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Capt Dan 01-03-2010 04:53 PM

Basic Brisket Tutorial
Hey guys, let's see if we can use this stuff and other folks' additional info to get our Brisket tutorial.......................................... ...............

Brisket Packers are hard to come by for some, and easy for others.A good reliable butcher should be able to steer you in the right direction if he cannot get you one. I use black canyon certified angus, CHOICE briskets. I have tried a few other suppliers or butchers in the past, but I have been very happy with my results from these wonderful pieces of beef.
One of the first things I do when planning a brisket smoke, is to buy my packer early and let it rest/age in the cryo for 2-3 weeks. It is important to know the packing date to avoid having a spoiled brisket on your hands after you open it. I have "wet aged" packers for 4-5 weeks before. I do honestly believe it makes a difference.

Open the cryo, do the smell test,and lay it out on a nice sturdy table, I like to use this full sheet SS baking sheet.

There is a small area along the side that has a discolored(grey) colored meat. I am pointing to it with the knife tip. I like to slice that off.

I just think it makes it look better and I don't need that little piece os grey meat on there.
The next thing I do, is "core out" the hard nugget of fat on the same side of the meat(opposite of the fat cap side).

It takes a little practice, but when you cut into it shallow a couple times, and get ahold of it, just pull on it and it almost peels out. You don't need to get it all out, but I try to get as much as I can.Some folks do not trim their packers much at all, and thats fine too. I want to introduce my rub to as much of the surface of the meat as I can.

With that chunk of fat removed, look at the rest of that side of the brisket, I don't usually remove any of the thin fat off the flat, its gonna cook off .

Now flip it over and trim some of the fat cap off a bit. I like to leave 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch on the flat. That fat is a different texture and a sharp knife is very helpfull.

In this pic, you can see how much I trimmed off, and the pile of fat in the corner. If you have a lot of winter birds, this suet is great for them. This packer was 14.8 lbs when purchased, and I would estimate I trimmed 1 1/2 to 2 lbs off it.

Now would be a great time to inject this packer with your favorite marinade or baste fluid. I always slather my briskets with Whorshy sauce, sometimes the regular, and other times the "thick" sauce. I do both sides and rub it in good.

I like to let it sit for a few minutes, and then apply my rub, and I use alot of it. I buy it from Bubba in 5 lb bags. I only use it on brisket.

I wrap the prepared packer in plastic wrap and refridgerate over night!

If I am cooking onsight for a party or special event, I will prepare many briskets this way and then they are ready to go when I get to the site. For competitions, we are allowed to trim, but can add nothing to the meat, and to save myself any grief or questioning from the meat inspector, I just leave it in the cryo, and trim/inject, and rub at the event.

That takes care of the prepwork, a very important part of a good brisket smoke.

Capt Dan 01-03-2010 05:27 PM

Now on to the smoke.

I like to start my smoke session by taking the wrapped briskets out of the fridge and set them out to warm up while the fire gets going in the stickburner, and I get a good coal bed.This usually takes 30-60 minutes, and the brisket may warm up 3-5 degrees, depending on the time of year.

Everyone has their favorite way to smoke a brisket. Some sear the meat first, some do them fat cap down, I am just going to explain my way, and let others add their techniques as they wish. :noidea:

I get the grate temps up to 270-300, spray them down very well with nonstick spray and add the briskets Fat cap up.

These two are about 12-1/2 and 15 lbs.I cook them at 245-265 over oak and apple or cherry, depending on what else is on the pit for the day. This smoke we had ribs on with them, so I used a bit of apple early and cherry later in the smoke. This is at 3 hrs just before the ribs were to be foiled.

At the 4-5 hr mark,I usually flip the brisket over.I try to mop or spray the briskets every 45-60 minutes after the 3 hr mark.Once the packers get to 170-175 in the flat(usually 180 or more in the point),I take them off the pit, sperate the point from the flat( this part takes a little practice, but there is a thick vein of fat that helps guide your knife).

This is usually at the 7-8 hr mark, sometimes sooner. I then add a baste/mop to the pan and cover for the rest of the smoke. When the flat gets to 185 or the therm probe slides in very nicely, usually 9-10 hrs for me.
I take them off the pit and into a holding closet or cooler for at least 1 hr, often times 2. If I am making burnt ends, I'll take the point out of the pan, and cube it on a cutting board, add some rub to it, and put these cubes into another pan and back on the smoker for at least 30-45 minutes. Take them off, toss in some thinned BBQ sauce, add a lil more rub, and back in the pan and into the pit for another 30-60 minutes, depending on the texture you want..Then rest them to for at least 30 minutes.

Take you flat out and put it on a cutting board, and slice across the grain in 1/4 inch slices.

and when the burnt ends are done resting, they should be tender yet spicey and sticky from the sauce, with most of the fat rendered away!

Hope this has been helpful.It was my pleasure to offer my technique for those who needed a direction to start with.Please feel free to add to this thread with your own techniqes or findings/ideas.

Editor's note:

Morkdach adds:

i still have trouble with grains and which way to cut.
Smoke Freak has a solution

I like to mark the grain before its smoked. Easy to see when its raw. I make slices in the meat as a guide for later. Works for me...notice the left side of the flat...
It is key to slice right on perpendicular to the grain. Some folks place a couple toothpicks in the meat before smoking to mark it as well. You CAN grab the hunk and flex it...the grain will reveal itself that way too.

Here's a nice li'l graphic contributed by member Blue- A new MI guy who's really coming along! Notice the meat grain, and the slicing direction. Can be seen in Cap't Dan's cuts after cooking as well.

Abelman Writes:


great post and very nice tutorial. Given that, I can't do better on the tutorial :thumb: but one thing I will suggest, per your suggestion, for brisket smokers is get some good vittles from under the meat as well.

I was messing around a couple of years ago and tried this. I cut up yellow onions, mushrooms and jalapenos and put them in a pan with some apple juice. This really works well for verticals.

Anyway, since all my smokers are verticals, I put the pan under the brisket to catch all the drippings. I leave it on as long as the brisket is on. They are a delight. If you want some heat, leave the seeds in as you slice. If not, core them and then slice.

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