Author Topic: Small Piece of Brisket  (Read 933 times)

Offline st3v32k12

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Small Piece of Brisket
« on: May 25, 2021, 09:01:07 am »
I was at the butcher the other day and he had some pieces of brisket available so I bought a small one.  It was about 3.6 lbs of the flat.  I coated it in S&P.  Put in the smoker at 220C.  Smoked it for 4 hours.  It hit 196C IT after about 10 hours and I pulled it.  Let it rest for about 15 minutes.  When we finally sliced it, the flavor and bark were amazing but it was pretty dried out.  What can I do to ensure a delicious, juicy, fall apart brisket that still has that amazing bark.

I've heard about wrapping in foil for some of the cook, but I've heard it can make the bark soggy.

I've also heard of FTC but not sure if that will have the same effect on the bark.

Any pointers?


Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Small Piece of Brisket
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2021, 02:01:41 pm »
I'm guessing you mean Fahrenheit as the measurement of temperature. Brisket is a challenge to get right. The flat is the leanest part of the brisket which makes it difficult to achieve a moist slice.

The bark will not be as crisp, but if you wrap at the correct time you will get a pretty good bark. This is generally around when the temperature of the brisket get around 160°F. To check when to wrap, scrap the surface of the meat with your fingernail, if the bark remains on the meat it is ready to wrap. If it comes away from the meat, continue to cook until it sticks to the meat. When ready to wrap, wrap it tight, and try to prevent air pockets that can trap steam.

Another method; some members will lay bacon on a rack, and place that above the rack that contains the brisket. The fat from the bacon drips on the brisket below, and baste it as it cooks. I've never tried this, since it will alter the taste of the brisket.

You can try brining with a simple salt and sugar brine. I have a brine mix that I use when I'm making burnt ends; 1 gallon water, 1 cup table salt, 1/2 white sugar. Submerge brisket in brine, refrigerate and brine for 2 hours. Do not go over 2 hours. You may want to reduce the salt in your rub.

You can also  make an injection and inject your brisket. For a 3 lb. brisket you would only need about 5 ounces of injection. You can purchase beef marinade mix, and mix up as small or large of a batch you want. I know Blue Hog Beef Marinade is one that you can purchase. I don't use them because they have phosphates, and phosphates produce a metallic aftertaste in my mouth. Or use something like Zatarain's Cajun Injectors, but again it will alter the taste of the brisket.

FTC is an acronym used on this forum; Foil-Towel-Cooler. You wrap the brisket in foil (if not already wrapped]. Then wrap it in a towel. The towel serves two purposes. One, it acts as an extra layer of insulation. Two, it protects the plastic inside the cooler from the direct contact of the hot meat. Once wrap in a towel, place it in a dry cooler, and let it rest or to hold until you need it. With a small brisket flat, you could probably substitute the microwave in place of the cooler. You can add a little liquid, such as low sodium beef broth, apple juice or other liquid to the brisket before you FTC. While it is resting the brisket will absorb some of that liquid.


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Offline st3v32k12

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Re: Small Piece of Brisket
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2021, 06:14:32 am »
Thank you for the reply.

Yes I meant F not C.  It definitely would have been dry if I cooked it to 196C.

So it sounds like I am definitely going to have to wrap it.  In an earlier post of mine, I mentioned wanted to replicate the brisket of one of my favorite restaurants.  When I discussed with them, they said they do 4 hours unwrapped, 4 hours wrapped, and then another 4 hours wrapped.  I would adjust this of course for a smaller piece of brisket, but I wonder if this off-on-off method would give the desired results.  I assume it would also speed up the cooking time as the temperature will rise pretty quickly while covered.

If one is going to FTC their brisket, how long should they leave it in that state?  How long CAN you leave it in that state without causing more harm than good?

I've also noticed that in all the briskets I've done, the smoke ring is not very pronounced.  Is there something I can do to improve that?

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Small Piece of Brisket
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2021, 02:04:44 pm »
I've never heard of that method for brisket. I figure a lot will come into play with this method, such as the temperature they are cooking at; amount of moisture in the pit, type of fire etc. I've talked to many competitors, and the great majority of them wrap once, and only after the bark is set. The others don't wrap at all. Keep in mind that competitors are smoking/roasting whole briskets. You are correct that wrapping will shorten the cook time.

The length of time you can FTC would be as long as the air temperature in the cooler stays over 140°F. Most let it rest for 3 - 4 hours, or for a shorter or longer time depending on what time to serve. A small flat will not stay hot that long, and for smaller cuts of meat you should use the smallest cooler possible.

You are not going to get a smoke ring using the Bradley Smoker. That is because the bisquettes do not burn at a high enough temperature to produce enough nitrous oxide.  Nitrous oxide is produced when fossil fuels are burned. That includes wood, natural gas, and propane gas. It's the nitrous oxide combining with the myosin proteins in the meat that produces the pink ring. Also the conditions must be right, for this chemical reaction to occur. You must have the correct fire management; such as the temperature you are cooking at, the temperature the fossil fuel is burning at; amount of moisture in the cabinet etc. There have been many times I haven't been able to produce a smoke ring when using my charcoal burners. Keep in mind the smoke ring does not provide any additional flavor it's more for aesthetics. Some will say it is a sign of good barbecue techniques.


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Offline st3v32k12

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Re: Small Piece of Brisket
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2021, 11:56:50 am »
Again, thanks for your reply.

Just to clarify an error in my last post:  I meant to say 4 hours unwrapped, 4 hours wrapped, and then 4 hours unwrapped.

I believe I will wait until the bark is where I want it and then wrap it.  I've heard a range to pull it out at, between 195F and 205F.  What is your opinion of the best temperature to pull the brisket at?

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Small Piece of Brisket
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2021, 12:54:33 pm »
Around 195F and 205F is about the range I will pull the brisket out of the smoker. I go by feel, and start checking around 190°F. I take a dinner fork and if it inserts easily it is ready. Most use the temperature probe, and slide it in and out of the meat in a couple of places. If it slides in and out like a hot knife going through butter, that is when it is pulled. Using the temperature probe is much easier then testing with a dinner fork.


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Offline st3v32k12

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Re: Small Piece of Brisket
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2021, 05:35:32 am »
As always, thanks for the reply!

As for when to wrap it, aside from the texture of the bark, is there a temperature (range) you can recommend to reach as another sign its time to wrap?

Offline TedEbear

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Re: Small Piece of Brisket
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2021, 11:06:01 am »
As always, thanks for the reply!

As for when to wrap it, aside from the texture of the bark, is there a temperature (range) you can recommend to reach as another sign its time to wrap?

He mentioned that in his first reply:

The bark will not be as crisp, but if you wrap at the correct time you will get a pretty good bark. This is generally around when the temperature of the brisket get around 160°F.

I just finished smoking a 14 lb brisket yesterday.  It took a total of 32 hours and I wrapped it when the IT reached 160°F.  I checked the bark first and it was sticking to the meat, so I wrapped it.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Small Piece of Brisket
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2021, 01:32:09 pm »
st3v32k12 and TedEbear let us know how your briskets turned out.


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Offline TedEbear

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Re: Small Piece of Brisket
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2021, 09:02:09 pm »
Well, my 14 lb one took a total of 32 hours.  I wrapped it in butcher paper at 160°F, after checking that the bark was adhering to the surface.  It still took a loooong time after that to reach 202°F, when I removed it from the smoker and did a FTC for 4 more hours before slicing.  The end result is pretty good, although we will have plenty of brisket to last for a few days (weeks?) for just two of us.  I might try all hickory next time instead of the first 2 hours with mesquite, followed by 2 hours of hickory.

Due to the size, I had to do the Pachanga U-shape fold to get it to fit on the rack.  It supposedly will shrink to fit the rack as it cooks but mine never really shrank all that much. 

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Small Piece of Brisket
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2021, 02:45:25 am »
That is a long time, especially since you have a duel element mod. It's odd that it did shrink. It just goes to reinforce that each cut can cook differently.


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Offline st3v32k12

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Re: Small Piece of Brisket
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2021, 06:41:54 am »
Butcher paper or aluminum foil?

Offline TedEbear

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Re: Small Piece of Brisket
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2021, 08:29:57 am »