Smoking my first brisket tomorrow. Any help appreciated.

Discussion in 'Beef' started by worktogthr, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Well, some of this snow is finally supposed to melt today and tomorrow so I am going to smoke my first brisket flat tomorrow. Got a 4 lb. flat with a pretty nice fat cap.
    Scored it and then made the following rub:

    1 tablespoon ground coffee
    1 tablespoon kosher salt
    1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
    2 teaspoons smoked paprika
    2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Rubbed it on both sides and then wrapped in plastic.

    My game plan is this:

    Make note of the grain of the meat so I know how to slice it. Might put a toothpick in it facing in the direction of the grain. (Cutting against it after the smoke for slices)

    Smoke between 225 and 250 with the fat cap up in my propane smoker with a water pan. When it reaches 180, I will use the toothpick test to check of tenderness every so often. I really don't want to foil this as I am hoping for a nice bark.

    My question is this... I know internal temp and/or tenderness tells us when it's done but.... I am giving myself at least two hours a pound and 2 hours cya/rest time to have it for dinner around 6:30. How long should I expect this 4 lb flat to take, ballpark considering ins no more than an inch and half thick? How much will the thickness or lack thereof affect cooking time.

    As always, thanks for any advice! Keep you updated tomorrow!
  2. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Done a similar cut this last weekend and was on for about 5 hrs at 240* on pellet grill. Just an estimation as I usually don't pay a lot of attention to time, but more on IT. Maybe some of the more experienced folks can chime in and help ya a little more. Hope this helps some ! Justin
  3. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Definitely helps! I have read on here about briskest that take about an hour and change per pound and they were all thin. I figured thickness affects cooking time.
  4. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Just make a cut in direction of the grain.More easy too see after it's smoked.


    andybigwood likes this.
  5. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Good advice Dan, thanks! In that pic you made the cut across the grain so you can just keep slicing along that line, right?
  6. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Right that is the way I do it. Tried the toothpick method once didn't work quite as good. Can't go wrong with making the cut.

    Let us know how you make out.

    Beware Briskets are not the easier meat to cook/smoke, mine come out tasty n tender but on the dry side.

     Don't rely only on temps, probe test for doneness.

  7. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Dan! I'll definitely make the cut you suggested. I have been putting of the brisket for a while because I did t want to spend a lot (not cheap in these parts) and mess it up... Found a 4 lber for less than $5/ pound so I am giving it a shot. With a thin flat like this do you think foiling is essential? Not dead set against it, just love bark.
  8. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi I'm far from an expert when it comes to Brisket..Every body has there own opinion on foiling. I've tried both ways with out much difference in the final product. Just my opinion [​IMG]. If the bark is that important to you..then don't foil.

  9. dockman

    dockman Smoking Fanatic

    Wrap it in parchment paper once it hit IT 165! I have not done this but plan to on my next brisket which will be March 1!
  10. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Well, here she is ready to throw on the smoker...

    Got her in about 9:30 with some hickory!

    Have some beef broth I had to use up in the water pan. I know there's a great debate about whether flavored liquid does anything for the final product but I had to use it up anyway. Smoker temp has been holding pretty well. Had to take my daughter to her kiddie gym so I left it in the smoking gods hands for a an hour and half and they were kind to me. Got back around 11:30 and the smoker was at 225, a few degrees below where I left it and still producing nice TBS.

    Right now it's 1:27 and I am at 153 IT. I'll be back later!
  11. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just my humble opinion, the only difference I have seen in the bark, foiled vs. oldschool, is the foiled is not as hard/dry. I still see the same amount its just a difference of the texture. Of course, I don't mope, spritz or sauce when smoking, only when grilling. I never foiled until coming here last year, I have to say I like the softer bark, but then again you must realize that without teeth, that would be a simple deduction. I still like low and slow vice the crutch, but the bark is better in my toothless opinion...LOL
  12. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    So a little hiccup... Gets up to 190 IT at around 6:30, I go outside to do the toothpick test and it seems far from done. I decide I am going to put it in a pan with some apple juice, cover it and finish it in the oven so when I do this and I insert a different thermometer, the temp is now only 171... I check with every therm I have and it is confirmed..I realize that I sunk the probe from my maverick too far and it was near the outside of the brisket, hence the incorrect temp. So she's getting finished in the oven and then rested. Pizza for dinner, brisket for dessert hahah
  13. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That sucks ! I kinda had the issue you just stated with the temp probe and readings being off since probe is thru brisket too much. To solve the issue, I started putting the probe in on the side of the brisket so the whole probe pretty much is in the brisket. Not that it'll help ya now but maybe on the next one. They can be a little tricky and stubborned, hope this helps ! Justin
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
    andybigwood likes this.
  14. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Ok so at 195 IT I tooth picked it and it seemed really I wrapped it and let it rest for about an hour. Here's what it looked like:

    Smelled great, but I probed with a toothpick again and it didn't seem super tender.

    So then I began slicing:

    And the verdict:

    The taste was great, nice smoke flavor and the rub was delicious. As far as tenderness, I would say it was an 8 of 10. The good brisket I have had at bbq restaurants around the country were all a solid 10 in tenderness. My brisket also lacked the juiciness I desired. You know when you press down on it (like I did in one picture) and it oozes juice. Well, mine didn't necessarily ooze but certain slices were juicier than others. Overall, a delicious dessert haha and I am happy with the results but I still have a lot to learn. The good news is I was happy enough with the results to try it again...I guess I will just have to read these forums 2 more hours a day than already do haha. Thanks everyone for your help and advice and thanks for looking!
  15. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I did have it in the side but it wasn't centered very well. That's one thing I hate about the short cords on the maverick, they are are hard to manuver and then you end up probing blindly from the back of the meat which leads to mistakes like this.
  16. I have smoked a few briskest over the years. The biggest thing I found about being moist is the brisket itself. I have cooked up to 4 brisket at once and each one has a different level of tenderness and moisture. If u start smoking brisket regularly, pay attention to it when u buy it. Look at the marbling and how stiff it is. Wish I could be of more help but it's an experience thing I guess. I have wrapped the tougher ones in a few layers of foil after smoking with some beef broth and put back on smoker or in oven for up to 4 hrs to get them right.
  17. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ok, well all I can say is briskets are my new cut to nail consistently, they are pretty damn stubborned though. What makes it fun though, right !! I mean if we all just slapped a piece of meat on the smoker, what have ya (beef,pork,chicken,etc.) then pulled it out in 4-5 hrs and it was perfect every time, every time !! To me that would not be fun, cause when ya work and work, tweak and tweak, fiddle and fiddle, that's the fun of it and then when all the "work" pays off, and ya nail it, then ya get to say, Hey after all I did all the "work" it paid off cause I JUST NAILED IT, MY WAY ! Maybe some help here and there along the way but you took all advise and combined with what you already did or know and YOU did it ! Now that my friend is the fun of it IMHO. BTW, nice brisket !!! Justin
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  18. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I have heard this is the case. Just like you can smoke two identical cuts in type and weight and they finish an hour apart. I will take your advice about searching for good marbling. This one was croyovaced so I couldn't tell anything except that it had a decent fat cap for a flat. Either way, the results were delicious if a little on the dry side. Had a cold piece with my breakfast and I'm still happy. Gonna make some great sandwiches for lunch. Any tips on reheating to keep it moist.?
  19. As with anything, everyone has an opinion. The way I reheat mine is put it in a skillet, add a little broth or water and put a lid on it and reheat. Not a lot of liquid or the meat won't taste right. You are just steaming it to reheat. At least it works for me.
  20. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the idea Poppa. I actually have a steamer insert for a big pot. Maybe I can use this method when I want to reheat a large amount. Today I actually slowly reheated it for a sandwich on the microwaves defrost setting. Wasn't dry at all!

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