Questions on smoking a beef brisket

Discussion in 'Beef' started by lololo, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. lololo

    lololo Newbie

    It's been forever since I have smoked a brisket and basically I have forgot how. I have a 3.5 lb brisket and will be using hickory wood to smoke it. About how long would I have to smoke a brisket that size and what temperature do I need the meat to get to? If I remember right the brisket have fat on the bottom? Do I cut that off or leave it on?

    My friend and his wife will be coming over, we all like our meat rare but his wife likes it well done. What I mean by well done for her is super over well done, if she sees the slightest pink what so ever in her meat she will not eat it! So I am thinking I should just cut off about 1/2 lb of the brisket and start it ahead of time before I put in the rest of the brisket in the smoker. About how long would I need to smoke her portion of brisket to a super well done?
  2. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you go low and slow it could take as long as 2h/lb if you don't wrap it. If you crank up the heat a bit and foil you could shorten the cook time to less than 1.5h/lb.

    Classic bbq brisket needs to be cooked well done around 200F. Go by temp and poke test not time. Good luck.

    There are different schools of thought regarding the fat cap: trim, up, down. Your brisket being on the small side it could benefit from some "protection" provided by the fat. I recommend you don't trim it.
  3. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hard to tell how long time wise since there is no clue as to your unit or what smoke temp you use. That's a pretty small brisky so probably not long. I've never heard of many 'rare''s a very tough cut so most take to an IT of 195 or so and then foil for an hour to finish out somewhere in the 200 range for tender beef. With luck you'll have a nice smoke ring that's pinkish but that's about it. I would not cut any fat off something that small and opinion varies on fat up or fat down in the smoker. Personally, I'm a fat up kinda guy but need to check out a fat down cook. If she only wants well, well done I'd make her a burger...but, that's just me. HTH, Willie
  4. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    ahhhhh, great minds thinking alike....LOL
  5. Chef Willie, I have a Brinkman and I usually use hickory wood when smoking.
  6. Good evening, I would smoke the whole brisket until it is ready, cut off a chunk and put it on the grill and cook it the way your wife likes it. Like the previous post said a well cooked brisket will have a nice smoke ring. doesn't mean it's not cooked but you got to do what makes your wife happy. 

    Gary S
  7. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Would add that brisket cook times isn't determined by weight, but rather, by thickness.   A  3.5lb piece of brisket that is 1 1/4 inches thick will cook a heck of a lot quicker than a 3.5lb piece of brisket that is 3 inches thick

    As atomicsmoke and Chef Willie said, a brisket should be cooked until it's upwards of 200 degrees.  Reason for this is that the connective tissues between the muscle fibers needs time and temperature in order to render and breakdown.   This is what makes a brisket tender and juicy.

    It's best to use the poke test to determine when a brisket is done.   Poke the thickest part of the brisket with a probe, ice pick, tooth pick, etc and when it goes in and out like a knife through butter (very little resistance), the brisket is ready.  At that point, pull it from the smoker, wrap it in foil and let it rest.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
  8. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Like others have said, with brisket its done at a certain temp and that temp is well done. If you try to leave brisket with red or pink center you will be undercooked and you'll have a piece of inedible rubber. You're friends wife will be happy with a properly cooked brisket. Just don't let her think that the pink smoke ring is rare meat.

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