 for 5 hours.  When done, I vented the foil to let steam escape and let it sit for an hour ...then served (to me, alone).  It turned out super tender (like 'fork tender'), very good flavor, good bark and smoke ring ...but too fatty by twice.  It was squishy with so much fat in it.  I think probably only 40% of the 'point' was meat is all, when counting all the fat in the fat cap that was cut off and looking at all the blobby fat marbled in the meat.  Not what I expected.  Maybe it was just a fatty fat fat cow that was dipping into the ice cream a bit too much?

    So.... I wonder why the meat was so fatty?  The bottom half of the meat was heavily marbled with fat, and chunks of fat were on the outside of the meat as well ...nothing like the firm-yet-tender brisket that I've had so many times in restaurants.  Did I cut the brisket in two properly?  Is the point always this fatty?  If so, I'll just buy 2 flats next time and leave those fatty points for the next guy... Anyone?

    Where can I find good, hopefully pictorial, instructions on how to de-fat and divide a brisket??

    Thanks for all,

  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  3. idahobangbang

    idahobangbang Newbie

    Thanks... I'll definitely check out that thread and pop over to Role Call and do an introduction... :)

    Is the 'point' supposed to be that fatty, or is my experience unusual?


  4. idahobangbang

    idahobangbang Newbie

    OK... no answer on how fatty the brisket point is (typically).  I'll assume that yes, it's always fattier than I'd prefer... that's fine.  Can't fault the cow for eating :) ...got that same problem myself!  I'll stick with the flats though.... thanks everyone, especially for the excellent link on how to trim and divide a brisket.  If I had a brain, I'd have researched it here first, before going for it.  All good... 

  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hey Brian,

    Sorry I didn't see this sooner. Yes the point is fattier than the flat, but it also has more flavor & is more tender.

    When I make corned beef or pastrami I like to use the point.

    The point is also used for burnt ends, which are to die for.

    It could be you just didn't cook the brisket long enough to render out the fat in the point.

    I usually trim most of the fat off before I smoke them.

    Look at my signature line "brisket & burnt ends", it may give you some ideas.

  6. idahobangbang

    idahobangbang Newbie

    Now that's a good point!  My cook method, this time, came from a friend and I suspect that you're right on the money.  He had me smoke at 225 F for 4 hours, then double-wrap in foil and bake in the oven at 225 F (in the house) for 4 or 5 more hours.  Extremely tender results but fatty as heck.  I think that as Gary Wiviott pointed out in his book, you have to follow your gut feel ...if the point is fatty, that would tell me that wrapping and baking might be ok for 2 or 3 hours, but an additional 2 or 3 hours ought to be back in the WSM, maybe at 250 F, to dry up the bark a bit and render out more fat.  Or maybe the point ought to stay in the WSM the whole time?  I think I will go ahead and try the point again ...it does bug me to quit on something, and if there's a way to make it good, then I'd like to know that.  Worst case, I back off and make the corned beef or pastrami or both and try that out to see if I'm good with it.

    Are 'burnt ends' BBQ'd until more dry?  Or is it really just the BBQ'd point all cut up?  In Texas, some of the BBQ places (like Colter's ...no longer in existence I think) used to sell 'ends' in sandwiches... but it was little bits of very flavorful brisket ...spice, smoke, meat ...didn't seem fatty.  If anything, the 'ends' were a bit drier than the sliced brisket.  The 'ends' at a local Idaho BBQ place that I went to were nothing more than cut up regular ol' brisket ...definitely not what I had in Texas (and their sausage was a big limp embarrassing excuse of a sausage ...garbage can material).  I'd like to know how to make 'burnt ends' like those in Texas... :)

    Thanks for the info ...it encourages me to try again on the point.  I'll be BBQ'ing the flat next weekend.  But THIS weekend, we've got folks coming over and I'll be doing Low-n-Slow baby backs (which I think I'm pretty good at) in the WSM, and Hot-n-Fast buttermilk brined chicken in my Weber kettle... both units running side by side.   That'll be tomorrow ... :D

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Burnt ends are the point cubed up at an IT of about 190. Tossed in a pan with some rub & BBQ sauce.

    Then back on the smoker for a couple of hours, tossing them every 1/2 hour or so.

    When a toothpick goes into them with little to no resistance they are done.

    If cooked correctly they just melt in your mouth.

  8. Gosh Al,

    You're just everywhere...we are buying cases of points and mixing them in when we are cutting the flat at the lean end..and I am gonna take some of them smoked for ever and cut them up and fry them so to speak in a skillet, or maybe on the flatop with a bit o'sauce and see what happens...with the little smoker I am using, I get some brisket that is just too done to be good and while edible, isn't anything I feel good about talking up and charging for..so I like your simple explanation, and I' am gonna use your idea.

    Thank you sir!

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