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Unread 09-16-2013, 06:23 AM   #1
Monkeybomber
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How to cook better brisket?

So over the weekend we did a little BBQ, some ribs, pulled pork, and a brisket that my roommate was doing. The pulled pork and ribs I was extremely happy with, but the brisket's texture just wan't quite right. This is what we did:

9-10lb brisket, dry rub
Cooked @225F for 7-8 hours
Smoked with hickory
Rested for 30 mins before slicing
Wrapped with foil @ 5 hours in

The flavor was fine and the meat juicy, but the texture was pretty similar to a flank steak. Waayy too tough for my liking. I've only been smoking for about a year now, but my gut thought is to cook longer to get a more tender cut. Any tips that you guys could offer would be great!

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Unread 09-16-2013, 08:31 AM   #2
ajmorell
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Cook longer. Usually 1-1.5hr/lb for a brisket.
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Unread 09-16-2013, 09:36 AM   #3
JeepNowski
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Cool! Something I definitely know about....I've smoked a LOT of briskets over the last 20 years or so. I've got a large family that has a lot of get togethers and somehow I usually wind up being the designated cook. I bet I smoke at least 2 briskets a month, sometimes more.

At any rate, here's how I cook mine....Be prepared, this is going to be a wall of text. Sorry about that in advance.

I usually use a 10-14 lb whole packer brisket (No market trimmed meat). I then trim off a little of the fat off the cap but not much.....My aim is to have at least 3/4" of fat on the cap and no trimming at all on the flat. For a rub, it depends....One thing I always use for my rub is Fiesta brand Fajita seasoning ( http://i.walmartimages.com/i/p/00/07...17_500X500.jpg )and apply it liberally to the entire slab of meat including on the sides. This stuff is basically Salt and Pepper with a little garlic maybe, and a few other spices. If you don't like heat in your meat then that's about it and that's usually how I wind up making mine because I've got people in my family that can't handle the heat.
If I'm making a brisket for my immediate family I'll spice things up a bit and put a little cayenne pepper in the rub as well. I'll also occasionally put some brown sugar in it frequently when I do this to add in a little sweet with the heat.
Again, sprinkle your rub on liberally and RUB it in...Pat it down really good and make sure you get everything a good coating. Once that's done put a piece of foil over it and let it sweat while you're getting your fire ready.

I use an offset smoker, and not one of those big expensive ones. Mine was like $200 and I use it for everything. I generally use oak wood on my briskets because it is abundant down here in TX. I also use a lot of Pecan wood which gives the meat a little bit of a sweet flavor. If you can find it, Pecan is great for a brisket. Hickory of course isn't bad itself but when I use that I have to use chips which I presoak and put on the fire while cooking.

After you've gotten your fire started and the temps top out and then go back down to about 225 put your brisket on fat side up and skinny side to the back as far away from the fire as possible. The idea is that as the fat on top renders down it will drain through the meat and of course the skinny side cooks fastest so you don't want it ever facing the hottest side. I cook my brisket at least 12 hours no matter how small it is. For a 10 lb brisket it's 12 hours and then I just add an hour and a half for each pound over that.

The only reason to wrap a brisket is if you think it's gotten as much smoke as you want it to have. For me, I prefer a LOT of smoke (The reddish/pink ring that forms in the outer 1/4" or so of the meat) so I don't ever wrap mine. If you do, it's just personal preference. Try your best to keep the fire as close to 225 as you can. Variances in temperature can make your meat tougher.
Alternately, if you like to wrap your brisket you can cheat a little if you want since your aim is now to get the meat tender rather than add smoke flavor......After you've decided that you have enough smoke from the BBQ pit, take the brisket off the pit and wrap your meat up nice and tight with foil and get a turkey roasting oven. Set the turkey roasting oven to about 200 degrees and put about an inch and a half of water in the bottom and set the brisket on the wire rack above the water and leave it for the remainder of the cooking time. When I do this I'll smoke mine for at least 10 hours and then leave it in the turkey roasting oven for another 4 or 5 hours and it comes out as tender as it can be.

After cooking, take it off the fire or out of the turkey roasting oven and move it to a pan (to catch juices that might run out) and leave it sit for 20-30 minutes at least.

When cutting, I always start at the flat (leaner meat) end and the first slice is MINE. This slice is worth the time cooking for the entire brisket and is your just reward...Don't share LOL
Cut against the grain, 1/4" wide slices. After you get 3 to 5 slices in, do the pull test. Hold a slice in your hands and pull on either end....It should pull apart fairly easily and not be rubbery...If it's rubbery then the next time increase cooking time but not heat.

The main thing (IMO) for the best results is Do not use a market trimmed brisket. They don't have enough fat on them and cooking times and temperature are completely different.
Secondly, keep your heat as even as possible....A jump from 225 to 350-400 is easy right after you put another piece of wood on the fire so keep an eye on that because that is the biggest cause of a tough brisket.

And that's about all I have for you.....hope this helps and again, sorry for the giant wall of text
Let me know how it goes!
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Unread 09-16-2013, 09:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepNowski View Post
Cool! Something I definitely know about....I've smoked a LOT of briskets over the last 20 years or so. I've got a large family that has a lot of get togethers and somehow I usually wind up being the designated cook. I bet I smoke at least 2 briskets a month, sometimes more.

At any rate, here's how I cook mine....Be prepared, this is going to be a wall of text. Sorry about that in advance.

I usually use a 10-14 lb whole packer brisket (No market trimmed meat). I then trim off a little of the fat off the cap but not much.....My aim is to have at least 3/4" of fat on the cap and no trimming at all on the flat. For a rub, it depends....One thing I always use for my rub is Fiesta brand Fajita seasoning ( http://i.walmartimages.com/i/p/00/07...17_500X500.jpg )and apply it liberally to the entire slab of meat including on the sides. This stuff is basically Salt and Pepper with a little garlic maybe, and a few other spices. If you don't like heat in your meat then that's about it and that's usually how I wind up making mine because I've got people in my family that can't handle the heat.
If I'm making a brisket for my immediate family I'll spice things up a bit and put a little cayenne pepper in the rub as well. I'll also occasionally put some brown sugar in it frequently when I do this to add in a little sweet with the heat.
Again, sprinkle your rub on liberally and RUB it in...Pat it down really good and make sure you get everything a good coating. Once that's done put a piece of foil over it and let it sweat while you're getting your fire ready.

I use an offset smoker, and not one of those big expensive ones. Mine was like $200 and I use it for everything. I generally use oak wood on my briskets because it is abundant down here in TX. I also use a lot of Pecan wood which gives the meat a little bit of a sweet flavor. If you can find it, Pecan is great for a brisket. Hickory of course isn't bad itself but when I use that I have to use chips which I presoak and put on the fire while cooking.

After you've gotten your fire started and the temps top out and then go back down to about 225 put your brisket on fat side up and skinny side to the back as far away from the fire as possible. The idea is that as the fat on top renders down it will drain through the meat and of course the skinny side cooks fastest so you don't want it ever facing the hottest side. I cook my brisket at least 12 hours no matter how small it is. For a 10 lb brisket it's 12 hours and then I just add an hour and a half for each pound over that.

The only reason to wrap a brisket is if you think it's gotten as much smoke as you want it to have. For me, I prefer a LOT of smoke (The reddish/pink ring that forms in the outer 1/4" or so of the meat) so I don't ever wrap mine. If you do, it's just personal preference. Try your best to keep the fire as close to 225 as you can. Variances in temperature can make your meat tougher.
Alternately, if you like to wrap your brisket you can cheat a little if you want since your aim is now to get the meat tender rather than add smoke flavor......After you've decided that you have enough smoke from the BBQ pit, take the brisket off the pit and wrap your meat up nice and tight with foil and get a turkey roasting oven. Set the turkey roasting oven to about 200 degrees and put about an inch and a half of water in the bottom and set the brisket on the wire rack above the water and leave it for the remainder of the cooking time. When I do this I'll smoke mine for at least 10 hours and then leave it in the turkey roasting oven for another 4 or 5 hours and it comes out as tender as it can be.

After cooking, take it off the fire or out of the turkey roasting oven and move it to a pan (to catch juices that might run out) and leave it sit for 20-30 minutes at least.

When cutting, I always start at the flat (leaner meat) end and the first slice is MINE. This slice is worth the time cooking for the entire brisket and is your just reward...Don't share LOL
Cut against the grain, 1/4" wide slices. After you get 3 to 5 slices in, do the pull test. Hold a slice in your hands and pull on either end....It should pull apart fairly easily and not be rubbery...If it's rubbery then the next time increase cooking time but not heat.

The main thing (IMO) for the best results is Do not use a market trimmed brisket. They don't have enough fat on them and cooking times and temperature are completely different.
Secondly, keep your heat as even as possible....A jump from 225 to 350-400 is easy right after you put another piece of wood on the fire so keep an eye on that because that is the biggest cause of a tough brisket.

And that's about all I have for you.....hope this helps and again, sorry for the giant wall of text
Let me know how it goes!
Thanks for that.
I have asked questions about cooking briskets and really never get a answer.
The biggest problem I have here in Illinois is it is hard to find a whole brisket.
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Unread 09-16-2013, 09:37 PM   #5
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A lot of people (down here in TX anyway) feel that their recipe is special and must be kept completely secretive. Usually those people haven't got the foggiest idea....I know one person that "makes" his own brisket rub by mixing 2 or 3 different store bought rubs together. And several people I know mix different bbq sauces and call them their own secret bbq sauce recipe.

At any rate, yeah I can see how getting a whole brisket up there might be hard. The only advise I can give is to go to your local grocery store's meat market and ask....If you can't get a whole brisket you might try a whole beef shoulder clod. Completely different cut of meat (obviously) but preparation and cooking time are very similar, tastes pretty similar but it's a better cut of meat and much more tender if cooked properly. I've only done a couple of these, primarily because they're harder to find even down here in beef country and even then they're pretty spendy.
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Unread 09-17-2013, 05:38 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. Next time we do it I'm gona cook longer, and also try and find a better place to get the actual meat. I'd been buying my meat from BJ's, and that seems to work fine for ribs and boston butt, but I'm wondering if the brisket just isn't up to snuff. I'll post up results the next time we do.
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Unread 09-17-2013, 08:33 AM   #7
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Heck yeah, post pics of the process just like if you were posting a new Jeep build thread. Ain't nothin' wrong with pics of a giant slab of meat cooking LOL
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Unread 09-17-2013, 08:39 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by TSEJEEPERS View Post
The biggest problem I have here in Illinois is it is hard to find a whole brisket.
Try hitting up County Market and ask for one at the deli counter. I haven't had much luck here in Springfield but I've only asked twice and they happened to not have any both times.

Speaking of which, I think here in the very near future I'm going to have to try smoking a brisket again. I can't believe I haven't cooked one on my UDS yet!
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Unread 09-17-2013, 04:18 PM   #9
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Thanks for that.
I have asked questions about cooking briskets and really never get a answer.
The biggest problem I have here in Illinois is it is hard to find a whole brisket.
Well, you are just going to have to look around a little. Illinois is one of the big "corn and cattle" states. The best roast beef French Dip i ever ate was in the student cafeteria at Northern Illinois University. When I drive across Illinois, brand new corn silos and black angus cattle dot the countryside. I think that briskets will abound if you just look in the right places.
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Unread 09-17-2013, 07:39 PM   #10
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I imagine you are correct. I haven't found a good butcher around here but I haven't looked too hard. That being said, I bought a quarter cow last year and will be doing the same this year as well as adding in a pig. I image I could talk to that group of contacts and see what they could do for me in the way of briskets...
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Unread 09-28-2013, 11:37 AM   #11
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I'm told basting a brisket in blueberry juice while smoking is the ticket...
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Unread 09-30-2013, 06:11 AM   #12
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Might try that sometime, normally we have a spray bottle filled with apple juice that we use. We'll probably do some smoking this weekend, so you guys should expect some pics
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Unread 10-04-2013, 10:02 AM   #13
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Best way I have found. So tender if will come apart like pulled pork.

This is called the Smokie Okie Method.
Select the best brisket by wiggling the brisket back and forth@ the middle of the point end. This will tell you how fatty the point cut is, and how much fat layer there is between the point and flat cut. The easier it wiggles, the better. Buy the cheapest grade you can get. We want as little marbling as possible. Be sure you have a whole "packer trim" brisket, and not a flat cut or point cut. 12-13# is optimum for this application.
2
1-2 days before, rub brisket well with rub, and wrap tightly with H.D. plastic wrap, place in pan and refrigerate, or place in ice chest.
3
The day of the cook, start early by moving the brisket out of the fridge and packing it with black pepper.
4
Prepare your fire for the smoker, and, on a separate grill, prepare a VERY hot fire for searing the brisket.
5
When smoker is up to temp(250*-275*) sear brisket thoroughly on all sides and ends as well. We're talking so black that it looks like it's ruined, but don't worry, it's not. While it's OK to pierce the meat with a fork 2 this point, it's preferable not to. You may need help turning it w/ tongs.
6
Once seared, place brisket in foil pan, fat side up, and smoke, uncovered for 2 hours.
7
Flip brisket and smoke for 1 hour. At this point, the juices inside are under a fair amount of pressure. It is important not to pierce the meat from this point until it is done.
8
Flip brisket back to fat side up, and cover with foil.
9
Continue to smoke until internal temperature of 200* is obtained. There will come a point where the temp won't go up no matter what you do. This is normal. Resist the temptation to kick up the temp in your smoker. Time remaining to achieve 200* should be 5-9 hours. The reason for such a large variable is that smoker temps are not precise, and amount of "open time" will vary from cook to cook.
10
When 200* is obtained, remove from smoker, and allow to cool until it is safe to handle, then carefully lift brisket out and remove to a cutting board, and tent w/ foil. A long spatula, or some other long support will be helpful, because it will probably try to break up on you. Run pan juices through a grease separator, and freeze smoky grease in ice cube trays for baked bean seasoning (folks that've never had beans that way will be in awe). Reserve pan juice to serve over brisket.
11
Once cooled enough, separate the point from the flat. There will be a fairly easy to follow fat layer separating the two. Just gently slide a knife through the fat and lift and pull the point away as you cut. If you accidentally cut into the meat, it's no tragedy, just back up a little, and go at it again.
12
Once separated, slice the point cross grain, trimming off excess fat as you go. You will likely find several slices that are too fatty to serve, or maybe some of the outer shell that's too dry to serve. Reserve this meat, chop it fine, freeze, and save for baked bean seasoning.
13
If you look at the flat, you will see that the grain of the meat changes direction about in the middle of the cut. Cut the flat in half at this point, and slice cross grain in 1/2#-3/4# slices.
14
Reheat the pan juices. There should be adequate juices to saturate the brisket. If not, supplement with store bought au jus.
15
Place sliced brisket in pan or dish with slices in the same shape as they were before slicing, and pour juices over the top.
16
Serve open faced on white bread with a little extra au jus over the top.
17
You should not need knives. In fact, our motto is "You Don't Need Teef To Eat Our Beef.
18
I know this is somewhat long and wordy, and may seem a little over simplified to the experienced pit meister, but we've tried to put it in a form that all can benefit from. Good tender, juicy smokey, brisket is to good a thing to only be enjoyed by a few, and is very hard to come by at BBQ joints.
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Unread 10-10-2013, 01:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptLeeB View Post
Best way I have found. So tender if will come apart like pulled pork.

This is called the Smokie Okie Method.
Select the best brisket by wiggling the brisket back and forth@ the middle of the point end. This will tell you how fatty the point cut is, and how much fat layer there is between the point and flat cut. The easier it wiggles, the better. Buy the cheapest grade you can get. We want as little marbling as possible. Be sure you have a whole "packer trim" brisket, and not a flat cut or point cut. 12-13# is optimum for this application.
2
1-2 days before, rub brisket well with rub, and wrap tightly with H.D. plastic wrap, place in pan and refrigerate, or place in ice chest.
3
The day of the cook, start early by moving the brisket out of the fridge and packing it with black pepper.
4
Prepare your fire for the smoker, and, on a separate grill, prepare a VERY hot fire for searing the brisket.
5
When smoker is up to temp(250*-275*) sear brisket thoroughly on all sides and ends as well. We're talking so black that it looks like it's ruined, but don't worry, it's not. While it's OK to pierce the meat with a fork 2 this point, it's preferable not to. You may need help turning it w/ tongs.
6
Once seared, place brisket in foil pan, fat side up, and smoke, uncovered for 2 hours.
7
Flip brisket and smoke for 1 hour. At this point, the juices inside are under a fair amount of pressure. It is important not to pierce the meat from this point until it is done.
8
Flip brisket back to fat side up, and cover with foil.
9
Continue to smoke until internal temperature of 200* is obtained. There will come a point where the temp won't go up no matter what you do. This is normal. Resist the temptation to kick up the temp in your smoker. Time remaining to achieve 200* should be 5-9 hours. The reason for such a large variable is that smoker temps are not precise, and amount of "open time" will vary from cook to cook.
10
When 200* is obtained, remove from smoker, and allow to cool until it is safe to handle, then carefully lift brisket out and remove to a cutting board, and tent w/ foil. A long spatula, or some other long support will be helpful, because it will probably try to break up on you. Run pan juices through a grease separator, and freeze smoky grease in ice cube trays for baked bean seasoning (folks that've never had beans that way will be in awe). Reserve pan juice to serve over brisket.
11
Once cooled enough, separate the point from the flat. There will be a fairly easy to follow fat layer separating the two. Just gently slide a knife through the fat and lift and pull the point away as you cut. If you accidentally cut into the meat, it's no tragedy, just back up a little, and go at it again.
12
Once separated, slice the point cross grain, trimming off excess fat as you go. You will likely find several slices that are too fatty to serve, or maybe some of the outer shell that's too dry to serve. Reserve this meat, chop it fine, freeze, and save for baked bean seasoning.
13
If you look at the flat, you will see that the grain of the meat changes direction about in the middle of the cut. Cut the flat in half at this point, and slice cross grain in 1/2#-3/4# slices.
14
Reheat the pan juices. There should be adequate juices to saturate the brisket. If not, supplement with store bought au jus.
15
Place sliced brisket in pan or dish with slices in the same shape as they were before slicing, and pour juices over the top.
16
Serve open faced on white bread with a little extra au jus over the top.
17
You should not need knives. In fact, our motto is "You Don't Need Teef To Eat Our Beef.
18
I know this is somewhat long and wordy, and may seem a little over simplified to the experienced pit meister, but we've tried to put it in a form that all can benefit from. Good tender, juicy smokey, brisket is to good a thing to only be enjoyed by a few, and is very hard to come by at BBQ joints.
I like just about everything about this post except for it "coming apart like pulled pork". IMO, I like it better when you can cut a slice without it falling to pieces and then hold one half of the slice in either hand and gently pull and it should have a slight bit of tug to it but not like a rubber band....It should come apart with just a slight pull of the meat. It's just as tender that way (at least it is when I make it) and I just like the feel better.


However, a lot of that is personal preference so do what you like....Looks like you put a lot of attention into yours and it sounds like it would taste awesome so there ya go!
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Unread 10-10-2013, 02:04 PM   #15
soonerdg
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They key to cooking good brisket is you can't base it on cook time. You have to cook the brisket to the correct internal temperature. So, you'll need a meat thermometer. Here's what I do for fantastic brisket, both taste and texture.

Apply whatever rub/seasoning you like. This is personal preference, they're all good!
Heat smoker to 225
Put brisket on smoker and cook to an internal temp (measured in the middle of the meat away from veins of fat) to 165.
Wrap brisket in foil (after the meat reaches 165 degrees it quits absorbing smoke anyway).
Cooked brisked wrapped in foil to internal temp of 195 degrees. (internal temp will continue to rise to about 200-205 while resting)
Remove from smoker, wrap in towels, blankets, sleepingbags or whatever you have, place in a clean dry ice chest and allow meat to rest for AT LEAST 1 hour. (I rest mine 2-3 hrs if I can)
Slice and serve.

I promise this will be the best melt in your mouht brisket you've ever made. It will be moiste and tender with a good smoke ring.
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