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Real basic brisket questions

Discussion in 'Meat Selection and Processing' started by ramkilr, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. I'm a total rookie here, and haven't found answers through searching, so I thought I'd ask some really basic questions here:

    1. I've seen the terms "flat" and "point" - what do they mean?

    2. My local source (Smart& Final store) sells their brisket already packaged - what is the best size to buy? I've seen packages from 10 lbs up to 17 lbs.

    3. When I put the brisket in the smoker does the fat layer go up, or down?

    4. I think I read somewhere here about splitting a brisket in half by slicing it "sideways" - sort of like making it twice as big, but half as thick - what's the reasoning for this?

    I'm sure I'll have more questions - this is a great place for information, and I'm looking forward to making a lot of smoke in my back yard!

    Alan Hepburn

    San Jose, Ca
  2. mythmaster

    mythmaster Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    1.  http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/wiki/brisket-separation-technique

    2.  depends on what you want (vague answer, i know -- sorry)

    3.   much debate about this.  some will say cap up so moisture seeps in, others will say fat down to keep the bottom from getting too much heat

    4.  see #1 for how to do that.  Some people will separate it after it's cooked and make burnt ends from the point meat.  I have to separate mine first (if it's a whole packer cut) so it will fit into my smoker

    ***edited several times cuz I'm eatin :)
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  3. I prefer to cook the brisket before I seperate to slice.  The briskets that I have been cooking with lately have been around 10-12 lbs.  I prefer to cook mine with the fat side up. 

  4. Thanks for the help - I think I'm starting to figure this stuff out! That link to the photos was invaluable!

    Alan Hepburn

    San Jose, Ca
  5. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  7. i get my briskets from Smart & Final too.  The sell the full packer briskets in the heavy plastic packaging.

    The point and flat is a brisket that has been cut by the butcher already. IMHO that's not the way to go for a smoked brisket.  I recommend the full packer.  I mean if i'm going to the trouble of firing up my UDS i'm going to smoke a brisket or two and likely other things (chicken, ABT's, Fatties, Pork Shoulder).  What you don't eat can be easily vacuum sealed it's good for a few weeks and easy dinner for the family.   if you don't have a vacuum sealer get some press and seal and seal up the meat good in that and then place it in a heavy ziplock bag.  we have had very good results from that way to freeze cooked meats off the smoker!

    As far as the brisket size, I like the ones that are about 13-15 lbs.  i can fit two of those on the bottom rack of my UDS   it really doesn't matter if they are bigger, they just tend to take longer to cook.   but, in my situation, i can fit more meat by getting the smaller briskets. i don't like to cut them before cooking.   i can fit about 45-50lbs of brisket on my UDS if i can find them about 13-15lbs.   i typically just switch the racks 1/3 - 1/2 way thru the smoke to keep the cooking even.

    i always cook them fat side up.

    i tend to cut mine in 1/2 lengthwise and then cut again on the fat layer to end up with 4 pieces to slice.  sometimes i chop up the smaller top pieces or shred them for chopped brisket sandwiches.   at least the pieces that don't get consumed in the quality control process while slicing!!   [​IMG]

    Welcome to the forum and i'm sure you will learn alot for the great members here.  i know i have!!!
    gpa21 likes this.
  8. looks like you guys have this under control! lol [​IMG]
  9. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Ramkiller, one of the most important things you need is "PATIENCE".

    Cook it whole with simple S/P(cracked) rub, fat side up with the thick end toward the heat.

    The fat will render and give a good Bark as long as you let it be;the more you open the lid/door, the longer it takes(figure1.5hrs./lb).Check with a toothpick t see if it goes in like butter, if so,wrap in foil and wrap in a towel,in a cooler.The point will almost slide off when you handle it after the rest(appox.1 hr.) Take this point end can be chopped and some fat removed , sauced a wee bit and re-introduced to the sm0ke for about an hour.Then the Party begins;add Beans,Salad and white Bread along with Onions(sliced thick) Dill Pickels and Apple Cobbler-what a spread[​IMG]

    How ever you decide to go , remember,
  10. I am feeding 10 adults and 10 kids coming up, how much brisket should I get?
  11. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I allow about 1/3 lbs for plates and 1/4 lbs for sammies.  A 10lb brisket will yield about 6lbs after cooking. (60%) depending on fat content.

    I smoke flats.  That is brisket with point trimmed off and cook the point seperate on the hot side to finish sooner for beans or burnt ends ect.

    The flat alone will cook very even from one end to the other.  I do fat cap up.  Only reason is it is easier to clean the grates afterwards.  i have done it both ways and no significant difference noted.  If you are doing plenty of sides a 10 lb brisket with 10 kids depending on their ages and eating habits may not be enoeph.  If they are small children you should be fine.  Toss some dogs or burgers on the grill and lots of kids will opt for those.  LOL