Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Dave the Cook

Smoking Brisket: The Topic

Recommended Posts

I'm pretty much in the same camp as fiftydollars. 1-1.5 hrs per lb. @ 225F. I go for an internal of 190F then remove from smoker, double wrap in foil, then wrap in an old large bath towel and put into a cooler for at least 1 hr (pour boiling water into cooler, close for 10 minutes then, drain, dry, and insert wrapped brisket).

is the wrapping and settling part where the collagen does something that makes it so tender?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The collagen breakdown starts at about 170F. That is why you get that internal temperature "stall" as it breaks down. When the temperature starts to rise again, that is when you are getting there. I tend to just leave it on the smoker at 225F at the grate since I have a WSM and maintaining the temerature at 225F is a no brainer. Why crank up the oven? If you are having trouble with the smoker, the oven is a viable alternative but, when I have done that, I set the oven at the same 225 to maintain the rate of breakdown so that it is more even. Yes, wrap in foil if you are moving to the oven. I often separate a whole brisket into two parts since the flat will cook at a faster rate. I will have no truck with a trimmed brisket. Fat is your friend.

You have to pay in terms of time for great brisket. The BBQ gods are NOT forgiving. :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm pretty much in the same camp as fiftydollars. 1-1.5 hrs per lb. @ 225F. I go for an internal of 190F then remove from smoker, double wrap in foil, then wrap in an old large bath towel and put into a cooler for at least 1 hr (pour boiling water into cooler, close for 10 minutes then, drain, dry, and insert wrapped brisket).

is the wrapping and settling part where the collagen does something that makes it so tender?

As fifi said upthread, the collagen breakdown starts at around 170F. Then the stall begins and, it ain't over til' it's over. Could easily be 1 or 2 hrs, if not more. This, among other reasons, is why I like to use 1.5 hrs per lb. as a timeline for smoking a brisket (or butt, etc.)

The wrapping and setting part is just a way of holding the meat and allowing the internal juices to redistribute throughout the entire piece. The end result is much more tender and juicy. It also gives you a lot more flexibility in timing, especially if your're entertaining. I've actually held them like this up to 4 hrs without much of a drop in internal temp. Not my idea at all. Picked it up from a long time champ on the BBQ circuit a number of years ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with all the above advice. I'd just like to throw in that John Fullilove of Smitty's in Lockhart told us that he cooked his brisket in about 4.5 hours and he keeps the temperature high. He didn't define high but I've heard their pits run around 500F.

Its contrary to everything I've heard about cooking brisket but that was the finest meat we had on our 2 week trip of eating bbq everyday.

I also think they only use the fat end of the brisket. If I remember right there is not a choice of lean at Smitty's.

Rodney

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree with all the above advice. I'd just like to throw in that John Fullilove of Smitty's in Lockhart told us that he cooked his brisket in about 4.5 hours and he keeps the temperature high. He didn't define high but I've heard their pits run around 500F.

Its contrary to everything I've heard about cooking brisket but that was the finest meat we had on our 2 week trip of eating bbq everyday.

I also think they only use the fat end of the brisket. If I remember right there is not a choice of lean at Smitty's.

Rodney

Boy, does that sound suspicious. :hmmm:

Those boys may have been foolin' you. I am not sure how the typical "pit" could even get to 500. :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Boy, does that sound suspicious. :hmmm:

Those boys may have been foolin' you. I am not sure how the typical "pit" could even get to 500. :laugh:

Have you seen there pit? I don't think I would describe it as typical. If I remember right in Robb W's book he said their pits run closer to 600F. I'll have to look that up again.

We can get our offset up to 400F pretty easy, not that we try to, and Smitty's fire is a lot bigger than ours.

Rodney

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found Robbs quote. pg 28 "Some of the best smoked meat in the Lone Star state is cooked at 600F". He doesn't mention Smitty's or Kreuz but I believe that is whom he is referring to.

Rodney

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't been to Smitty's but I have been to Kreuz's and I can easily see the pit hitting 500 or 600 F is you're close to the fire. I've never run my smoker that hot (I can come close to 400) because I'd risk charring the brisket.

If you don't have a lot of fat, you'll want to wrap it in foil at some point. I talk at length about brisket (and turkey) in my Smoking Course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now I am curious. Why would anyone want to do that to a brisket? Just to save time? What would that do for beer consumption? Oh... The horror!

Now I am getting curious as to the interior temperature profile and how that works for collagen => gelatin conversion.

I am a very curious person. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whole, untrimmed briskets are on sale at my local meat market for $1.99/lb. Guess what I'm smoking this weekend?

And, it's time this thread returned up top again.

Smoked brisket. Yum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kroger in Houston has whole cryovac'd brisket for 99 cents a pound.

Gentlemen... Start your smokers. (Yea, yea, gentlewomen too.)

In the WSM I split the brisket into the tip and the flat like klink said above. Trimming is an abomination. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

$.99/lb! Yes, gentlewomen, start your smokers.

Yes, trimming is an abomination and a waste of time and perfectly good fat. It also takes away from beer-drinking time. All of that washing hands. Yes, I will cut into two pieces.

What kinda wood would be best?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Um... Wood... I'm thinking...

I usually use hickory or mesquite but I think I would like to find some pecan. I haven't used pecan in years and would like to test it out. I have some big slabs of redfish and trout in my sister's freezer from last weekend's fishing trip and am thinking about smoking a couple or more of those so I want to see how I like the pecan. (I will do the fish later. 99 cent brisket is too good to pass up.) Now all I have to do is find the time to do this this weekend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Plus, you can save all of that energy thawing stuff, fifi.

What sides will you serve?

I'd just as soon just eat brisket, but think that the rest of the people will think I'm lazy if I don't serve sides.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My plan is to do both a brisket and a butt at the same time. Which should I put on the top rack, the beef or the butt?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm having a big party on Sunday at 1:00 pm. Brisket and butt, smoked. I know how to handle the butt in advance; it reheats wonderfully. But, I'm figuring that the brisket is 10 pounds, and I will cut it in two (to shorten smoking time). I really don't want to get up before dawn on Sunday to smoke this thing (I just can't drink beer for breakfast and host a party :blink:) (Plus, in addition to my three kids, I also have a 6-month old and a 3-year old for the weekend, glutton for punishment than I am). If I smoke it on Saturday, do I slice it then and hold and reheat? Reheat Sunday then slice? Advice, please. Somewhere in there I'll get the house clean and make sides

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brisket just after putting on the Ole Weber:

i9943.jpg

After a few hours, I added the butt:

i9944.jpg

Using high tech ( :shock: ). Weber kettle, regular dial oven thermometer and regular old fashioned dial meat thermometer. After a few hours (I've had a few cold ones), brisket is stalled, but that's to be expected.

All that beer and smoke. I need a nap. I am watching a 6-month old this weekend (very happy easy baby) and I think he and I need a nap. Diana knows how to monitor temp, etc. And, to wake me before this nap has become "painful."

Smoking. It's really good. I smell wonderful, according to Peter. Smoking is exhausting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Susan:

What is that rub you put on the briskets? And I see you left the skin on the butt. I have a butt on the smoker right now and I peeled the skin off before I put it on. My rationale for doing so is my belief that the skin will prevent smoke from penetrating the meat. I don't know if I'm right on that or not, but we certainly have a potential basis for comparison going here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Susan:

What is that rub you put on the briskets? And I see you left the skin on the butt. I have a butt on the smoker right now and I peeled the skin off before I put it on. My rationale for doing so is my belief that the skin will prevent smoke from penetrating the meat. I don't know if I'm right on that or not, but we certainly have a potential basis for comparison going here.

For the brisket, I used the rub Klink posted on Recipe Gullet (Klink's Dry Rub). It's really good for brisket.

I've never thought of taking the skin off when smokin' a butt. Maybe I'm too lazy. Anyway, with skin, it is wonderful when smoked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I know how to handle the butt in advance; it reheats wonderfully.  But, I'm figuring that the brisket is 10 pounds, and I will cut it in two (to shorten smoking time).

I see from further downstream that you have already started. I don't think cutting the brisket in half will shorten things much. The way a brisket is shaped, you don't really increase surface area much when you cut it in half.

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I see from further downstream that you have already started. I don't think cutting the brisket in half will shorten things much. The way a brisket is shaped, you don't really increase surface area much when you cut it in half.

Jim

I don't know that cutting it in half shortened the time, but once it had shrunk some, it did free up enough grill space to allow me to reposition the halves and get a butt on. Plus, I was able to take the flat off earlier.

Both butt and brisket a huge success. I'm very proud. I was able to leave the butt on the grill (Weber kettle) and leave the house and butt unattended for 3-1/2 hours!. I've figured out how to load it, ventilate it, etc. in all sorts of weather conditions (last night was perfect).

There's nothing like drinking Shaker's vodka with a favorite relative at 2:00 am pulling butt :rolleyes: . It was not an early morning today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That brisket looks great!

I've always bought untrimmed brisket, right in the cryovac. With that huge fat cap, the brisket gets basted with the rendering fat for the whole smoke. Yummy.

However, when I slice it, I usually have to cut that cap off (a good half inch of fat) for my guests. I'll eat a piece of fat or two but that's my limit. That top of the brisket is lovely - black and smoky and flavorful. When I cut off the fat, I have to cut off that crackly top part. (And even after trimming some of the fat off, I usually see additional pieces of fat on their otherwise empty plates - most people won't eat it).

So, I'm thinking of trimming a bit of the fat cap off: I'll aim to have as much fat left after the smoking as you might on a nice steak, and leave plenty of fat to render into the brisket during cooking.

Does that seem like a good idea? The brisket people always seem to say that you should leave it untrimmed...

Ian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're having folks over late this afternoon. I've smoked plenty of pork shoulders lately, and Paul had a hankering for smoked brisket. So, off I went to the local meat market. As I reported on the Dry Rub and Smoked Meat thread, I got a big ass brisket.

Today is a stunning day. It's close to 70 degrees (F) outside for the first time in many, many months. I have doffed the turtleneck in favor of a t-shirt, and doffed the socks and am baretoed in my birkies.

gallery_6263_35_807992.jpg

It's big. So big that I had to cut it in half to get it on the trusty Weber kettle. I had hoped to have space to sneak a shoulder onto the grill, but I don't think so...

gallery_6263_35_982363.jpg

It's happily smoking away, and has been for a number of hours. I have done a wonderful job of holding the temp down. The first three hours were between 200 and 225!

Meantime, in between tending the Weber, I am washing windows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NO! NO! NO!

Drinking beer is the activity for smoking brisket on a lovely spring day.

Washing windows is NOT! You are disturbing the vibes in the cosmic ethers. The darn thing might come out tasting like Windex. :laugh::laugh::laugh:

Man, if you can hold that temp in a kettle you really have it down. I can't wait to see the finished product.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      It is possibly not well-known that China has some wonderful hams, up there with the best that Spain can offer. This lack of wide -knowledge, at least in the USA, is mainly down to regulations forbidding their importation. However, for travellers to China and those in  places with less restrictive policies, here are some of the best.
       
      This article from the WSJ is a good introduction to one of the best - Xuanwei Ham 宣威火腿  (xuān wēi huǒ tuǐ) from Yunnan province.
      This Ingredient Makes Everything Better
      I can usually obtain Xuanwei ham here around the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival, but I also have a good friend who lives in Yunnan who sends me regular supplies. The article compares it very favourably with jamon iberico, a sentiment with which I heartily agree.



      Xuanwei Ham
       

      Xuanwei Ham
       
      more coming soon.
       
       
    • By Daily Gullet Staff
      by Chris Amirault

      Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like 'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?

      - Nora Ephron

      I attended a training last fall at which we were asked to share an object representing something important about mentoring, our focus for the week. I suspect that few in the workshop had difficulty coming up with their tape measures, baby photos, and flower pots, but I usually find this sort of assignment challenging, preferring simple denotations to forced connotations.

      On the drive home, I rolled down the windows, sensing that the air was turning slightly crisp and cool. I savored that harbinger of autumn in New England, when my thoughts turn to braises, stews and charcuterie. After a summer of keeping the oven off in my non-air-conditioned kitchen, I dreamed of daubes, considered new curries, and generally jonesed for the promise of meat to come.

      And then I realized that I had a perfect metaphor for mentoring: my 5 lb. vertical sausage stuffer from Grizzly Industrial, Inc. The next day, I lugged the apparatus to the training, hiding it behind a door for fear of ridicule. When my turn arrived, I hauled it out and clunked it down dramatically on the center table. "Good mentoring is like a sausage stuffer," I said, "for at least ten reasons:

      + + +

      That's the article as I started writing it. But over time, Nora's words came to haunt me. The whole shtick began to smell a bit fishy, and I began to fear that, like many tropes, this metaphor turned attention away from a trickier, worrisome truth hiding in plain view.

      But unlike many tropes, the worrisome truth I was hiding is in the object, and not the subject, of the metaphor. That is, the metaphor wasn't really about my relationship to mentoring. It was really about my relationship to sausage.

      Imagine the scene: I whip out my sausage maker and give ten reasons why my metaphor is bigger and better than everyone else's. (I did mention that I was the only man among three dozen women in that training, didn't I?) Laugh if you want, but one's sausage is important to many a man. A quick perusal of this topic reveals that I'm not alone. (You did notice the gender breakdown in that topic, didn't you?)

      Last weekend, while in the unfinished basement of a chef buddy, talk turned to our sausages, and before long we four charcuterie nuts were looking at our feet and commiserating about our failures. We shared a bond: our sausages had the better of us, and we knew it. Pathetic though it is, are you surprised that I felt a deep sense of relief, even of control, when I walked through my ten reasons? My metaphor afforded me a rare opportunity to feel superior to the process of sausage-making, and believe me, that doesn't happen often.

      My name is Chris A., and I have sausage anxiety.

      Read that list up there about my sausage maker, the instrument that I describe with distanced assurance. It's a ruse, I tell you. No matter how often I try to buck up, no matter how definitive a recipe, no matter how wonderful a pork butt or a lamb shoulder, when it comes to making sausages, I go limp with worry.

      Can you blame me? Look at all the places you can screw up, where your sausage can fail you utterly and leave you in tears.

      You grab some wonderful meat, hold it in your hands, appreciate its glory. Chill. You grind it, add some fat, and sprinkle some seasoning, whatever the flesh requires. Chill again. Slow down, contemplate the moon or something. You paddle that meat to bind it, melding flavor and texture seamlessly. Chill some more. What's your hurry? Toss a bit into a skillet, ask: are we ready? and adjust as needed. Stuff away. Then relax. If you can.

      I can't. You need to keep things cool to take care of your sausage, and it's challenging to stay cool when I'm all a-flutter about the prospect of a culminating, perfect, harmonious bind. If you read the books and you watch the shows, everyone acts just about as cool as a cucumber. But that's not real life with my sausage.

      It's a frenzy, I tell you. I know I should chill and relax, but I get all hot and bothered, start hurrying things along, unable to let the meat chill sufficiently, to take things slowly. Hell, I'm sweating now just thinking about it.

      I have to admit that I don't have this sausage problem when I'm alone in the house, have a couple of hours to kill, and know I won't be disturbed. I just settle in, take it nice and slow, not a care in the world, and everything comes out fine. But with someone else around, forget about it.

      Despite this mishegas, my wife is as supportive as she can be. She humors me patiently about these things, gently chiding, "Slow down! The house isn't on fire. It's just your sausage." Though I know she loves me despite my foibles, that sort of talk just adds fuel to that fire -- I mean, she can speak so glibly because it's not her sausage we're worrying about.

      Even if I am I able to relax, the prospect of sudden, precipitous sausage humiliation comes crashing down upon me. Think of it. All seems to be going so well -- a little too well. I'm keeping things cool, making sure that I'm taking it easy, following the plan step-by-step, trusting my instincts. I smile. I get cocky.

      And then, the frying pan hits the fire, and within moments I'm hanging my head: instead of forming a perfect bind, my sausage breaks and I break down. I want a firm, solid mass, and I'm watching a crumbly, limp link ooze liquid with embarrassing rapidity.

      Given my gender, in the past I've tried to subdue sausage anxiety with predictable contrivances: machines, science, and technique. If there's a tool or a book useful for perfecting my sausage, I've bought or coveted it. I calculate ratios of meat, salt, cure, sugar, and seasonings past the decimal; I measure out ingredients to the gram on digital scales; I poke instant-read thermometers into piles of seasoned meat; I take the grinder blade to my local knife sharpener to get the perfect edge. (We've already covered the stuffer above, of course.) I've got a full supply of dextrose, Bactoferm, and DQ curing salts numbers 1 and 2. The broken binding of my copy of Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie has xeroxes and print-outs from eight other sources, and the pages are filled with crossed-out and recalculated recipes.

      It's the sort of thing that I used to do when I was younger: arm myself with all things known to mankind and blast ahead. It hasn't helped. I've learned the hard way that my hysterical masculine attempt to master all knowledge and technology has led, simply, to more panic and collapse.

      There is, I think, hope. I'm older, and my approach to my sausage has matured. I'm in less of a hurry, I roll with the challenges, and when the house is on fire, I just find a hydrant for my hose.

      If things collapse, well, I try to take the long view, recall the successes of my youth, and keep my head up. I mean, it's just my sausage.

      * * *

      Chris Amirault (aka, well, chrisamirault) is Director of Operations, eG Forums. He also runs a preschool and teaches in Providence, RI.
    • By Tara Middleton
      Alright so as of a few months ago, I decided to take an impromptu trip to Europe--mostly unplanned but with several priorities set in mind: find the best food and locate the most game-changing ice cream spots on the grounds of each city I sought out for. One of the greatest, most architecturally unique and divine cities I have visited thus far has gotta be Vienna, Austria. But what in the heck is there to eat over there?! (you might ask). 'Cause I sure as hell didn't know. So, I desperately reached out to a local Viennese friend of mine, who knows and understands my avid passion for all things edible, and she immediately shot back some must-have food dishes. Doing a bit of research beforehand, I knew I had to try the classic "Kasekreiner". Please forgive my German if I spelled that wrong. But no matter how you say it- say it with passion, because passion is just about all I felt when I ate it. Translated: it basically means cheese sausage. Honestly, what is there not to love about those two words. Even if that's not necessarily your go-to, do me a favor and give it a shot. Trust me, you won't regret it. A classic Austrian pork sausage with pockets of melty cheese, stuffed into a crisp French Baguette. No ketchup necessary (...and as an American, that's saying a lot). YUM. Best spot to try out this one-of-a-kind treat?! Bitzinger bei der Albertina – Würstelstand. Now here's a shot of me with my one true love in front of this classic Viennese green-domed building-- Karlskirche. Now, go check it.
       
       

    • By DanM
      One of the surprises from our move to Switzerland is the availability of kosher charcuterie. Sausages of all types, confit, mousse, rietttes, etc... One of the recent finds is this block of smoked beef. It has a nice fat layer in the middle. Any thoughts on how to use it? Should I slice it thin and then fry?
       
      Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    • By smeems
      Hi.  I'm brand new to this site.  I used to be on Chowhound but I see now that that site is a mess. I found this site and it looks pretty cool.  The main reason I joined is  I’m looking for recommendations for a restaurant to hold my wedding in March 2018. We were hoping maybe in Brooklyn but we are open to anything interesting. There will be 55-60 people and the ceremony will also be at the restaurant. I’m thinking of a brunch/early afternoon affair, most likely on a weekend. Would love to find a funky/old school/unique/charming type of place for my sweetheart. Inexpensive please! Thank you in advance!
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×