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Thread: The Official Brisket Thread

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    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Default The Official Brisket Thread

    This thread contains lots of pics, tips, and tricks for smoking a great brisket. Take your time to explore it. However, I use this OP to publish my current technique. See below. I will update this from time to time.

    LAST UPDATE: 9/21/15

    =============================

    This document describes my current technique for cooking brisket. I use the same basic method on both my Traeger wood pellet smoker and my Stumps gravity feed charcoal/wood chunk smoker. I am continually learning and tweaking my technique, but the basic method described below is pretty solid and results in consistently good smoked brisket. Brisket can be difficult to cook correctly and are often considered the most challenging cut among the typical bbq meats (pork butt, ribs, chicken, brisket), but it can be mastered and the results are wonderful.

    Step 1 - Selection

    First of all, you need to locate a good brisket. Some places sell only part of the brisket. A complete brisket is called a "packer". The narrower but thicker end is called the "point" and the thinner but broader end is called the "flat". The flat is more lean and the point is more fatty. At many places when you buy a brisket, you are only buying the flat. This happens quite a bit at Costco for example. I strongly recommend buying and cooking a complete packer. Without the full packer it is tough to keep the brisket moist. Dry tough briskets are no fun and are exactly what we are trying to avoid. If you buy a brisket that is less then 10 lbs, you probably have just the flat. A typical packer brisket is 12-17 lbs. Costco briskets:



    It should also be noted that a brisket consists of two muscles. The main muscle is called the "flat". The other muscle is on top of the flat is the "point", and the fibers run at 90 degrees from the other muscle.

    A common technique in brisket is to separate the point from the flat once the brisket is completely cooked and slice the flat, but cut the point into cubes which are then given some bbq sauce and some extra seasoning and thrown back on the grill to make "burnt ends". These little nuggets are awesome, but I generally leave everything together and just slice and serve the flat and point together. In my experience, the best part of the brisket in terms of flavor and tenderness is the combined flat and point on the end containing the point.

    One additional thing to note about brisket is that there is a fatty side and a meaty side. I usually trim the fatty side down to about 1/4 inch of fat, but trim all of the fat and silver skin off the meaty side. The meaty side is where you are going to get most of your smoke penetration. Smoke does not penetrate fat. I like to leave the fat on the other side because if you trim both sides, you are likely to end up with a dry product.

    When you pick out a brisket, try to get something with good marbling. If you can afford it, try a prime or wagyu brisket, but you can get excellent results with a good quality USDA Choice. You can buy full packers at Walmart, Sam's, Costco, and just about any butcher shop. They have two butcher shops in Lehi and there are several in Salt Lake Valley. There is a new meat distributor in Orem/Lindon called "Sunbow" and I hear they have good brisket.

    Step 2 - Preparation

    Next step is to prep the brisket. Here is a 16 lb brisket I did last year. Point on the left, flat on the right. Fat side is up.



    First of all, there is a wedge of fat on the side between the flat and the point. It is not essential to do so, but I like to cut it out. This makes the thickness of the two sides more uniform and makes the meat cook more evenly. This one could have used a little more cutting (note the remaining fat at the top of the wedge).



    Depending on the brisket, sometimes I will trim some fat away on the point end in an attempt to make the brisket more uniform in thickness. Trim away excess fat until you have about 1/4" fat on the fatty side.



    Next I flip the brisket over and trim all of the silver skin and fat from the meaty side. When you are done it looks like this:



    At this point you may want to consider injecting the brisket. This is an OPTIONAL step. You can get good results without injecting, but some argue that it gives you more consistent results over time. You can look up injection recipes on the web or you can use a mix (just add water). You can purchase injection mixes online or buy them from BBQ Pitstop in Lehi. One of the ingredients in an injection is phosphates, which help the meat retain moisture. You also need an injection needle which you can pick up at BBQ Pitstop for a few bucks. After injecting you should massage the brisket and wrap it up and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two for the injection to absorb. Go ahead and try it, but I don't inject much anymore as I think it generally turns out fine without it.

    After injecting (or not), the next step is to apply your rub. For brisket, I like to use a rub that is specifically designed for beef. A beef rub will be heavy on salt and savory flavors and not have so much sugar. Sugar is great for pork, but not for beef. My favorite brisket rub is called "Black Ops" and you can pick it up at BBQ Pitstop in Lehi or order online. I have also had good results with Plowboys Bovine rub. Or you can keep things simple and use a 50/50 mix of kosher salt and black pepper. This is what the famous BBQ chef Aaron Franklin does.

    Before you apply the rub, be sure to wipe off all of the injection if necessary. Some people like to apply yellow mustard or olive oil to a brisket prior to rubbing to give the rub something to stick to. Sometimes I do this, sometimes I don't. Apply a liberal amount of rub to both sides (you can use less rub than this if you like).




    At this point you can wrap the brisket in plastic wrap and throw it back in the fridge until you are ready to cook. But you can apply rub right before smoker. Leaving rub on too long may cause water to shed due to salt in the rub.

    Step 3 - Smoker

    The next step is to fire up the smoker and cook the brisket. There are two main strategies for cooking brisket: "low and slow" vs. "hot and fast". The following technique is more of a low and slow method. You should start cooking the brisket about 12-14 hours before you plan on eating. This will give your brisket plenty of time to cook and then rest prior to serving. You don't want all your guests to show up and learn that the meat won't be done for 2-3 hours.

    I strongly recommend using OAK pellets or wood chunks (depending on your smoker type). If you don't have oak, hickory or something else would probably work OK. I am partial to oak because that is what they used in Austin - THE BRISKET CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.

    Turn your brisket on to 225 degrees. Cook for about 4-5 hours. You can place the brisket fat-side down or fat side up. There are two schools of thought on this. Some think that having fat-side up results in a juicier brisket, but I think someone debunked this (no diff). Fat-side down may result in a better smoke ring on the lean side, depending on the configuration of your smoker. Aaron Franklin suggests fat side up. Lately I am more partial to fat side up as it results in better looking slices at the end.

    Step 4 - Foil Stage

    After 4-5 hours, you should pull the brisket and wrap it with a double layer of aluminum foil. Optionally you can add a cup or two of beef broth. The purpose of the foil stage is to ensure that you don't oversmoke the brisket and it keeps the brisket moist. All the top experts do this. As an alternative to foil, you may want to use a disposable aluminum steamer pan (see section below).

    After foiling, you should then return it to the heat. You can do it in your smoker, but that seems like a waste of pellets to me, since all you need now is heat, not smoke. I like to put it in my oven in the kitchen. Keep the temp at 225 degrees.

    Cook the brisket for another 3-5 hours until the brisket reaches 195-205 degrees. Once it gets above 190 degrees, you should start checking for doneness with a toothpick, fork, thermapen, or some other kind of narrow probe. You should cook until the probe glides in like butter, with very little resistance. Don't let it get above 205 degrees. Total cook time to this point is generally around 9-10 hours.

    Step 5 - Holding Stage

    Once the brisket is done, take it out of the oven and let it sit uncovered for five minutes. This stops the cooking. Then turn the temp down to 160 degrees or so and hold it there for a few hours until you are ready to eat. You can hold for many hours this way, and the holding actually improves the flavor and texture of your brisket. During this stage, your brisket will continue to get more tender as the connective tissues is broken down. More details here:

    http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/...eat-is-sublime

    This stage is sometimes called the "faux cambro" or "foil-towel-cooler (FTC)" stage. If you want to free up your oven, you can wrap the foiled brisket in towels and place it in a cooler or place in a real cambro if you happen to own one. It will maintain the heat for several hours.

    Step 6 - Cooling Down Stage

    You should always pull out your brisket and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes or so prior to slicing. This allows the fibers to relax and reabsorb the moisture. Aaron Franklin lets his sit for up to an hour and he recommends that you don't slice until you can touch it without burning your hand.

    Step 7 - Slice and Serve

    Slice your brisket against the grain in the flat muscle. When you get to the point, turn 90 degrees (i.e., "the Texas turn") and continue slicing. Or you can separate the flat and point muscle before slicing and slice both against the grain. There are tons of youtube videos on slicking brisket if you want to check them out. Slice right as you serve if you can. When someone wants seconds, slice off some more. This helps prevent the meat from drying out. Do not use an electric knife. It makes your meat fibers shaggy. Invest in a good quality slicing knife. I have one of these and I love it:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ilpage_o06_s00



    Slice your meat at 3/8-1/4 inches thick.

    Final results:



    Foil pans

    One nice trick for keeping things clean is to use a full-size foil steamer pan. You can buy them on Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ilpage_o08_s01

    But they are much cheaper at Costco or Sam's Club (check your local store, varies by location). I also use a rack this size:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...rch_detailpage

    This fits right in the bottom of the pan. Or better yet, get two of these:

    http://www.amazon.com/Heavy-duty-Coo...=cooling+racks

    and they can double for use in half-size pans when you do pork butt.

    Then, rather than putting the brisket right on the grill, you put it in the pan. This photo shows meat side up, but I am more partial to fat side up.



    Then when you foil, you just put a sheet of foil over the top of the pan. Super easy and less cleanup. And the drippings are captured in the pan, but your meat doesn't get soggy.



    Another option with the pan is to do the first 4-5 hour stage directly on the grill and then place the brisket in the pan when you foil the top. A little more cleanup that way, but you get better smoke penetration on the bottom. Most of the juices come out during the foil stage anyway.

    Leftovers

    If you have leftover meat, slice it and add some of the extra juice and vacuum seal. If you don't vacuum seal, the meat oxidizes and tastes funny after a day or so. Leftover brisket is terrific for sandwiches, quesadillas, and enchiladas. You can buy a good vacuum sealer at Costco or Amazon. Highly recommended. Can't imagine living without one of these.

    http://www.amazon.com/FoodSaver-Vacu...=vacuum+sealer

    Thermapen

    If you don't already have one, I STRONGLY recommend you pick up a Thermapen temp probe. It provides instant accurate readings. I can't imagine cooking without one. They are made right here in Utah. You can order them on Amazon.com or directly from Thermaworks website.
    Last edited by Jeff Lebowski; 09-21-2015 at 12:23 PM.
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    sweet triple TripletDaddy's Avatar
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    Also, if you don't own a smoker, is all lost in terms of cooking a delish brisket?
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    Time to camp HuskyFreeNorthwest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TripletDaddy View Post
    Also, if you don't own a smoker, is all lost in terms of cooking a delish brisket?
    We have oven cooked a brisket before, with what out family viewed as delish results. Not the deep flavors that come from smoking, but good.
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    Senior Member Soccermom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TripletDaddy View Post
    Also, if you don't own a smoker, is all lost in terms of cooking a delish brisket?
    IMO, you can still make tasty brisket, but it will never match the flavor you will get if you own a smoker. The best thing would be to invest in a small smoker or become BFFs with people who do own one.

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    sweet triple TripletDaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyFreeNorthwest View Post
    We have oven cooked a brisket before, with what out family viewed as delish results. Not the deep flavors that come from smoking, but good.
    I'd be interested in standard operating procedure for that. I want to give it a try.

    Quote Originally Posted by Soccermom View Post
    IMO, you can still make tasty brisket, but it will never match the flavor you will get if you own a smoker. The best thing would be to invest in a small smoker or become BFFs with people who do own one.
    Same as above. Tips and suggestions? Not trying to hijack JeffLebowski's request, but I think there are several of us here that don't have smokers so both approaches would be useful in this thread.

    Also, my first order of priority is to become BFFs with the neighborhood down the way from us that lit off what appeared to be $20,000 worth of fireworks last night. I bet they have smokers and boats and home movie theaters and stuff
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    Time to camp HuskyFreeNorthwest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TripletDaddy View Post
    I'd be interested in standard operating procedure for that. I want to give it a try.
    You probably don't want my tips, my kids find chicken strips delish.
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    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TripletDaddy View Post
    Also, if you don't own a smoker, is all lost in terms of cooking a delish brisket?
    You should pull the trigger and buy a smoker. I started smoking <insert joke here> several years ago with a cheap electric smoker and was surprised at how easy it was. I tried a couple of different models over the years and now own a Traeger wood pellet grill that is an outstanding smoker but does so much more. One of the best investments I have made. Incredibly easy to use and maintain. We do ribs, salmon, chicken, pulled pork, chuck roast, and pizza in it all the time. Everyone cheers when they hear I am cooking something in the Traeger.
    "There is no creature more arrogant than a self-righteous libertarian on the web, am I right? Those folks are just intolerable."
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    sweet triple TripletDaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    You should pull the trigger and buy a smoker. I started smoking <insert joke here> several years ago with a cheap electric smoker and was surprised at how easy it was. I tried a couple of different models over the years and now own a Traeger wood pellet grill that is an outstanding smoker but does so much more. One of the best investments I have made. Incredibly easy to use and maintain. We do ribs, salmon, chicken, pulled pork, chuck roast, and pizza in it all the time. Everyone cheers when they hear I am cooking something in the Traeger.
    Sorry I don't believe anything you are saying. Tasting would convince me.
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    One man.....one pie Moliere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    It seems that Moliere and FMCoug are experts at cooking brisket. I am guessing that Drunk Tank is too. I have only attempted a brisket once (several years ago) and it came out dry as a bone. Now that I have a Traeger I am planning to give it another shot. I am starting this thread in the hopes that some of you brisket experts will maybe share some recipes, tips, guidelines, etc. for selecting and cooking a moist and tender brisket. TIA.
    I've now cooked a dozen or so briskets and had only one that was dry....and it was my fault. I had my parents and my in-laws visiting last winter for my son's baptism and wanted to make brisket for them. The temperature was really cold (for Houston) and I was in a hurry to get the temp of the smoker up so I put some towels around the smoker for insulation. I set my temp alarm and went to bed. I woke up 7 hours later and the temp in the smoker was over 300 and the meat temp was 215 . Apparently I hadn't set the alarm correctly so it never went off. We just pulled the meat and doused it in BBQ sauce.

    I've found brisket to be easy, but I've read quite a bit on doing it. You should try the Virtual Weber Bullet forum. It has some useful tips and a forum dedicated to smoking.
    "Discipleship is not a spectator sport. We cannot expect to experience the blessing of faith by standing inactive on the sidelines any more than we can experience the benefits of health by sitting on a sofa watching sporting events on television and giving advice to the athletes. And yet for some, “spectator discipleship” is a preferred if not primary way of worshipping." -Pres. Uchtdorf

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    Soul Plumber wuapinmon's Avatar
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    I had a smoker in NOLA that I rescued from a FEMA pile. After refitting all the gas lines, we used it a couple of times to do brisket because it was a lot cheaper to get briskets at Sam's Club than pork.

    I always used it for church parties; I don't think I ever used it at home.

    However, we had good luck. We got those $5 paint buckets from home depot and brined the briskets overnight in the fridge at church.

    The first time we did it, we didn't soak the hickory chunks long enough, so we got a creosote coating on the first one. We started over and the other five or so came out delish. The next time, we added cane sugar to the brine and some spices like thyme, and the meat was as tasty as any beef I've ever had (besides premium steaks).

    Sadly, my smoker would not fit on the moving truck, and I had to give it away. I'm angling to have the club I advise get one that we can store at my house (cheaper than renting them), but we'll see what the ethics committee says.
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    One man.....one pie Moliere's Avatar
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    Here's a quick summary of what I do when preparing/smoking a brisket. Maybe someday I'll actually take pictures through the whole process and post them so you can visually see.

    1. Choosing a brisket: Honestly I just be sure and go to a place that has quality meat. I've found Costco and HEB (local grocer) to have the best meat. Costco seems to sell whole packers in Texas but I've found many people on line that claim they only sell flats (long part of the brisket). I guess it just depends on where you are and obviously Costco sells whole briskets in Texas .

    I also wait until there is a sale and buy 3 or 4 whole packers when they are about $1.29/lb as opposed to the typical $1.99/lb. That's a bit of savings when you are buying a 14 lb brisket. They freeze well for about 6 months and I'd recommend smoking at least two at a time since cooked brisket can also be frozen with no problem.

    2. Prepping the brisket: Just a personal preference but I actually cut off more fat than most. There is a hard fat cap on the long side of the flat and I try to get as much of it off as possible without taking off any meat. I usually leave 1/16 inch of fat cap while I've read that most leave on 1/8 to 1/4 inch. The whole fat cap never fully renders anyway but it's important to leave some for moisture during cooking. There's so much connective tissue in a brisket that an excessive fat cap is just not needed.

    3. Rubbing the brisket: After prepping the meat, I apply a thin (read very thin) layer of mustard to one side of the brisket. You could also use oil or even nothing, but the whole idea is to have something for the rub to adhere to the meat with. Mustard works well as the mustard flavor burns away and it seems to help the rub adhere better to the meat than oil (really just my personal preference as I've tried many things and mustard is the best IMO....I even use mustard on my ribs and pork butts). Then I apply the rub liberally. I used to make my own rub but then I tried Rudy's and it tasted a lot like what I made so I just buy from them now. I'll usually dilute the Rudy's rub a bit with some brown sugar as I find their rub straight from the shaker to be a bit too pepper heavy. I like my brisket spicy, but not too spicy. After doing one side of the brisket, I flip it over and do the other.

    I have an injector that I use from time to time where I'll mix some rub with apple juice and inject it into the meat. This makes a difference in taste, but it can get messy if you aren't using a big foil pan.

    4. Setting the rub: I let the rubbed brisket sit in the fridge overnight (about 24 hours usually) so the rub can permeate the meat a bit. MJ loves this part since everytime she opens the fridge it smells like brisket. I guess she loves the smell of rubbed, raw meat.

    5. Cooking the brisket: Low and slow are key words. A 12 lb brisket can take anywhere from 7 hours to 14 hours to fully cook, however 10 hours is about the norm for me. I use a weber smokey mountain cooker and the minion method. The minion method is great in that I can run the smoker for almost 16 hours without adding fuel, and I haven't found anything that takes over 16 hours to smoke.

    I'll get my smoker up to around 200 degrees and then I'll put on the meat with the fat cap side up. I like to put it on straight from the fridge as that gives it more time to absorb the smoke. There is a point where the smoke will no longer matter (usually 3-4 hours after starting the cooking) so I'd like to think starting at a lower temperature gives it more smoke. I have no idea if this is true, but I have never had an issue not having smokey flavor or a nice smoke ring. If it ain't broke....

    I'll keep the smoker between 225-250 the whole time. With the WSM, once the temp is somewhat steady (usually takes an hour) I can let it sit without adjustment for about 8 hours before I need to either stir the coals or open a vent a bit more. It's no electric smoker, but the temp controls through the vents on the WSM are amazing and require little fiddling to keep it constant.

    In the past I used just a meat thermometer and would check the meat every hour or two. When checking the meat I'd always spray on some apple juice. Now I use a thermometer that has both a meat probe and a smoker probe so I can have both temps on a remote sensor that I just carry around the house. I can give recommendations on meat probes, but with a traeger it might not be necessary. The key for me is to spray the brisket every once in a while with apple juice.

    6. Finishing the brisket: When the meat hits about 165 degrees it will usually stall there for an hour or two. This is when I'll wrap the brisket in foil and put it on to finish cooking. The foil is more to preserve the juices but it can also speed up the cooking a bit. It's also cleaner to pull of the smoker when it's in foil.

    Depending on what you want you can finish the brisket between 180-200 degrees internal temp. Somewhere between 180-185 is good for slicing while 190-200 is good for pulling/shredding. I use the temp as a guide, but I won't take the brisket off until I determine it is fork tender. Every piece of meat is different so the fork test is better than the using the temperature.

    7. Serving the brisket: You have to let the brisket sit for at least 30 minutes before slicing, but preferable for an hour. I hate to preslice a brisket so I'll wait until the guests are all there and then slice it right after the prayer on the food. Plus then it looks cooler . Read up on how to slice the brisket since you should go against hte grain, however the point piece fo the brisket goes perpendicular to the flat. I usually just slice off the point and save it for later and then serve up the flat, which is the better piece to slice and serve.

    If the brisket finishes well before guests arrive, I've been able to hold it over for up to 5 hours by putting the brisket (wrapped in foil) into a towel lined cooler. It'll still be hot after 4-5 hours, but anything longer than that should go into the fridge.

    8. Leftovers: I try to send home as much as I can with friends, but whatever is left I put into a ziploc and place it into the fridge or freezer depending on when it'll be eaten. The key is to reheat the brisket slowly. Microwaving is a no-no unless you can do it on low power, otherwise you'll get a weird flavor to the meat. My preference is to put the leftovers into our toaster/convection oven and spray it a bit with apple juice. It doesn't take long to warm up.

    Hope that helps...
    "Discipleship is not a spectator sport. We cannot expect to experience the blessing of faith by standing inactive on the sidelines any more than we can experience the benefits of health by sitting on a sofa watching sporting events on television and giving advice to the athletes. And yet for some, “spectator discipleship” is a preferred if not primary way of worshipping." -Pres. Uchtdorf

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    Somewhat Idahoan Drunk Tank's Avatar
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    I am no brisket expert.

    Here is a post on on of my favorite bbq websites that is a good read. This post can get a bit confusing, but if you can wade through the funkiness, this is a good tutorial for learning how a brisket (texas style) should be.


    From Here
    Last edited by Drunk Tank; 07-24-2011 at 05:42 PM. Reason: too confusing, just read the link...

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    Like TD I'm also looking at trying out the wonderful world of cooking with a smoker. I think the question I was going to post regarding a reasonably priced smoker was just answered. The Weber looks like a good place to start. Anyone have any other recommendations less that $500?

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    Senior Member Clark Addison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    You should pull the trigger and buy a smoker. I started smoking <insert joke here> several years ago with a cheap electric smoker and was surprised at how easy it was. I tried a couple of different models over the years and now own a Traeger wood pellet grill that is an outstanding smoker but does so much more. One of the best investments I have made. Incredibly easy to use and maintain. We do ribs, salmon, chicken, pulled pork, chuck roast, and pizza in it all the time. Everyone cheers when they hear I am cooking something in the Traeger.
    Traeger was having a road show at Costco here this weekend. I went back and read some old threads here, and came very close to going over yesterday and picking one up. I am kind of regretting it now.

    I am very happy with the Weber SM, though, it does a great job on everything I have tried in it, though it is tough to get a full brisket here in pig country (Costco doesn't have them), so I have never tried it.

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    One man.....one pie Moliere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaka View Post
    Like TD I'm also looking at trying out the wonderful world of cooking with a smoker. I think the question I was going to post regarding a reasonably priced smoker was just answered. The Weber looks like a good place to start. Anyone have any other recommendations less that $500?
    I'm not an expert on smokers as I've only used the WSM, but it is a great smoker for the money. I have the 18" version but I wish I had purcahsed the 22" since big briskets don't quite fit. I have to fold them over a bit until they shrink enough. The WSM is great for starting out if you want a smoker that uses real briquets and wood. It's also great for seasoned vets, in fact if you ever go to a BBQ competition you'll find a lot of WSMs being used. They are just engineered very well for low and slow BBQing.

    I've never used a Traeger but it sounds like they just as good of a job. The upside is they hold the temperature constant with the push of a button, and are thus easier to use. The downside is they are more expensive upfront and I imagine the pellets they use are also more expensive than a bag of Kingsford charcoal and some hickory wood blocks.

    Someday, when I retire, I'd like a pipe smoker like this one to just tow around and do community/church catering events:

    "Discipleship is not a spectator sport. We cannot expect to experience the blessing of faith by standing inactive on the sidelines any more than we can experience the benefits of health by sitting on a sofa watching sporting events on television and giving advice to the athletes. And yet for some, “spectator discipleship” is a preferred if not primary way of worshipping." -Pres. Uchtdorf

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    Living in the Past ... FMCoug's Avatar
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    Missed the other thread for some reason but here is my method:

    The meat
    You have to get a "packer cut" brisket. The pre-trimmed ones have way too much fat trimmed, etc. I have found the packer's much harder to find in Utah than in Texas (not too surprising I guess). In fact, the only place I can consistently find them is Wal-Mart. And I hate to buy meat there but the briskets have been fine. Costco here seems to just carry 2-3 lb small pre-trimmed ones which are no good for what we are after. Aside from taking a look at it and making sure there is a good fat cap but not too much marbling throughout beyond that, I don't have any big secrets to choosing them.

    Preparation
    Packer cuts will be vacuum packed so can be wet aged for a week or two with no issues. So I try to get them that far ahead of time and leave them in the fridge. About 48 hours before the expected meal, I get them out and rub them (a recipe I came up with online and modified to taste at some point). It has some kick to it so YMMV. I'll post the rub recipe below. I apply the rub very liberally, to the point if you can see any meat, there is not enough. I then wrap the brisket in heavy duty foil and put it back in the fridge for 24 hours.

    Smoking
    I use a Bradley electric smoker. Have considered getting a Traeger but haven't pulled the trigger yet. This is a great smoker to get at Shaka's price point IMO. I got the OBS with manual temp control. Doing it again I'd get the digital just to make life a bit easier.

    Anyway, I load the smoker with about 6 hours worth of mesquite (the only wood to use for brisket IMO), pre-heat the cabinet to 200, then put the brisket(s) in. You get a significant temp drop when you put the meat in. In fact, what I do is smoke it until the temp comes back up to 220, which is usually about 4-6 hours, depending on how much meat there is.

    Cooking in the oven
    I've found the 6 hours in the smoker to be plenty of smoke, so I finish it in the oven as it is just much easier to control the temp. At this point I move it to a roasting pan and douse it with apple juice. Enough to have an inch or so in the bottom of the pan. Put a meat thermometer remote probe in and cover tightly with heavy duty foil. Oven temp at 200 or so. At this point it just takes as long as it takes. I've had this stage be anywhere from 6-10 hours, depending on the meat, how much there is, etc. I pull it at an internal temp of 190.

    FTC
    Foil - Towel - Cooler. This is the true secret to all good BBQ. After taking the meat from the oven, I wrap it several times (about 4 layers) in heavy duty foil, then wrap in two or 3 layers of old bath towels, then put it in a cooler. Minimum 2 hours, as much as 4 or 5. Main thing is you don't want it to cool into the danger zone.

    That's pretty much it. Low and slow, the sealed pan with apple juice to keep it moist, and FTC.

    Rub
    1 1/2 cup paprika
    1/2 cup coarse black pepper
    1/2 cup coarse salt
    1/2 cup sugar
    4 Tbsp chili powder
    4 Tbsp garlic powder
    4 Tbsp onion powder
    4 tsp cayenne pepper

    That makes enough rub for a couple of 10-12 lbs packers. I just keep it in a big tub and make enough to have plenty.
    "It's true that everything happens for a reason. Just remember that sometimes that reason is that you did something really, really, stupid."

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaka View Post
    Like TD I'm also looking at trying out the wonderful world of cooking with a smoker. I think the question I was going to post regarding a reasonably priced smoker was just answered. The Weber looks like a good place to start. Anyone have any other recommendations less that $500?
    Call Take A Break Spas down in Springville they carry Traegers for a pretty good price. Ask for Dave Johnson and tell him you know me he will take care of you.
    *Banned*

  18. #18
    aka... UtahDan's Wifey
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    Brisket -> seasoned with sn'p and garlic powder -> throw in crockpot fat side up, on low for 24 hours -> last hour add favorite bbq sauce -> shred beef and remove fat layer -> serve on buns WITH cole slaw.

    Seriously. Brisket or pulled pork sandwiches should only ever be eaten with a nice, crunchy, creamy slaw.

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    Royal Rooter Green Monstah's Avatar
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    Alright, I'm going to give brisket another shot next weekend and will return and report.
    Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.

    "Cog dis is a bitch." -James Patterson

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperGabers View Post
    Brisket -> seasoned with sn'p and garlic powder -> throw in crockpot fat side up, on low for 24 hours -> last hour add favorite bbq sauce -> shred beef and remove fat layer -> serve on buns WITH cole slaw.

    Seriously. Brisket or pulled pork sandwiches should only ever be eaten with a nice, crunchy, creamy slaw.
    The hard core BBQ guys will be offended by this, but my wife does BBQ this way and it works fine. I prefer a good smoked brisket or pulled pork, but compared to the properly performed crockpot method it's an incremental improvement not order of magnitude improvement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    The hard core BBQ guys will be offended by this, but my wife does BBQ this way and it works fine. I prefer a good smoked brisket or pulled pork, but compared to the properly performed crockpot method it's an incremental improvement not order of magnitude improvement.
    Agreed. I prefer smoked as well. Alas, when one does not have a smoker (yet) the crockpot is a good back up.

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    cough. diner. cough.

  23. #23
    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Thanks FM, Moliere, and DT. Yes, I am aware of all of the other sites covering briskets, but I thought it would be fun to see what you all do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moliere View Post
    I've never used a Traeger but it sounds like they just as good of a job. The upside is they hold the temperature constant with the push of a button, and are thus easier to use. The downside is they are more expensive upfront and I imagine the pellets they use are also more expensive than a bag of Kingsford charcoal and some hickory wood blocks.
    The pellets aren't too bad, especially for smoking since the usage rate is quite slow. I love being able to swap between different hard woods so easily but far and away the biggest benefit is the simplicity. Set the temp using the digital controller and walk away. A full hopper of pellets seems to last forever on the smoke setting. Prep and cleanup is also trivial.

    Quote Originally Posted by FMCoug View Post
    About 48 hours before the expected meal, I get them out and rub them (a recipe I came up with online and modified to taste at some point). It has some kick to it so YMMV. I'll post the rub recipe below.
    I have tried lots of rubs. My favorite commercial rub is Butt Rub:

    http://www.buttrub.com/

    It has a nice kick to it. But our overall favorite general purpose rub is one we make ourselves from a recipe I picked up several years ago:

    Paul Kirk’s Basic Barbecue Rub

    Dotty Griffith, restaurant critic for the Dallas Morning News prepared this recipe for barbecue fans on the Lawry’s Live! cooking stage at the 2002 Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. This versatile rub is from Griffith’s new cookbook, Celebrating Barbecue.

    Paul Kirk, Kansas City barbecue cook-off champion, teaches this basic rub formula to his barbecue classes, encouraging his students to customize it to their own taste. He recommends this all-purpose rub for beef, lamb, pork, chicken or fish. Apply liberally.

    1 cup sugar
    1/4 cup Lawry’s® Seasoned Salt
    1/4 cup Lawry’s® Garlic Salt
    1/4 cup celery salt
    1/4 cup onion salt
    1/2 cup paprika
    3 tablespoons chili powder
    2 tablespoons black pepper
    1 tablespoon Lawry’s® Lemon Pepper
    2 teaspoons ground sage
    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Combine all the ingredients in a sifter and sift to blend well. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. The rub keeps, refrigerated, for 2 to 3 weeks; frozen, for 6 months.
    Makes about 3 cups.
    Highly recommended.

    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    The hard core BBQ guys will be offended by this, but my wife does BBQ this way and it works fine. I prefer a good smoked brisket or pulled pork, but compared to the properly performed crockpot method it's an incremental improvement not order of magnitude improvement.
    Geez, Jay. I hope your brother doesn't read this.
    "There is no creature more arrogant than a self-righteous libertarian on the web, am I right? Those folks are just intolerable."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post


    Geez, Jay. I hope your brother doesn't read this.
    He would kill me.

  25. #25
    Time to camp HuskyFreeNorthwest's Avatar
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    Smoking the brisket do I want to have the fat side up?
    Get confident, stupid
    -landpoke

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    Living in the Past ... FMCoug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyFreeNorthwest View Post
    Smoking the brisket do I want to have the fat side up?
    Yes. That's what keeps it moist.
    "It's true that everything happens for a reason. Just remember that sometimes that reason is that you did something really, really, stupid."

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    Somewhat Idahoan Drunk Tank's Avatar
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    I threw a whole packer brisket on the smoker this morning at 1 am this morning. First time smoking in the big green egg. After about 12 hours, I pulled it off and separated the point and the flat. The flat is chillin in the cooler and I cubes the point to make burnt ends. Should be a good dinner.






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    Somewhat Idahoan Drunk Tank's Avatar
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    Ok. The point was delicious right off the smoker. I didnt taste the flat, I just wrapped it and threw it inthe cooler. The cubed point went back onto the smoker to become burnt ends.

    after a couple hours, I pulled the burnt ends off the smoker. They taste ok, not great like when I first pulled it off the smoker. They leave a somewhat bitter aftertaste like rancid smoke.

    The flat is an epic fail. It smells like stale smoke. It is pretty much ruined. I was going to foil when the internal temp was 160-165 but I got busy and thought it would be fine without foiling. I also dont think I had the top vent open enough and it trapped too much smoke and it became stale. I ended up having to leave the flat in the cooler longer than I wanted and I think that becasue the bark was too "done/burnt" it allowed the burnt taste to permeate throughout the flat. I am pretty disappointed in the results.

    It was my first attempt at using the Egg to smoke anything and I have a few ideas as to where it went wrong.

  29. #29
    sweet triple TripletDaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drunk Tank View Post
    Ok. The point was delicious right off the smoker. I didnt taste the flat, I just wrapped it and threw it inthe cooler. The cubed point went back onto the smoker to become burnt ends.

    after a couple hours, I pulled the burnt ends off the smoker. They taste ok, not great like when I first pulled it off the smoker. They leave a somewhat bitter aftertaste like rancid smoke.

    The flat is an epic fail. It smells like stale smoke. It is pretty much ruined. I was going to foil when the internal temp was 160-165 but I got busy and thought it would be fine without foiling. I also dont think I had the top vent open enough and it trapped too much smoke and it became stale. I ended up having to leave the flat in the cooler longer than I wanted and I think that becasue the bark was too "done/burnt" it allowed the burnt taste to permeate throughout the flat. I am pretty disappointed in the results.

    It was my first attempt at using the Egg to smoke anything and I have a few ideas as to where it went wrong.
    Should have went with the Traeger.

    jeff Lebowski! Come on, I've got your back brother!
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  30. #30
    Somewhat Idahoan Drunk Tank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TripletDaddy View Post
    Should have went with the Traeger.

    jeff Lebowski! Come on, I've got your back brother!
    Sure, kick a guy when he's down...

    Really, you are probabbly right, but the Traegers are with their new owners now.

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