Author Topic: Some notes on Brisket.......  (Read 3592 times)

Offline MallardWacker

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Some notes on Brisket.......
« on: September 06, 2004, 03:41:46 pm »
I found a nice summation of brisket terminology and cooking.  This came from the Arizona BBQ Association web site.  The only thing is (<font color="red">and I warn you</font id="red">) most of those dudes use those <font color="green"><b>green egg thingies</b></font id="green">.  I know some things we can change to our BS without a problem.

<font color="blue">Quote from:"Ole Chipotle"</font id="blue">

<font color="blue">Comments
My only added point is keep the temp down on the low 225 side, keep the smoke to a light smoke for the first 5-6 hrs, then you can let up or stop and take your time. 15 hrs is the least. Best is a long slow cook. Another tip is before you place the pieces in the smoker. trim off an end exactly perpendicular to the grain. After your done use this edge to ensure your final cuts are accross the grain. Anyway here are Dan's notes. Let us know how you do.

PACKAGING, TYPES,  AND PARTS OF A BRISKET

The words used in the world of brisket are:

- Point, Tip, and Deckle, the thicker more point like end.  I like this the best for flavor and fat content     - Flat and Blade, this is typically the thinner, wider section.  I like this the least as it contains less fat and can be dryer.       These two distinct pieces of the brisket come attached via a fat layer.  But have grains that run the opposite direction and have different textures and fat content.  So, you will have to taste test what you like best and how you will choose to cook the brisket, either whole or separated.

Your typical brisket that you will find in a store come in various cuts, packages, and types.

- At Costco for example you will always find the Flat or Blade, well trimmed of fat (separated from the tip or point.  I DO NOT LIKE THAT.  The cryopac packer package (what all meats come in from a slaughter house) has been opened, the brisket separated, and the flat trimmed for you at an extra cost to you of course.  I typically pass on those.  Might cost up to $2.99 per pound.

- At Smart & Final, most supermarkets, and other stores, you will find the brisket typically comes in a cryopac package a packer cut and mostly by the packing plant of IBP in either a Choice or Select cut.  This means that the Packing plant cuts it meat in a standard way and puts it in a vacuum sealed, heavy plastic bag, that beef can live in for 2 - 4 weeks under correct refrigeration.  I really like my briskets, and all meat products for that matter, to come like this.  Reference to Choice or Select that is the grading and the amount of fat that is marbled throughout the meat.  More fat is good and a higher grade.  Remember this, PCS (as in portable telephones), convert it to Prime, Choice, Select.  Prime is BEST, and Select is Least BEST.  Nice little memory tool.  

When meat comes packaged in a cryopac package with a packer cut you get it the cheapest in that the butcher does not have to spend his time re-trimming it to political correctness.  Now you are charged less and get to trim it the way you want and have all the fat on it you might want.  

So, needless to say.  I always buy and cook a full, uncut, brisket and recommend that.  The downside is it will take me 15 hours versus half that if I did separate the brisket.  So, choose which method pleases you.  But, be warned each piece will cook differently separated than it will if attached.

You might also look for a brisket with white fat versus a yellow fat.  This most likely indicates it is pure corn fed.  This is a good thing, like Martha says.  Also, you might hold it by the two ends and see if one is more flexible than another.  This might indicate the meat is more tender then not.  And, the last thing is some folks say that cows, 90% of the time,  typically lay on their right sides when resting.  So, you might want to try for a left-sided brisket.    All these hints or tips might help or not.  I have seen what would be described at the worst briskets, per what I have told you above, turn out to be the best and visa versa.

TRIMMING AND PREPARATION

I trim most of the fat off the brisket.  I leave about 1/8 - 1/4.  I don't go into the crevices (between point and flat) very deeply at all.  I will try and get most of the membrane type fat off where possible to allow for a better tasting texture, rendering, and seasoning (rub, marinade, glaze) penetration and build-up).  This is not a point to get to anal about.  Just leave a bit of fat on to self-baste, but not enough to bother you while slicing and eating.  After it is cooked it all taste crusty and great!  You might take a LOT of fat off your brisket.  Maybe 1/4 of its entire weight.  Oh well.  That is the way they come.

   

This process can take a bit of time and a lot of fat will come off, but it is worth it.

COOKING IN A SMOKER.

I always cook a whole packer cut brisket if possible.  I typically don't want to work, or stay up all night, watching a fire.  So, I usually don't put my butts or briskets in a big log-burning or off-set type cooker.  I will start with a Weber Smoky Mountain (WSM) which can go unattended for up to 7 - 8 hours if packed with water and fuel.   I put a whole packer cut on a rack in a WSM with no problem with mesquite fuel and a chunk of oak and hickory, maybe, if they are handy.  I have put as big as a 16 pound.  I just squeeze it together (ball like) when putting it on the rack.  After 6 - 8 hours it is not an issue anymore as it has reduced in size substantially.  Usually at that time I will rotate, maybe put in the oven if at home (heck, the smoking process is now over, why waste valuable smoking woods and time), of move it to a big smoking pit, depending upon where I am and what I am doing. I cook my briskets between 225 - 245 for 15 hours for a 11-14+ pounder.  

I will start basting about half-way through the process and about every 90 minutes from that point on.

  For a brisket, since it has so much meat that will never get the direct contact of the smoke, I will use mesquite and a dab of hickory, maybe oak.  But, mostly mesquite.  This is due to the fact that here in Southern California mesquite is the cheapest and easiest to come by.  oak and hickory are hard to find and expensive.  I prefer however the taste of oak and hickory to mesquite, but so little of the edible stuff get the direct contact it still is QUITE FINE either way.  Now, Ribs, I will not cook in mesquite due to the fact that most of what you eat has had a lot of hours of mesquite touching it directly.  So, that is just my personal taste and preference.

THE BRISKET COOKING PROCESS

As I said before I cook my briskets between 225 - 245 for 15 hours for a 11-14+ pounder and will rotate and turn then start basting about half-way through the cooking process.  I would turn and marinade at hourly to 90 minute intervals (if you don't wrap), adds lots of layered flavors to Mr. Bark, after the brisket has been on at least 8 hours or so.  Due to the hourly marinade (heat loss each entry) it will take the full 15 hours to cook.

   

If you like Mr. Brown, or a crispy crust, don't wrap.  If you like  soft crust, then wrap.  I have done an many wrapped as not and normally don't wrap for myself or a contest but wrapping is fine as well if you like it that way.  I really like the BBQ crispiness and taste come with a non-wrapped brisket versus the more steamed like taste that comes with wrapping.  Each to his own.

Once you reach a point where you think it might be done there are several ways of testing.  You can to the fork test in the thicker part of the flat, which works sometimes, and sometimes does not.  If it is going to work you will be able to feel an easy entry into the thick side of the flat and it won't lift when removing.  However, I have seen the opposite as well on very well cooked briskets.  I would pull between 193 and 199 measured right where the flat joins the point.  On rare occasions I have seen  briskets cook for 16 - 18 hours and never rise above 180, fail the fork test, yet be the best, tender, pull-apart, and moist piece of meat.

FINISHING AND GLAZING

So, if you are going to glaze I would remove it just when you find it is done to your liking.  Put your favorite glaze on, and then put it back it back in for 30 minutes.  This will caramelize or glaze a bit and make it taste better.  Typically sweet does not go with brisket like it does pork.  But, hey, do what makes you feel good.

If it get done early I will wrap in film (cellophane) or foil and then put in a cooler.  Or not wrap and put in a catering heat-holding box (Cambro like) and let it continue to cook a bit.  It can hold its heat for many hours and get better yet.  Might lose a bit of Mr. Brown however.

So, the bottom line is sometimes it is a tough thing to judge exactly.  I just find that cooking my brisket for 15 hours, basting often after half-cooking time, and starting to check for doneness at about 13 - 14 hours gets me success most of the time.

When I do them this way the moisture pours out of them like a fire-hose, they break apart perfectly, and they taste great with a bit of CRK Fancy Glaze

TRIMMING AND SLICING

When you lay your brisket out to trim or slice for the first time simply push your finger into the middle the brisket a slight distance.  You will immediately detect which way the grain is going.  Then cut it opposite of that.  I then typically separate the flat from the point because their grains do run different directions and this gives me a chance to remove the fat in between.  Then go for what pleases you.  For me it is the marbled, moister, point, or deckle.</font id="blue">


SmokeOn,

mski
Perryville, Arkansas
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If a man says he knows anything at all, he knows nothing what he aught to know.  But...


SmokeOn,

Mike
Perryville, Arkansas

It's not how much you smoke but how many friends you make while doing it...

Offline BigSmoker

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Re: Some notes on Brisket.......
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2004, 04:06:07 pm »
MW,
Some of have <font color="limegreen">green egg thingies among other ceramic cookers</font id="limegreen">and Bradley smokers.  I used both this weekend already.  If you want to see a picture of a brisket smoked in a egg thingy I'll post a link for you.  
http://biggreenegg.proboards33.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&num=1094146136
Thinking about cold smoking a huge porterhouse steak tonight before searing them on the egg thingy.
Man am I glad I have the best grill and smokers known to man.  Sometimes I have to have a bourbon with some ice just to decide which one to use.

Jeff
www.bbqshopping.com
Some say BBQ is in your blood, if thats true my blood must be BBQ sauce.
Some people say BBQ is in the blood, if thats true my blood must be BBQ sauce.

Offline Fuzzybear

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Re: Some notes on Brisket.......
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2004, 06:06:53 pm »
Great info Mallardman!

One of us needs to cut and paste these recipies into a cookbook project of some sort and have our own cookbook!  

(maybe we can sell it to Mr. Bradley?)[:D]

"A mans got to know his limitations"
Glendora, CA - USA!

Offline Chez Bubba

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Re: Some notes on Brisket.......
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2004, 09:05:28 pm »
They're not ready for us Fuzz![:D][:D][:D]

http://www.chezbubba.com
Ya think next time I check into a hotel & they ask "Smoking or Non?" they would mind?
http://www.brianswish.com
Ya think if next time I check into a hotel & they ask "Smoking or Non", they would mind?

Offline MallardWacker

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Re: Some notes on Brisket.......
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2004, 09:39:04 pm »
In my journey to improve my briskets I found this masive, but great guide to brisket smoking.  Very clear and consise. HTH
http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/brisketselect.html#burntends

SmokeOn,

mski
Perryville, Arkansas
Wooo-Pig-Soooie

If a man says he knows anything at all, he knows nothing what he aught to know.  But...


SmokeOn,

Mike
Perryville, Arkansas

It's not how much you smoke but how many friends you make while doing it...

Offline nsxbill

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Re: Some notes on Brisket.......
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2004, 03:23:09 am »
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">In my journey to improve my briskets I found this masive, but great guide to brisket smoking. Very clear and consise. HTH
http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/brisketselect.html#burntends
SmokeOn,
mski
Perryville, Arkansas
Wooo-Pig-Soooie
If a man says he knows anything at all, he knows nothing what he aught to know. But...<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Great link!  Thanks for posting it for us.

Bill
There is room on earth for all God's creatures....right on my plate next to the mashed potatoes.

Offline Smokin Joe

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Re: Some notes on Brisket.......
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2004, 11:35:30 pm »
Hey Fuzzy!

We're working on a cookbook here at Caroline's...I am sure most of you are sick of hearing about it, so I won't go into details, but if you have anything you would like to contribute drop by the website and let us know!

Smokin' Joe Johnson
Caroline's Rub - Fine Spice Creations
http://www.carolinesrub.com
Joe Johnson
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Caroline's Rub - Dry Rubs, Smoked Salt, and Texas Chili Seasoning

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