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Salt the brisket ahead of time

AdamG71

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Hi, we have a point end cut only brisket of about 2 pounds. Its is still too cold ( and windy ) to do this outdoors, so we will be doing this in the oven. 2 or 3 more weeks from now I'd like to try and smoke the same thing.

I've grilled ( and smoked ) many things before but never have I made brisket in the oven or the smoker.

So my first questions is should I add a rub and refrigerate a couple of days in advance, and if so, should this rub contain salt, or should I only add salt just before cooking.

Second question is should I plan to make this one day before eating or on the day of, is it better the second day ? I've read this in a few places but I am unsure.

Can I use the toothpick method to know when its done or should I go with a thermometer.

FYI, I plan on going 250 in the oven.
The rub will be salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika.
I plan on either giving it a sear first.
I plan on putting it in a tightly wrapped pan sitting on top of onions, carrots and celery, some liquid smoke, worcestershire sauce, a splash if vinegar, and some beef stock, couple of bayleaves, and maybe some thyme.
I would let it sit a good 45 minutes before slicing it, unless I'm told to refrigerate it whole and slice the next day.

Any advice is much appreciated.
 

wanna-be-smoker

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how you prep and season/wrap/dont wrap or whatever or what not is up to you


But I would use the probe to know when you're in the area so you're not babysitting it 4 hours before you need to. So i would use the probe early and up to about 195 and then however( toothpick) you test for tenderness. Or you might find yourself senselessly poking and prodding it at 180 which is not necessary.
 
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jbellard

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You have a few questions there.
Some guys will let the rub sit for a few days but I prefer to just pull it out of the fridge, use lots of salt and pepper( equal ratio) and put it on the smoker. That’s what i do.
In my opinion, brisket is always much better when it’s fresh. Now it’s good the next day but I feel it’s meant to be eaten fresh and after it’s rested for awhile.
Use the thermometer to know when you’re getting close but then probe it for tenderness and only take it off once it’s tender throughout.
That’s a lot of seasonings and extra stuff for me but go for it and try it. I really like to taste beef and go for salt and pepper only. To each his own.
I would let it sit a bit longer if you have the time like 1-2 hrs.
Also I would cook it at 225 if you have the time. I think especially when you can control the temp exactly, cooking it at a low temp for longer helps break down the fat in there. Really depends on when you need it. If for a lunch, I would put that sucker going at 7pm the night before. When you wake up, brisket is done and you can hold it in oven at 170 for a long time, until you’re ready to eat it.
Hope that helps and it turns out amazing.
I’m doing a brisket and pork butt this weekend for Easter at my parents. Won’t have my smoker but will use a gas grill and chunks of pecan to smoke indirectly.

Have fun!!!
 

wanna-be-smoker

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Great advice there and sorry i did not weigh in more on the other stuff because it sounded to me like you were set in your prep/rest method.

I like to live outside the box when it comes to cooking but when i want it simple and know it will be great i go with SPOG (salt/pepper/onion/garlic). I try to get granulated garlic and onion versus powder and never use garlic or onion salt. The pepper is usually a medium grind and kosher salt.


As far as the cook i agree with Jbellard with his advice on cooking lower and slower and i hold in my oven at 170 all the time. I would bail on the cooking it on veggies because its a brisket not a stew and if you want them cook them separate. I take all briskets and meat like pork or beef for puling to the 195 area and then when my probe slides in and through like a hot knife in butter it done. I think a tooth pick is to short to reach the middle and beyond in the meat and it needs to be tender throughout.
 

AdamG71

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Hey Guys thanks a lot. That was pretty quick.
Even though it's only 2 pounds, you are saying it will take a really really long time ?
And just to be extra clear, you guys are saying I can lower oven to 170 after its really tender and it wont start becoming tough or dry ?

Thanks. I think I will ditch the veggies actually. Good idea.

I do have kosher salt and an electric pepper grinder for that perfect medium grind fresh pepper, and my onion and garlic are not salts, only powders.
 

jbellard

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I just reread your initial post and saw the 2 lb point.
It will not take all night but it will take awhile to get up to 200-205 IT. If I had to guess 4-5 hrs.
If you need it for a lunch I’d get up early and put in oven at 225. Then as cook continues you can always bump up your temps even up to 300 to get it done if it’s getting close to lunch time.
Sorry for not reading it as closely as I should have. Point part of brisket is the best!!!

And yes you can keep it in oven at 170 for at least 6 hrs with a loose layer of foil over it.
 

AdamG71

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thx jbellard.
I will post some pics. This meat really is the final frontier for me. If it works out I will smoke one when it gets warmer outside. If I let it sit in oven at 170, does that count as the rest ?
Or would I still need to do a room temp rest ?
 

jbellard

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In the oven at 170 counts as rest.
You should put a meat thermometer in the brisket so you can be reassured of the temp inside there. Then once it gets up beyond 195 (internal temp) start probing it for tenderness. It should be really tender, like going through nothing, a hot knife through butter, etc. you really don’t want any resistance to your probe. At that point the brisket point is done.
 

noboundaries

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Let me offer a different solution.

The fattier point alone cooks very different than a lean flat, especially if it is fully marbled. Probing doesn't help much. A point can probe tender as low as 180F, but the fat, wow. Fat takes time to render out of a point. Points can easily be taken to an internal temp of 210-215F and still be tender and juicy. In fact, they become melt in your mouth tender at that stage.

My advice would be to make a pot roast, or better yet, use the 2 lb point to make chili or beef stew. Cube up the point, brown the pieces, add the rest of the ingredients/seasonings and your braising liquid. Low simmer on the stovetop until a fork slides in with absolutely no resistance, about 3-4 hours. It will be the absolute BEST chili or beef stew you've ever made, with meat that literally melts in your mouth.

The only time I ever roast or smoke a point is when it is firmly attached to the flat, then I put the point toward the hottest area in my smoker. I only probe the flat for doneness. The point will give you a false positive.

Occasionally, I'll smoke a point for a couple of hours just for smoke flavoring, then cube it to make chili or stew. If I make chili or stew with anything but a point, my wife would probably be calling an attorney.

Just another option.
 

AdamG71

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Noboundaries that's a pretty good idea. Especially for stew. I've never been crazy about beef stew. So this may make it much better.
But this brisket is being made for guests on my wife's side of the family who I know from experience wont want a chili or a stew. Your false positive theory makes a lot of sense. I really appreciate all the responses.
 

noboundaries

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Are you trying to make BBQ in the oven, or does a pot roast work?
 

AdamG71

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Um, well I've made pot roast, but never with an actual brisket.
SO to be honest, I don't know.
I realize without the smoke, it wont really be a smoked brisket, but I guess I just want it to be delicious. The upside of treating it like a BBQ is that I will feel much more confident when I actually smoke it ( regarding temperature and seasoning ).
Do you think I will get good results both ways, or are you really leaning towards pot roast ?
 

jbellard

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Adam,
Do you have a gas grill? Because if so, I would tell you to set up the grill as an indirect smoker. You won’t have to mess with feeding a fire and you can get the smokey flavor and bark (not exactly the same but better than an oven).
I turn on one burner, put an aluminum pan filled with pellets and a couple chunks of pecan on there and put your brisket on the opposite side of grill.
Then I’d go same directions I told you earlier, 225 for 4-5 hrs, keep meat thermometer in there, once it hits about 160, wrap in butcher paper or foil and then probe once it’s getting closer to 195-205.
This is my “easy” smoking way to go.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
 

AdamG71

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Ya gas grill, and I have a smoke box, but it will be 46 degrees outside ( 8 celsius ), and windy, and I cant shield the grill for the wind because I have a natural gas line hooked up to the grill on the upper deck.
This is why I am going to buy a dedicated smoker this spring that I can use on my lower patio which is completely shielded from the wind.
Now, what I COULD do ( but I'm scared to take many chances on my first brisket );
is preheat grill to medium high and get some smoke going and throw the brisket on for about 45 minutes on the cooler side to get some char and absorb some smoke flavour, and then move it to the oven for the 4 or 5 hours at 225.
 

jbellard

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Ok, I’ll tell ya that obviously you have to be the one that’s cooking but I believe your gas grill will do just fine in those temps/weather. I have cooked this winter at below freezing with my gas grill and it works just fine.
Since you’ll be awake, I would just keep an eye on your grill temp in case the wind blows out your flame(I think the likelihood of that is pretty low myself).
Or just put it on there for the 45 minutes and see how that goes. If it stays lit and you feel comfortable, then just leave it.
My point is that you’ll be much happier with the product if it’s coming off the gas grill with some smoke vs solely cooking it in the oven.
I think you can do!! Go for it Adam.
 

jbellard

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Also, you won’t get any char in 45 minutes with the brisket not directly over the flames. It will take a few hours to get that bark that I think you’re looking for. And it’s achievable on your gas grill.
 

jbellard

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To me, a gas grill set up to cook indirectly, is probably th best way to cook a brisket your first time. Obviously brisket cooked with wood fire is better which is why I have a big side firebox smoker.
You can control the temps almost to the degree (you’ll need a good thermometer to check your grill temps) because once you get that temp set, you really just have to wait and put pellets in there every once in awhile. Fairly foolproof.
 

AdamG71

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OK, maybe Ill try.
You make a convincing argument, if the flame blows out ( it has happened before, even on highest temp. ),
then Ill just swear inside my head ( or out loud ) and move it to the oven.

As I said, Ill post pics once its done.

Thanks again
 

noboundaries

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I agree with everyone concerning your gas grill use. Best course of action.
 

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