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Plan for First Brisket

beef_chief

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So far I've only smoked 5 racks of pork spare ribs over a couple of smokes. But I'm jumping to brisket this Saturday per the request of my dad for our Father's Day celebration. I picked up a 15 lb packer at Sams, and have come up with a game-plan based on various threads and articles on here. Here's the plan:

First, I plan on separating the point and flat for the purpose of cubing the point for burnt ends and decreasing the cook time. I've read separating before smoking may cause the flat to dry out, but I'm hoping I can keep it moist with spritzing and wrapping. Then I had planned to cut the flat in half, theoretically leaving me with 3 equally sized chunks of meat (point and 2 halves of flat). I'm hoping this will help everything cook at roughly the same rate, and also give me more surface area for my rub of half salt, half pepper. (I'm open to leaving the flat whole, but am attracted to the potential decrease in cook time and seemingly equal results.) Then on to the smoker set at 250, and all pieces pulled at 165 to wrap in butcher paper. Take the point off at 190 to cube, then sauced and back on the smoker in a pan until tender. Pull the flats around 203 when tender and rest for at least an hour before slicing.

Here are my questions:
1. Can I still achieve good burnt ends and juicy flat slices even with separating the two muscles prior to smoking?
2. Given that I do separate the two muscles, does anyone advise against cutting the flat in half?
3. Up until I wrap in butcher paper, should I have these pieces directly on the grate or in a pan?
4. I read that with your smoker at 250, brisket takes about an hour per pound. Given that I have these 3 chunks of meat that are roughly 5 pounds each, am I looking at a 5 hour smoke? That seems too short...

For background info, I'm smoking on a Weber kettle with charcoal and cherry wood. Any opinions about what I should change or stick with in my plan would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

dcecil

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What therm do you have to monitor your temp in the kettle at grate level and internally for the meat.
 

gmc2003

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Here are my questions:
1. Can I still achieve good burnt ends and juicy flat slices even with separating the two muscles prior to smoking?
Yes you can do it this way, however it's probably easier to do it whole if you have the grate space. If your brisket is touching/or close to touching the sides of the grill - prop the middle of the brisket up with a can or brick wrapped in foil.

2. Given that I do separate the two muscles, does anyone advise against cutting the flat in half?
Sorry can't advise, I've never tried it

3. Up until I wrap in butcher paper, should I have these pieces directly on the grate or in a pan?
I do mine directly on the grate - until I foil.

4. I read that with your smoker at 250, brisket takes about an hour per pound. Given that I have these 3 chunks of meat that are roughly 5 pounds each, am I looking at a 5 hour smoke? That seems too short...

I think your underestimating it a little. Plan on an 8 to 10+ hour smoke. It more about how thick it is rather then just overall size.

For background info, I'm smoking on a Weber kettle with charcoal and cherry wood. Any opinions about what I should change or stick with in my plan would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

If your doing it on a Kettle look into the snake method. It should get you close to the amount of cooking time needed w/o refueling. That's a pretty ambitious smoke for a Kettle. Have you done something similar in the past.

Chris
 

beef_chief

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What therm do you have to monitor your temp in the kettle at grate level and internally for the meat.
An extremely cheap one... I'm too ashamed to even post a link to it lol. Think it was $18, came with two probes. It must be relatively accurate though because I've used it smoking ribs and they've turned out great so far. I'll just have to trust it for the brisket too. My money is too tight right now to justify buying the FlameBoss 300 I've been eyeing lately...
 

beef_chief

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Thanks for the info Chris. How is it easier to keep it whole? Seems like separating the raw meat would be less stressful than separating after smoking and risking tearing up your bark, and then leaving a big section of the flat with no bark where the point was.

And no I haven't done anything similar. Trying to get all I can out of this kettle!
 

gmc2003

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I'm by no means an expert on smoking brisket, but the few that I have done I've done whole. My reasons are simple: I believe the point helps deflect/absorb(for lack of a better word) some of the heat from the flat keeping it moister and for me it's easier to find the separation point between the two pieces. Again I'm not an expert and this works well for me. In most instances I can only find the flat around here and have had good results, but when I am able to find a whole packer it just seems to taste and feel better done whole.

Chris
 

dcecil

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An extremely cheap one... I'm too ashamed to even post a link to it lol. Think it was $18, came with two probes. It must be relatively accurate though because I've used it smoking ribs and they've turned out great so far. I'll just have to trust it for the brisket too. My money is too tight right now to justify buying the FlameBoss 300 I've been eyeing lately...
No reason to be ashamed, if it works it works. Just wanna make sure you have a method to watch grate temp and internal temp.
 
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Rings Я Us

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If you can slice the flat away leaving all the fat from under the point on the flat, that helps. Try to shave close under the point so you get as much fat on the flat to run the entire length..
Otherwise you can let some fat drip down onto the flat from above as it cooks. Foil flat with a 1/4 cup liquid.. beef broth.
 

beef_chief

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If you can slice the flat away leaving all the fat from under the point on the flat, that helps. Try to shave close under the point so you get as much fat on the flat to run the entire length..
Otherwise you can let some fat drip down onto the flat from above as it cooks. Foil flat with a 1/4 cup liquid.. beef broth.
Thanks, I hadn't thought of being able to leave a layer of fat over the flat if I take the point off. I'll definitely try and do that. And from your pictures, it looks like your flat and point were about the same size. I guess if mine are like that then I won't cut the flat in half.
 

Rings Я Us

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Thanks, I hadn't thought of being able to leave a layer of fat over the flat if I take the point off. I'll definitely try and do that. And from your pictures, it looks like your flat and point were about the same size. I guess if mine are like that then I won't cut the flat in half.
Some people trim off the very thinnest edge because it will probably get cooked to much anyway. I save trimmed thin meat for adding to stew or chop it in the food processor for something.
 

hardcookin

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If you keep the whole brisket intact it helps the brisket from drying out and gives it more flavor in my opinion. I wrap with butcher paper when I get desired bark.
Then when the brisket is probe tender in the thickest part of the flat. Separate the point from the flat and make burnt ends.
 

Rings Я Us

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There are 6 different ways of doing it I guess.. I think there is too much fat and not enough bark once you tear the whole brisket apart after it smoked to almost finished. It leaves a big gelatin area with no bark on two areas.
 

GATOR240

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An extremely cheap one... I'm too ashamed to even post a link to it lol. Think it was $18, came with two probes. It must be relatively accurate though because I've used it smoking ribs and they've turned out great so far. I'll just have to trust it for the brisket too. My money is too tight right now to justify buying the FlameBoss 300 I've been eyeing lately...
An extremely cheap one... I'm too ashamed to even post a link to it lol. Think it was $18, came with two probes. It must be relatively accurate though because I've used it smoking ribs and they've turned out great so far. I'll just have to trust it for the brisket too. My money is too tight right now to justify buying the FlameBoss 300 I've been eyeing lately...

Some of the cheaper ones work just as well as the expensive ones. I have a Taylor (1 probe approx. $20.00) and a
"Smoke" with two probes that I purchased on sale for either $69.00 or $79.00. The Taylor is older than the "Smoke" and is no more than two degrees off of the "Smoke". While I really love my Smoke, for the last month my receiver is acting really stupid (showing different errors and and taking forever to show the correct temperature that the base is showing. I have gone to the trouble shooting part of their website but nothing I do will correct it. I will be calling as it is still under warranty. The point being is, you do not need to spend a lot of money to get a good thermometer but it may take a couple of cheaper ones until you find an accurate one.
 

beef_chief

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There are 6 different ways of doing it I guess.. I think there is too much fat and not enough bark once you tear the whole brisket apart after it smoked to almost finished. It leaves a big gelatin area with no bark on two areas.
That’s what I was thinkin. I think I’ll separate before smoking, and leave the flat intact unless it won’t fit on my kettle.
 

beef_chief

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Some of the cheaper ones work just as well as the expensive ones. I have a Taylor (1 probe approx. $20.00) and a
"Smoke" with two probes that I purchased on sale for either $69.00 or $79.00. The Taylor is older than the "Smoke" and is no more than two degrees off of the "Smoke". While I really love my Smoke, for the last month my receiver is acting really stupid (showing different errors and and taking forever to show the correct temperature that the base is showing. I have gone to the trouble shooting part of their website but nothing I do will correct it. I will be calling as it is still under warranty. The point being is, you do not need to spend a lot of money to get a good thermometer but it may take a couple of cheaper ones until you find an accurate one.
Thats good to hear! This one I have will do just fine until I ask for the FlameBoss for my birthday coming up lol
 

gmc2003

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Just remember Andrew your smoking on a kettle and not a true smoker. The heat source is considerably closer to the meat then say a WSM. With the possibility of flareups it may be wise to sacrifice a little bark for added protection.

Chris
 

beef_chief

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Well, I've decided to try and eliminate as many possible sources of failure as possible. I'm scratching the burnt ends idea since this is my first brisket and just going to try and keep things as simple as possible. I'll keep the packer intact, wrap in butcher paper at 165, and pull when 203ish and probe tender. I was really looking forward to the burnt ends but it might be too much for me to try right now. Thanks for all the advice guys! I'll make a separate post tomorrow for the q-view
 

tallbm

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Well, I've decided to try and eliminate as many possible sources of failure as possible. I'm scratching the burnt ends idea since this is my first brisket and just going to try and keep things as simple as possible. I'll keep the packer intact, wrap in butcher paper at 165, and pull when 203ish and probe tender. I was really looking forward to the burnt ends but it might be too much for me to try right now. Thanks for all the advice guys! I'll make a separate post tomorrow for the q-view
Hi there and welcome!

Looks like you are refining the approach for simplicity and better chances of success... that's a good idea! :)
If you had your heart set on burnt ends you can try this and I promise the quality of your overall brisket will be even better.

When you trim your brisket cut away the thin portion of the flat (yes good meat) so that what is left of the flat is just about the same thickness throughout, see the following image. The portion with green lines is the good meat you trim away as one whole chunk :)

Now take that good meat and any other good meat you may trim off and throw it in later to make your burnt ends out of it :)

As mentioned above if you leave that thin meat of the flat on the brisket it will just burn up and be useless end the end anyhow. It's not easy to get over the fear or cutting away good meat but if you turn it in to burnt ends then nothing is lost!

If you decide to try and turn the good trimmed meat into burnt ends, save a handful of fat to go with it as the thin flat meat + a handful of fat in a foil pan will keep it from drying out as the fat renders down and keeps the thin flat meat from drying out and burning up as well :)

I hope this info helps and you get a great brisket PLUS a good shot at still having burnt ends :)

Oh one final tip, plan for your brisket to end cooking about 6 hours before you plan to eat. You can simply wrap it in double foil, then wrap it in 3 bathroom towels and rest it on the counter and it will be steaming 4-6 hours later when you plan to serve it. Get over he fear of doing this as soon as possible as well. It is very important that you finish way early and use a method like this to rest and hold the meat until it is time to eat... there is no method for eating meat that isn't ready and is dry and tough because it needs more time to cook but everyone is waiting to eat :)
 
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gmc2003

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Well, I've decided to try and eliminate as many possible sources of failure as possible. I'm scratching the burnt ends idea since this is my first brisket and just going to try and keep things as simple as possible. I'll keep the packer intact, wrap in butcher paper at 165, and pull when 203ish and probe tender. I was really looking forward to the burnt ends but it might be too much for me to try right now. Thanks for all the advice guys! I'll make a separate post tomorrow for the q-view
Don't get discouraged, you can still make the burnt ends. My only concern was that this was your first larger chunk of meat, and you are smoking it on a Kettle(not the simplest of tasks, but very doable). You'll have to keep a close eye on it and not let the temperature get away from you. The point is a lot more forgiving then the flat so watch the flat closely. I like to keep them together when possible because I feel it helps keep the flat from drying it out. The burnt ends can be done anytime you separate the two(even the next day if you want). Let us know how it turns out and how you decide to do it.

Chris
 

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