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    Hello Everyone

    New here to this site, looking to gain some skill and confidence in my cooking and grilling. We just put in a new outdoor patio and a nice grill island. I would like to feel confident and build some skills when I am cooking on the grill. Any help and guidance from experts would be appreciated. I am looking forward to learning from everyone on here and sharing in the success of everyone in the pitmaster community.

    My first big project is a brisket. The Texas Crutch and faux cambro(?) technique seem challenging at the moment. If I leave out the crutch and cambro do I still cook the brisket to 203 degrees? I will be using the big bad beef rub and looking to have the brisket done around 6pm. When should I put the brisket on and do I still cook low and slow to 203 if not using the crutch or cambro? Thank you for your guidance. I just do not feel confident enough for these steps at the moment.

    Attached Files

    Experiment is all I can say.
    The crutch is merely wrapping the meat in foil or butchers paper and is up to you, I've cut the crutch out of a lot of my smoking.
    Faux cambro is a necessity for smoking brisket, at the very least 2 hours after taking the brisket off the smoker then you can slice.
    203 is the bench mark temp you should try to reach.
    Your not building a rocket ship, you'll be fine.
    Ask questions there's plenty of knowledge here and people who will hop right in and help you.


      Welcome from the Land of Enchantment!

      The faux cambro is for holding your brisket once it hits your target internal temp. 203 is a guide, but you really want to look for probe tenderness and you can start checking at 195 to see if the brisket is tender. Once the probe goes thru like warm butter, you are good. Usually, the brisket jiggles like jello at this point, so you can give the grill grate a shake and see if this happens as well. But once you hit your target temp, wrap a few times in foil, then wrap with a towel and place in an empty cooler for at least an hour. This is your faux cambro time. You can hold it for longer if needed as well - I think I’ve held for 3-4 hours and still had a pretty warm brisket.

      As for timing to put brisket on the smoker - depends on how big it is and what temp you are going to cook at. But 1-1.5 hours per pound is another guide if you are cooking at 225 or so. Others cook hotter than 225, up to 275. I usually go with 250 and can get a 15lb brisket in about 10 hours. But again, that’s a guide.

      so, most will recommend starting at a time to give you a little wiggle room, which is where the faux cambro can come in to play and help if you finish early.

      Have fun with your cook! And lets see a pic of the new outdoor grill area!


        Welcome to The Pit Josh. We need a little more info to give advice. How big is the brisket and what temp are you planning on using? And what are you cooking on?

        Generally, cook to tenderness - not temp. You want a probe to go in with almost no resistance. That could be anywhere from around 195° to 203°, but could even be a bit higher or lower.

        Neither the cambro nor the crutch is absolutely necessary. Many here don't crutch at all, but most do hold, (cambro), for at least an hour or two if they have the time. That just helps with the tenderness and it helps redistribute moisture.


          JoshZeller welcome to the Pit!

          You are overcomplicating something that is simple, and the crutch and cambro are two completely different things. Neither has anything to do with cooking to a temperature of 203F

          The crutch simply means that you wrap the brisket in foil or brown paper when it hits a certain internal temperature. I wrap mine after they reach about 170F or so. I do the crutch to avoid moisture lost in the flat, and ending up with a flat that is dried out at the end of a cook. I only cook USDA Prime briskets from Costco, a choice or select from your grocery store will be even more likely to dry out.

          A tip: always measure the temperature in the thickest part of the FLAT, avoiding the deckle - the layer of fat between the point and the flat.

          The faux cambro is putting a foil wrapped brisket into a cooler, wrapped in towels, to hold for 1-2 hours or more, before eating. This step is CRITICAL in my mind, and I think for the majority of the citizens of the Pit. It seems to result in a more tender and moist brisket, versus serving it right off the smoker.

          So it really is simple.

          Wrap your brisket in a double layer of foil after it has passed the stall, around 170 or so. Put your probe back into the flat from the side, being sure not to puncture the bottom of the foil allowing juices to escape. When it reaches 203, I check it with my instant read Thermapen probe in several points, and if it probes like a warm stick of butter, its done. I then add one more layer of foil (to prevent the juices from coming out the little holes in the foil, and drop it into a towel in a medium sized cooler, and put another towel on top. I've held a brisket in a cooler this way for as long as 5 hours, and it was still steaming hot and one 160F internal temperature when I pulled it for serving.

          How long your brisket takes to cook is dependent on the size and thickness, and the temperature you smoke it at. I've had an 18 pound full packer take 16 hours at 225F, and I've had a 16 pound full packer take as little as 10 hours, smoking it overnight at 250-275.

          If *I* were shooting for a 6pm dinner time, and since I use charcoal, I would get up around 4am, light the fire, and about the time the cooker is at 200F or so (between 4:30 and 5), put the brisket on straight from the fridge where it has been dry brining, applying my rub at that time. I would run the cook at 250 initially. If the brisket is not up to 170 by 1pm or so, I would increase the cooker temp to 275, and once the meat hit 170, wrap tightly in 2 layers of foil. I would then watch until it is done, probably around 3-4. If it was not up to 203 by 4, I would increase my cooker temp to 300F, and pray it reaches 203 by 5pm, pull it, and put it in the cooler to rest until 6pm. If you get done any time between 3 and 5, you will be ok, and don't feel bad using an increased smoker temp to get there.
          Last edited by jfmorris; December 10, 2020, 08:59 AM.


            Welcome from Maryland. Some observations is 1: Smoking at 275 is going to get it done faster and you won’t notice any difference from smoking at 225. Many here smoke at temperatures above 300 and get great results. 2: Wrapping when the bark is set is done by many, but many others don’t bother and again get good results. 3: 203 is a target but many start probing when in the 190-195 range. If your probe glides in like into soft butter, you are done. I personally tap the meat and when it shakes like Jello I consider that done. 4: The faux cambro IMHO is important and it doesn’t need to be challenging. Wrap your meat and place it in your oven set for its lowest temperature. Mine goes down to 170. Eric did a great guide that will help you. https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...brisket-method Read it over and ask the Pit about any questions that you might have. We are here to help. And finally, relax, you got this!


              Welcome to the Pit!

              Get the best quality meat you can afford. Like said above probe tender is your target. Don't get all fixated on cooking at 225*. Crank it up to 250 or higher. Start early, yes earlier than you think. Resting will only make it better.
              Slice only what's needed and only when ready to serve. It will dry the meat out out if done early.


              • jfmorris
                jfmorris commented
                Editing a comment
                Very good advice I cringe when I see photos of a full brisket sliced. It means "dry meat for all"... . I only slice enough to plate everyone, and if they want seconds, they can slice it, or I will slice for them.

              • RonB
                RonB commented
                Editing a comment
                Great point I forgot to make. Sliced brisket dries very quickly, so do it at the last minute. If I have guests, I have them come to the "carving station" and I slice what they want - one at a time.

              Slicing is an important thing to learn about brisket.

              A lot of folk put a mark or cut into the brisket BEFORE cooking, so that you know the direction of the grain, as you want to cut against or across the grain for tender slices. Sometimes due to bark, it might be hard to see the grain after smoking the brisket. Oftentimes, for the brisket I buy, the grain runs somewhat diagonal to the length of the brisket.

              Here is a diagram of how I would carve a typical brisket - this one was probably 12 pounds, looking at the photo. You need to pay attention to the grain of the meat, cutting across that. However, once you get up to the point, it changes about 90 degrees. You will see as you reach the area with the layer of fat in the middle of the meat you are slicing, and the flat becomes thin. At that point, stop slicing, and rotate the meat, slicing across the grain of the point, as shown below. This works pretty well for me.

              Often I just save the point, cube it up, and make burnt ends the next day.

              Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_2609.jpeg Views:	18 Size:	4.02 MB ID:	953611
              Last edited by jfmorris; December 10, 2020, 11:00 AM.


              • barelfly
                barelfly commented
                Editing a comment
                Great post and photo!

              Wow, thank you for so many responses so quickly. So from what I am gathering, the cambro is very important for about one hour to ensure the whole brisket remains moist.


                Welcome. I was going to weigh in on the brisket questions but I think you highly knowledgeable peers and I are pretty close together. I see you have a great paperweight on your counter. It also works well as a sleep aid.


                • JoshZeller
                  JoshZeller commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks. The pic was from the family making the rub for the grilled turkey. Turkey and rub turned out amazing!

                Welcome from south Texas! Lotta good advice here already. One more thing: relax and have fun. Enjoy eating your experiments as you learn. It’s just food.


                  Hello from NW Oregon.


                    Welcome from Colorado, Josh ... I think you’ve gotten all the good advice you need, so enjoy your next brisket.


                    • smokin fool
                      smokin fool commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Yup, I've picked up a few pointers along the way too.

                    Welcome from the California Delta. Plenty of advise for you the get started.


                      Welcome from Minnesota. Have a good time making brisket!



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