Author Topic: My First Brisket  (Read 10291 times)

Offline SKSmoker

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My First Brisket
« on: April 28, 2007, 10:43:07 pm »
Evening all. I ventured into the realm of brisket today. I found a place in town that carries the packer cut, and man, this thing is one big piece of meat!

What did I purchase? Packers Cut Whole Untrimmed Brisket
Weight: 11.5 LBS
Cooking temp: 210F-240F
Total cooking time: 21hrs
Wood used: 2 Hickory, 3 Cherry
Extra's needed: 1 very sharp 8" Chefs knife for carving, some extra counter space is great if you have it. You'll need it!

Rub:
Best Odds Brisket Rub:
1/2 cup paprika
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons oregano
http://bbq.about.com/od/rubrecipes/r/bl31115b.htm
* I added some Cayenne and I think this is where I partially went wrong.I think I added to much. This did not taste very good at all to me. More about that later. I think next time I will go with just salt, pepper, and some granulated garlic. 

How I prepared my brisket:
Well.. what an adventure here! This meat was large. It was in a cyrovac package and unfrozen. I opened up the cryovac, drained all the fluid, pulled the brisket out and rinsed it under cold water for a few minutes. I then patted it dry with a wack of paper towel the put it on 3 cutting sheets on my counter. I told you this thing was big!  A note to those who have never done a brisket, it is heavy, and awkward if you do not have enough counter space. I searched about the net to find out how to trim a brisket. Alot of text, not much in the way of pictures. I stumbled along this link http://www.azbbqa.com/articles/brisket-trim.htm# and it was great. Even though it shows how to seperate the point from the flat, it gives a pretty good indication on what to trim. Also this link http://virtualweberbullet.com/brisketselect.html was really helpful as well. Jsut a note, that no brisket will look the same. I had the brisket with a big point and the only picture close was one of the two briskets on the virtualweberbullet.com site.

Ok, so I trimmed about 2lbs of fat from my brisket. when cutting, you will see a fat vein. That fat vein is what seperates the point from the flat. If you followed it right down to the flat, you would seperate the two peices of meat. I trimmed about 1/4" and less in some spots on the flat and the point I left a little, but not alot of fat on it, as it has a ton of fat in it to keep it moist. The backside of the brisket needed very little trimming, just some here and there. I left most of it on, just the little saggy bits I trimmed off. So far so good. Thank god for a large knife and keeping it really sharp. Before you begin, sharpen your knife, as the squishy fat on the flat is really tricky to trim if it is not frozen, but chilled. Take your time. It took me about 45 minutes to figure out the brisket and the trimming. The flat is the part that runs below the point. Meaning that extra piece of meat on top is the point, and the long flat section, is the flat. It took me a long time to figure this out <it seems so straight forward now, I feel stupid I didn't understand the point from the flat, but I know now!> I had a large point compared to other brisket pictures so that is part of the reason why it took me so long to figure out what the hell I had!

So I mixed up the rub, put it all over my brisket, front and back, all around the sides, worked it into every nook and cranny. I then placed some saran wrap on the DBS rack and placed my brisket on there, and put it on a cookie sheet for easier transportation. I wrapped it all up in saran wrap from Thursday night to Friday night.


How I cooked my brisket:
I rubbed the brisket on Thursday around 6pm and took it out on Friday around 7pm to come up to room temp. I wanted to start cooking it at about 8pm as I figured about 1.5hrs per lb and with about 2lbs off of my brisket, that would give me about 9-9.5 lbs of trimmed, ready to cook brisket. AT 1.5 hours I was looking at about 14.25hrs. That would have given me plenty of time to FTC the beast. I used 2 pucks of Hickory and 3 of cherry. No real reason per se for cherry. I had a lot of cherry pucks and only 2 hickory and my wifes cousin did pulled beef with cherry and it was really good. I decided to go out on a limb. I have also read that brisket will absorb smoke like a sponge and that it can easily get over smoked. Wife and I are still getting used to the smoke, so I figured that would be enough for now. I can always up the smoke next round.

Ok, so I set the smoker to preheat for an hour at 230F and by 8pm it was ready. I put the brisket in, inserted my probe to as close to the middle of the flat as I could to get an "accurate" reading. The point I have read is hard to get an accurate temp on with all the fat in it. I set the brisket <more like wedged the brisket> on the  3rd rack with no meat touching the cabinet <that was a feat in itself!>. I set the temp on the box for 210F, stayed up until 12:30am to re-set the oven and smoker for 9:40 and change the water pan out. I had my vent about 1/3 of the way open. I took off any unused pucks from the smoker feed tube and cleaned that up just a bit. Some left over smoldering wood bitties. I really need some bubba pucks!

I got up to do some yard work with the wife and mother inlaw around 10ish on Saturday. I was outside checking on the brisket at about 9:30am to reset the timer again for 9:40 and to change the water bowl. MY wife checked it when she was up at 6:30am and told me it was 140F. It was 125F when I went to bed at 12:30am. At about 10am on Saturday it was hanging around 151F. I don't know how long it platued but it must have been a hell of long time. By noon it was only 157F so I am suspecting it had hit the platue at 6am ish to almost 11:30. I had put some of the fat from the trimmings above the brisket so the fat would drip on the brisket and keep it moist. I will not do that again as it got very smokey and gave the brisket a waxy, bitter taste (really bad taste, yuk!). I won't worry about it drying out. I sprayed the brisket once with apple juice but it never really needed to be hosed down, like my pork butt. I turned my oven up to 240F at about 2pm as the temp reached 170F where it hung out again for a few hours. I pulled it off at 187 at 5:30pm and it went up to 189 while it was FT for about 45 minutes.

I started this cook "early" as I thought for sure it would be 190F at about 3pm on Saturday. The night and the day were great for temp, last night there was zero wind, and it only was down to +7C for the over night low. I think 210 is a little low, as it seems that my cooking never gets to the "temp" by the time I figured. I am looking at 2.21 hours per pound with my brisket cook. Just as long as my butt cook. It could have probably taken the full 24hrs if I kept the box temp at 210 for the entire cook. Next time, I will put in on at 5pm the day before and see where I am at.

How I cut my brisket [/u]

I seperated the brisket into the flat and the point after I pulled it out of the FT. It almost pulled apart by hand and I only had to make one cut. Now I concetrated on the flat, as the point I saw was not done as I took one cut from it and I could still see all the unrendered fat in it. I wrapped it in tin foil and will make some burnt ends with it I think. I scraped very little fat off the flat, figured out the grain, and proceeded to cut against the grain. It had a very nice bark, and was easy to cut. It was moist, but got cold fast, and when it got cold it dried out a little bit too.

End Result[/u]
We put the leftover half of the flat in the freezer for supper on Wed night. The wife loved it, but agreed that it had a burnt taste to it from the fat above it and the rub wasn't just right. For my first brisket, it was a success, but of course needs some fine tuning. The following is what I will do next time:

*Use mustard on the brikset then apply my rub
*Will not put any fat above my brisket to keep it moist
*Will start a full 24hrs before I want to eat. Maybe even 26hrs so I can FTC for a few hours
*Will seperate the point from the flat before the cook, if I cannot find any brisket flats. I will make burnt ends from the point.
*I might try a higher cooking temp like 220F to see if I can get the same results but shorten my cooking time
*Use salt, pepper, and granulated garlic for a rub. Lets keep it simple.

I did not find this cut of meat very "beefy" tasting at all. Maybe I am used to farm beef, but I thought this was more mild than any steak I have had in the last few years. I was very worried about the "beefy" taste as my wife and I do like beef, but not so strong that you image a cow on your plate! We had the brisket with some new beer and chipotle bbq sauce we got from the store, and the homemade suace I made a few weeks ago. Once I scraped some of the bark off that had that bitter fat taste, the brisket was pretty good, imho.

Pics:

Cryovac 11.5lbs of Untrimmed Whole Brisket


Brisket Trimmed up ready to rub


Brisket rubbed and wrapped


Brisket shoe-horned into the 3rd rack of the DBS


Brisket at 12hrs of cooking


Brisket at 16hrs of cooking


Brisket pulled at 187F after 21.5hrs of cooking (before FT)


Brisket point seperated from flat


Brisket being cut


Some slices of the brisket


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Offline Gizmo

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Re: My First Brisket
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2007, 11:33:06 pm »
SKSmoker,
Here are some suggestions I would have for you applying some of my experiences with your posted concerns.
Alternate cut of the brisket:
Trim all but 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch of the fat off the top of the brisket.  Cut the brisket almost in half (from left to right) but more to the left right where the brisket starts to get thicker (around the big crease in the cryovac).  Put the thicker part (more fat in it) on a rack on top of the flatter part.  This will result in more fat in the middle of the brisket that will need to be discarded during eating but you don't lose the flavor, and what hasn't rendered out hasn't received any complaints yet.

Adjust the rub as you like.  The rub ingredients listed below are pretty standard in most rubs so I was suprised they were not too your liking but then as you stated, may the cayenne was the key.  I don't use oregano much in my rubs so as you can see the tweeks to individual taste are what makes it fun. 

Now for the big difference.  You mentioned the bark was over powering and you only used 1 hour and 40 minutes of smoke.  After the smoke has finished, take the brisket and put it into an aluminum foil pan with about 1/4 inch of apple juice and or any other combinations of liquids (like beer, Jack Daniels, beef broth, red wine).  Insert the probe and cover the foil pan with aluminum foil (seal it shut).  Finish cooking (more like a braise) the brisket until your desired Internal Temperature is reached. I actually finish mine in my convection house oven as it has a built in probe that will automatically go into a 150 deg hold mode after the IT set temp has been reached.  (This does have one drawback, less trips for faking out the fiddle factor and excuse to grab another beer.)  After the IT has been reached, you can turn the heat down to around 190 degress (I believe 150 to 190 is good) and hold it there like an FTC for hours.  Depending on the IT, 15 minutes or so (longer if the IT is still high) before serving, take the brisket out and let it rest on the counter before slicing.

The boating early will reduce the amount and strength of the bark and should yeild a briskt that has a lot of moisture in it and is very tender.  Sometimes they are difficult to slice as they are so tender they fall apart instead.  The last one I sliced, even after a long rest, squirted juice out.  Leftovers sliced days later were very moist when warmed up.
 
« Last Edit: April 28, 2007, 11:36:28 pm by Gizmo »
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Offline LilSmoker

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Re: My First Brisket
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2007, 02:25:35 am »
Looks very nice indeed!, i could put some of that in a sandwich and paste on some horseradish!
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Offline West Coast Kansan

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Re: My First Brisket
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2007, 10:34:57 am »
 :) Looks like a great first and very nice write up.  ;D Gizmo has great luck with the boating technique he described, had a sample myself and it is indeed very tender with good flavor  ;)

Do your adjustments. It will only get closer to perfect for you and wife liking  8)

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Offline SKSmoker

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Re: My First Brisket
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2007, 02:24:15 pm »
Thanks for the suggestions Gizmo and WCK. I had some leftovers for lunch today and it was much, much better. The smoke was not as overpowering and the bark was really good. The wife really liked it last night, so maybe my taste was off a bit last night. I am getting over pneumonia, so who knows!

What do I do with the point that I threw in the freezer?
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NePaSmoKer

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Re: My First Brisket
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2007, 02:34:42 pm »
SKSmoker

I have done the boating that Gizmo does, comes out very juicy and tender. Sometimes i cant find my knife cuz of all the Jack i drink  ;D


WCK & Gizmo have some pretty darn good tips that you might find handy.

Your briskit looks real good.........Enjoy and well done.


nepas

Offline Wildcat

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Re: My First Brisket
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2007, 02:39:21 pm »
Nicely done!  Keep experimenting.
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Offline hillbillysmoker

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Re: My First Brisket
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2007, 02:57:55 pm »
Looks fantastic.  Great photos also. Thanks for sharing.
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Offline MallardWacker

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Re: My First Brisket
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2007, 08:40:29 pm »
Just some thoughts here...you can take them or leave them but this is just observations down Brisket Road.

My biggest suggestions is really to keep it simple...I mean really simple.  A brisket doesn't need to be worshiped to get a great end product.

First I would trim the meat as mentioned above...but I would cut off the point and put it on another rack and use it for other things.

After the trimming just season with something simple like Italian Seasoning (all it is salt, galic and some spurious other spices), I use Cavendar's from WalleyWorld.  (Beef-keep it simple spices...HOG-spice that thing to no end.) Just put on as much as you want and let stand at room temp while preheating & prep.  Try not to put in a real cold hunk-o-meat,

About preheating...just turn the sucker up and for a half hour with your water...that's it, the temp will fall off and even out anyway.

Put you meat in, fat side up with your temp probe in and shut that door and don't open it until it is done (put your vent about 1/4 to 1/3).  PERIOD!  I mean don't open the door..it will not make any better by you looking at it.

Use 4hrs of your favorite smoke, I prefer Hickory or Pecan.

Run you temp at 225...yes 225...go 230 if you want.  (I hear the hisses coming)

Cook till an internal from about 183-185.  NOT OVER THAT!

I am not a boater...just pull the meat at that temp and FTC it for at least two hours.  Now when you FTC it you may put a chug or two of apple juice but you don't have to.  Wrap twice with heavy duty foil and a couple towels and place in you favorite un-cooled cooler.

The thing about the BS is that it does make smoking easier AND fun.  Don't get it too complicated so you don't loose that.

The above for mentioned ideas are just mine...there will be a lot difference to what I have posted from others and some will almost have a coronary on some stuff I have mentioned.  I have been down the road of trying to get EVERTHING PERFECT from the meat to the pre-heating to what ever you can do to a piece of meat to it's end.  I have found out that a lot of it is just a lot of labor that doesn't add much to product.

Have fun with you BS, smoke a lot of stuff and make as many friends you can with it...it doesn't have to be serious science or a major labor into production to end up with some of the best smoked stuff around....if you wan't labor, get a cookshack.

I know..flame me folks...


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Mike
Perryville, Arkansas

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Offline Arcs_n_Sparks

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Re: My First Brisket
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2007, 08:50:12 pm »
I know..flame me folks...

As usual, I am drinking at a distance.....   8)


Offline SKSmoker

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Re: My First Brisket
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2007, 09:06:16 pm »
Great replies guys. All suggestions taken in for sure!

Mallard, you suggest doing something other with the brisket point. Can you expand? I have no idea what I am going to do with the point in my freezer now. I was thinking burnt ends? It was about 165-170F when I took the whole brisket off the other night, depending where I poked the temp probe in :)
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Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: My First Brisket
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2007, 03:19:52 am »
MW;
Glad to see you contributing again. I pretty much smoke my brisket like you do. Though I will not take the cabinet over 220°F. Just a personal preference. The cabinet temperature you suggested, are also fine.


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Offline Wildcat

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Re: My First Brisket
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2007, 04:29:44 am »
MW;
Glad to see you contributing again. I pretty much smoke my brisket like you do. Though I will not take the cabinet over 220°F. Just a personal preference. The cabinet temperature you suggested, are also fine.

Same here.  MW nice to see your post.  Been kind of a stranger here lately.
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Offline West Coast Kansan

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Re: My First Brisket
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2007, 11:49:58 am »
I will chop the point or pull it, depending on the meat it is easy to chop. If I run into a lot of unrendered fat in the point (usually) I will often put it all in the oven at 210 and juice it up again but cant say it makes it any better.   ;D Chopped or pulled it is good in sandwiches, or burritos.  I will keep my temps about 210 until the brisket makes it to 175 or so and then keep bringing it up to stay around 40 degrees above my target of 190. Do the same with butts. - More hisses  :D  :D  :D I know we over cook everything at our house.  ;D So in the end my oven temps are the same as MW just takes me longer to get there  :D

Anyway, Gizmo is slowly wearing me down and will start boating brisket on the next ones.  He gets a great result...

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Offline MallardWacker

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Re: My First Brisket
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2007, 05:52:54 pm »
SKS...I personally don't like the point due to the marbling of fat.  To me burnt ends would be a wonderful use...That does sound good. 

Now about the temp...now this is me here and no one else....when you try and cook/smoke something like brisket that HAS to render to be tender...cooking at really low temps will make the process of going through the rendering process way too FREEK'N LONG...to me dat B bad plus a great waste of time.  That brisket will sit there 160-170 for long enough at temps of 225.  I say smoke/cook that thing...cooking at 225 will always be safe and even at that it will hang there in the 160's long enough to think it will never get done...I will say this, the hang time will depend on that particular piece of meat.  I have had Brisket get done 8hrs and some 14hrs...why I don't know...I just think its the make up of that hunk-o-meat.

Does that Help...is that what you are looking for?  Let us know there a lot of great folks here that will get you through this.

A great American~BigSmoker...a long time ago talked me into only to get flats AND my basics of Brisket Road came from him. I too started out buying huge butcher packs and finding out I really didn't like the point anyway.  When I buy a flat I get to choose the size and quality plus it's basically trimmed down....plus like I said...keep it simple.

Thanks BS family...I do miss this spot.  I have been very busy with the Gene Pool Cleansing issues of the world and it's roadways.  Have you ever got to the point when you just need a rest...a rest from "stuff"...Well I guess thats where I have been plus a couple things was frustrating me.  Thanks for always making me feel welcome here...as I said, you guys are the best.  I feel some BACON coming on  I should be around a bit more.  Have a great week!
« Last Edit: April 30, 2007, 06:12:06 pm by MallardWacker »

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Mike
Perryville, Arkansas

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